How-To Guides

  • New Year, New Strategy: How to Audit Your Marketing for Maximum Impact in 2024

    Why You Should Audit Your Marketing Strategy at the Start of the Year

    The new year brings an opportunity for reflection and growth. As a business owner, auditing your marketing strategy should be a priority. An audit allows you to honestly assess what worked and what didn’t in order to optimize activities going forward.

    Without regularly evaluating your strategy, it’s easy to miss emerging trends, continue ineffective campaigns, and waste resources. Marketing moves fast and an audit ensures you keep up. It prevents you from operating on autopilot and guides you to make the necessary adjustments to boost performance.

    Conducting a marketing audit at the start of the year sets you up for success. You gain visibility into strengths and weaknesses before planning content, campaigns, and budgets. It enables you to ground this year’s strategy in data-driven insights versus assumptions. An audit empowers you to enter the new year feeling focused, prepared, and ready to hit the ground running.

    Assess Last Year’s Goals

    As a vital first step, review the strategic goals your team set for digital marketing last year. Did you aim to increase website traffic by 25%? Generate 50 new leads per month? Achieve a 15% conversion rate? Rank #1 for your target keywords?

    Carefully evaluating and documenting your actual performance against the goals provides important baseline metrics to understand what worked well, what didn’t, and where there’s room for improvement. Analyze each goal to determine:

    • Were the goals S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound)? If not, they may have been too vague to action.
    • What percentage of the goals were achieved? Exceeding goals indicates they may have been too modest or execution was highly effective. Falling short points to overly ambitious or poorly implemented plans.
    • What were the biggest factors impacting success or failure for each goal? Lack of budget/resources? Inadequate strategy? Poor execution?

    Documenting this allows you to clearly see strengths and weaknesses to build on for the coming year.

    Analyze Results

    The next step in your marketing strategy audit is to dive into the numbers and analyze your results from the previous year. This data-driven assessment will provide objective insights into what’s working well versus areas that need improvement.

    Start by looking at your key performance indicators (KPIs) for each marketing campaign and initiative. Compare campaign costs versus the revenue and conversions generated. Review website analytics to see traffic levels, top landing pages, conversions rates, and sales funnels. Check your social media analytics for engagement, reach, clicks, and follower growth.

    Gather data on email campaigns like open rates, click through rates, and subscriber growth. For paid ads, analyze click-through-rates, cost-per-click, conversion rates, and return on ad spend. Look at SEO metrics like rankings, traffic from organic search, and keyword opportunities.

    Conducting this quantitative analysis provides tangible insights into your strongest and weakest marketing areas over the past year. The data reveals what tactics are driving results most efficiently at the lowest cost. It also uncovers underperforming initiatives that may need to be refreshed or replaced going forward.

    Crunching these numbers will equip you with the key insights needed to optimize your marketing strategy for the upcoming year. The analysis will help focus your efforts on what’s working while reallocating budget away from ineffective programs.

    Identify Strengths & Weaknesses

    A critical part of the audit process is taking an honest look at what your marketing efforts did well last year, and where they fell short. This involves closely analyzing your results across channels to determine what achieved the desired impact, and what failed to connect with your audience or move the needle.

    Some key questions to ask:

    • Which campaigns drove the most traffic and conversions? Was it your email nurturing strategy or social media ads? Make note of your top performing initiatives.
    • Which products or services saw the biggest uptick in sales? Did your messaging properly highlight your differentiators here?
    • What content formats and topics resonated most with your audience? Look at metrics like opens, clicks, and shares.
    • On which platforms did you see the highest engagement? Does your audience favor Twitter or Instagram?
    • Which efforts failed to deliver expected results? Did a webinar series or PPC campaign underperform?
    • Are there any gaps or weaknesses in your workflow, skills, or processes?
    • Did you face any issues with your martech stack integration or data tracking?

    Take time to dig into the numbers, trends, and analytics behind these questions. Identify precise strengths you want to double down on, and weak points you need to improve. This clear-eyed assessment sets the foundation to build an optimized strategy for the year ahead.

