Re:Adventure: An Article Series eBook for Navigating the Digital Landscape

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You’ve heard the old cliché, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” that counts. And actually, we couldn’t agree more. But in business, the journey is more like an adventure that is constantly changing with the latest and greatest products, trends and tools. In the new series Re:Adventure, we will discuss how to create a roadmap that will allow you to accomplish your business goals while also remaining flexible and adaptable. Adaptability is the key to creating a successful roadmap, especially in the ever-changing digital landscape.
Pack your bags; it’s time for Re:Adventure!
Download other eBooks from our blog, Asking Smarter Questions: http://ow.ly/kZnUe

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Re:Adventure: An Article Series eBook for Navigating the Digital Landscape

  1. 1. PREFACE Travel Smart: Create Opportunity on Your Re:Adventurepg. 3PART 1 Picking the Destination: Where Does My Brand Need To Be?pg. 5PART 2 Grab A Compass: Digital Tools to Help You Succeedpg. 7PART 3 Never Travel Alone: Choose Key Passengers to Bring Alongpg. 9PART 4 Preparing for Bumps in the Road: Damage Controlpg. 12PART 5 Time for a Pitstop: Assess Potential Opportunities Quicklypg. 14PART 6 Sightseeing: Tips for Leveraging Digital Trendspg. 16PART 7 Reflect on your Journey: Learn from Analyticspg. 18PART 8 On the Road Again: Planning your Next Journeypg. 20
  2. 2. ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM 3Travel Smart: Create Opportunity on YourRe:Adventureby Steve Parker, Jr.We all dream of having an adventure; it is in our DNA andpart of what has made the human race truly great. Havinga leading sense of adventure brings to mind names such asColumbus, Lindbergh, Roosevelt, Cousteau and Armstrong.We all cannot be included in that rare company (perhapsbecause most of us are not willing to risk death), yet it is thisinspiration that drives our quench for new answers, solutionsand success for Re:Adventure.In the movie City Slickers, the late, great, omniscient Curlyknew a thing or two about adventure. He asked Mitch if heknew the secret of life to which Mitch responded, “No. What?”Curly’s answer, “One thing. Just one thing.” Mitch proddedfurther, “That’s great. But what’s the one thing?” Curly said,“That’s what you’ve gotta figure out.”That’s what we’ve all gotta figure out. When starting outon adventures there are many unknowns, questions anduncertainties. However, that is what makes the adventuregreat and generally the experience and outcome evengreater. Last week, I was discussing a trip to Africa with afriend of mine. I have been there three times, the first beingmy honeymoon – Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania (I knowthat’s not a standard honeymoon – but wow, what a greatadventure it was). I told my friend that on that trip, I wasoverwhelmed—not only because it was an amazing trip withthe love of my life—because I realized how insignificant we allare in the world. Simultaneously, however, I had never beforefelt such a part of it.Adventure brings us perspective and with perspective comeanswers and the ability to Achieve What Could Be. Withoutthis perspective, we leave so many unturned stones onthe path to success. Think for a minute about how manyopportunities (both personal and professional) you leave onthe table because you don’t ask, seek or challenge yourselfor those around you to start a new adventure. There aremany.So, how can you change this and create new adventures,to seek and find success or a new way to solve an old orplaguing problem?Think for a minuteabout how manyopportunities youleave on the tablebecause you don’task, seek or challengeyourself
  3. 3. 4ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COMMake time to focus on strategic vision – set aside true time(yes, we are all busy) to reflect on the meaningful challengesyou or your business need to overcome. Get out of theoffice and create an environment for a strategic thinkingday or days. Get your team out with you! Don’t be a loner;give everyone a chance to think critically.Answer the WHY questions – these are the motivators. If youcan’t or don’t answer these what you decide won’t last.Set goals and make them specific – you have answeredthe ‘why’; now create goals from them and make themmeaningful, not convenient.Be accountable – determine how often you evaluate themto make sure you are still on the path. This will create positiveoutcomes.I hope you enjoy this Asking Smarter Questions series, wherewe will explore topics related to adventure such as yourbrand journey, tools to help you succeed, key assets to bringalong on your adventure, preparing for the unthinkable,learning from your successes and failures, and planning yournext trip. Now you are set and ready for your Re:Adventure!Get your team out withyou! Don’t be a loner;give everyone a chanceto think critically.BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
