Today’s environment calls for marketing to focus on the “end value” in mind. The advertising and marketing industry has a saturation of companies with churn and burn models or providing mediocre strategies but charging client’s huge fee’s. Now more than ever to be successful and get higher quality clients the paradigm has shifted and companies are seeking growth hackers that cut the BS and focus on results, revenue, leads and again that key word the “end result”. Competent businesses must value themselves on whether or not they would subscribe or pay their own marketing fees. This is the only true measure of if you are providing value to the marketplace. It’s important to create a valuable marketing strategy that does not cut corners. Taking marketing research and the initial exploratory process pre-launch seriously will yield the best results. Often clients feel they have already done this process and have a good grasp on their market. However, most campaigns simply do not have enough internal marketing data and market insight to transition into a campaign without effective due diligence. In the words of Confucius “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”
Define User Personas
If you have been involved in a web design/development project chances are you are familiar with the process of user or defining the target market that will be receiving, reading and interacting with your brand.
Why is this important? The success on of your campaign will rely on your ability to understand how your users, think, engage and communicate in the niche you pursue. If you are not shaping your content towards this community you are not successfully acquiring their time or attention which is highly limited in today’s super connected world. Although, there are tools for establishing user personas I do not recommend you need to purchase as you can easily achieve some solid profiles free.
First Hop In Google Analytics – Assuming you have enough data on your website, dive into analytics you will find some basic data to start from. Take the gender and age tab below. From the example below we would create profiles more for women than we would men and assume majority of our users would be between 25-34.
Use the data that you have currently to optimize further. The data above “female” age 25-34 should result in a brainstorm that looks like this:
Image Credit: https://www.slideshare.net/Assist/personas-ecommerce-assisteng
Additional sources you should check out if looking to develop personas are: Hubspot, Alexa and Quantcast. All of these should get you on your way in no time.
Analyzing Your Current Data
As mentioned before you need to have a pulse on your current online landscape so you are not diving into an expensive marketing campaign without the full facts involved. If your website has legitimate (not bots or fake traffic metrics) of over 3,000 website visitors a month you need to take some time to carve out and drill down to find out how you could improve. Below are some area’s to look under the hood:
How Are Your Pages Performing?
As always if you hop in Google Analytics you will get a good idea of what pages are poor performing by their bounce rate. Go to “Site Content” > “Landing Pages” > Filter by top 50 pages. Now breeze through the list. These are the top pages that users are landing on your site. You want to ensure you have a bounce rate lower than 65%. If a high number of users are bouncing from any of these top 50 organic pages it means they are landing on your website from a search engine and leaving your website after reading that page. Try adding a call to action that encourages users to look at other pages on your website, adding videos or images or increasing the content value if the page was written quickly and could be improved.
What website have linked to your website?
This is huge and not to be overlooked. I’m writing this piece for business owners and those looking to start a marketing campaign. Here is why you want to make sure you do a thorough link investigation within the first month or pre-campaign. It tells you the extent of off-site SEO and effort that will be necessary to rank for valuable terms. On the contrary a web site that has authoritative links or brand shouldn’t expect to need an aggressive campaign, but rather a maintenance strategy. Brand mentions can do wonders for website with an average profile. If you do a link investigation and your profile looks like this image below, you are in need of some serious upfront assistance before you even begin outreach. A website with too many spammy links or over-indulgence of poor prior SEO will require a much different strategy than a brand new website.
Tip: SEO Profiler is a great tool for getting data quick but should be compared to Google Webmaster Tools. If you go into webmaster tools > search traffic > manual actions and see a message you will need to start the campaign off entirely different.
On-Site Technical Audit
These days most web developer setup your website with SEO in mind, but that is not to say they are as detail oriented as a search professional is they simply aren’t. When you hire a general contractor they will build your home structurally and pass all of the local regulations and code in mind but you shouldn’t expect them to have as much experience with the aesthetics and design as your architect. This parallel would be similar to a developer and an SEO.
To effectively begin an exploratory process you should at minimum hone in these aspects to ensure they are being optimized:
- XML Sitemap
- Title Tags, Description Tags, Headers, Alt Tags etc.
- Schema & Local Optimization
- Speed Load & Optimization
- Analytics Configuration
An established SEO or digital marketer will have an in-depth process within the first month of campaign diagnosis. Make sure you ask your lead project manager the process taken the first month of start.
Consistent Messaging & Branding?
Often companies overlook how important messaging and branding are. Traditionally branding agencies agree that a great brand starts with a logo and is supported by messaging. It can be a simple fix to look at and have your in-house copywriter establish more consistency on-site prior to funneling in high dollars into marketing and then finding out you need to make this change.
A basic brand audit checklist will look something like this:
- Company name/Tagline
- Logo, signature & stationary graphics, and colour palette
- Voice & Tone of messaging on-site
- Feel & Styles to characterize your company