    Set This Year’s Goals

    As you review last year’s performance and plan for the year ahead, take time to set specific, measurable goals that align with your overall business objectives. While it’s tempting to keep goals vague, setting SMART goals will provide clarity and focus for your marketing efforts.

    • Specific – Clearly define each goal, including what you want to accomplish, who is involved, and any requirements or constraints. Get as precise as possible.
    • Measurable – Establish concrete criteria to track progress for each goal. Identify key metrics to monitor and set target outcomes.
    • Achievable – Set realistic goals you can accomplish with available resources, time, and effort. Stretch goals are good, but ensure they are within reach.
    • Relevant – Goals should map directly to your strategic priorities and help drive business results. Align goals across teams.
    • Time-bound – Assign a timeframe for achieving each goal, such as monthly, quarterly, or annually. This creates accountability.

    Well-defined goals provide clarity, allow you to measure success, and help focus your strategy and campaigns. Set aside time with stakeholders to align on goals for the year ahead. Track regularly and adjust as needed to drive results.

    Adjust Strategy

    Based on your analysis of results and insights from last year, it’s time to adjust your strategy as needed. Look at areas where you fell short of goals or saw lackluster performance. Then, make strategic changes to improve results moving forward.

    For example, if your content marketing efforts didn’t drive the traffic or leads expected, brainstorm creative ways to enhance your content. Could you produce more engaging video or podcast content? Can you tap into new topics and trends that align with your audience’s interests?

    If your social media follower growth stalled, research ways to refresh your presence across key platforms. Can you host contests, leverage influencer marketing, or improve engagement with current followers?

    If your SEO efforts weren’t fruitful, rework your keyword strategy. Seek higher volume keywords where you can realistically rank. Optimize existing pages and silos for those terms. Produce new cornerstone content around ranking opportunities.

    Don’t be afraid to try new tactics, technologies, and channels this year. The marketing landscape evolves quickly, so maintaining the status quo can cause you to fall behind. Use your analysis to fuel smart experiments that can take your marketing to the next level. With an agile, optimized strategy, you can achieve the results you want this year.

    Define Campaigns & Projects

    Now that you’ve set goals and adjusted your strategy for the year ahead, it’s time to define the specific campaigns and projects you’ll run to hit those goals. Get your team together to brainstorm and outline all the ideas you have.

    • What email campaigns will you send? How often?
    • What content offers or lead magnets can you create?
    • What types of social media promotions make sense?
    • Are there opportunities for partnerships or sponsorships?
    • What events or webinars could you host or speak at?
    • Could contests or giveaways help generate leads?
    • What areas need refreshed creative assets or videos?
    • Do your workflows or processes need updated?

    Creating a content calendar to map out all of these initiatives is extremely helpful. This will allow you to visualize the cadence and volume of activities across channels over time.

    It’s wise to build in some flexibility as well. Expect new ideas and opportunities to emerge throughout the year that you’ll want to take advantage of. But having a solid foundation of planned campaigns and projects will ensure consistent execution and progress towards hitting your targets.

    Update Tools & Skills

    The start of a new year is the perfect time to take stock of your team’s digital marketing toolset and skills. Are there any new tools or platforms you should be leveraging to improve campaigns and processes? Make a list of tools worth exploring – social media management platforms, email marketing software, analytics programs, etc.

    Then, audit your team’s current skills. Look for any skill gaps that need to be addressed to fully utilize your tech stack and execute top-notch campaigns. Some areas to evaluate include:

    • Content creation – Do team members need training on writing better copy, optimizing for SEO, creating engaging social posts?
    • Design – Do you have in-house designers with skills for creating on-brand assets, ads, landing pages? If not, should you outsource this work or hire a designer?
    • Data analysis – Does your team feel confident interpreting analytics reports and making data-driven decisions? Consider investing in data skills training.
    • Emerging platforms – Is your team knowledgeable on the latest social media apps, features, influencer marketing tactics? Staying on top of digital trends is key.

