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One of the biggest challenges to any online marketing campaign or project is getting started. This is true about many things in life, but in this post, I want to just focus on online marketing campaigns. I’m going to provide some tips, questions to ask, and insights on what should be included in both general terms and in granular items that will help ensure success or at least that you’ve mitigated risks down the road.

checkboxDiscovery and Goal Setting

  • What is the overall goal of this campaign?
    • To generate awareness through impressions and clicks (web traffic)?
    • To generate leads through impressions, clicks, and ultimately phone calls and lead submission/quote forms?
    • To generate sales revenue through impressions, clicks, and ultimately completed ecommerce transactions?
    • To accomplish another goal (drive downloads, foot traffic in store, email signup, etc.)?
  • Is the website infrastructure in place to foster users toward this goal?
  • What tactics, terms, or other factors are necessary to drive traffic?
  • What metrics are we going to track and how are we going to track them?
  • How are we currently performing and what is our past performance across these campaign channels?
  • What will success look like in terms of tangible metrics in the future and what intervals will we measure it at?

Tracking and Reporting

  • Do we have paid advertising conversion tracking in place?
  • Do we have “goals” configured in our website analytics platform?
  • Do we have custom campaign tagging on our URLs in email and social campaigns for clean tracking in our website analytics program?
  • How complete is our data historically and how robust can it be going forward?
  • How will we proactively and reactively monitor progress and issues?

Website Indexing

  • How well is our website currently indexed by the search engines?
  • Do we have all of the best practices covered (XML sitemap, robots.txt file, etc.)?
  • Do we have access to all possible data and diagnostic sources (webmaster tools, third party analysis tools)?
  • Do we have any redirect, canonical, or duplicate content issues?
  • Are we using structured data, and if so, does it validate properly?

Mitigating Risk

  • Do we have duplicate content with other sites on the web (use tools to evaluate)? Have we resolved any conflicts?
  • Do we have any unknown or potentially risky redirects or mirrors of domain names we own?
  • Have we resolved canonical issues with our www vs. non-www domain name configurations? Have we resolved duplicate URL canonical issues for pages on the site (pages in multiple product categories, duplicated content on multiple URLs, etc.)?
  • Have black hat or gray hat tactics been used in the past? Are we under any type of search engine penalty? Do we have bad or questionable links pointing to our website(s)?
  • Have we identified any and all challenges that could put the project at risk (internal resources, limitations with website CMS, budget constraints, long approval cycles, etc.)?

While this checklist of questions to ask is just a starting point, it is important to start somewhere when launching an online marketing campaign for a specific channel or integrated across multiple channels. I can provide many examples of items that fall into the “mitigating risk” category that were not considered and came back to haunt the best campaigns down the road. Watch for a future post where I’ll provide some specific client stories and examples specifically on this topic.

If you’re considering launching a campaign or have one that you want a second opinion on, feel free to reach out to us at Voltage. Our team would be happy to speak with you (for free!) about your campaign and how you might be able to ensure optimization and success.

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