Do you put adverts in magazines, or on websites? Do you send email shots? Do you attend exhibitions? Do they work?
That is a bit of a trick question! Unless you know what they were trying to achieve you can’t measure their effectiveness.
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What Do You Want To Do?
It’s important to understand what your marketing objectives are and how you plan to achieve them before embarking on any campaign or activity. As well as helping you avoid making bad decisions, having a focus can help you spend your budget in the most effective way. Jumping into tactics without first defining your strategy is a surefire way of wasting money.
When we get new clients onboard for inbound marketing projects we always insist on starting with a strategic plan. Even though it can be frustrating for clients, keen to crack on and see stuff getting done, it is a really important first step.
Jump Right In
Imagine a situation where a company asks us to help them get more leads from their website. They want us to work on the site design so that it leads people towards making an enquiry. Sounds reasonable. We therefore start redesigning their website to make it more focused on persuading visitors to request a quote. We use up their budget, the site looks great, but they still don’t get enquiries.
Imagine the same situation but instead of redesigning the site, we start by looking at the data to find out where the problem is and how best to fix it. In the course of our analysis we discover two things:
1. There is a problem with the site which is affecting its search engine rankings
2. Visitors to the site are searching for keywords related to information gathering which indicates that they are at the research stage and not yet ready to request a quote or make an enquiry.
These two facts, which come from digging through the data, completely change the strategy for the project.
Instead of looking at how well the site converts visitors to customers, we decide to improve the optimisation of the site and work on the content, providing useful information for people who are gathering facts and figures prior to making a purchase decision, then nurturing those leads until they are ready for a quote.
With a bit of thinking at the start, the budget has been spent on activities that will actually make a difference.
You can read more on the Red Evolution Blog.
Julie Mitchell-Mehta is a Chartered Marketer at Red Evolution, an Aberdeen based Inbound Marketing Agency that uses marketing, design, development, content and SEO skills to help businesses thrive online.