    With an upgraded set of tools and some new skills development, your team will be equipped to take on the year’s initiatives. Schedule trainings, document tool workflows, and outline new processes to support adopting new tech and building key competencies.

    Assign Responsibilities

    Once the goals, strategy, campaigns, and projects have been defined for the year, it’s important to delegate tasks and responsibilities to your team members. This ensures accountability and that initiatives are properly executed.

    Consider the strengths and expertise of each team member when assigning responsibilities. Provide opportunities for them to take on new challenges while still playing to their strengths. Fully document all expectations, deadlines, budgets, and success metrics.

    Schedule regular check-ins on progress and performance. Offer feedback, coaching, and support to set your team up for success. Recognize and reward achievements.

    If certain skills gaps emerge, consider upskilling your team with training and development. You may also need to expand your team or reorganize roles.

    Proper delegation, management and empowerment of your staff will directly impact your ability to achieve this year’s goals. Invest time into building an organized, motivated, and capable team.

    Track & Adjust

    It’s important to continuously track your progress and adjust when needed throughout the year. Set checkpoints every quarter to review analytics and metrics across your campaigns and projects.

    Compare your actual performance and results to the goals you outlined at the start of the year. If you’re falling short, determine where the gaps are and make the necessary changes. This could involve shifting budget between campaigns, trying new platforms or tactics, or reallocating internal resources.

    Be agile and willing to pivot approaches if you identify areas that aren’t working. Marketing requires flexibility and the ability to optimize in real-time. Continuously enhance your strategy based on learnings and insights.

    Don’t just set it and forget it after planning out your yearly marketing strategy. Actively monitor it to ensure you’re on track and making the right adjustments over time. The marketing landscape evolves quickly, so you need to keep up with the pace of change.

    Regular check-ins will allow you to maximize the return from your marketing efforts. Be proactive about tracking and optimizing throughout the year. It will ensure you finish strong and accomplish your overarching goals.

  • Setting Goals for Your Digital Marketing

    What are Digital Marketing Goals?

    Digital marketing goals are the foundation of your digital strategy. They’re the reason you’re doing it in the first place, and they should be defined before you start putting together any strategy or campaign plans.
    Setting goals is an important step in making sure that your marketing efforts are focused on achieving results that matter to your business. You can’t measure what doesn’t exist, so make sure to take some time upfront to define what success looks like for each goal before moving forward with any other steps in this process.

    Creating a Digital Marketing Plan

    The first step in creating a digital marketing plan is to develop a strategy. A strategy helps you determine what goals you want to achieve with your marketing efforts, who will be doing the work and how much money they’ll need to spend on it.
    Next, set a budget for your digital marketing campaign so that everyone involved knows how much money they have available at any given time during the process. Then identify target audiences by asking yourself what kinds of people would be interested in buying from or working with your company or organization? You can also use social media tools like Facebook Ads Manager or Google AdWords (formerly known as AdWords) Search Network Display Network if needed

    Measuring Your Digital Marketing Success

    You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
    If you want to set goals for your digital marketing, it’s important that you understand the metrics that matter. Here are three key areas where you should focus:

    • Website traffic — This is one of the most basic ways to track your success with digital marketing because it gives an idea of how many people are visiting your website and how much traffic is coming from various sources (e.g., organic search results vs. paid ads). You’ll also want to look at how many pages each visitor views on average before leaving or converting into a sale/lead/subscriber etc., which will give insight into what content resonates best with them and helps inform future content creation decisions

    Using Tools to Optimize Your Digital Marketing

    When you’re setting goals for your digital marketing, it’s important to make sure that the tools you use are right for the job. If they aren’t, then they won’t be able to help you achieve those goals. Here are some things to consider:

    • Which tools do I need?
    • How will these tools help me reach my goals?
    • How much time will it take me to learn how these tools work and set them up properly?