  4. 4. ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM 5Picking the Destination: Where Does MyBrand Need To Be?by Jeff Adelson-YanIn our new series, re:Adventure, we will be working with youon the steps to build a roadmap for your business’s digitalstrategy. Along the way, we’ll be exploring the best ways toimprove business intelligence with data from your marketingcampaigns + beyond, preparing for any speed bumps youmay encounter, and making sure we keep the best company(tools, technology + more). Owning a business is quite theadventure, and keeping up in the digital landscape can betough without the proper plan in place. So if you’re up for it,come along for the ride.Much like picking a vacation spot, you have to be aware ofyour unique opportunities and needs in the digital space.If you want to relax, then chances are, you shouldn’t go to aloud, crowded tourist destination. If you’re really active, youshould choose a place with more to do than sit on the beach.Similarly, choosing where you want to be in the digital spacerelies a lot upon your business goals and where you wantto be found. Sure, there are search engines. But where elsewill your audience be looking for your brand? Doing yourresearch is important because there is almost an endlessamount of choices: Google, Bing, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter,Facebook, forums, blogs, Quora, Google+, Vine, Vimeo,YouTube… you get the idea.Where Should I Be?Although there are tons of platforms to be on, thisdoesn’t necessarily mean you should be on all of them.Our recommendation is usually to do a few things–anddo them well. Instead of trying to be on every singlesocial platform, for example, choose two or three thatare the most practical for your business goals and targetaudience. If you’re a B2B company with an affluent targetconsumer, LinkedIn is probably a safe bet. If you’re a B2Cwith a young audience, Facebook might be the place foryou. Taking the time to learn where you need to be–asopposed to simply where you want to be–will pay off inyour roadmap planning.Specify StrategiesOnce you’ve decided where you need to be, it’s time toconsider how you’re going to present your brand once you’rethere. Remember how I said to pick a few things and executeyour initiatives well? What I mean is that you’ll need to createSure, there are searchengines. But where elsewill your audience belooking for your brand?
  5. 5. 6ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COMa specific strategy for each digital initiative you undertake.Your paid search ads will not utilize the same copy as yoursocial updates; your consumer response and Pintereststrategies will be completely different. The reason thisis important is because each initiative has its own uniqueaudience and its own unique form of engagement to connectwith that audience.Measuring ImpactHow can you tell if your digital initiatives are a success?It’s easy: measurement. When deciding where in the digitalsphere you want your brand to be, you have to implementa measurement system for each. Establish key performanceindicators and a way to monitor them. Measuring success iswhat will propel you into the future and make your journey afruitful one. Effective measurement essentially guarantees thatyou will have insights + trends to capitalize on. You will be ableto optimize your re:Adventure for efficiency + effectiveness.Once you have answered these questions, you will be readyto start packing for your journey of growing your business.Measuring success iswhat will propel youinto the future andmake your journeya fruitful one.BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
  6. 6. ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM 7Grab A Compass: Digital Tools to HelpYou Succeedby Steve Parker, Jr.You wouldn’t plan a road trip without first researching thetools you’ll need. Whether you’re going old school withan atlas or new school with a GPS, it is necessary to bringalong resources that will make your journey easier andmore successful. When creating a strategic roadmap for yourdigital initiatives, you mustn’t forget the tools you will needto help you succeed. And there are many of them from whichyou can choose. Here are a few examples of tools that willhelp you manage your various digital initiatives and makeyour life much easier:Paid search: Google AdWords, MSN AdCenterSite-side analytics: Google Analytics, Adobe Marketing Suite(formerly Omniture), Marin + KenshooCRM/New Business: Salesforce, PipelineDeals, Netsuite, OracleSocial: Hootsuite, Sprout, TweetDeckThis is nowhere near an exhaustive list of tools used for thesebuckets, but all of these tools do similar things. Essentially,they organize all of your campaigns and content so that it iseasily accessible to your team and your clients (if necessary).So what do all of these tools help you do? Though they are alldifferent in look and feel, they essentially help you do threemain things:1. Aggregate + organize dataThe aforementioned tools are meant to house lots and lotsof data so it is easier to measure and act upon. Paid searchand social can teach you about messaging that works well,site-side analytics can help you understand user behaviorand experience, whereas CRM tools can help you optimize yourcommunication strategy with potential and current customers.2. Measure successSuccess measurement is the most important thing that digitaltools help you do. Oftentimes it takes a little ingenuity (withtracking code and setting up reports), but tracking yourcustomers’ online actions is imperative for measuring yourdigital initiatives’ success. Paid search is simpler to see a returnon investment. After all, you are given the precise number ofclicks and conversions per user or investment.Success measurementis the most importantthing that digital toolshelp you do.
