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There’s an often-overlooked key to successful digital marketing – one that makes the difference between success and failure of your marketing plan.

What is it? Data.

Data analysis takes the guesswork out of digital marketing. It helps refine your buyer personas, and lets you develop content that more effectively targets them. You can easily know what works and do more of it.

Using data to develop your digital marketing strategy

1. Start with the data you have.

This is most important when first developing your digital strategy. Once you get going, you can put systems in place to collect data you want but don’t currently have. But you have to start with what you’ve got. It makes no sense to set goals and strategy around data you haven’t collected, or aren’t able to collect.

2. Decide what you want to measure

The next step in developing a data-driven marketing strategy is deciding what you’re going to measure. Digital marketers have a lot of data available. Much of it may be things you have no interest in. You only have so many hours in the day, therefore It’s important to make sure your time is spent most effectively.

What are the measurements that are most relevant to your strategic goals? If you’re looking to increase website conversions, tracking likes and shares on Facebook may not be worth your time. Are you happy with your website conversion rates, but looking to add more prospects to pipeline? Then tracking social media stats will be more important than testing your content.

3. You need open communication with other departments.

Make sure everyone at your company is working towards same goals. If sales are worried about getting better qualified leads while marketing is focused on increasing your social media audience you’re not going to get very far. More than that though, you likely need access to other department’s data. Sales will be much more likely to get you the data you need when you need it if they’re on board with your marketing plan. You need to have access to all your organization’s data. That requires open communication between all the different departments at your company.

4. Run tests before committing to larger campaigns

Careful testing can save you time and money. Before launching a digital campaign it’s important to know that it will resonate with your audience.

  • Will your customers respond to your digital marketing?
  • What social media channels should you use?
  • What kind of content will they best respond to?
  • Is email an effective way to reach your customers?

Testing gives you the answers to these questions.

5. Test performance of campaign pieces

Data analysis is important throughout your digital marketing campaign. Once you have the broad strategy planned, you can refine the different pieces for optimal results.

Test the different parts of your campaign to see what performs best.

  • Call to action (CTA) – The right CTA can dramatically increase the conversion rates of your content. But how do you know what CTA your audience will respond to? Testing! Test different CTA’s until you zero in on one that really resonates.
  • Headlines – Headlines can make or break your content. Your CTA doesn’t matter if your customer never reads it. Try testing different headlines with your content to see which drive the most traffic.
  • Offers – Your offer is the most important determiner of your conversion rates. If you offer something your audience doesn’t want, it won’t matter how good your copy is. You can’t sell people things they don’t want. Test your offers to see what your customers want – and what they don’t.
  • Social media channels – What social media channels are your customers using? It doesn’t make sense to promote content on channels your customers don’t use. Testing helps you figure out where your customers spend their time online.

Marketing without data is little better than guesswork. You may have an idea on what your customers respond to and what they don’t.

Data lets you know for certain what works and what doesn’t.