Recently we've spent a lot of time stressing the importance of a solid inbound marketing strategy with the following posts:
- Pop Quiz – 10 Questions To See If Your Organization Has A Web Strategy
- A Good Strategy For The Future Starts With Evaluating The Past
- Web Marketing Strategy From 10,000 Feet
- Your 1st Inbound Marketing Meeting Agenda
- Your Web Strategy Should Include Listening – Who, What, When, Where, How, Why
- Online Marketing in a Small Town Part 1
- Online Marketing in a Small Town Part 2 – Your Website
- Online Marketing in a Small Town Part 3 – Local SEO
- Online Marketing in a Small Town Part 4 – Pay-Per-Click
While those are not a prerequisite for this post, I'd definitely recommend giving those a read if you're in the early stages of or haven't started your web strategy yet.
Today I want to stress that while it's important to have a strategy, it's just as important be willing to adjust and shift your strategy based on your metrics and results.
How Long Before I Adjust?
With all of the data available through inbound marketing, often in real time, it's easy to stare at the results day after day and get impatient. We don't recommend making daily knee-jerk reaction changes to your strategy. To really see how things are going, you have to give it some time. If you want to shift what you're doing frequently, at least A/B test your tactics rather than stopping 1 and starting the next.
Some examples of what you may want to adjust frequently would include:
- PPC management - adjusting bids/ad copy/etc...
- Landing pages - adjust copy/A-B test them
- Other online paid media - same as PPC Mgmt
Things like content creation through blogging/video/etc... should be given more time. You can't get a real feel for effectiveness in a short period (e.g., 1 -4 weeks). Rather, we recommend at least 6-8 weeks before making real changes. One asterisk to this is the frequency that you are producing content. Small to medium sized businesses often struggle to blog weekly, let alone multiple times per day. If you are fortunate enough or big enough to have a dedicated staff for content creation/curation then your timeframes can be a bit smaller because you have a higher quantity of content pieces to judge.
How Can I View Results?
There are countless metric tools out there. That's a great thing and a challenge at the same time. The challenge being what's worth paying for and what free tools will suffice. Larger, enterprise-level businesses will have no problem testing them all. Smaller-medium sized businesses will obviously want to be more conservative. I covered a few of our favorites in a previous post here: http://www.protocol80.com/2014/03/12/web-strategy-include-listening/ under the heading 'How To Listen'.
Some Free, Essential Tools Also Include:
- Google Analytics for your website
- Facebook Insights for your Facebook page
- Klout for your "influence" online, primarily in social
Expect Adjustments & Changes
The key takeaway here should be that you have to expect that adjustments and changes will be needed. This is whether you go at it alone or hire a web marketing consultant to help. Your inbound marketing strategy is not a contract that must be followed through to it's end. Your willingness to recognize shortcomings and adapt and shift strategy a bit can be the difference between success and complete failure online.