  7. 7. 8ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COMWith social and CRM, it may be slightly more difficult.Rely on your business goals to dictate what your mostimportant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are and workto create a system that will measure the increase or decreasein these completed KPIs. If your business’s goal is to generateleads, and you implement an email marketing campaign,your main KPI is probably a user performing a “RequestMore Info” form. However, it can be beneficial to measurethings like email open rate and transfers to website toassess whether or not your email messaging and imagesare effectively communicating with the user. In short, tomeasure success, you must first define your terms of asuccessful campaign. As a more concrete example withemail marketing, let’s say that 5% of those who fill out a leadform result in a new client acquisition with $X average profit.Therefore, you can monetize how valuable a completed leadform from email marketing is. Sometimes it’s just as efficientto work backwards.3. Optimize campaigns + messagingOnce you are able to measure success, you are able to optimizeyour campaigns. It doesn’t matter if your digital initiative is anemail communication, a paid search ad or an organic socialupdate. All of these messages can be optimized toward abetter return on investment. Historical data as well as currenttrends can help digital analysts predict when and wheremessaging will be most effective. If you are able to makepredictions about marketing trends, this can aid in predictingbusiness trends as well, which will help improve efficiencies inyour business. Optimization is ongoing for those that want toconstantly improve their return, but like success measurement,you must be optimizing toward an end goal.With these tools and goals in mind, you will be well-preparedwhen planning your road to digital success. Next week, we’ll betalking about what to pack to prepare for speed bumps in yourjourney, so stay tuned!It doesn’t matterif your digitalinitiative is an emailcommunication, a paidsearch ad or an organicsocial update. All ofthese messages canbe optimized.BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
  8. 8. ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM 9The digital spaceis constantly changingand it requires a levelof thinking that ishighly adaptable.Never Travel Alone: Choose KeyPassengers to Bring AlongbyJeffAdelson-YanYou have a destination in mind. You have the tools you need inplace. Now it’s time to decide who to bring along with you onthis journey. And by “who,” I mean those people that are yourbrand champions, the people that want your business tosucceed and will help it do so. These people fall into three maincategories: 1) employees, 2) customers, 3) partners. And youneed to consider them in that specific order. Let’s go througheach category and figure out how to attract and retain thebest of each:Employees:Employees are the backbone of your business. If you surroundyourself and your brand with honesty, integrity and innovation,you will be a step closer to success. Therefore, hiring the rightpeople who have specific talents to help you achieve yourbusiness goals is imperative when planning your digital strate-gy. For the sake of brevity, I’m not offering tips on hiring peo-ple in general, but those that will be working in your brand’sdigital space. These include community managers, accountanalysts, data analysts, IT professionals and media planners/buyers. These are the folks that need to be well-versed in thedigital sphere in order to move your brand forward. The follow-ing key characteristics are a “need to have” for the aforemen-tioned roles:1. A capacity to learn quicklyThis is one of those things that employees know to say ininterviews. Put their “I’m a quick learner” claim to the test byasking them to share a specific product, tool or process theyhad to learn quickly and how they were able to use this tool toexecute a task. The digital space is constantly changing and itrequires a level of thinking that is highly adaptable. In addition,many of the skills necessary to be a successful digital market-er are essentially brand new and require a “test it and figure itout” mentality.2. Great communication skillsThis skill is needed for basically every industry, but can be veryimportant in digital as well. Think of it this way: Twitter allowsyou 140 characters to tell your story. Facebook ads have evenfewer characters. It is important that your employees knowhow to communicate clearly and concisely with each other,clients and with customers.
