How Do You Know If Your Digital Marketing Is Working?
You’ve invested a lot of money into your digital marketing efforts. You brought out your wallet for an optimized website, paid search ads, search engine optimization (SEO), Facebook ads, and the list goes on and on. But is any of it working?
Whether you’ve been sold on big promises from a questionable digital marketing agency or you’re doing it on your own, it helps to understand if your efforts are working.
Knowing if your digital marketing strategy is working comes down to analytics and your own knowledge of what your business needs. A digital marketing strategy that works well for one business might not be right for your business- sometimes within the same industry.
Read this checklist to discover if your digital marketing strategy is working or if it needs a major revamp.
Your business goals are aligned with your digital marketing efforts
It only makes sense that your business goals and digital marketing strategy need to be aligned. Attractive Facebook ads and a pretty website only go so far. But what are these digital marketing efforts doing for your business? If you don’t know the answer to this question, it’s time to start again from square one.
Say for example your business goal for the year is to branch out your construction company’s services in several new neighborhoods. Your digital marketing efforts should include long-tail SEO keyword bidding for these towns. Paid advertisements on social media and search engines like Google should also target people in this town. Optimize your website to include these local towns on your landing pages.
While you’re at the drawing board, make sure you know who you should be targeting. Randomly creating paid advertisements for any person is a waste of ad spend. Remember your target audience and persona. Talk to those customers and research what platforms they use. If you’re targeting women ages 35-54, you might be wasting your money on TikTok ads if they don’t use the platform.
We often suggest that business owners look at their target audience (and it could be multiple personas) to consider how they use the internet. Since people tend to spend roughly 30% of their time online, it’s important to consider what social media platforms they might use the most. Clearly, the goal here is to be where your customers are.
Finally, before you create any digital marketing campaigns, you need a key performance indicator (or KPI) in mind. How will you know that this digital marketing effort is a success without a measure of success? Do some research and create reasonable performance goals for each of your digital marketing goals.
Some Examples Of KPIs
Whenever we ask business owners what they think a good key performance indicator would be, we frequently get confused looks. This is why we often need to give some examples such as:
- More website traffic
- More potential customers
- Lower cost per lead
- Better conversion rate
- Improved click-through rate
- Lower customer acquisition cost
Most business owners simply want their phones to ring with more customers. We get that. Clearly that’s the best metric out there.
Your metrics look good
Creating and tracking KPIs is an important feat. You may have chosen a high-level KPI like organic traffic or conversion rate. But there are a few other metrics to keep in mind while the campaigns are running. You know your digital marketing efforts are paying off when these metrics look solid. If you haven’t checked on some key metrics of your campaigns, head over to Google Analytics to start digging.
Wait, did you just say that you don’t have Google Analytics connected to your site? Yeah, we get that a lot.
Google Analytics hosts a plethora of metrics based on how users interact with your website. While it seems like a lot at first, these analytics provide a wealth of information about your digital marketing efforts. Some top-level metrics to check on Google Analytics are the number of users, sessions, new vs. returning users, traffic source, bounce rate, and conversion rate. These metrics give you an idea of who is visiting your website, where they came from, and whether they left or completed a desired conversion action.
On social media, metrics may vary by platform. When posting on social media, you want to know if your content is resonating with the audience. How you choose to create engaging content is also going to depend on your brand. Some universal metrics to consider for social media are impressions, clicks, click-through rate, engagements, follower growth, and reach. If you create video content, video views, and video completion rates are also important to track when measuring engagement.
Finally, paid advertising will involve some different metrics. For paid search, you only pay when a person clicks. Since each click costs you, it’s essential to track and measure those clicks to see if you got your targeting right. Look at your cost per click, cost per lead, cost per conversion, return on investment, and return on ad spend to understand the effectiveness of your paid advertising.
Once you’ve analyzed these metrics, do some digging into your industry to see how your metrics compare. Favorable results for these metrics mean your digital marketing efforts are on the right track. But if any of these metrics are looking lackluster for your industry, it’s time to revamp them.
You’re ranking highly on search engines
While metrics like click-through rates and conversion rates are relative to your industry and business goals, Google rankings are clear. If you can hop on Google and find your business as a top result when typing in relevant keywords, that’s incredible! But when your business is buried underneath pages of search results, your customers can’t find you. And that means you have work to do.
Keyword research should be a regular part of your ongoing SEO efforts. Use a tool like SEMRush to determine what keywords people are typing into search engines to find companies like yours. Once you’ve identified the top keywords you want to rank for, you should continuously optimize your SEO efforts toward them. Don’t forget about technical SEO either. Google Search Console can tell you if your website isn’t optimized for mobile or if there are indexing problems.
You’ll want to ensure your landing pages include these top keywords. The main keywords you want to rank for should be in your headings and subheadings to tell Google it’s relevant. You can create blog posts to help drive traffic to your website for keywords. Images are also an underrated way to rank higher on search engines. Google likes relevant images that are relevant to the keywords you’re trying to rank for.
