As the New Year gets going and you confirm your new goals for 2019, it is essential to look back and evaluate where you have been and what you have achieved through your online presence during the past twelve months.

Calgary is a little behind in the digital arena, compared to other big Canadian cities. This is due to the region’s significant concentration of oil and gas companies that traditionally have not invested in digital marketing. However, this is starting to change. In 2018 one of our clients, an engineering company that manufactures compression, processing and refrigeration systems, made progress in this area by developing a UX focused website and by committing a significant amount of marketing spend to their digital advertising strategy.

Digital has become the most efficient way to market regardless of whether your business is b2c or b2b. It allows you to maximise your target audience reach and provide clear and direct ROI for your marketing spend.

As small to medium-size companies throughout Calgary start to realize the impact that a well-orchestrated digital marketing campaign can have on their bottom line, we will see an upward trend in 2019 in digital advertising spend.

So, what are the key things that you should be taking into consideration to make sure that you maximize your digital efforts in 2019 and beyond? Here is a three-step approach that we like to follow at Sandbox Brand Marketing, which allows us to make sure that the companies we work with develop a robust digital foundation.

Audit – Perform a digital review

The starting point of any robust strategy is to evaluate your capabilities and assets to identify gaps in your digital efforts and your company structure. This will help determine the areas where investment is needed.

Then, it is essential to review your current business environment for strategic context by identifying your business objectives, market position, and challenges as well as your top 3 competitors.

Next, you need to identify your organization’s core digital competencies. This is an essential step as it will help you evaluate how to resource your strategy and understand your company’s internal knowledge and the potential need for change. In this area, you will also want to identify potential roadblocks that might hinder the success of any digital initiatives as well as assess the overall knowledge in the field of digital from top management and employees.

Last but not least, you must review every digital asset/initiative that the company has available and evaluate and benchmark them against your objectives and your three main competitors. This will allow you to see where improvements are needed and give you awareness of what priorities to set for the year.

To do this, we recommend reviewing your company’s:

  • Website and analyzing it against four categories
    • Branding – Is your website creative and copy still on brand? Does it represent your core values and brand strategy?
    • Content – Does your content represent your businesses personality? Is it engaging and interesting? Is it easy to read and understand? How is your SEO performing? You can utilise some free tools like MOZ rankings to see how your SEO is performing on your website and across your sector.
    • Usability – How does your website flow? Is it intuitive to how your customer uses the site?
    • Functionality – Do all the features work as intended? Do the features make sense?
    • Company Blogs and Electronic Newsletters, are you measuring engagement rate or opening rates?
  • Social Media Channels – investigate your metrics and go beyond followers and likes. Calculate your average engagement rate for the year and per month. This will show you how much your audience has interacted with your content.
  • SEM Initiatives – do a detailed analysis of your SEM initiatives if you are investing in Google Adwords or display advertising. Are they meeting your campaign objectives? When was the last time you re-vamped your ads or optimized your keywords?

Set Objectives

Set clear business objectives or KPIs for every digital asset/initiative that you have. Make sure that you can identify what success will look like for you and your executives at the end of the year. Start with annual KPIs and then break them down to quarterly and monthly goals. For example, when using digital advertising for lead generation, how many leads do you need to drive through each of your initiatives (Google Adwords, Display Ads, Social Ads, etc.,) to generate the number of leads that you need a year? What is the digital closing rate for each of your digital assets?

Revamp your digital assets

After you have assessed your gaps and set clear objectives for the year, you will have more clarity on which of your assets needs investment. Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself or your team to determine which assets need some love and attention.

  • How did your website perform in your digital audit? Is in need of a revamp?
  • Are your digital ads optimized for maximum performance? Are you maximizing your ads weekly /every two weeks / monthly?
  • Are your social media posts generating the engagement you desire?
  • Do you have a strategic editorial calendar that is effectively telling/building your company’s story and giving you visibility on your social posts, blog content and electronic newsletters at least three months in advance?
  • Is your blog content being shared?
  • Is your electronic newsletter database growing? And are people consuming and sharing your content?

Your digital marketing efforts should be supporting your company’s main goals and objectives; they should be measurable and should be maximizing your marketing spend. If you feel that your company is not quite there, but are keen to improve your digital presence – contact [email protected].