  9. 9. 10ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM3. Concrete understanding of your business goalsWhen I say “concrete,” I don’t mean memorizing the business’smission statement. Goals must be written on a sheet in theforefront of their minds. It will help them make better businessdecisions every single day, and will help them communicateyour brand’s message in real terms in everyday conversations.Customers:You may want to bring these guys along for your roadtrip,seeing as how they will be the ones to provide revenue.But you need to truly get a handle on your customer.It’s imperative that you target the most engaged peopleand the most likely to convert. Here are a few things to helpyou decide who your ideal customer is and what actionsyou’d like them to take:1. Social networkLeveraging others’ networks is a huge part of social mediamarketing. Brand loyalists are much more likely to shareinformation and positive feedback about your brand, andit helps if their network is vast to extend the reach of yourproducts and services.2. Targeted messagingTo find the right customer base (ie: the ones that will notonly purchase from you, but will also be a brand advocate),you must know who your target audience is. You canconduct social research, test user experience on your websiteand simply administer surveys. All of these practices (andmany more) will help you understand exactly who needsyour product/service and how to tailor messaging directlyto them across all of your digital channels.3. Conversion optimizationJust like you don’t like traffic jams, your customer doesn’t wantto hit a roadblock when on your site or researching your brandonline. So if you have a broken link in a paid search ad or stalecontent on your site, or bad product images, you are hurtingthe consumer experience. Therefore, you must be constantlytesting your site to be sure that the conversion funnel is clearand without hiccups. This will ensure that a customer, oncereaching your site, has a good idea of what actions you wantthem to perform, and it is easy for them to take those actions.Just like you don’tlike traffic jams, yourcustomer doesn’twant to hit a roadblockwhen on your siteor researching yourbrand online.
  10. 10. ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM 11Partners:Partners may not be at your top-of-mind when thinking of whoto bring on your road to digital success, but they can make allthe difference. Just like having the appropriate research andtools at your fingertips can ease your journey, having the rightpartners can enrich the experience.1. Leverage your community–and theirsWhether you’re talking about peers, industry advocatesor just your digital agency, it’s important to leverage yourcommunity across all channels. Having partners that knowabout your unique challenges can help you make betterbusiness decisions. In fact, having an Advisory Boardcomprised of people who care about your brand and want tohelp it succeed can be a great way to expand your networkand reach. Also, they may stop you from making a wrong turn.2. Bettering your communityHaving partners does not always have to directly impact yourday-to-day business decisions. Instead, partners could alsomean other companies that wish to participate in the samecharities, outreach or advocacy as your company does.Aligning your brand with other companies that are makinga difference can be a great way to impact your businessand your community.3. Press affiliationsSuccessful companies share their wins, innovations and timewith the public. Sharing your wealth of knowledge is easy withpublic relations and press outreach. Align your business withnotable publications (online and offline) to make sure yourmessage is accurately and positively spread. Keep in mindthat some of the best ways to reach people are through digitalpublications like blogs and news aggregates.All of these people have to come with you on your digitaljourney or it will be a failure. While you have to remain opento inevitable change in the industry, you also have to be ableto rely on your employees, customers and partners to achievewhat could be. Finding the right people with whom to makethe trip ensures your brand’s future in the digital space. Haveany other suggestions for important people and how to findthem? Leave them in the comments!You also have to beable to rely on youremployees, customersand partners to achievewhat could be.BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
  11. 11. 12ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COMPreparing for Bumps in the Road:Damage ControlbyJeffAdelson-YanJust like you wouldn’t go on a journey without a spare tire, youcannot expect to never run into problems as you build yourbrand. Inevitably, you are going to hit a bump in the road.And it will deter you. It’s the nature of business–and of life.What is important is that you are savvy in your damage controland keep the effects of this bump to a minimum. Here are fewtips for helping your business prepare for a bad situationand implementing a good strategy if and when it happens.Depending on your industry, there are many potentialobstacles your business could run into. But the four practicesand processes below should ensure that you avoid mostmajor potholes, or if you hit one, you will have a plan in placeto deal with it.Secure + ProtectOftentimes people think they are doing enough to protecttheir business from trouble. But with the onslaught of Big Dataaround the country and world, you need to take the extrastep to protect your proprietary information and customers’personal data. Everyone knows to change their passwordsevery two months or so, how many of the below precautionsdo you take?1. Hide data in files with steganography2. Heighten browsing privacy3. Never use the same password for any website or app4. Always protect your business’s wireless networks5. Use much more difficult security questions + answersThere. Don’t you feel more prepared already?Risk ControlMany times, taking a risk in business involves risking ourreputations if something isn’t a success. Other times, it involvesrisking capital. And both can be equally as scary. Therefore, wecan implement a plan I like to call “risk control.” It basically meansthat taking the larger, risky project or initiative and cutting it intosmaller, more palatable sizes. For example, a risk might be a totalre-branding initiative. Besides testing your audience’s reactionsto potential marketing collateral, you can use social researchto assess how consumers feel about other brands’ images andmessaging similar to what you are creating. Prepare yourselfInevitably, you aregoing to hit a bumpin the road. And it willdeter you. It’s thenature of business—and of life.
