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How to Evaluate Your 2020 Digital Strategy and Plan for 2021

It’s December once again: Time to look back…and plan for 2021!

While many of us would like to forget 2020 happened, learning from the past makes the future even better. Here’s how to apply this principle to your digital marketing:

First, review your digital marketing 2020 plan and results.

If you’re like most businesses, you created your 2020 plan before anyone ever even heard the term “coronavirus” – so as you review your digital marketing strategy, be kind to yourself. It’s likely your plans took a big turn in February and March, and rightfully so.

Still, it’s important to review:

  • What worked well. What were your top-performing pieces of content? What were your biggest marketing wins? Where did you make strides in building your brand, improving search engine rankings, driving sales leads or leveraging technology to improve marketing results? Evaluate the ROI for the most effective aspects of your marketing strategy, so you can apply those successes in the year ahead.
  • What didn’t work well. Did you test a new marketing tactic that simply missed the mark? Did you fall short on key performance indicators (e.g., conversion rates, unique website visitors, bounce rates, etc.)? Consider why certain initiatives or tactics didn’t work, so you can avoid wasting effort or repeating the same mistakes.
  • What’s changed. If your industry, business model, products/services, sales projections, staff levels, brand or any other aspect of your organization changed as a result of the pandemic (or for any other reason), your strategy for 2021 will need to adapt as well.

Then, use what you learn to create your 2021 digital marketing plan.

This Forbes.com post shared the following steps to build a solid digital marketing strategy for the year ahead:

  • Reevaluate your customer profiles. As we mentioned in this post, smart marketers create “personas” to define distinct groups of buyers, and then develop targeted marketing messages that appeal to their needs and wants. Review each of your distinct groups of customers and update their profiles based on your newest data. Be sure to add or remove groups based on what’s changed with your business and what you’re planning for the year ahead.
  • Audit your digital presence. Make sure you’re connecting with customers on the right digital properties. Scrutinize your website, social profiles and other digital assets, to make sure everything is current and aligns with your 2021 business strategy.
  • Evaluate your messaging strategy. For each digital campaign you’re planning, ask the following three questions to ensure you’re sending the right message to address each audience’s expectations:
    • What platforms, media and formats (e.g., text, podcasts, video, eBooks, email, blog posts) perform best with each customer segment?
    • Does the language you use seem to resonate with each audience?
    • How much engagement and sharing of your marketing materials do you see?
  • Measure ROI. Calculating exact returns on your digital marketing can be tricky, but by tracking 1. The amount you spend on digital marketing campaigns, and 2. The financial benefit of conversions you track, you can begin to develop an understanding of the return on your marketing investment.

In today’s world of business, a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is imperative.

A cohesive, proactive plan helps you:

  • Clarify your direction and focus, ensuring your marketing efforts complement your business strategy. This alignment delivers better results and higher marketing ROI.
  • Define and strengthen your brand. By developing a powerful value proposition that appeals to the needs and wants of your target audience(s) online, you can create content that reinforces your brand and encourages interaction with your customers and prospects.
  • Reach, engage with and convert your audience where they’re already spending their time (e.g., the web, social media, email, etc.).
  • Quantify and optimize results. By setting the right KPIs and collecting the right data, you can track, measure and analyze the results of your marketing – so you learn exactly what works and what can be improved, and continually increase your marketing effectiveness and ROI.

Want more ideas to improve your digital marketing results in 2021?

Download our FREE Smart Marketing Checklist. This workbook shares more than 150 questions to evaluate if your marketing is effective, affordable and strategic – and determine if you’re using the right tactics to achieve your marketing and business goals.

Need help creating or executing your 2021 marketing plan?

Give BARQAR a call. Serving the needs of businesses just like yours, our experts can create a digital marketing strategy to help you get higher quality sales leads, nurture business relationships, strengthen your reputation and build a healthier bottom line.

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