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Evaluating Your Overall Marketing Program: 7 Questions for Benchmarking and Improving

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by: Heather Shore (@heathervshore)
01 October 2012

Several times a month, clients ask me how to improve their digital marketing programs. They want to know what other clients are doing and if I have examples of successful messages, preference centers, social campaigns, behavioral marketing programs and more.

My advice is to start at the beginning. Benchmarking is a self-improvement tool for businesses and organizations. It’s a way of finding and adopting best practices, identifying your marketing program’s strengths and weaknesses, and learning how to improve.

Enhancing your program will depend on what benchmarks your business deems important. Is it increasing overall program revenue, certain company growth percentages, engagement rates or something else? Once that’s decided, take a look at each marketing component to see what needs to change. Overall program evaluation should happen at least once a year as you’re finalizing fiscal-year goals.

Questions to ask:

1) Do I have the basics set up?
Take a look at your opt-in process. Do you have an email or newsletter sign-up in the home page header? Are your sign-up forms easy to fill out? Ask the basic information and get customers to update profile information through different communication points. Benchmark this through your capture rate. (More on increasing opt-ins.)

2) Is our preference center quick and easy to fill out?
A strong preference center, particularly when combined with behavioral data, can help you increase relevance. Wherever you invite contacts to tell you about themselves, look at your form abandonment rate to see how many people are leaving the page. Are you asking the right questions and using the best features, such as progressive profiling, to gather customer information? (More on preference centers.)

3) Are we capturing the data we need to build a strong behavioral marketing database?
Make sure all data points are being sent over from your CRM. It’s also a good idea to make sure other system integrations are passing additional data points such as social and analytics data. From there, you can build out lifecycle campaigns based on customer behaviors and actions taken on your site. (More on building a centralized database.)

4) How can we enhance our welcome program?
Assuming you’re already sending out a welcome email(s) – preferably immediately after opt-in – think about how you can evolve the series into a nurture, onboarding and/or activation series. Base second and third messages on whether a customer has opened, clicked or taken an action. Message to customers differently based on the actions they take, using different offers and calls to action to gauge a lift in engagement. (More on welcome programs.)

5) What new triggered message programs can we can set up or improve?
Messages triggered by recipient behaviors or personal data can increase ROI exponentially if done correctly. Do you have a cart abandon, form abandon, anniversary series, birthday series or loyalty program set up? Do those programs incorporate all necessary customer data points to make the programs successful? Have you assessed the creative and looked at conversion metrics to gauge success? Make sure the programs are optimized to hit larger revenue targets and provide the best customer experience. (More on triggered messages.)

6) Do we have a testing system in place?
Incorporate test plans each year around messaging frequency, creative and inactive customers to continue to improve overall program metrics. Make sure tests last a certain time period to provide statistically significant results. (More on testing.)

7) What new ideas and channels can we incorporate into our program?
Break out of the everyday routine and starting brainstorming new ways to market. Would you benefit from a new mocial strategy? Are you using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn effectively? Is it time for a new SMS integration or a location-based marketing program? Keep strategizing additional channels to include in your digital marketing program. Make sure you aren’t missing ways to grow revenue and customer experience. (More on multichannel marketing.)

Take a breath and start evaluating. Doing a comparative analysis will only make you and your business become a world-class marketer. And remember, Silverpop is here to help – please post your questions in the “Comments” box below!

Related Resources:
1) White Paper: “Turning Lost Shopping Carts, Incomplete Forms and Interrupted Browse Sessions into Revenue
2) Infographic: “Using Mocial Channels to Grow Your Email Database
3) Blog: “Beyond the Benchmarks: 9 Steps to Improve Email Performance


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