  12. 12. ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM 13to hear what you don’t want to hear, and refine before youmove on. You may not always be able to split up investments,but keep in mind that testing before implementation is just asimportant as measuring after implementation.Make Customer Service a PriorityThere are many reasons to revamp your customer serviceinitiatives. It keeps your customers happy and keeps yourbusiness thriving. However, when trying to triage a badbusiness situation, the reason to make customer servicea priority is two-fold. Customer service is your first line ofdefense in a sticky situation. Having a plan in place of whatcustomer service representatives can say–and should say–toyour audience is a great way to ensure that damage controlis always top-of-mind. Secondly, successful customer servicedepartments have undoubtedly already converted negativeexperience into positive ones, which creates brand loyalty.A loyal customer following is likely to help stave off negativitysurrounding your brand’s faux pas. Essentially, an investmentin customer service today can return a huge dividend in theevent of a disaster.Remember StorytellingLeverage your brand’s story when times are good, andespecially when times are tough. Giving your brand a face,a name and a story can help people empathize with yourcompany when the brand has taken a hit. Take for example,the decline of Wall Street. The average American felt nosympathy for what had happened to these investmentcompanies and banks because no one knew who wasbehind them, who was working to make it right. As aresult, the industry’s and involved brands’ reputations tooka serious hit. It’s best to be proactive about telling yourbrand’s story and managing your online reputation. If youwait until disaster strikes, no one will be interested inlistening to you.And remember, when in doubt, try to do the right thing.Whether your business is big or small, and even if the “rightthing” means losing money, be sure to show your patronsthat you care about their opinions and want to make it right.The positive PR your company receives could even offsetthe initial hit. We’re all going to hit a pothole or two on theroad to success, but it’s how we deal with it that reallymatters in the Court of Public Opinion. Having a planin place can make your customers, your board, yourinvestors, your partners–or whomever–feel much betterin midst of crisis.Customer serviceis your first line ofdefense in a stickysituation.BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
  13. 13. 14ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COMTime for a Pitstop: Assess PotentialOpportunities Quicklyby Steve Parker, Jr.The nature of the digital landscape is that it is constantlychanging. Trends, tools and data that seem to be best-in-class today may not be around tomorrow. So although weare planning for the future, this strategic roadmap has tohave an element of adaptability and flexibility. This beginswith what we’ll call “pitstops.” There is a huge amount ofinformation and emerging trends bombarding our inboxesand news sites on a daily basis. It’s important to be well-equipped to assess whether or not these opportunities areworth stopping for or just a distraction. Therefore, I havecreated a list of questions to ask yourself before pursuing apotential business opportunity. By sticking with this list (andadding some of your own), you should be able to ascertainwhether or not a new opportunity is in-line with your goalsfor the future.How does this help me achieve my business goals?This is the primary focus and question you should askyourself before changing directions on your road to success.We have worked so hard to create a strategic roadmap thatwill align with your business goals and get you to the placeyou want to be. Although some opportunities might beflashy or exciting, it doesn’t mean they are right for you.What strategy can I implement to ensure success?Ok, ok. We can’t “ensure success,” but you can help your newinitiatives by always implementing a strategy. Since you havealready figured out which business goals this new initiativewill help you achieve, you can implement a strategy for eachgoal. Remember: You don’t need to be a part of somethingfor the sake of being a part of something. A perfect exampleof this is Pinterest. Sure, it’s a great platform and fun to bea part of, but that does not mean it’s right for your business.And if you do think it a good move for your business, don’tget into it without a strategy in place.How will I measure the success of this?Even though this is also a part of strategy, it’s important tothink of measurement as its own initiative. How areyou going to deem the use of this tool/trend/initiative asuccess without a measurement plan in place? Two words:you’re not. Also consider at what point you will determine ifthe opportunity is successful and implement a timeline forwhen you have to decide this. This will help keep you honest.Although someopportunities mightbe flashy or exciting,it doesn’t mean theyare right for you.
