You wouldn’t plan a road trip without first researching the tools you’ll need. Whether you’re going old school with an atlas or new school with a GPS, it is necessary to bring along resources that will make your journey easier and more successful. When creating a strategic roadmap for your digital initiatives, you mustn’t forget the tools you will need to help you succeed. And there are many of them from which you can choose. Here are a few examples of tools that will help you manage your various digital initiatives and make your life much easier:
Paid search: Google AdWords, MSN AdCenter
Site-side analytics: Google Analytics, Adobe Marketing Suite (formerly Omniture), Marin + Kenshoo
CRM/New Business: Salesforce, PipelineDeals, Netsuite, Oracle
Social: Hootsuite, Sprout, TweetDeck
This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of tools used for these buckets, but all of these tools do similar things. Essentially, they organize all of your campaigns and content so that it is easily accessible to your team and your clients (if necessary). So what do all of these tools help you do? Though they are all different in look and feel, they essentially help you do three main things:
1. Aggregate + organize data
The aforementioned tools are meant to house lots and lots of data so it is easier to measure and act upon. Paid search and social can teach you about messaging that works well, site-side analytics can help you understand user behavior and experience, whereas CRM tools can help you optimize your communication strategy with potential and current customers.
2. Measure success
Success measurement is the most important thing that digital tools help you do. Oftentimes it takes a little ingenuity (with tracking code and setting up reports), but tracking your customers’ online actions is imperative for measuring your digital initiatives’ success. Paid search is simpler to see a return on investment. After all, you are given the precise number of clicks and conversions per user or investment.
With social and CRM, it may be slightly more difficult. Rely on your business goals to dictate what your most important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are and work to create a system that will measure the increase or decrease in these completed KPIs. If your business’s goal is to generate leads, and you implement an email marketing campaign, your main KPI is probably a user performing a “Request More Info” form. However, it can be beneficial to measure things like email open rate and transfers to website to assess whether or not your email messaging and images are effectively communicating with the user. In short, to measure success, you must first define your terms of a successful campaign. As a more concrete example with email marketing, let’s say that 5% of those who fill out a lead form result in a new client acquisition with $X average profit. Therefore, you can monetize how valuable a completed lead form from email marketing is. Sometimes it’s just as efficient to work backwards.
3. Optimize campaigns + messaging
Once you are able to measure success, you are able to optimize your campaigns. It doesn’t matter if your digital initiative is an email communication, a paid search ad or an organic social update. All of these messages can be optimized toward a better return on investment. Historical data as well as current trends can help digital analysts predict when and where messaging will be most effective. If you are able to make predictions about marketing trends, this can aid in predicting business trends as well, which will help improve efficiencies in your business. Optimization is ongoing for those that want to constantly improve their return, but like success measurement, you must be optimizing toward an end goal.
With these tools and goals in mind, you will be well-prepared when planning your road to digital success. Next week, we’ll be talking about what to pack to prepare for speed bumps in your journey, so stay tuned!
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