2016 has been ushered in, and the bells that rang for Christmas Day are fading echoes as Easter Eggs begin to show their foil-covered faces on the shelves.
We’ve written previously about the merits of having a rolling 3 month social media plan, and we’ve waxed lyrical about extending this into planning the rest of your digital marketing activity, but there is something to be said about looking over your shoulder too.
The best marketing advice I ever received was from an old financial services boss I cut my teeth under back in the 20th century…well, it was actually in 1999, but it has more gravitas and wisdom when a deeper feeling of vintage is being implied. He told me to always make sure that a marketing manager was looking at tomorrow, today, and yesterday.
So do plan away, and nail down your strategy and content schedules as it will make the todays and tomorrows of this year much easier to manage, but revise and tweak those plans based on the learnings of all those yesterdays.
A good place to start, if you haven’t already, is to properly review your social media activity from 2015. Go back through your Facebook or Twitter accounts and start recording the exciting successes or bland failures that you experienced through last year’s posts and tweets.
If you paid to boost a post on Facebook, then what sort of post was it and how wide was the reported ‘reach’. How many people ‘liked’ the post, and how many clicks did it attract through to your website? You will be able to see some results data from Facebook for each boosted post (or advert) that will show you the gender split and age groups of people who interacted with the post. Make a note of all of this.
Have a look at your Twitter account – which tweets attracted a decent amount of attention, such as ‘likes’ and retweets? Do the same for any other accounts you have – for example on Instagram record the number of likes or comments you attracted and then make note of which hashtags you used and what sort of picture is was that you shared.
You need to run through this exercise until you get a proper feel for what type of content your audience responds to best. If you like to share photos of a team member doing something ‘crazy’ and it consistently got little to no response whatsoever in 2015 then remove that type of content from your 2016 plans completely. If you shared a couple of kid’s baking recipes around Easter or Halloween and the audience loved them then try introducing more of that going forward.
Wherever demographic data is available to evaluate you must start using it to inform your choices going forward. If you boost posts to a certain audience that includes men and women, but 90% of your clicks and interactions consistently come from women then it is time to ditch the guys and focus your budget on the ladies exclusively. Make sure you spend as much of your budget as possible on the groups that are most likely to respond.
If you sent out email newsletters in 2015 then go back through all the campaign data from last year and try to get a picture of what types of emails were the most compelling and which ones bombed. Review the subject lines too that you used as that can often be the first hurdle that parts of an audience will fall at. You should be getting a minimum 20% open rate on your emails. You should be looking to get at least 5% of those people that opened it to actually be clicking on a link. These figures should be even higher for a well curated and tended recipient list that you have been using for a reasonable length of time.
Einstein is widely credited with stating that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Whether he said it or not is academic, but the message is crucial. Use as much historical data as possible to shape and tweak your plans for this year.
If that type of email never works, or that banner ad on that website never produces revenue, or those tweets just fall flat on their face then shake it up and try something new.
Have a closer look at your competitors content…can you see anything in what they are doing that might give you a different angle, especially when they appear to get getting some decent audience engagement?
Having a plan is the best way to run your marketing…just don’t plan the same old, same old. Learn from the past, try something new. If some of it doesn’t work then take it on the chin and move on…the worst case scenario is that you will have even more and better data with which to make your next decision.