5 Digital Marketing Questions Your Organization Should Be Asking
It’s no secret that digital marketing can be a powerful tool for demand generation in higher education. But once you’ve approved the marketing plan, signed off on the creative, and agreed to a budget, you might find yourself asking: now what?
Once your initiatives are up and running, do you “set it and forget it?” Should you be looking at your data daily? Weekly? What information are you even supposed to be looking for?
The short answer is that your digital marketing strategy should constantly evolve based on data-informed insights.
Whether institutions outsource digital marketing to an agency or handle it internally, there’s often room for improvement when it comes to reviewing and analyzing their data.
If you’re in “set it and forget it” mode, you probably aren’t receiving much reporting. You don’t have any way to test your hypotheses, adjust for what’s working, and reduce waste or inefficiency in your budget.
On the other hand, it’s also possible to get buried under an avalanche of too much data. Not all metrics are created equal, and the number of things you should be measuring is much smaller than what you could be measuring. And interpreting that data to continuously improve your digital marketing strategy is key.
To bridge that gap, we recommend holding monthly meetings to discuss performance metrics and identify opportunities for improvement. When MindMax runs these meetings with our clients, we help answer the following questions to mine their data effectively.
5 Questions to Ask When Analyzing Digital Marketing Data
How did we perform against our goals?
It’s easy to get distracted by shiny objects that look like success. But even the most enticing metric is only meaningful if it fits in the context of your school’s goals.
For example, an increase in website traffic can be a positive indicator that your demand generation strategy is working. However, the ultimate goal is probably increased enrollments. If your latest report tells you that impressions grew by 50%, that’s only valuable if those additional impressions convert to more leads (prospective students) who are interested enough to fill out a request for more information.
Staying focused on your goals allows you to filter through the noise of digital marketing data and distill it down into what matters most.
How efficient was our spending?
Is your college spending its digital marketing dollars in the best way possible? Comprehensive reporting should not only measure the volume of leads but also determine how much you spent to get them.
Cost-per-lead (CPL) is a key data point to examine efficiency—and figuring out that ideal target (often, but not always, by reducing your cost per lead) is an ongoing process.
Keep your marketing budget fluid so you can move money around as needed to invest in initiatives that are delivering on your objectives. (More on that soon.)
How effective is our messaging?
Although your school’s core message will likely remain consistent, there are always ways to optimize for greater success. At least once a quarter, discuss your messaging by asking the following questions:
- What resonates with our audience—and what doesn’t?
- What’s important for the coming season?
- What can be improved for the next online marketing campaign?
Use performance metrics such as click-through-rate and conversion rate to iterate your messaging. You may not need to reimagine the entire strategy; small optimizations can have a big effect on engagement. Test out different elements, including:
- Calls to action (“Learn More” vs. “Apply Now”)
- Photography (focusing on campus life vs. career after graduation)
- Copywriting (state value proposition vs. ask a question)
- Banner colors
How is each platform performing?
While there’s some value in looking at your results in aggregate, digital marketing data is most informative when broken down by individual platform: paid search on different engines (Google, Bing), display banner ads, and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
Once you’ve evaluated the total number of leads, drill down into each platform to see which ones are performing best. Your messaging may be a home run on one platform while hardly engaging prospective students on another.
A media plan, like the budget attached to it, should be fluid and adaptable. If, for example, performance metrics indicate that Facebook and Google are outperforming Twitter and Bing, reallocate money to support the channels delivering the best results.
Digital marketing meetings should always conclude with a discussion about what comes next. Data analysis is important, but the real progress comes from what you do with all that valuable information. Once you’ve reviewed your insights, decide what to tweak, adjust, or recalibrate. Assign a meeting facilitator to take notes on:
- key takeaways
- action items/to-dos
- responsibility and accountability
- goals for the next month
So what’s next for you? If you need help analyzing your marketing data, MindMax can help. We run regular meetings to review insights with all the colleges that we work with, and our Enrollment Intelligence platform gives us unique insight into the most valuable data from digital marketing campaigns.
Contact us to see how MindMax can leverage the power of data to improve your digital marketing and increase your enrollments.