Monday, October 21, 2013

Requirements Analysis for Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing (SEO, Optimization, whatever you call it) is not a ‘packaged diet’. You have to work with a strategist to get the right things done.

Like Software Development process, Requirements Analysis is the first step in Digital Marketing; it should be. If you are preparing Digital Marketing Strategy for your own product, your company or a client, you have to define the goals very clearly and then map the goals to definite action items.

I always had problems with SEO Packages. Even when it was predictive on how to rank in Google, I never believed that a premade SEO Plan can be helpful. What works for Jack might not work for Jill! I always asked my clients “What do you want to achieve with your website?” The answer determines what to be done for the client.

I remember speaking to an entrepreneur who just formed a startup; they were selling discount medicine cards in Canada. “We want to rank in the first page of Google”, they said. “Why?”, I asked. They had no answer. I helped them to find the reasons – “Probably, you need leads, you need visitors to your website?” They agreed. “Then why don’t you start with PPC and as the organic traffic increases, you can reduce your PPC budget and focus more on organic growth.” Organic growth does not come overnight.

A person with abilities to identify the business requirements should work with the client to understand what they want. And then, come up with the right Digital Marketing Strategy to achieve the targets in next 3 months, 6 months or 1 year. Often the requirements are mentioned in client’s own term – the analyst has to translate them into technical term and map each of the requirements to specific action items.

Here is a use case that explains what I said above.

Assume someone wants to generate leads through website. They want the visitors to fill out a small form and that’s it. The website is new and the company is targeting 1000 monthly signups in a year.

That’s the requirements written in English. Now, you have to interpret in your own language – something like this:

  1. The website needs more visits
  2. The visitors must fill out the form 

If I translate the requirements to technical term; it will look like:

  1. Generate traffic
  2. Enhance usability
  3. Optimize for higher conversions

Then we need to set action items that will help achieve the goals:

1. Generate traffic: There can be two avenues; organic and paid. Sketch a plan to get the website indexed and keep improving ranks in search engines. You need to focus on both on-page and off-page stuff. PPC can help to generate traffic from day one. No matter how old your website is. However, you might need to create landing pages.

There has to be a daily, weekly and monthly list of deliverables. Regular monitoring will help you identify whether the progress is up to the mark.

2. User experience is important; Google prefers the websites that offer good user experience (I am sure Google has its own way of measuring it). This is a continuous process and you can always make it better – monitor user behavior, collect data and make changes based on them. There are tools that help you implement the best practices.

3. Conversion optimization is a vast subject; based on your Sales process, you have to formulate the right conversion optimization strategy. For the example we are considering, placement of the form, message around the form, font, color of the font etc. can lead to higher conversion. The optimization process for Organic and Paid traffic will be different.

There will be a list action items under these three categories. A strategist will make the list depending up on the present condition of the website and then move forward.

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