Even if you’re a digital marketing pro, this area can be complex and overwhelming. After all, it’s comprised of SEO, native marketing, PPC, online PR, and inbound marketing. Oh yeah. You can’t forget about affiliate, email, social media, and content marketing as well.

But, without it, you won’t have an online presence or be able to connect with your audience. As a consequence, your competitors will swoop-in. And, ultimately, all of this means you’re missing out on sales.

So, yeah. Digital marketing is a big deal. That’s why you need to find ways to make it more successful. A great starting point is making your digital marketing more productive by doing the 10 following techniques.

1. Establish goals and objectives.

“Far too often, marketers set out with undefined or very loosely defined goals,” write the folks over at Campaign Monitor. “This is a detriment to any marketing campaign as setting goals is tied to success.”

With that in mind, the first step in making your digital marketing more productive is to clearly define your goals and objectives. “Of course, it’s easy to say you want to increase sales or visitors, but those goals don’t really mean anything,” add the Campaign Monitor team. “1 new sale is an increase. 1000 new sales is an increase.”

Instead, goals need to be defined and measurable. That’s why the SMART method is so widely used.

“SMART goal is an acronym to describe goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound,” explains Choncé Maddox in a previous Calendar article. “For example, setting a vague goal such as ‘I want to lose weight this year’ probably won’t give you the best results. Rather, “you can say, I want to lose 40 pounds in 10 months by getting on a low-carb diet and exercising 4 days per week.”

How can this be applied to your digital marketing? Well, make sure that you’re setting SMART goals for increasing social media followers, email subscribers, social media engagement, and boosting sales.

2. Get (re)acquainted with your audience.

Knowing your audience is a must. If you don’t, then how will you know which type of content resonates with them? Where can you interact with them? How do they use your product or service? What are their pain points?

The thing is, are you using outdated information. After all, the world has drastically changed following COVID.

“There have been huge shifts in customer behaviour over the past 12 months – from the adoption of remote working and schooling, video calling, online shopping of everything from grocery essentials to gardening supplies, and streaming our entertainment virtually,” writes Julie Reid for Digital Agency Network.

“How have your customers adjusted? Has this flagged up new pain points and challenges that you could address?”

The best way to answer these questions is simply to ask them. “Host an online focus group with a small number of customers or speak to five to ten of them individually to get some qualitative feedback on”:

  • How they use your product or service now
  • What is working
  • What no longer works in our current environment
  • What else they need that you can deliver

“Once you have that information, follow it up with a survey that goes to your wider email database and social audiences that will help you measure the extent of the sentiment,” adds Reid.

“Be sure to adjust your strategy based on what you learn.”

If you can’t host a focus group, you can still gather customer feedback through online surveys, email contact forms, social listening, and on-site activity.

3. Collect, measure, track, and analyze data.

Yes. This is absolutely essential if you want to improve everything from the customer experience to creating a sales funnel. It’s also key to creating and sharing engaging digital content.

But, that’s old news. Today, you need to by using tools that provide you with this information in real-time. When you do, you’ll have immediate answers, faster response times, and keep tabs on your customer’s changing behaviors.

4. Employ smarketing.

No. I did not accidentally put an “s” in front of the word marketing. Rather, smarketing is the concept of combining sales and marketing.

Smarketing “is a modern take on how these two functions work as a single team instead of two separate teams with different objectives and goals,” explains Martin Luenendonk at Cleverism. “In the past, Marketing was only fixed on market penetration, building brand identity and creation of lead opportunities.” Once leads were provided, their work was done and the ball was handed over to Sales.

“With Smarketing, however, Marketing’s job does not end there,” adds Luenendonk. “They will also provide support for Sales. In return, Sales will also support Marketing.”

“It’s a more dynamic relationship, which makes a lot of sense since they are both in the same organization and sharing the same goals,” he states. In some cases, businesses have actually merged these two departments.

Whatever strategy you wish to implement, integrating these two can increase their revenue by 20% annually. And, it probably saves a ton of time since sales and marketing since they are working together towards a shared purpose — as opposed to getting into each other’s way.