  14. 14. ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM 15Example: if this does not prove to be successful within six toeight months, we’re going another route.What am I risking?Risk is usually associated with big financial investments,but this isn’t always the case. There are small risks associatedwith simply shifting your or your employees’ time and focus.If you decide to switch directions, think proactively aboutwhat other areas will be impacted in your business.What’s my plan if it doesn’t work?This sounds a little paranoid, but the fact is that many,many business ventures and ideas fail within the first fiveyears. If a new opportunity for a partnership or tool bitesthe dust, what is Plan B? Will it be easy to bounce back?Preparing for failure will help give you foresight, which canmake you proactive.If you can answer all of these questions, you can assess theopportunity without investing a lot of time and effort. If youcannot answer all of these questions before moving forward,I simply wouldn’t. You want to make calculated decisionsbased on what is best for your brand and bottom line.This does not always include a flashy new tool or investingtime into a new social video platform even though you mightwish it did. Keeping these questions and answers in mindwill keep you on the road to success and avoid pitstopsbecoming pitfalls.Preparing for failurewill help give youforesight, which canmake you proactive.BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
  15. 15. 16ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COMSightseeing: Tips for Leveraging DigitalTrendsby Steve Parker, Jr.You’re on the road to success, but that doesn’t necessarilymean that you have to opt for the freeway. In fact, sight-seeing is a great way to ensure that you stay engaged withyour industry. It is important to remember that staying flexibleand adaptable within your strategic roadmap is imperative toyour success. After all, priorities + perspectives will change.To stave off complacency in your business and in your digitalstrategy, you must–in Steve Jobs’ words–”stay hungry.”“Sightseeing” might sound like ambling to you, but it canpay off. In our last series article we talked about assessingpotential business opportunities quickly. But sightseeing isdifferent. Essentially, you want to commit time to exploringnew trends in your industry, making room for new goalsand perspectives and new plans for achieving those goals.For example, if you asked anyone five years ago whetheror not their brand should be on Facebook, you may havegotten mixed answers. Some would have probably saidthat Facebook is just for keeping in touch with friends andfamily or that no one was interested in shopping while socialnetworking. Today we know that this isn’t the case. Peoplelike to connect and engage with brands on Facebook.Therefore, the plans of those businesses had to changetheir digital strategy accordingly. If a business did not takethe time to explore brand pages and marketing options onFacebook, it’s likely they were left behind or striving to catchup with competitors who took the time to sight-see.Here are a few tips on integrating flexibility into yourbusiness plan:1. Have dedicated teammatesWhether you have a team or just one individual, it isimportant to stay abreast of current digital trends + howyou can leverage them within your business. Sure, everyoneknows about SoLoMo right now, but what is the next waveof execution to look out for? Your company should alwaysbe on the lookout for potential opportunities, but takethe time to delve into new trends as well. It is easy to getswallowed into routine and only concern yourself with yourindustry, but there is opportunity in many other places.To stave off complacencyin your business and inyour digital strategy,you must—in SteveJobs’ words—“stayhungry.”
