We all want the best from our marketing efforts and want to get the best performance from our digital channels and collateral. However, this isn’t always an obvious and straightforward process. We’ll all be familiar with the pressures of lack of time, budget constraints, conflicting internal agendas and sometimes a lack of consistent direction.
So, given all these challenges, how do you know what to do and where to focus your efforts? Or even where to start?
In this blog, we’ll be looking at exactly that, giving you some useful tips on what to consider. We’ll also be talking about things like value, efficiency, and approach. So, grab a cuppa (and maybe your notepad) and let’s jump in!
Key components of the digital estate and ecosystem
Essentially, the “Digital Estate” are the components, assets and channels that make up your ecosystem. But the challenge is often optimising them and making them perform together.
Here are some of the key areas for consideration.
For most organisations, the main organisation website will be the central pillar of the estate. Although, for larger organisations, it probably isn’t just one site. There may be lots of sites, controlled by different parts of the organisation.
These could include:
- A customer-facing site
- A corporate site
- A brochureware site
- An eCommerce store
- Multilingual sites
- Sites for different regions
- Sites for different business areas
For some organisations, this can result in many different sites, creating a potentially disjointed digital approach which can be difficult to manage. It may not offer a consistent, smooth customer experience for users and this can be reducing the value of the sites.
Factors to consider about these sites include:
- Whether they’re all needed
- Whether they address the right areas
- Whether there is a consistent approach to the sites
- Whether they provide a good user experience for the right user types
- Whether the approach aligns with the overall organisation strategy
Apps can be a really useful part of the estate. They can help to improve access to your products or services, improve the customer experience and increase brand loyalty and advocacy.
However, these can sometimes be inconsistent with other parts of the estate and may need things like separate logins.
While it’s always a good idea to try to make things more accessible, adding something for the sake of it can have a negative impact. If an app offers a poor experience or isn’t consistent with the main website, this could do more harm than good.
An app should add value and improve the user experience. An alternative to an app could be to improve the mobile web experience.
Organic marketing can offer some of the best value returns, in terms of not having to pay directly for each lead and attracting the right type of leads. So, there can be huge value and efficiency in SEO as a channel.
This is true for both B2C and B2B. However, this does require a dedicated SEO strategy and plan in order to get the value out of it.
It’ll take some time to establish and to see the results, but there can be significant long-term benefits so it’s definitely worth considering whether SEO is being overlooked.
Paid marketing offers a more direct response and the ability to target ideal potential customers.
However, there are things to consider here too, such as messaging, channel usage and spend levels.
So, where should you start?
This is a broad question and would of course depend on your organisation and current state. A few things to consider as a starting point could be:
- A marketing audit
- A UX review
- A current estate assessment
- Opportunity analysis
- User research
- A full digital strategy
These approaches can help give you the understanding you need to prioritise resource and effort. They can offer the tools to work out where the biggest gains can be made and identify key opportunities. This could cover anything from a recommendations report to a full strategy roadmap.
Next, let’s take a look at some other important considerations when it comes to creating and maintaining a user-centric digital experience.
The importance of UX
We believe that UX is key to online performance and we always take a user-centric approach. Chances are, the UX of your websites and apps can be improved. And this can lead to better performance.
It’s always worth considering a UX review, as this can offer valuable insight and tangible recommendations on opportunities for improvement. If a site is a few years old, it might even be worth considering a new site. Although that might seem a lot to do, typically, UX quickly pays for itself and starts generating additional value.
UX improvements are a worthwhile investment and usually offer great value returns. This is often a great place to start when trying to improve overall performance and increase the value of all other channels that send users to your site.
The importance of Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
It may be that UX research has already been carried out, or that significant changes can’t be made. In these cases, CRO can offer a great opportunity to continually improve conversion rates by testing small changes and measuring the results, in order to squeeze the maximum value out of a site.
There’s almost always improvement to be found, and ongoing CRO can help you achieve optimum performance.
The bigger picture
A key challenge is often to make all this work together and identify where to prioritise.
You may already know where your organisation’s weaker areas are, but if not, audits and reviews can be a great place to start.
If you want to look at specific areas, these can be really effective ways to understand the current state and improve performance. If you need to find ways to reach new customers, then opportunity analysis might be a great activity. If, however, you’re unsure, or the challenge is broader or particularly complex, then a full digital strategy could be the answer.
In general, it’s better to take a broader overview, rather than a siloed approach. And where possible, try to keep all parts of your organisation aligned to the same goals and objectives. This often works better if there is a single stakeholder responsible for managing the digital estate, as they can have a centralised view of the situation and help to manage and balance the needs of different internal teams, while keeping them aligned. But either way, good internal communication is useful here.
It can also often be worth seeking external help with these kinds of activities, as using an agency will add additional capabilities, industry insights and expertise to the mix, as well as adding additional value to the process. It can also help to increase capacity and mitigate your internal workloads.
If you know your weaker areas then start with them, but if you don’t, then an audit process can be useful.
Consider a full digital strategy, and, if in doubt, start with UX! Virtually all sites can be improved and it’s likely to be easy wins, in terms of performance improvement. Good UX will have a positive knock-on effect on other marketing channels too.
It’s also worth having a chat with an agency. A lot of agencies will be happy to talk you though your options and you may get some initial pointers. You may even be able to get some high-level, specialist insights.
We can support you with all of the areas mentioned above and we’re always happy to have a chat. As specialists in UX, digital strategy and online marketing, we can support you in optimising your digital estate and taking your online performance to the next level!