What is a digital marketing strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is a comprehensive document that forms the foundation of all your marketing activities. It should highlight your businesses goals, your online value proposition, your adaptability and more. There is no one fits all approach for any business and therefore it is worth taking the time to invest in a digital marketing strategy. One that maps out all your planned digital activities, one that allows you to grow, try new things and one that is defined by who you are as a business and what you want to achieve.
Why your website is the foundation of your digital strategy
A website is by far the most important element of any digital strategy as it is your online office. The team at IMS have designed & developed hundreds of websites over the years. With each client comes new requests and new elements they want to include in a website. Whether you want a complete re-build or a redesign of an existing website, there are 3 key considerations to keep in mind:
- What is the purpose of the website?
- What does success look like for you site?
- What is your audience searching for?
You can learn more about these three considerations here.
While it may seem quite daunting at first to undertake the task of building a new website, assessing the above considerations can help you to form a clear strategy and therefore great content. Once your website is up and running, tracking and analysing the key information is the next step. Nothing compares to Google Analytics for getting the most accurate data. Don’t have analytics set up? Then click here for a step by step guide.
The role Google Analytics plays in measuring your sites activity
Google Analytics plays a key role in measuring the success of you B2B Digital Strategy. As it provides a complete overview of your website’s performance. You can link it with your Google Search Console account to see organic data on search queries, page rankings & more. It also links with your google ad’s account to provide information on paid ad’s you are running. You can set up goals within Analytics to track key activities on your site such as submitted contact forms, phone numbers clicked, brochure downloads or CTA’s clicked. Analytics also provides some key data on how your social media channels help to drive traffic to the site. Some of the measurable data that we look at closely here at IMS is:
- Traffic – how many users came to your website, what devices did they use (Mobile/ Desktop) and what channel did they find you by, organic search, direct search, referral or social.
- Engagement – for engagement we look at the average time spent on the site, the bounce rate and pages per session. The average time should ideally be over 1 minute, the pages per session should be over 2 and the bounce rate anywhere between 40-60%. A higher bounce rate is not always a bad thing as users may be going to find a key piece of information such as a price or an email address but ideally somewhere between 45-55% is a good place to be for most B2B businesses.
- Location – for many companies who operate internationally or in a select few regions being able to analyse where users have come from is extremely valuable. It can also highlight new business opportunities or areas to focus on through paid advertising to improve brand awareness. You can also compare this data with the location data given by your social media channels and look for any notable differences.
- Social – we can see how many sessions on the site were generated from social referrals. What channels users came from and what links if any brought them to the site. This data alongside the analytics directly from your social media channels will help to give you a clear indication of what has worked and what has not.
- Content – being able to see the top landing pages as well as the behaviour flow of the users allows you to see the most popular pages on the website. The behaviour flow will show you where users drop off the site and is useful to analyse if planning a site redesign.
- Conversions – you can set goals in analytics to track certain activity on your website such as the submission of a contact form, brochure downloads and so on. This is very valuable data and can show you the success of social media if you use it to draw users to complete these specific actions. If you run an ecommerce site, the conversion section in Analytics allows you to see the performance of products and sales as well as transactions.
In terms of your digital strategy, having this information is key to measuring & tracking positive or negative activity, allowing you to address it, changing your strategy or update your site as needed to ensure the site performs well and meets key requirements. Being able to compare your sites performance year on year, quarter by quarter or month by month is extremely valuable and should be utilised as well.
Social media has been the success of many businesses in recent years. However utilising social media for a B2B business needs to be looked at carefully. Having a presence on all platforms is not always an effective strategy to have. Undertaking some research on what social media platforms your audience are on is highly recommended in order to get the best return. There is nothing wrong with doing one or two channels well, rather than failing trying to keep five pages up to date.
Implementing a social media content calendar should be a top recommendation in any digital strategy. It allows you to think ahead, create content & schedule posts, saving you a great deal of time. Consistency in posting also makes for more measurable data. All social media platforms have their own way of displaying your pages activity and this information can help you measure your B2B strategy in several ways:
- Understanding Your Audience – finding out what posts they engage with best, times of engagement, location and for LinkedIn users you can see users job role, seniority and other valuable information.
- Most Effective Channel – certain channels will help you to execute your digital strategy better than others, hence it is useful to experiment with various channels until you are certain you have narrowed down the right channel for your target audience.
- Improved Content – being able to see what type of content gets you the best results can help you to build on this momentum and create more effective content that is likely to get the desired results.
- Competitor Channels – analysing what your competitors are doing well and not so well, what posts get good engagement, the language used, the use of call to actions or hashtags can help you to really focus on results driven content that will appeal to your target audience.
- Key figures – tracking data from your social media channels is essential in measuring its success. Key figures to monitor are:
- Post Impressions
- Engagement – likes, comments & shares
- New Followers
- Top Posts
A long-term strategy can not be an overnight success. Trying and testing new content is essential before setting your sites on a clear social strategy and being able to measure this effectively. A lot of the data gathered on social media can link in with Google Analytics such as user locations, top post/landing page and so on. Being able to analyse this effectively will play a big role in measuring your overall B2B digital strategy.
While PPC campaigns can take some planning and preparation, they are easy to track, measure and test to make sure all efforts are producing the desired result of traffic, conversions or leads. Therefore playing a key role in measuring the success of your overall digital strategy.
Paid campaigns can be used to achieve various results whether you decide to use if for 1) Conversions, this could be a form submission, product sales, page view or a download. 2) Lead generation, used to capture interest in your product or service and is generally the submission of a contact or request a quote form. 3) Brand awareness, raising your business profile in specific regions for users googling keywords relevant to your business.
For many clients we create bespoke landing pages with clear CTA’s. These standalone landing pages are a dedicated page where visitors land after clicking on a PPC ad. Using this type of landing page is extremely beneficial for measuring the success of the campaign whatever the main objective is. A highly relevant landing page simplifies the decision making process and makes for a smoother path to conversion.
The importance of monthly KPI reports
Wondering what a KPI is exactly? It is a key performance indicator, a quantifiable goal that can help you measure success. A KPI report helps to show the positive impact certain channels have had and allows you to set expectations for the following month, quarter or year and is therefore a key element in measuring your B2B digital strategy.
At IMS marketing we offer our clients a monthly KPI reporting service looking at the key data for each company. These reports are extremely important for monitoring a websites performance and it saves our clients a great deal of time as we extract the key information, analyse it, explain it and compare it to previous results before creating suggested recommendations to improve the clients websites overall performance.
A KPI report can be customised to each client’s unique requirements and what they need to measure for success. Some may focus solely on the data gathered from Google Analytics, while others will want a more in-depth analysis of their whole online presence from social media, paid ads and SEO. We clearly outline what has worked, what hasn’t met expectation and what actions will be taken to fix this as well as setting new recommendations and objectives.
A digital marketing strategy should not be a fixed agenda, there needs to be room for trial and error as well as the ability to adapt and change to any given environment. The digital world is constantly changing and it can be expected that a digital strategy will too in order to continue to meet targets, whether that be brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, sales, whatever the key focus of your online presence is. Being able to measure the success of your digital strategy will help to justify your marketing budget as you will now have the evidence on what works and what areas may need more resources going forward. Setting goals and objectives before implementing a digital strategy ensures you are working to achieve something, but more importantly it provides a guideline of what metrics can to use when measure the success of your B2B digital strategy.