Times are difficult for digital marketing teams right now. For many, the review of this past month or first quarter’s website performance reports won’t help the situations either. Depending on the industry or organizations’ target markets, it won’t be surprising if traffic, lead generation efforts, or overall digital marketing performance is down when comparing year over year or period to period benchmarks.
So what can B2B digital marketers do to demonstrate impact in such a scenario?
Here are some suggestions and ways we are tackling this challenge when delivering performance reports and communicating with clients.
Dig Into The Details
Focus on aspects of website performance that are specifically responsible for downward trends and optimize accordingly. This means taking a closer look at the web pages that are down period over period and analyze ways these pages can be improved, regardless of the external factors present.
A couple examples:
- In one client scenario we identified a series of legacy blog posts that were down year over year, contributing to performance declines. All of these posts were several years old but could still be refreshed to become more relevant to what’s happening right now or adapted to identify updated tactics and solutions.
- We noticed brand-specific search queries were down for another client. To help address this we’re looking at how we can update brand mentions in third party platforms. This included updating strategic marketing copy, looking at new opportunities to create inbound links to interior pages, and refreshing outdated logos and organizational contact information.
By looking at the specific web page assets or patterns in traffic sources that declined period over period, it makes it easier to identify actionable tactics that be be applied to more quickly to address performance.
Analyze The Trends
In certain cases, we’re seeing keyword positional improvements but realizing the overall impressions in organic search results for these keywords are down period over period. By combining average position with search impression data using Google Search Console, we can demonstrate that factors beyond on-page SEO are impacting performance.
If Google Search Console isn’t a viable option, Google Trends can help illustrate interest over time for particular keyword targets and themes.
The bottom-line is a decline in traffic may be due to how people are searching at this particular time and not a result of poor decisions in SEO tactics or on-page optimization efforts.
Quality And Quantity
Take the time to work more specifically on evaluating the quality of lead opportunities in addition to efforts associated with driving an increased number of leads for the organization.
Too often I’ve seen marketing teams put blinders on in their analysis when the form submission is completed. Now more than ever its critical to scrutinize lead quality and work with the entire organization to evaluate whether the right types of form submissions are arriving through digital marketing campaigns.
Factors to pay even more attention to in form submissions:
- Applicable titles or the relationship between titles and target audiences of ideal prospects.
- Applicable industries.
- Timelines of a prospect to an interest in sales engagement.
In coordination with this effort, reassess form submission criteria to ensure the most applicable information is being collected that can be passed along to sales teams and lead nurturing programs.
Showcase Target Audience Engagement
Demonstrate how tactics are being applied to the right target audiences and highlight successful audience engagement. In social media marketing specifically, it is imperative to illustrate examples of how campaigns connect with target audiences and to highlight successful engagements.
- Take snapshots of quality interactions with target markets.
- Ensure campaign tracking URL’s are in place and dig deeper into performance reports to analyze the quality of traffic acquired.
- Analyze trends between channels to determine whether targeted campaigns are having a more significant impact in quality visit benchmarks or lead nurturing efforts.
Above all else, show the work and illustrate how digital marketing campaigns – paid campaigns in particular – are being targeted to the right markets and types of audiences.
Get Engaged in the Sales Process
Digital marketers need to understand how their efforts impact sales opportunities. Communication between teams is critical in adapting tactics to develop a better flow of opportunities between marketing and sales.
Seek to understand shifts in business priorities. This can mean areas of solutions emphasis, industry focus, or how developing pain points can be addressed through keyword research and on-page optimization efforts.
Ultimately this requires digital marketing to get more entrenched in what’s happening on the front line of sales discussions and realign tactics to better support shifts in how to communicate to targeted audiences and prospects.
When everything is going well performance measurement is easy. When performance is down the real work begins. What is important to realize is that in every down market it’s critical to focus on the elements we can control.
This means digging into the data not only to identify areas of weakness but to pinpoint actionable tactics that can address this. This also means illustrating factors beyond our control that impact performance even though tactics will lead to improvement in when trends change.
Above all else, B2B digital marketers need to consider how marketing campaigns and tactics align with sales and strategic business objectives.
How does you demonstrate digital marketing impact when performance is down?
We would love to hear your thoughts through LinkedIn and Twitter to continue the discussion.