    Adapting Your Digital Marketing Goals

    You should also consider adapting your digital marketing goals as needed. For example, if you are not getting the results from a particular strategy that you expect or if there is a change in market conditions, then it’s time to re-evaluate and make adjustments accordingly.
    In addition to analyzing customer feedback and making adjustments as needed, testing different strategies is another way to ensure that your digital marketing efforts are successful. This can be done by trying out new ideas or even implementing old ones again after some time has passed since they were last used.

    Getting Professional Help with Digital Marketing

    If you’re not sure where to start, it’s always a good idea to get professional help. A digital marketing agency will be able to identify areas for improvement and determine which goals are most important for your business. They can also help with the day-to-day tasks of running a campaign, so that you have time to focus on other aspects of running your company.
    When choosing an agency or consultant, make sure they understand what kind of project you’re looking for; if they don’t know what “email marketing” means, then it’s probably best not to work with them! It also helps if they have experience working with companies similar in size and industry as yours–this way there won’t be any surprises when it comes time for execution.

  • Setting Up Your First Email Drip Campaign

    What is an Email Marketing Welcome Drip Campaign?

    A welcome drip campaign is an email marketing strategy that helps you build trust with new customers and educate them about how they can use your product or service. It’s also a great way to get people excited about trying out your product/service by providing value right away.
    If you’re looking for inspiration on how to create an effective welcome drip campaign, read on!

    Getting Started with an Email Marketing Welcome Drip Campaign

    Decide on a goal. The first step in creating your welcome drip campaign is deciding what you want to achieve with it. Are you looking to improve customer retention, increase sales, or both?
    Once you’ve decided on your goal(s), write emails that focus on one action at a time. Your welcome email should give new subscribers an idea of what they can expect from your business and entice them into taking the next step in their journey with you (such as signing up for an account).
    Keep things simple by using only one call-to-action per email–and make sure it’s clear! Don’t overwhelm people with too many options; instead, focus on getting them started with something small like downloading an ebook or signing up for a newsletter subscription so that they can get familiar with how things work before moving on to bigger tasks like making purchases later down the line when they’re ready

    Optimizing Your Email Marketing Welcome Drip Campaign

    Once your welcome drip campaign is set up, it’s time to get started on measuring the success of your email marketing strategy. If you’re not sure how to measure the success of your welcome drip campaign, here are some tips:

    • Monitor open rates and click-through rates (CTRs). These metrics show how many people opened or clicked on each email in their inboxes. You can also look at unsubscribe rates as well as how long it takes for someone who opens an email from you to convert into a sale or lead by clicking on one of the links in that email.
    • Adjust content based on what works best with your audience–and adjust accordingly if something isn’t working out! If there’s no response after two weeks, try changing things up by including more images or videos with links back into other parts of your site where they can learn more about products/services that might interest them most right now based off previous purchases/interests expressed through social media channels like Facebook or Twitter

    Best Practices for an Email Marketing Welcome Drip Campaign

    1. Create a segmented list of subscribers

      Segmenting your list is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re sending the right content to the right people at the right time. For example, if someone signs up for an email course on how to build a website and then later signs up for another course about creating social media posts, it makes sense for them not only receive different emails but also see different offers from you in their inboxes (e.g., “This week only! Get 50% off our new WordPress Template Pack”).
    2. Set expectations clearly

      If there’s one thing we’ve learned from working with thousands of customers over the years, it’s that setting expectations is critical when building relationships with your subscribers–and this applies just as much when welcoming new subscribers into your marketing funnel as it does anywhere else! You want people who sign up for your emails know exactly what they’re getting themselves into so they don’t feel overwhelmed or confused when they start receiving messages from you (and vice versa).
  • Building Your Brand Brick by Brick

    Things to keep in mind while building your brand? Your brand is everything!! It is who the outside world sees. It is the personality that creates relationships with your audience. It is what people recognize first. Your brand is who your business is.

    What is a brand?

    Brands are what help a business be recognized by the public. It can identify a company, product, individual, or service. Brands are the concept that shapes people’s perceptions of you. This includes every aspect of your business’s identity, including but not limited to personality, values, and visuals.

    Why do I need one?