5. Join the voice revolution.

Although voice search was first introduced by Google in 2011, it has exploded within the last couple of years. Mainly thanks to the popularity of voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home. In fact, roughly 40% of the US population use voice assistants — by 2024, it’s expected that the number of digital voice assistants will reach 8.4 billion units!

As a result, this has changed SEO. So, if you want to get found, then you need to optimize for voice search by:

  • Make sure that your site loads as quickly as possible.
  • Use an HTTPS-secured website.
  • Build a trusted and authoritative domain.
  • Publish valuable, highly-shareable content, as well as long-form content.
  • Keep answer snippets at approximately 29 words long.
  • Eliminate duplicate pages.
  • Update your Google My Business listing and eCommerce stores, such as ensuring your contact info and operating hours current.

6. Utilize digital marketing tools.

Sure. A carpenter can still do their job with an old-school handsaw. But, it’s faster and more effective if they use a power saw.

The same is true with digital marketers. Without the right apps and software, you won’t be able to reach and retain customers. At the same time, don’t overdo it. You only need to rely on the tools that you’re actually using.

At the minimum, you should have:

  • Analytics tools like Google Analytics.
  • Email marketing tools, such as Mailchimp or Benchmark.
  • Social media tools allow you to monitor and manage your channels. These include Buffer, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social.
  • Tools that help you create and curate content, such as Feedly, CoSchedule, or Visme.

7. Outsource and delegate.

The world of digital marketing can move faster than the speed of light. As such, the knowledge, skills, and tactics that you’ve relied on my now be considered antiquated. Instead of trying to catch-up, you might want to assign certain tasks to those who are up-to-speed.

Even if you’re all caught up, you still might want to hand-off tasks to experts. For example, you might be familiar with graphic design. But, a seasoned graphic designer could save you a ton of time. And, no offense, it will probably look better too.

8. Invest in yourself.

At the same time, that doesn’t mean you should stop enhancing or learning new skills. If you keep strengthening your graphic design skills, then you can do this yourself more quickly. And, that means you won’t have to delegate or outsource as much.

9. Take a “less is more” approach.

“This crisis has created a need to do a lot more with fewer resources,” notes Calendar Co-founder John Hall in a HubSpot article.

“Marketers, in particular, are under a lot of pressure to pivot their strategy and ensure their brand stays relevant during difficult times.”

“But, although quality does make a difference, marketing right now is a game of strategy and scale,” says John. “At the end of the day, only a small fraction of the people reached by a brand will actually convert.”

“Which means the more people marketers reach — and the more touchpoints involved — the better,” he adds. “If you’re already feeling stretched thin, don’t worry. Reaching more people doesn’t necessarily mean doing more. In fact, there are a few circumstances where it’s actually better to do less.”

According to Hall, here are “five areas of marketing you can practice the ‘less is more’ approach to ensure higher efficiency, and less time wasted:”

  • Managing your employees and campaigns by not micromanaging and consolidating tools.
  • Not scheduling every minute of your calendar so that it can be flexible.
  • Writing short and sappy content.
  • Keeping meetings short and concise.
  • Cutting back on the brainstorming sessions and experimenting more.

10. Enroll in Time Management 101.

Finally, make sure that you’re following time management basics. Why? Because when you do, you’ll be become a lean and mean productivity machine. In turn, you’ll be able to develop ideas and take action more quickly and effectively.

If you need a refresher, here are the best places to start if time management is an issue:

  • Set time limits on specific tasks to gamify your work.
  • Block-off meeting-free times.
  • Block distracting apps and websites.
  • Spruce up your work environment.
  • Implement an open/closed-door policy.
  • Track your time to see when you’re most productive.
  • Avoid multitasking.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Use templates and outlines, such as Calendar templates, a set of standard hashtags, and graphic templates in Canva.
  • Prioritize the right channels.
  • Use a password manager, such as LastPass.

Image Credit: andrea piacquiadio;  pexels