Believe it or not, we are officially wrapping up the first quarter of 2017. Whether it was a time for your small business to hit the ground running with a new product launch or a period for your nonprofit to focus on continuing donor engagement from the year-end appeal, there is a wealth of marketing data at your organization’s fingertips to inform your next steps. Now, let’s talk metrics…
Aggregating marketing data
The first step to making a data-informed marketing program for Q2 a reality is to aggregate all of your performance metrics from Q1. While this will include quantifiable data such as email open rates, social media audience growth and engagement, reach (circulation, etc.), event attendance, website conversions, etc., it will also include anecdotal data. For example, was your CEO out at a networking event and approached by a handful of contacts who saw your new product in an ad and wanted to schedule demos.
The (sales) funnel of metrics
While email open rates and media outlet circulation are data that should be considered, they are often metrics that are tied to top-of-the-funnel awareness. When reviewing this data, it is important to drill a bit deeper to understand how someone opening an email or reading a newspaper article subsequently engaged with your brand. While email metrics will show your click rates and your website analytics will show you the referral traffic that was spurred from emails, the impact of media relations can be a bit more challenging to measure. This is why it is critical to have a plan in place for maximizing the reach of your media coverage – think social sharing, links in e-newsletters, personal emails with links to key contacts, printing copies of top tier placements to put in sales kits and pass out at your trade show booth, etc.
The correlation between data and goals
Oftentimes, an audit of marketing performance reveals that some communication channels exceeded the goals set forth for them while others have fallen short. In some instances, this performance gap is easily shored up by changing up copy, calls-to-action and design, while in other instances, an assessment of the channel’s role in your marketing plan is most appropriate.
As a general rule of thumb, it is best to make slight tweaks to how you are approaching marketing on a specific channel before deciding to abandon it entirely. In a world where nearly every business, nonprofit and individual is creating content, something as small as deploying an email at the wrong time of day can negatively impact performance. Which brings us up to the importance of…
Just as we learn from our mistakes, we learn from our successes. If your social media metrics show that Instagram posts made on Thursday mornings at 8 a.m. consistently yield the most engagement, ensure this time is hit in all of your content calendars. Similarly, if your email open rates for product-related announcements are strongest in the mornings and your general company news is most widely read late in the afternoon, structure your content and time your distribution to align with these peak activity periods.
In a world where news breaks in real time and social media algorithms change frequently, an agile marketing strategy is key. By putting a strategic road map in place at the onset and using data to inform refinements along the way, companies and causes can maximize their marketing successes and leverage their integrated communications programs to positively impact the bottom line.