If you were a Fixer Upper fan several years ago or any home renovation show, then like me, you learned the importance of a load-bearing wall. As much as you may want to open up that space, knocking down a load-bearing wall would be disastrous because it is key to the integrity of the structure of the home. Some walls could be removed safely though to help you achieve your goal in interior design.
There are some aspects of digital marketing that are “load-bearing walls” so to speak. If neglected or ignored altogether, the business would suffer pretty quickly. Some aspects though are not load-bearing, yet we pour a lot of our time and effort into them…when they really aren’t benefiting our business like we thought. The return on investment, whether it be our money or our time, is just not there.
So how do you know what aspects of your digital marketing strategy are most important? How do you know where you should focus the most attention? How do you know which aspects you may be spending too much time on without seeing growth? Only by evaluating your digital marketing strategy will you be able to know.
Evaluating Your Digital Marketing Strategy- The “Load Bearing Walls”
Let’s take a deeper look at the “load-bearing walls” by evaluating your digital marketing strategy. While some of these walls may hold more weight than others for your particular business, all should be considered when forming your digital marketing strategy. Our goal is to work smarter and not harder.
Your Mission and Your Branding
The first “load-bearing wall” of your digital marketing strategy is your mission and branding. I put these two together because they go hand in hand. Perhaps these two should be the foundation rather than walls since they are so critical to every future step but I digress…
Do you know why you do what you do and can you communicate that to your audience? Your mission is the driving force behind what you do and all the decisions you make. Knowing your mission and being able to communicate it will help you stay on track when crafting your digital marketing strategy.
Spend some time evaluating what your mission is (Write out your mission statement if you have not already) and look at all the things your business does. Are they in line with your mission statement? What areas are lacking? Where can improvements be made? Have you drifted from your original mission? If so, is this a good thing? Should your mission be revised?
You have to know WHAT your purpose and mission are before you can know if you are achieving it or if you have gotten way off track.
Branding goes in hand with your mission. How are you communicating your mission to your audience? Branding is more than just a good graphic design– it is the attitude, look, and feeling that your business portrays.
Take a step back and look at your business branding- not just the graphics you share on your website or social media, but consider the big image of your business to the world. Is it in line with your mission? Do they flow together or have you slowly inched away into some crazy trend or concept that is not truly you?
A great website is definitely a load-bearing wall of your business. Some businesses rely on it much more than others but it definitely needs to be in place and it needs to look good and function well.
Have you looked at yours lately? Even if the focus of your marketing lies in social media, a website presence expands your audience greatly no matter how small of a business or organization you are. Yet many business owners create a website and then leave it to do its job without another thought for years to come.
Imagine for a moment that you know nothing about your business and are visiting your website for the first time.
- Is it functioning properly? Are there broken links? Does it load slowly?
- Does your site work on a mobile device?
- Is it user-friendly? Can you find what you need to know easily?
- Does the content on the site easily explain what you do or what products or services you offer? Does the content add value to your visit?
- Are the photos/videos current or has it been a minute since you changed them out?
- Are you sharing fresh content on a blog?
- Has it been more than 2-3 years since you have made any updates?
If the answer is “no” or “not really” to any of those questions, this load-bearing wall might need a little attention. Maybe this means you need to build a new site entirely or maybe it means you just need to freshen it up a bit. Either way, investing in a good functional website will help all other aspects of your digital marketing strategy.
Your Social Media
Oh, the ever-changing world of social media! Yes, social media is a definite load-bearing wall when evaluating your digital marketing. Let’s take a moment and evaluate your digital marketing strategy in regard to your social media presence.
List the platforms you are currently on. Are you posting somewhat consistently? Is the content in line with your mission? Does it accurately educate your audience on what you do and all you offer?
Evaluate Your Social Media Platforms
Take a look at the impressions and engagement stats from those platforms. Is your engagement declining? Are you spending a lot of time and effort on creating content that is not coming back to you? Is one platform performing much better than others? Are you reaching your digital marketing goals for social media? Have you set any goals? (If all the words and data are difficult to understand in your social media stats, visit our blog post Understanding Social Media Marketing to get a little help!)
It helps to know your target audience. What does your ideal customer look like? Where do they hang out most on social media? If you are spending a lot of time on one platform while your target audience is on another, your income-producing activities are not likely to produce a lot of income.
Check out our blog series on digital marketing to the generations to find out where your target audience is hanging out!
While it is tempting to be present and pour into ALL the social media platforms, this is not always the case. Focusing your digital marketing strategy to one, two or three platforms and doing those exceptionally well will benefit your business more than exhausting yourself and your money by spreading yourself too thin.
A note on declining engagement on social media. Algorithm changes often wreak havoc on our social media marketing, especially for small businesses. If you see that in your business, it is worth considering paid social media marketing. Keep reading to learn more about this option.
Finally, take a long hard look at how long it takes you to create, post, and manage your social media accounts. Consider bringing in outside help to do this job if you have not delegated it already. Hiring a social media manager can bring freedom to many business owners who can then focus on doing the things they really love- their own job!
