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At Angry Ventures, we commonly tackle dissimilar sorts of digital marketing challenges. Depending on the scope, the challenge can be a one-shot project, such as developing a specific campaign; or a long-term collaboration, in which we become the digital partners for a specific company for a year or so. This blog post focuses on the latter scenario and explores the struggle of day-to-day, continuous improvement.
By definition, continuous improvement is a term popularized by Agile methodologies. In software development, it refers to incrementally bettering the product’s features, so they achieve higher performance and please your customers. A similar view can be applied to digital marketing, regardless of whether you manage a community or deploy an email sequence.
When you first look at a project, you’ll probably find that almost everything can be enhanced or, at least, be done differently. In my opinion, the key to continuous improvement is the attempt to bridge the actions you’re taking with the reason to move forward with them that way. Seeking that reason will lead you to refine your product, get higher metrics, and, eventually, complete your goals.
On a daily basis, some routines and mindsets help me while leading continuous improvement on long-term projects. Keep in mind that these are not recipes, so feel free to take what you find valuable and twist it according to your personal way of working.
Establish the project’s routines
Routines are relevant to long-term projects. They stand from a project management perspective, in which you need to keep stakeholders involved, share ideas, or communicate insights. They are also crucial from a marketing standpoint since, to be relevant, you have to continuously nurture the relationship with your audience.
For example: when you have a social media-based project, creating routines for community management will make you stand out. However, that will only work if you have daily routines and keep this effort for an extended period. Otherwise, what could be an engaging conversation will become a meaningless one-time interaction.
In short, day-to-day improvement requires day-to-day routines.
Create setups that enable learning outcomes
Good campaigns require a whole lot of setup. The best ones are the ones that allow you to learn throughout the campaign.
This mindset can be applied to almost everything you do, from email marketing to social media, but it is easily applicable in ad campaigns. Instead of going for an ad group only, create several variations, and keep testing. While doing so, keep variables as isolated as possible, so when the campaign is running, you can know exactly which are the causes behind better or worse results.
There is no such thing as the perfect, isolated scenario. Exterior factors, such as a pandemic, can impact outcomes, so it is good to keep an eye on trends.
Being aware of these trends and learning throughout the campaign will help you improve your results and gather managerial insights for future initiatives. For instance, when launching a shoe campaign and splitting ad groups by age, you can gather ideas into which shoe design is more appealing for a certain-year-old group.
Keep listening and keep the public involved
Being attentive to what people say is a shortcut for incremental improvements. If you receive messages from clients asking for a feature, develop that feature and communicate it once it’s launched. If there are positive reviews about it, highlight it in your next newsletter or use the advantage they mentioned the most in the next ad.
User feedback is an overall great source of new ideas. If you are a start-up, you might just start organizing it on a simple Google Sheets, but as you grow, you might go for more advanced feedback gathering and categorization systems. And that should be the basis for your marketing and development pipeline.
Gather insights instead of making reports
Numbers are boring if you don’t manage to explain why they are like that. That’s why Analytics is such an interesting field and a good source of insights for incremental improvement.
During the years, I’ve grown to enjoy creating and reading reports. I’ve also noticed that if you send a report with numbers only, people will probably lose interest. What they value, instead, are the insights. And that’s why, rather than collecting data or automatizing data sends, you should focus on looking at the data and seek patterns. Those patterns will be your insights and the base for the project’s track record.
Carrying out a track record and revisiting the insights will help you do better the next time you have to do a similar task. Furthermore, it will give you a state of the art of your project and help you understand what its natural growing behavior is. For instance, you’ll know if you rely too much on ad campaigns or understand if typically emails are traffic drivers or not. As you try different things, your track records will enable better decisions.
Renew your goals periodically
Routines were already mentioned, and they are as relevant for community management as for insight collections. Moreover, they also apply to goal-setting, and that’s why it is essential to review goals from time to time. As your project progresses, it’s normal for priorities to change and for goal-setting to become more accurate.
Given that, you should establish periodical goal revision meetings where you question what was done, wrap-up what works, what continues to be valuable, and what doesn’t and, therefore, must be explored again or revised. As the project evolves, new questions arise. Answering them keeps a long-term project alive, and will provide the day-to-day, continuous improvement we seek.