  16. 16. ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM 172. Outside the boxIn that vein, it is important that you monitor trends evenoutside your industry. Let’s say that you’re in healthcareor travel and you notice that retail companies are doingsomething innovative with their remarketing ads. Envisioninghow these trends can be applied to your business can helpensure that you are among the first to test new waters.3. Adjust your planSince digital is ever-changing, your plan should have roomfor change and improvement. Don’t be married to one ideaof how to achieve your overarching business goals. If emailmarketing converts the best for your first two years, andthen mobile begins to take over, switch up your focus + putmore effort toward monetizing what is working. It does notalways have to include new channels, either. If your paidsearch strategy needs to go hyper-local to be competitive,find a way to make it happen.4. Maintain end goalsNo matter what new paths you may venture down, alwaysbe sure that the end goals are the same. If a new initiativedoes not meet your long-term goals, then it’s not worthpursuing. There will always be new ways to engage withand convert customers, but always be sure that eachinitiative has a measurement plan firmly in place.With these tips, you will be able to stay abreast of allthat’s new in digital and what can potentially help yourbusiness. When creating your roadmap to digital success, it’simportant that you plan ahead but also plan to be adaptable.Change is inevitable in the digital space and those witha more flexible business + marketing plan are bound to havefewer hiccups.If a new initiative doesnot meet your long-term goals, then it’s notworth pursuing.BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
  17. 17. 18ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COMReflect on your Journey: Learn fromAnalyticsby Jeff Adelson-YanWe’re coming to the end of our Re:Adventure series, whichmeans that it’s time to reflect on your journey so far.What is the best way to reflect on the past and assess whatyou’ve accomplished? Diving into your analytics! I knowwe’ve preached about the importance of a developed andcomprehensive analytics solution before, but that’s becausethere’s not a better way to understand where you’ve beenand where you’re going. If you have been proactively usingyour analytics throughout your journey, there are things youalready know about your business. However, data can helpyou understand the full extent of the trends and help youdevelop insights at the end of your campaign. Therefore,we’re going to explore the ways in which analytics can helpyou make sense of your past and present in order to planahead for the future. You’re never truly at your destination,but analytics can help you optimize your road forward.First, let’s consider what kinds of things your analyticssolution can tell you about your business:1. Where your visitors are finding your content. Exploringthe most common paths that lead people to your site showsyou not only what content is most popular, but what sitesyour audience visit most. Therein lies the opportunity to getyour content on similar sites, whether it be through a link,guest blog, press release, etc.2. What actions your visitors are completing on-site.Are they coming to your site purely for informationalor educational purposes? Are they watching videosand reading reviews? Are they completing lead formsor subscribing to your email newsletter? All of these areactions that you can optimize toward, depending on yourbusiness goals.3. Where customers are getting hung up. Pathing reportswithin your analytics solution is a great way to find outwhere customers might be getting hung up in theconversion funnel. Perhaps there are too many steps tocomplete. Perhaps the forms are not linked to enoughthroughout the site’s pages. Perhaps the navigation isn’tintuitive. There are a number of reasons why your visitorsmay not be completing actions on-site and your analyticssolution can give you opportunities to test new site structure.You’re never trulyat your destination,but analytics can helpyou optimize yourroad forward.
  18. 18. ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM 19This, of course, is not an exhaustive list. Based on theanalytics solution you have, there are many other insightsyou can glean from your site-side data.Secondly, let’s consider what kinds of things your analyticscan help you plan for your future journeys.1. By looking at historical data, it is possible to pull outtrends and predict what will happen in the future.For instance, if you sell running shoes, your sales probablygo up at the beginning of the year when people are tryingto keep New Years Resolutions about getting in shape orin the beginning of spring when people know that bathingsuit season is just around the corner. By looking at the dataand seeing the rate at which sales increased, it’s possible topredict about how many running shoes you will sell duringthese times in the coming year. If you drill down even more,it’s possible to see what brands sell best at what timesand keep more of these in stock. This can improve yourinventory, pricing and business model as a whole.2. Similarly, when looking at historical data, it’s possibleto assess the slowest times of your business. If you findthat there are a few months with little to no sales or lesstraffic to the website, it may be feasible to optimize yourstaff. Assessing with data empowers you to find theefficiencies within your operation.3. Your analytics can also help you plan the future of yourmarketing. What channels are most cost efficient for you?What are the areas that need more budget? Analytics canhelp show you how valuable a customer is who finds yoursite via Google search versus Facebook. If you leveragethe data by asking smarter questions of it, it can reveala lot about your site visitors and how they got there. In thefuture, you can invest more heavily in the channels that workbest and remove budget from those who do not performwell. And since we know that sightseeing is important, youcan also assign budget to those new platforms or tools youwish to test.There’s no limit to how one might use analytics to better hisbusiness. And when you’re reflecting on your journey, it’s thebest place to start. Set benchmarks from your last journeyand new goals for the next one according to your findingsand business goals. Analytics can help you do it all untilyou’re ready for your next trip.Set benchmarks fromyour last journeyand new goals for thenext one accordingto your findings andbusiness goals.BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