Not Load-Bearing Walls but Definitely Support for Your Digital Marketing Strategy
The next few sections I am discussing may not be best classified as load-bearing walls as we described above. I would definitely call them “support walls” though. In other words, they are not essential to your business but they sure can help! SEO, SEM, paid social ads, email marketing, and more can definitely add strength and support to your business that may give you a much-needed boost.
SEO is optimizing your website content for organic search results. Currently, the main player in this is Google. If your organic traffic to your website is low, SEO may be a valuable addition to your digital marketing strategy. Keep in mind that SEO is a long game and takes time (usually 6 months or more) to show an increase in traffic to your site. Once higher rankings are established, they usually stay for long periods of time. If you have the time and resources to put some work into optimizing your website content, then SEO is a good addition to your digital marketing strategy.
If you are already implementing SEO in your digital marketing strategy, take a moment and look at your stats. Proper SEO should see your website ranking for keywords that you want to be connected with online. You should also see a consistent increase (even if slow) in organic traffic to your site. As an SEO Specialist at Dogwood, I have a lot of thoughts on this and could write a lot more but for brevity, let me say this: An effective SEO strategy should include keyword research, fresh content, and an actual strategy to get results. It is not just haphazardly hoping that keywords will work and then magically seeing results with search engines.
While SEO is the long game for organic traffic, SEM, search engine marketing, is the short game. To quickly get clicks to your website from your ideal customer, you purchase keywords and guarantee to be on page 1 of Google when people search those words. SEM does get more clicks to your site quickly and more clicks usually translate to more actionable results (sales!), but these clicks usually stop once you stop paying for the ads. This is why we dub it the “short game.”
Learn more about SEO and SEM in our post What’s the Difference Between SEO and SEM?
We have many clients who see wonderful income as a result of running ads on Google. We help them choose appropriate keywords, design ad text and content, recognize the need to pivot if a strategy is not working and provide reporting so they see results.
If you have not pursued paid search advertising yet in your business it is worth considering when evaluating your digital marketing strategy. You can choose how much you budget each month and will not spend more than you a lot.
Google ads must be set up correctly and this can be a bit daunting without some guidance and research. This is why so many of our clients hire us to manage their ads for them. Proper keyword choice and demographic targeting are crucial as well as ad content. It may be worthwhile to hire help in this area if this is a new avenue of marketing you wish to add to your digital marketing strategy.
If you are currently running paid ads, take a look at your clicks and actions taken from your ads. Remember that brand awareness is building behind the scenes also but that is harder to measure. Are you seeing action on your ads that has led to sales or income? If not it may be time to evaluate your strategy with your Google ads to hopefully get better results.
Paid Social Ads
As mentioned above, if you have noticed a decline in your social media engagement and impression, paying to boost posts on social media may be a valuable addition to your digital marketing strategy. Targeting on social media ensures that your posts are seen by your desired audience. You can set different goals with your paid social ads also such as increasing clicks to your site or increasing engagement. Similar to Google ads, you set your own budget also. You can boost a post for as little as $5.
If you are already paying for social media ads, again take a moment and evaluate your results. Are you seeing actions that have led to income? Are you spreading the ad budget out over several platforms where it may be more advantageous to focus that money on one platform?
We know you may feel bombarded with emails daily, but statistically email marketing continues to have one of the highest returns on investment of all the marketing strategies. 2023 stats show that for every $1 spent on email marketing, $42 is returned!
You must account for the work of creating valuable email content to share, collecting emails, and culling your email list as needed. When evaluating your digital marketing strategy, consider the impact that a strong email marketing campaign could have on your business. If you are already sharing content on social media and/or blogging you have email marketing content ready to send. It just needs to be set up to look pretty in a newsletter.
If you already have email marketing in place, perhaps take a moment and slim down your email list, or look for new ways to get new subscribers. Sometimes we can grow lax when our customer base reaches a comfortable size and we lose the luster of new customers. Does your email marketing need a revamp? Has the content you are sharing strayed from your mission and branding? Are you taking advantage of all the email marketing automation available to you? (We go over automation in our blog Email Marketing Automations– work smarter, not harder!)
Of the “supporting walls” we have discussed in this section, email marketing comes the closest to being a load-bearing wall with your digital marketing strategy and for many, it is a load-bearing wall in their business! Maybe it should be in yours too!
If you are starting from scratch, don’t stress. You may find that you have a strong customer email list already there. Here are 3 Tips for Growing Your Email Marketing Database
Other Marketing Avenues
We have discussed the biggest players in digital marketing strategies but there are always a few other avenues that should be explored. Podcasting is on the rise and could be a valuable addition to your digital marketing strategy. Print marketing still has its place in many strategies and when utilized well can be very effective.
When evaluating your digital marketing strategy, take a moment and think outside the box. What is something that you have always wanted to do or something that aligns with your mission statement that may be worth pursuing? What kind of community involvement has your business participated in lately? What nonprofits are you supporting, if any? Are there any causes that are dear to your heart that you could help with a campaign from your business?
Dogwood Can Help With Evaluating Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Our crew at Dogwood Media Solutions can help you evaluate your digital marketing strategy. Sometimes it helps to have fresh eyes on your content to give a new perspective and provide fresh inspiration. We have experience with all of the “load-bearing walls” in business as well as the “supporting walls” we mentioned today. We want to see your business grow and would love to partner with you to make that happen!