8 Ways to Tell if Your Digital Marketing Plan is Working
A good plan requires three things: an established goal, the actions to reach it, and the flexibility to change course as needed.
A big part of that flexibility is knowing whether the actions you’re taking are making progress. Not having that knowledge is like navigating without a compass. How do you truly know you’re going in the right direction, and what will you do if you need to take a detour?
The first plan is not always the most ideal, and knowing whether your digital marketing plan is working will give you a leg up on tweaking your strategy to get the results you need. Let’s discuss some of the ways to measure digital effectiveness.
Tools of the Trade
There are plenty of analytical tools out there to provide strategical data. Some we use at CP Solutions are licensed, professional-grade products that allow us to take deep dives into website and SEO performance. However, there are free programs, such as Google Analytics, which are capable of providing at least some useful information. Just take note that whatever you use might not have all the parameters we look at.
Factors of Website Performance
Here are elements you want to be examining when looking at the analytics of your website:
This is the one most people will likely think of first when evaluating a website. This can take the shape of individual sessions (counting each instance a person spends time on your website), visitors (total number of unique people who visited your website), or pageviews (the number of individual webpages seen in total). These trends can be easily mapped over time and filtered to categories more relevant to you. If your business is in Michigan, for example, knowing how many Michiganders visited may be more important to you than the grand total.
It’s not enough for someone to visit your website if they’re not sticking around to take in the information. Bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who quickly leave a page. A good rate can vary by industry and other factors. Generally-speaking, though, anything below 50% is favorable (insert your own joke about attention spans on the Internet). Higher bounce rates may indicate a page with content that is not engaging, or one funneling the wrong type of audience toward it.
What words—when people search them—do you want to appear as a result for? Knowing how many people have arrived to your website after searching for these words is a great indicator of whether Google is viewing your website as a good source for that information, or not. Google unfortunately tends to play this data close to its vest, but there are other sources to turn to.
Time Spent on Pages
One of the factors Google utilizes to determine higher-ranking sources is the amount of time users who searched for certain things ultimately spend on that source. The higher the average time per visitor, the more likely Google will boost a page’s ranking for certain keywords. The best way to reach these heights? Engaging, appealing, and informative content. An average of 2 minutes is a respectable goal, but reaching higher averages is even better.
This is an overall score of 1-100 given to a collective website as a measure of its likely search ranking strength. These scores are typically proprietary, given by companies such as Moz based on their own criteria. They can still be a good way to gauge strength against averages over time.
When another website links to your own, a backlink is formed. Backlinks can be a factor in search rankings, but more is not always necessarily better. Google will evaluate the reliability factor of the website doing the linking and consider that in its process. The more reputable and well-known the pages that link to you are, the better of an effect they are likely to have on your overall ranking performance. The first step of building effective backlinking? You guessed it: having good content others will want to link to.
While it takes a lot of individual work, website ranking is not a single-player game. Your website competes against others; especially those in your area. If your competitors are also working hard on their digital marketing, it will pay to know how they are doing and where they seem to be excelling or concentrating their attention This is a good example of when you might need to call an audible on your strategy to revise your content, change the keywords you want to focus on, or consider additional support such as ads.
Are You Hitting Your Marks?
As with many things involving numbers, rankings, and human nature, the focus sometimes veers too much toward optimizing everything possible. While it’s a triumph if you can do so, it can be a big investment to do so – which is especially true if you have digitally savvy competition.
This is where your goals come in. Which areas of focus will be most beneficial to you, or the ones that will provide you the best results? Getting your website to the top of certain searches is good, but it’s even better if they’re the searches the people you want coming your way are performing. And this leads us to one more indicator:
Real Life Results – If you can, and as best you can, track the people contacting you or using your services. Ask them how they found you. Was it your website? Was it your local listings or social media? This is a huge factor in knowing what is truly working beyond the numbers. It may take some determined effort, but it’s absolutely worth it in the end.
We live to drive digital marketing, but we love to hear our clients tell us about the difference it’s made to their businesses. If you’re looking for sound plans to move ahead in the online realm, or need help on the ground floor establishing the goals for your online marketing, CP Solutions is here for you. Call us at (833) 622-0907 and start the first steps toward a working, winning strategy.