  19. 19. 20ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COMOn the Road Again: Planning your NextJourneyby Steve Parker, Jr.We’ve come to the end of our Re:Adventure series, andlooking back, we’d say it’s been great (and hopefullyeducational) fun! This week, we’re going to talk about theimportance of gleaning insights from your campaign’sperformance to apply to your next initiatives. Whether itwas a paid search, social media, or a non-paid initiative (likesocial outreach or content syndication initiatives), there areseveral things you need to check in order to build upon foryour next trip.1. ModifyModification is key, especially in the digital age whereconsumers are constantly bombarded with marketingmessages (and therefore become fatigued much quicker).For your next campaign, you need to switch up not onlyyour creative, but your copy. Look for the best performingmessages and try to figure out why they did so well. Wasit a specific time these ads or updates ran? Was there aclearer call to action? Was the creative more vibrant andeye-catching? Did it simply educate the reader? Whateverthe criteria, categorizing your messages makes it easy toassess which categories did the best. Highlight the variouscreative attributes that performed the best (say the call toaction button was green rather than yellow or the taglinewas bigger in this banner ad versus another) and tuck theseinsights away for when you begin your next campaign.This is not just about marketing messages, either. You can alsouse your site-side analytics to assess where the stumblingblocks are on your website and modify those as well. Utilizethe best performing search ads or most visited pages on yoursite to modify underperforming pages to have similar copyand creative. This will not only help refresh your site (whichis great for SEO initiatives), but also give your consumer themost relevant and cohesive experience possible.2. RefineDon’t confuse modifying and refining. Modifying is changingthe ad, the update or the posting schedule. Refining isessentially making your campaigns smaller by optimizingtargeting and placements. Once you have assessed whichmessages and creative performed the best, you are able tomake the pool of creative smaller and more effective. Similar-ly, look into what landing pages and content resonated mostModification is key,especially in the digitalage where consumersare constantlybombarded withmarketing messages.
  20. 20. ASKINGSMARTERQUESTIONS.COM 21with consumers (hint: look at “time spent on page” and“return visits”) and direct your next campaign to thesepages and/or new ones like them. It’s best to cast a largenet in the first few campaigns and then refine to capturea more relevant and lower-funnel user.3. RemarketWhen planning your next journey, remember tactics thatwill connect you with customers that have already showninterest in your brand. This helps refine your targetingand can be a large display initiative. Remarketing is greatespecially for eCommerce sites, as it is targeting consumerswho have already shown interest in your site by visiting.It can be used for several different reasons. If a consumerdid not purchase your service or item when visiting your site,you can remarket them with an ad that displays the itemat which they were looking very quickly (even during thesame search session) to keep your brand top of mind.If a consumer did make a purchase, you can remarket themduring their next feasible sales cycle or with correspondingitems. So, for example, if I buy new tires, a company couldremarket me to remind me to schedule an appointment fora tire rotation 80 days later. If I bought a pair of jeans froman online retailer, they might remarket to me with adsof suggested tops the same or next day. The possibilitiesare virtually endless as long as you have cookie data.This ensures that the consumer journey will align with yours.With all of these tactics, you have the opportunity tooptimize your next campaigns before they even start.Historical data can be a huge source of knowledge inplanning + predicting future trends in your business andmarketing initiatives. In the digital age, performance is neveroptimized enough. There are never enough tests conducted.In short, there is always something you can be doing tomaximize your dollars. Therefore, it’s important to assesswhere you’ve been to see more clearly where you’re going.Once you’ve done this, it’s time for another Re:Adventure!In short, there isalways somethingyou can be doing tomaximize your dollars.BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
  21. 21. Primary ASQ contributors Steve Parker, Jr. and Jeff Adelson-Yan are also the Managing Partnersand Co-Founders of Levelwing. Levelwing is a business analytics and intelligence firm, miningand analyzing data to help businesses operate with greater clarity and profitability. Please contactus directly to learn how your business can benefit from our services.Email:steve@levelwing.comPhone:+1.843.631.4587Web:levelwing.com/services

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