How to Turn Around a Failing Online Marketing Plan

No one ever launches a new website or begins a fresh online marketing campaign with the idea that things aren’t going to work out. The assumption is that some point in the near future they will be enjoying a fresh stream of new sales opportunities and increased revenue.

What happens when those goals aren’t being realized, though? How can you switch from a failing plan and put your business back on the right course?

In our line of work, we regularly meet with business owners and executives who have been asking themselves these exact questions. They have turned to us because they can’t find the answers and direction they need. They are aware that the internet can bring them lots of new clients and customers, but what they are trying isn’t yielding the right results.

In today’s post, we want to take a brief look at the process we follow with these clients. While we are going to go into a great amount of detail, it’s a template you can use to turn around an underperforming online marketing campaign in a hurry.

Let’s start with the first step, which is arguably the most important one…

Accurately Identify the Problems (Not Just the Symptoms)

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You can’t fix the problem until you know what’s wrong, and that isn’t always as simple a proposition as it might sound. Sometimes, new clients come to us with issues (like a lack of search traffic, for example, or high PPC costs) that are really symptoms of bigger issues. They might have back end programming problems on their websites, for instance, or could be relying on content that Google has marked as duplicated.

It’s imperative that you figure out what’s going on with your website and online marketing plan before you start making changes. That usually means getting together with your creative team and having them perform a website audit. Then you can go digging into your web analytics and get a feel for what’s really happening beneath the surface.

Stop Following the Wrong Advice or Practices

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As the old saying goes, once you’re in a hole you need to stop digging. You might be amazed at how many business people we meet with who react to a failing online marketing strategy by doubling down on their current efforts. They pay for more underperforming ads, keep posting the same kinds of content buyers are ignoring, and follow design principles that haven’t led to any improvement.

Unless you have a very good reason to keep going, consider pausing your online marketing efforts for a short time until you can find a more solid direction forward. Otherwise, you could just keep making the same mistakes again and again or wasting time and money that would be better devoted to other activities.

Get Clear About Your Short- and Long-Term Goals

Some online marketing campaigns are virtually guaranteed to fail because they don’t follow any clear path or direction. It isn’t enough to say you want more leads or more sales; you should have a vivid sense of where your future revenue will be coming from, what kind of customers or clients you want to attract, and how you’re going to engage with them.

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This sort of planning is even more important when things haven’t been going well. You and your creative team should both agree on what a successful outcome would look like in three months, six months, and a year or more into the future. Decide how you’re going to measure wins and losses, and how long you’ll keep moving forward before making any further course corrections.

Create a Realistic Plan of Action

As we’ve already mentioned, the natural instinct many marketers have is to overreact and overcorrect when things aren’t going well. That’s understandable, but it isn’t always helpful. For example, if you spend too much money on PPC ads today, you might leave yourself in a bigger whole next quarter when you can’t keep the campaign going without breaking your budget. That’s especially true if you haven’t taken the time to properly assess the problem in the first place.

When we work with clients, we figure out what’s realistic in terms of time, effort, and expense before moving forward. That way, we can not only create sustainable marketing efforts that deliver over time but also set the right kinds of short-term expectations. In other words, we get everyone on the same page so they know what budgets and schedules should look like, and what kinds of results we can expect to see within the first few weeks or months.

Take Small Steps, Measure the Results, and Then Recalibrate

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After you know what’s wrong, stop throwing good money after bad, and have clear goals and the direction it’s time to plug ahead.  It’s likely that some of the work will be done by you and your team while other steps will be taken by your web design company. For more information visit Maxburst. Either way, the big requirement is that you follow through on your plans and make sure that all the little steps you’ve outlined are executed.

With your new strategy in place, you’ll want to set regular analytics reviews with your creative team to assess the progress being made. In other words, you’ll want to make sure that things are paying off the way you anticipated and that you are indeed on the right path. Then, you can keep adding to your campaigns and recalibrating over time. That way you’ll build up new sources of leads and revenue over time… and never again find yourself wondering how to turn things around in a hurry.

Need Help Putting Your Business on a Better Track?

The steps we’ve outlined in this post work, but they are easier to follow when you have the right team of experts on your side. If you’re tired of coming up short with your online marketing campaigns and want to start getting better advice and execution, we encourage you to seek out a local digital agency with a strong online reputation and case studies showing proven results.

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