A natural excitement comes with getting your digital marketing strategy off the ground. With the wheels in motion, businesses are eager to check and see the results of their marketing efforts in the days, weeks and months that follow. This begs the question: When is the right time to pivot?
On one front, there’s the inclination to want to see results fast — and when that doesn’t happen, it’s often taken as a sign your marketing strategy needs to change. On the other hand, there’s the need to give marketing activities time to flourish before you can render them effective or not.
As we’ll showcase here, the answer is found in a balance of these two sides of the coin.
Guided by overarching business objectives, the roadmap for a digital marketing strategy is best organized into quarterly tactical plans. This structure gives way to clearly defined focus areas, from the products and services you want to promote to the target audience you want to reach, and the built-in flexibility to adapt to changes in the business and the industry as a whole. What it also does is create a more natural cadence as to when to revisit your digital marketing efforts.
To give an example, a landscape design provider defines its first quarterly campaign around pool design and installation — in part, because it’s a new service line they want to grow and in part, so projects can be scheduled and completed before summer. The comprehensive digital marketing strategy is centered around an inspirational pool design lookbook, with a series of blog posts, email marketing and paid advertisements that point to this downloadable resource. This mix of marketing activities gives way to a staggered timeline where at least several weeks or months are needed to see the strategy through its entirety before pivoting to the next focus.
(It’s worth noting that when you introduce a new product or service line, this is also a time when you’ll want to revisit your buyer personas. In some cases, it will introduce a completely new target audience that you have to assess and understand, while in other cases it may just warrant thinking through other key marketing messages to deliver to your existing audience.)
While this is to say the results of a digital marketing strategy should be collectively measured on a quarterly basis, with pivots made from there, there’s innate value in mid-campaign check-ins to assess the performance of campaigns and identify where small pivots could make a big impact.
Let’s say the paid ads for the pool design lookbook have a low click-through rate after running for a couple of weeks. You can use this as an opportunity to revisit ad content and see where improvements can be made — whether that’s highlighting new unique selling points or crafting a clearer call-to-action, to name a few examples. It might also be the case where a promotional email is sent out and comes back with a low open rate. In that scenario, you could revisit the email’s subject line and send a follow-up email to recipients who did not open the first one.
While developing quarterly campaigns creates natural divides in a digital marketing strategy that initiate shifts, there are also those marketing efforts that naturally extend across multiple quarters. Take SEO, for instance. Keyword research and competitor analysis identify new opportunities to improve the visibility of your website in relevant search results. These efforts can begin with the updates that are made to existing website content and evolve into the creation of new content.
In this scenario, monthly reports can serve as helpful check-in points, with pivots made from there. For example, the landscape provider may find they’re ranking in the Google top 10 for valuable, high-volume keywords like “custom pool designs” and “luxury pool designs” — yet, there are few keywords on the list that relate back to installation. This could serve as a bridge to making the focus for next month on generating website traffic around terms like “inground pool installation” and “pool installation companies.”
The other layer of these SEO reports is their assessment of the technical health of your website. With SEO as the backbone of your website and any digital marketing plan, it’s important to stay in the loop on any broken links, duplicate meta descriptions or other issues that can impact your marketing efforts.
Revisiting your digital marketing strategy on a quarterly and intermittent basis is an integral part of its overall success. But these pivots are only as successful as the foundation that’s in place. A digital marketing plan must first be organized in a meaningful way where the right audience, messaging and platforms are brought together to deliver results.
To help you start off on the right foot — with the insights highlighted above in mind — we’ve written a helpful guide on how to successfully build a digital marketing strategy from start to finish. As you learn about the elements you need, you’ll be able to better plan for the future.