One of our clients said that her strategy report is “dog eared and tea stained.” Another said, “There’s an enormous amount of information, and a lot of it might as well be in Hebrew.” Hebrew is not one of this client’s languages.
So how do you make sure that you can take action on your strategy report?
First, remember that we’re here to help. We met with both the clients mentioned above — one by phone, the other in a Fayetteville coffee shop — and went through their reports, and we are always happy to do that.
Haden Interactive offers specialized reports of various kinds, but let’s dig into our basic strategy document.
- Overview: Here’s where you’ll find the basic statement of your online marketing situation. Do you have an established website with lots of traffic, or a new website with little traffic? What are your goals for your website? Are there any significant challenges or strengths that need to be taken into account?
You may know much of this information already — you may have told us much of it — but it makes sure we’re all on the same page.
- Traffic: Traffic may not be the most important metric for every organization, but it’s important to know who’s visiting your website and how they’re finding you, as well as the behavior they’re exhibiting once they arrive. We organize information from your web analytics to show you the trends, the issues, and the opportunities for improvement. Since we have spent many years analyzing many websites, we have insight into what’s typical for websites — that’s hard to find if you have access only to data from one or two websites. This section gives you a good indication of how your website is currently performing and what’s likely to happen in the future if you make no changes. This is also where you’ll begin to see areas where you might want to make changes.
If you have no analytics configured, we’ll use estimates of your traffic from software we use. If you have Google Analytics but not a Search Console account, we’re happy to set up that account so you can have the additional data provided by Google through the Search Console.
- Goals: If you have goals configured in your analytics, we’ll analyze how visitors are reaching those goals, including their apparent path to purchase. If you’re using Google Analytics, there are a number of reports you may not be using which provide useful information about the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts.
Whether you have analytics or not, we’ll suggest ways to capture the information you need to gauge the success of your efforts and the best way to allocate your online marketing resources.
- Links: This section of the report analyzes the links coming from other websites to yours, and will contain suggestions for ways to build more links of the kinds that are performing well for you.
Links continue to be one of the top factors in Google’s algorithms, but they’re also one of the areas where people are most confused and nervous. We will make specific recommendations for the tactics that will be most likely to get your particular website high quality links without any questionable actions.
- Content: Your website’s content is central to the performance of your online marketing plans. We’ll provide data about your content’s performance and suggestions for improvements in your content. This may include issues with meta data, information about competitors, keyword analysis, site architecture issues, and recommendations for media in use on your website.
Each website is different, and the best content plan for you will depend on your industry, your specific goals, your resources, and your customers’ path to purchase, so this section will be different for everyone.
- Social media: You may already be rocking social media, or you may have no social media at all. Either way, we’ll suggest the best platforms and tactics for you, as well as the options for paid social media that are most likely to work well for you.
Google recommends that websites that can’t rank well organically for their preferred keywords (yet) use social media to drive traffic, and this is good advice. We have seen new websites, in particular, get good results with social media while they build authority for strong SEO performance.
- Recommendations: Here you’ll find in-depth discussion of the larger changes we recommend, plus a checklist of suggestions which have been made throughout the document. Clients often want to discuss these changes in order to understand why they’re being recommended and how they can be implemented.
At this point, you need to decide what changes you’ll choose to make. Simply receiving the document will not improve your online marketing: you have to take action.
Some recommendations may be relatively easy to do (or easy to assign to your web team). Go ahead and make those changes while you’re deciding whether you want to make additional efforts and investments.
Make a note — an annotation in Google Analytics is a great way to do this — when you make changes, so you can track results. Don’t expect immediate results: improving your meta descriptions won’t double your traffic and conversions overnight. But you should see results if you follow through.
Use the checklist as a checklist is meant to be used — check off the items as they’re implemented. And don’t hesitate to contact us with questions, or when you need support in implementing your strategic plan.