    I can’t say it enough. Branding is key! There are so many reasons that your business needs a strong brand in order to succeed. First, and probably most commonly known, is that good branding improves recognition. If people don’t know your brand when they see it, and if they don’t remember your brand when they are in need of your service, you are going to lose a lot of potential sales.

    Having a strong brand also creates trust. Just like you are more likely to do something recommended by a family member or friend, strong branding creates that same feeling with your customers. Branding helps to present you as a professional, excelling in what you do.

    Advertising is practically impossible without powerful branding. The goal of advertising is to let people know who you are, and convince them that they need your product or service. If your brand isn’t where it needs to be, they won’t either remember you or trust you. See above.

    Building your Brand Purpose

    Finding your brand’s mission is the first step in building your reputation. Selecting an industry you want to work in and then hoping that people connect with you is not enough to build a brand. Instead, you must clearly explain how your followers will benefit from you. The core of your brand is your purpose. Consider your audience and the issue you are resolving for them.

    Positioning your brand in the market

    You must take the time to research your peers and rivals after determining the purpose of your brand. When you can look at others’ mistakes and experiences, why spend hours researching your audience? What can you learn from what they are doing well and how can you improve or change it? Keep your uniqueness in mind as you make the necessary preparations to be recognized in your field.

    Defining your Brands Personality

    Just like there is with anybody, a lot of different elements go into your brand’s personality. Now I know we keep saying the word personality and that can be a bit confusing. How can a brand have a personality when it is not a person?? But that is kind of the point. Brands exist to create relationships with customers. Relationships are formed from one person to another. Therefore, you need your brand to feel like a person your audience wants to be friends with.

    Mission Statement

    A mission statement helps to define your purpose, audience, and unique position all in one thought. Having this statement will help you be able to visualize your brand easily as a persona. It will also help your customers know and understand your value to them right from the start. Consider memorizing this statement as a one-liner you can use when people ask you what it is you do.

    Your mission statement should be 1-2 sentences that explain your purpose as a business in a simple, yet interesting way. Make certain that your mission statement does 2 things: communicates your purpose and positions you as uniquely valuable or, at the very least, distinctive, identifying you as unique within the market for style, personality, etc.

    Brand Name

    I know you have been waiting for this step. And that you probably already have some ideas in mind as to what you want your brand to be known for. But let’s take a minute or two and really think about your options in a strategic way.

    When creating a brand name, there is so much strategy involved. Your brand name should communicate information about your business. It should be easy to remember, and easy to spell. Don’t be afraid to spend some time brainstorming options. Your first idea isn’t always your best. There are a multitude of methods to creating a brand name. Something to keep in mind through this process is that it’s not about you. I say this a lot but that’s because it is so important to remember. It is so easy to get distracted by what you like and what you find engaging. Always put yourself in the mind of your ideal customer.

    It can be tempting to name your brand for something that means a lot to you, but make sure that your name communicates what you do and what your focus is to your clients.

    Buyer Persona

    We have talked a bit about keeping your ideal customer in mind as you go through these steps. Now it is time to really flesh out who that person is.

    Are you aiming your marketing at everyone? Or do you have a specific customer in mind? Are you reaching that customer or a completely different group of people? The first step in marketing is to know who you are marketing to. This is called your target market. Creating a buyer persona is a great way to make sure that you have that perfect customer in mind as a real person that you can use to target the content you create.

    Your buyer persona will cover everything about this person. Their basic demographics, their values, and ideals, their habits, their family, etc. You are going to build your perfect customer from the ground up. They will be the base of everything you do in your business.

    Brand Values

    Just like any other person, your brand needs to have values. What characteristics are important to your company? What does your brand believe in? What causes does your brand support? When you can answer these questions, you should have the values for your brand. Make sure that these values are always represented in your content, products, and services from your brand. Shared values are the base of any long-term successful relationship, yes, even in business.

    Slogan/Tagline

    This isn’t always necessary, but it can be good to have a short, catchy phrase for your customers to associate with your business. Slogans are meant to convey the brand’s hope and purpose in a short, simple, and meaningful way. They should be clever and easy to remember.

