A stitch in time saves nine – anyone who works in digital marketing should always remember this proverb. Spending a little time at the beginning of a project will help immensely in executing your strategy efficiently and achieving goals. Many small businesses don’t get the desired results from their digital marketing investments. There could be several reasons for their failure. However, the most common mistake is an inefficient and unclear start to the project. For example, while starting a Google Adwords campaign, you spend a lot of time in Keyword selection and Landing Page development and forget to define the performance measurement parameters or matrices. This mistake can lead to a situation where even a brilliant campaign may fail due to inconsistent monitoring and optimization.

Hence, for a successful project, several factors must be taken into consideration while starting it, which will enable you save time, money and a lot of energy. Some of these factors are discussed here.

#1. Checklist And Templates

The success of a campaign depends on how you start the project. There are multiple parties involved in the execution of every project. Small things delay the implementation, and little avoidable mistakes ruin the effectiveness of the entire campaign. Creating a checklist can expedite your digital marketing project and remove the hassles significantly. You can develop a list in five minutes, and it will save a lot of time during the campaign. The checklist varies from project to project.

Another useful tool is creating templates for repetitive tasks. While building templates, do remember that it must be straightforward. You don’t need to put every detail into it. You can create a template for storing website credentials, requirement gathering questions, performance measurement, etc. Here is a simple example of user id credentials. I recommend to use Google Sheets and Docs for creating checklist and templates so that you can share it with your team members, contractors, and clients.

#2. Ad Copy And Creative Design Guide

Content and images constitute two major components of any digital marketing campaign. Both elements complement each other and can’t be developed in isolation. You may require outside help to develop effective content and images.

However, these are two distinct skill sets, and you will hardly find a contractor who can do both of them effectively. In certain cases, a web page or HTML mailers may also be required. Therefore, you need to hire two or more professionals and ensure that all of them work in tandem.

More importantly, copy and images go for several rounds of iterations before being finally approved for the campaign. The entire process involves little things that complicate and delay the campaign. As a business owner, you can’t afford to invest a lot of time in getting these things done as you have to run your business. Therefore, you need to develop a clear instruction guide for both – the content as well as the design elements to make this process simple and efficient. Here is a content development guide which you can use to generate better results.

In the age of social media, the size of the creative element matters as much as the concept. Therefore, it is imperative for you to communicate the size of images to your designers. If you have hired a freelance designer, then it becomes more essential. Here is a social media image size guide for major platforms.

#3. Social Media And Content Calendar

No social media manager can ignore the importance of timing on social media. Your social media and blog engagement will remain low if you can’t get the timing right. So prepare a thorough calendar for scheduling content creation and status updates. You can use Google Analytics to find out a suitable time for your business.

Here is how you can find out the right time to post from Google Analytics:

GA-Daily

This snapshot depicts the per day traffic for a 30 days period. Most of the sites will show a trend in website traffic. This data shows that their audience is most active on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays while least active on weekends.

Now have a look at this snapshot:

GA-Hourly

This graph is for hourly website traffic for 30 days.

By closely looking at peak hour traffic, we can draw a clear insight that most of the visitors browse the site between 9-11 AM on weekdays. Thus this brand is expected to see better social media engagement during this period.

#4. Performance Metrics

Defining performance metrics at the beginning is as important as the campaign itself. If you are going to use Google Analytics to measure the overall performance of the campaign, then do define the performance metrics. The metrics could be lead, conversion, newsletter subscription, traffic, page views, etc. You can create a custom dashboard in Google Analytics with selected matrices. The custom dashboard saves time and makes it easy for you to understand the performance of your campaign. In a short glimpse, you can compare the business goals against the achievements and optimize the campaign accordingly.

#5. Useful Tools

These tools are mandatory for every responsible marketer who is serious about their brand reputation. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Copyscape and Duplichecker – these tools l check for plagiarism. No matter who has written the content, you should never post it on the website without checking with these tools.

Buffer – it will not only save your time in social media marketing but also provides useful analytics that you can use to refine your strategy.

Grammarly – run your content through Grammarly before making the blog live. It saves time and spots errors which sometimes get ignored by human proofreaders.

Conclusion

Getting started the right way is half work done. To meet short deadlines, many start their campaigns with whatever little information they have and face serious challenges later. They may not even understand why the campaign failed and make a wrong conclusion that digital is not meant for them.

A well-planned beginning of the project leads to productive results. If you still don’t succeed, you will have enough understanding of what went wrong and how to make the course correction. Always remember that marketing is not just an activity or a process, it is an investment. A well-planned investment can lead to higher returns as compared to unplanned ones.