How to Test and Refine Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Marketing strategies have grown to be increasingly complex creatures. Digital marketers now deliver a wide range of messages, across multiple platforms, to a massive audience of customers. Due to how strategies have developed, it begs the question - how do we know our marketing efforts are effective?
While there's a lot of talk about measuring the success a marketing campaign through sophisticated analytics, it's equally important to test your digital small business marketing strategy in multiple ways. This will give you valuable insight as to how to effectively refine your strategy.
1. Marketing analytics
From a testing perspective, marketing analytics tools come in handy to gather data related to your marketing campaign. Google Analytics, for instance, is often used to perform A/B testing between websites to see how they are performing.
Back in August 2012, Google released a new feature called "Content Experiments," which allows you test up to five different versions of a single page to see exactly how that content would perform in the real world. Beyond Google Analytics, there are multiple free and paid options for sophisticated marketing analytics and testing.
2. Social listening tools
For the uninitiated, social listening is the process of monitoring what is being said about a specific organization or product in various social networks all across the web. Since the bulk of today's marketing is meant (or is at least destined for) social media-based websites, social listening is one of the most effective ways to test a marketing strategy in the real world.
3. Leverage customer relationship management (CRM) tools
CRMs are most commonly used in the sales aspect of a company. It makes it easy to track leads and/or prospects in real time without skipping a beat. CRMs serve a similar function for marketing testing. It allows you to effectively manage multiple marketing campaign tests simultaneously from an easy-to-use web-based dashboard.
What to do with the data?
After you've gone through the data gathering phase, it's time to put the marketing data to good use. Hopefully, you've gathered some data that is valuable and gives you insights into problems with your various small business marketing campaigns. Let's take a quick look at three ways to use marketing tests to refine your marketing plan.
- Analyze - It's hard to refine your marketing campaign in a meaningful way without correctly understanding your data. Spend some time combing through your previous test results to get the biggest picture possible so you can make the most informed decisions possible.
- Set Goals - Refining your marketing strategy first starts with some goal-setting. Ask some specific questions. Who specifically are you trying to target? What are some problems your audience is facing? How do you plan to solve those problems? Some of this can be informed by your marketing test data.
- Track, Monitor, Test - Finally, the marketing test process is not a set-it-and-forget-it idea. You'll be constantly testing, tracking and monitoring your progress. The world of digital marketing is constantly changing, and your strategy needs to change right along with it.