    Voice/Writing Style

    Now I might catch some flak for this, but I’m going to lump voice and writing style together. The gist is the same. The basic strategies are interchangeable. The main thing is to create a way for your company to sound like its own person, across all media channels.

    It is important to be consistent in your writing style. As your company grows, there is going to be more than one person writing for your company. To ensure that your writing stays on brand with the personality you developed, it is important that you take the time to create guidelines for everyone to follow to keep your writing in sync with your vision.

    Creating your Brands Visual Identity

    This is my favorite part, but also the easiest to overthink. (Don’t tell the rest of the steps.) I am a very visual person and so much of what we do nowadays is very much a visual endeavor first. These next steps will help you make those tough decisions for your brand.

    Brand guide

    Every brand should have a set of guides to help you stay on brand. At the very least, this should be a sheet with your visual guidelines and a mood board. What I recommend to every brand is to have a book made that includes ALL of the decisions you will have made for your brand, as well as specific implementation strategies and do’s and don’ts for application.

    Logo

    Your logo should communicate your brand name, values, and purpose in a visually interesting way. It should be unique, and recognizable. Different elements can give your brand a different feeling. Make sure that what you create aligns with your purpose and goals as you have established previously in this process.

    Variations

    No matter how perfect your main logo is, it is a good idea to have several versions of your logo for use across different media. What you put in your business card and website might not work well as an icon for an app or a profile photo on social media.

    Fonts

    Font choices and pairings are one of the biggest factors in how professional your brand appears. There is a big difference between playful fonts such as Cabin Sketch and a clean serif font such as Montserrat. A wisely chosen font pairing can help people identify with your brand faster than any other visual element.

    You should have no more than three (3) different fonts for your company.

    1. Your first font should be a display font, which means that it is more elaborate, and is more recognizable. This would be a font used in your logo to display your company name.

    2. Your second font would be used for your body copy. Any long paragraph format writing that your business does should be in this font. It is important that this font choice is easy to read.

    3. The third font is optional. If you choose to have a third font, it would be a font used for headings and other bold information in your business.

    If you have too many fonts, your look will feel disconnected and busy. Your viewers will be left feeling confused about who you are and what they are meant to connect with. Less is always more.

    Colors

    When you are selecting the colors for your brand, it is important to make sure that the colors work well together and give off the feeling and values that you are wanting your business to invoke in your audience. A good place to start might be by assembling a mood board.

    Print Package

    Even in today’s digital age, there are many times you will want for oriented branded materials. Here are a few every business should have to get started.

    Business Cards

    Your business card will often be a person’s first physical impression of your business. It is important to be consistent with the logos, colors, and fonts that you have decided on. Bring your personality to the brand, but make sure the information is still easy to find and use for your customers. You want them to hold on to the card and remember who you are when they need your services.

    Letterheads

    Even in the digital age, you will always need a good letterhead. You will need this for every document and letter you create and send in your business, even if they are just included in an email.

    Marketing materials

    What you may need in terms of printed marketing materials will vary from business to business. Some ideas to think about include pamphlets, flyers, coupons, posters, postcards, door hangers, menus, and booklets just to name a few.

    Photography

    The same goes for your photography. You will have many people creating content for you. There are many different styles to take photos and even more ways to edit the photos after the shot is taken. It’s a good idea to create guidelines as to how photos should be taken, as well as set filters and edits that should be done to each photo.

    Website

    Your website is a crucial part of creating credibility for your business. The web is the first place many people look for products and services they are in need of. Having a digital presence is critical. Social media is a great way to do this, but first, you need a place for those social platforms to lead your customers back to purchase from you.

    Online Platforms

    It is important for your company to have a digital presence. But you don’t have to appear on every online and social media platform there is. Start with 1 or 2 places that you know your target market uses on a regular basis. Get established there, and then you can grow to other platforms. It is always better to start small and then grow. For a more in-depth look at social media, read through our guide to social media marketing for small businesses.