Once you’ve optimized your website, it’s important to keep an eye on Google Analytics. Google Analytics will show you how much traffic you’re getting. You can also see where the organic traffic is coming from. Ideally, you’ll want to see traffic from all mediums. But keeping a particular eye on organic will help you understand how your SEO efforts are paying off.
Your campaigns translate to sales
You can get thousands of clicks a day, but it won’t do much if they don’t translate to sales. You’ll know your digital marketing efforts are working if they translate to sales! Sounds simple, but there are a few concrete ways to track this.
It makes sense to track your digital marketing campaigns, so you know exactly when they started and ended. From there, you can analyze your sales during this period. Calculating your gross total revenue during the time of your campaign makes sense. But you can also learn a lot from looking at year-over-year growth, market penetration, and more. Learn exactly how your digital marketing efforts have translated to dollars over the past few years and where you can still improve.
Digital marketing offers a seamless way to track online sales as well, especially if you offer any sort of e-commerce. If you have any digital storefront such as Shopify on your website, ensure that it’s set up properly. Track your sales through your digital storefront so you can always keep up with how your digital marketing campaigns are performing.
If you sell products or services through your website, make sure your conversion actions on your website are set up correctly with Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics for tracking. Using these tools, you can determine exactly how many sales you’ve gotten from your digital marketing efforts. See how a user found you and create sales funnels to determine what steps they took to convert. Google Analytics is an invaluable asset for evaluating ROAS!
Your customers tell you
Calculations tell you a lot about your business. But your customers might be able to tell you even more. If you own a storefront, you have the advantage of speaking with your customers in person. You can hand out flyers, ask for their feedback, and get to know them.
Digital businesses don’t have such a luxury though, so they must rely on the efforts of their digital marketing campaigns. Your target audience’s experience with your digital marketing efforts is a goldmine of information. Yet, customers aren’t always going to speak up. Get creative when asking customers to leave their feedback.
When it comes to feedback, surveys are your friend. Offer a short digital survey to customers after they make a purchase on your website. The survey might ask what medium they used to find you, their overall thoughts on your product, and the likelihood that they’ll visit again.
Of course, not everyone fills out a survey. That’s why it’s also important to reach your customers where they’re always looking: social media and email. It’s common for customers to turn to social media when they have a positive (or negative!) experience with your brand. As you garner more awareness about your company, you might naturally stumble upon customer feedback online. Engage customers further with polls and conversation starters on your social media channels.
Don’t forget about email, either. Email marketing is known for having an exceptional ROI. You also get to flex your creative chops with enticing headlines and campaigns. Once your customers perform certain actions, you can send them an email. You’ve probably received emails to review products after making a purchase in the past. Try emails like this but take it a step further. Ask for feedback if someone unsubscribes or cancels a purchase.
Your Strategies are Dynamic
Even if all your metrics look good, customers are receptive, and sales are booming, that may not last forever. The nature of business and marketing means that the market is always changing. An advertisement or blog post that customers enjoy for a few months might not have the same effect on them in a year. That’s why it’s important to dynamically change your creatives, ad copy, and content to keep your marketing strategy fresh.
There are plenty of creative ways to keep your marketing strategy relevant. Many brands create campaigns for upcoming holidays. For example, brands might create a pride month campaign. They’ll create relevant content, digital ads, and blog posts relevant to the theme.
The use of artificial intelligence is another way to stay true to the “dynamic” nature of digital marketing. Dynamic search ads through Google Ads are a good option for businesses with an optimized e-commerce website. These ads work “dynamically” by scanning your website and automatically creating an advertisement based on what the user is searching for at the moment. Dynamic ads help keep your ads fresh, so users aren’t exposed to the same headlines over and over.
As your digital marketing efforts evolve over time, so will your business goals. If you opened your business recently, for example, you might have put a lot of money behind awareness campaigns. People are starting to recognize your brand and become aware of your services. As your business focuses on increasing sales for your next fiscal year, your digital marketing strategies should match that and shift towards remarketing and conversions.
Don’t ever get too comfortable with any digital marketing strategy, even if it works. You’re on a good path forward if you’re consistently optimizing your digital marketing efforts based on analytics and feedback.
You’re Feeling Good
Most digital marketers would agree that feelings alone won’t make for a very good digital marketing strategy. But your gut feeling about how your digital marketing efforts are going matters.
After optimizing your campaigns to increase ROI, you can tell it’s working. When you’re hitting a groove with your analytics, advertisements, and social media feedback, it’s a positive and noticeable feeling. Consistent positive customer feedback will add to your confidence. If your customers love it and the analytics prove it, you’ll know your digital marketing efforts are working!
But if you’ve been reading this list and thinking, “This doesn’t sound like my digital marketing strategy,” you know you must make some changes. Even worse, if your customers have been outright angry or hostile at your digital marketing efforts, it’s time to go back to the basics.
At Make It Loud, we’re committed to working with you to get to know your business. Our seasoned digital marketing efforts will get you feeling good about your strategy again. If you’re ready to revamp your digital marketing strategy, call (678) 325-4007 to get started.
Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer and SEO Director at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing firm located outside of Atlanta Georgia. More than 14 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this award-winning agency and has taught digital marketing skills to business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center, and other groups.