It often feels like you can’t have a single conversation about your business without having someone weigh in on some new marketing tactic or strategy you MUST be doing. Is your Digital Marketing working?But with so many directories and pages that require upkeep, marketing tools and numerous advertising channels it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture: Is your online marketing working? And it’s even more difficult to know which tactics or campaigns are successful, and which should be reevaluated.

Like anything else, it’s much harder to determine the effectiveness of existing marketing once it’s in progress. If you want to gain full transparency, it’s necessary to plan ahead and to think about the full lifecycle of your marketing process. Follow these steps below and you’ll never need to question the ROI of your marketing efforts again.

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1. Establish Clear and Specific Goals

Obviously, you want more new and repeat customers, but the more granular you can make your goals now, the better you’ll be able to assess them later on. Maybe you just want more people to subscribe to your email list, so you offer a discount or free gift and count each signup as a conversion. Or, perhaps you’re looking to get more five-star reviews on your Yelp page. Whatever it is, focus your goals on a very specific action, or phase of your funnel to improve. If you start with the bottom line of increasing sales, there’s a good chance you might be missing crucial steps along the way, and have less insight into how your marketing performed at each step.

2. Define Corresponding Metrics

Similarly, it’s important to stay mindful of the criteria you’ll be using to analyze your efforts later on. The beauty of digital marketing is that most actions can be tracked and measured, quantitatively. This data is invaluable and can be used to inform future marketing decisions. Make sure to set a specific timeframe for each campaign, but be careful not to make these too short. There are always external factors that can affect results day to day, or even over the course of the week that may not be truly representative of your tactics. And, if you didn’t set targets during the goal stage, don’t forget to do this now. Even if  they’re estimates for now, you have to start somewhere!

3. Utilize Analytics Tools

Many tools that you already use to fuel your campaigns, such as Email Service Providers, typically include a reporting feature to display the results. Here, you can easily view and analyze specific actions in your campaigns and keep an eye on metrics, such as open rate, click-through rate, and number of unsubscribes. If you use your business’s website to sell products or services, book appointments or get quotes you can also use Google Analytics to monitor metrics for site and page traffic. Signpost automatically tracks and displays your metrics across a variety of tactics including email and SMS marketing blasts, as well as obtaining reviews and referrals.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on your social media metrics. Track both your reach, by looking at your follower counts or page likes, and engagement by the number of favorites or likes on specific posts. Your audience should always be growing, and these pages can be a great barometer for whether or not your marketing is resonating with them.

4. Assess Your Bottom Line

If you’re continuously hitting all your targets and refining your data-driven strategy, then you’re probably already enjoying the benefits it’s bringing to your bottom line. That being said, no one tactic can be expected to translate into tangible returns every time. Don’t let this granularity obstruct your view of the larger picture. It’s important to remember that each campaign is part of a larger strategy that will be working to yield results for your business. Like a machine, continue to evaluate and adjust various pieces, and the entire process will be much smoother and efficient.

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Download our free Online Marketing Checklist and Fact Sheet to help you evaluate your online marketing strategy!