Where should I invest my digital marketing dollars now that is guaranteed to pay off?
The demands for online engagement continue to increase but your budget may feel uncertain as the forecasted end to the pandemic seems to be a moving target. You may be asking yourself where you should invest now that is guaranteed to pay off. Whether you are looking to make minor changes that will get you through a few months, or you’re working to create a budget for an uncertain future — there are plenty of tools and strategies that will bring a return on your investment to your digital presence. The best place to start is by assessing your current digital assets and what your traffic patterns have to say about your digital presence. From there, we look at changes you can make that will continually improve your strategy.
Below are several tools that we recommend at any time, but may be especially helpful during this season. The “best place to invest” will vary for everyone. We’d love to connect with you to hear what your immediate and long term needs are and help determine the most effective use for your digital marketing resources.
Analytics & Tracking
If you are not already using Google Analytics to assess how your audience is (and isn’t) engaging with your site, it’s a must! Google Analytics is a free tool that provides data on how your users find you and interact with your content. The most basic tracking is quick to set up and provides insights surrounding traffic by page, device, channel, audience segments, and more. Getting a pulse on how your current traffic is using your site is the first step to developing your strategy.
Additionally, Google Events and Goals can be set up to track the actionable items on your site. These are the best way to measure lead conversion, as well as keep count of other actions such as the number of times a file was downloaded, cart abandonment rate, etc.
Using these tools will not only take the guesswork out of your strategy, but it will highlight gaps to quickly address and meaningful wins that you can (and should) celebrate.
Website Health Check
In addition to all the visible parts of a website, your site has hidden code that only search engines read. Over time, changes to your site and the age of that code can lead to errors that may cause those search engines to penalize your rankings. By conducting a technical performance audit (health check) on your site, you can tell exactly how it’s performing and what needs attention.
Not every error detected in an audit is immediately detrimental to your site. However, as these errors accumulate, it takes more time to get back on track. We often compare it to lawn maintenance. The bare minimum requires periodic maintenance to keep things from becoming overgrown. Beyond that, there are more opportunities for curb appeal and added function, just like there are more opportunities through the technical aspects of your site to increase your performance against competitors.
Website Updates (or Redesign)
As a site ages, it does so in a few different ways. The most obvious is the look and feel. Trending design elements come and go and can quickly date a website. Additionally, the functionality and code can also become deprecated over time, which affects how well it functions and performs for your users.
Technology now allows us to create a solid website design and then make periodic updates so that as your organization grows, your website does too. Previously, a website older than 3 years was usually considered “dated.” The site as a whole ages much better allowing us to focus on the key elements and strategies that bring in business, rather than pouring resources into just fixing outdated elements.
So how do you know if you need just a few updates or a full redesign? There are many factors to consider, but here are just a few that indicate a redesign is the best choice:
- Your site is not responsive (meaning it isn’t compatible with all device types)
- Your site is more than 3 years old (exact age may vary)
- The main function of your site or goals of your business has changed since the last design project
- Your site only serves as a digital “Yellow Page” and is not bringing leads
Periodically, it’s important to take a step back and consider the content that is on your site and the content that may be missing from your site. When our team conducts a comprehensive content audit, it includes navigation flow, conversion paths, competitive keywords, and more. However, anyone can do a simple audit and start filling in gaps. A great place to start is identifying what content is sought out and most relevant to your users and to your organization.
Consistent content generation over time builds up your site in several ways such as positioning your brand as an expert to your audience, higher keyword rankings, and increased domain authority. Blogs are one of the most effective content tools to accomplish these goals. However, they can also be the most daunting to start. Just remember something is better than nothing, and consistency is more important than perfection.
Most organizations are trying to reach many different audiences to achieve their goals. For a non-profit, that may include donors and volunteers, a small business may seek different types of consumers, or for a medical practice, it could be people experiencing various conditions. If you’re trying to reach different audiences, it’s important to cater your language. Taking time to break the different segments of your audience and then developing a strategy and key message for each one will improve your targeting and conversion rates.
Budgeting for the Future
The key to preparing your budget is prioritizing everything in it. This isn’t rocket science, and you’re probably well-versed on the basics of budgeting, but we’ve included the steps in context to digital marketing:
- Create a list of everything you’d like to accomplish in ideal circumstances (including your biggest dreams and vision!)
- Prioritize your list. That priority could be based on the impact it would have, “low hanging fruit” opportunities, significant dates or deadlines, etc.
- Get an estimate for all of your wishlist items. This should include ongoing expenses such as website hosting, ad spend, etc.
- Determine where you draw the line between must-haves and nice-to-haves, and calculate the total of each section as well as the total sum.
If your digital marketing line item is only a small percentage of your total marketing budget, we recommend taking a closer look at your deliverables and the ROI of each. Most often, a higher amount of your marketing budget should be invested in digital marketing compared to other traditional means, because you can accomplish tighter targeting and yield higher, more measurable results.
Let’s Talk Digital
We’d love to talk with you to discuss your goals and make recommendations for the upcoming months. When your budget feels tight, it’s time to optimize rather than pause. We’ll make sure your investment is going to things that will yield the greatest return. Places where your investment can see quick returns:
- We tackle one-time analytics & tracking optimization projects that set you up for months and years to come.
- We give your site a check-up to assess where maintenance can have a large impact on performance.
- We create content plans and write content that converts.
- We identify your audience segments and create a strategy to reach each of them.
- We can redesign your website no matter what stage you are at. Need a fresh start? See a couple of areas that just need a few bandaids? Have a newer site and ready to grow a few key areas? We’d love to help.
Get In Touch