iPad with online marketing strategy notes

A digital marketing campaign sounds quite daunting if you have little experience on the subject. Jim Fenner is a talented Digital Strategist at Ashworth Creative who has valuable insights on digital marketing ranging from daily challenges to overall campaign management. Take a look at some concerns you are likely to run into and see how Jim explains the best approach towards managing them

I have a company that is starting a digital marketing campaign. So… Where do I start?

“The most important initial guidepost for developing a digital marketing strategy for a client is knowing their budget and timeframe. Long-running AdWords campaigns provide more reliable performance metrics than a campaign that only runs for a week. Additionally, underfunded campaigns may invite incorrect conclusions about the integrity of their performance. So, if a client comes with a compressed timeline or limited budget, you should approach what success looks like for that campaign differently from how you might assess the performance of a five-figure/multi-month campaign and make sure the client adjusts expectations accordingly.”

Time management is an absolute MUST

Man wearing wrist watch with leather strap and white clock face.

“The best way to make sure you’re spending your time correctly when managing digital marketing for a client, is to remind yourself in the most concise terms possible why someone is giving you money to advertise on their behalf. In nearly all cases it is to make a quantifiable return on their advertising investment. Focus first on things that are directly related to conversion, whether that is in form of sales, sign-ups, downloads, or evangelism. Save gilding the lily until after your entire pathway to conversion has been planned out and put in place.”

 Not all marketing channels are created equally

Desk with Bluetooth keyboard, pen, cell phone and paper reports with infographics.

“When selecting a main digital marketing channel for a client, ask them first what they expect to see. A highly performant and diligently constructed Facebook/Insta campaign may have entirely applause-worthy results, but if the client’s takeaway is ‘Why am I not showing up higher on Google?’ then your efforts and their priorities were misaligned. Understand what their goal is and if you feel they may have more success achieving that goal by other means that they’ve identified make the suggestion, back it up, and get buy-in from them. If they prefer a channel outside of your recommendation, make sure that their requested channel isn’t underserved, and if it is, be sure to show quantified results for the channel. You may be right or the client may be right, but the proof is there in the data.”

Always be prepared for language barriers

“Reporting on campaigns can be difficult since a number of the metrics can seem byzantine to an audience that doesn’t spend their days worrying about KPIs, CPCs, CTRs and all of the other fun acronyms you’re spending your hours perfecting. Know the ins and outs of the data that can be found in a report, but focus on what can be drawn from that data and express it in plain English. Lower CTR than expected? What does that mean, why might it have happened, and what are you planning to do about it? Focus on how you will continue to improve and perfect their campaign (even when it’s doing great!) during each report. If a benefit is only a benefit if you know the acronym (and not the actual business value extracted from its success), then the client is probably not terribly interested in it – especially if it’s being used to excuse more glaring issues.”

In digital marketing, there are very few zebras

Zebra in plains.

“In medicine, an adage is “When you hear hooves, think horses, not zebras.” What that means is that exotic sources for observed symptoms are rare – usually, abnormal data points are explained by fairly commonplace occurrences. One thing we frequently see when inheriting analytics accounts from large businesses using an intranet is a lot of traffic noise during business hours. Lots of traffic from 9-5 might direct a marketer to tell the client that that is the most appropriate time to advertise – after all, more traffic = more targets. However, many times that traffic is just being generated internally – the company’s own employees clouding external traffic data with their own use of the site. Before making obscure observations and equally obscure suggestions on how to act on them, make sure that the basics are covered – did you blacklist internal IP addresses? Are you advertising on keywords that have multiple meanings? Is that one page with the insane starting page rates accidentally the default recipient of a bunch of redirects? Suss out why the unexpected may be happening before capitalizing on it – there may be gold in those hills but it’s better to be sure before making a big investment on something you haven’t properly vetted.”