Now that you have completed your strategy and persona research, you need to use analysis to turn it into something tangible. Analysing the data will help you identify key trends to ensure your strategy is on the right track and targeting the best audiences effectively.
However, the analysis stage of your strategy doesn’t simply mean looking at spreadsheets that have all your findings recorded on them, as it can include a range of methods and platforms. In order to get the most out of your research, it is important to bear in mind both the quantitative and qualitative elements of analysis.
While detailed analysis of your research and current data will help set your strategy on the right track and result in a better chance of success, there are no guarantees. Many marketers do everything “right” but still don’t see the results they were expecting.
This is why regular analysis of your strategy and any extra research or data you gather is so important in any ongoing campaign. Sometimes the pattern you were expecting to see isn’t there – if there is any kind of pattern at all – and best-laid plans don’t come to fruition. Analysis allows you to work through trial and error, which is why your strategy should still remain fairly fluid at this stage.
You don’t need to be a master of analytics use these tools; most marketers use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools with great success to help inform strategies. However, you do need to have a basic understanding not only of how to use them, but particularly how to look at the data in relation to your strategy and its goals.
To offer deeper analysis into research or how a strategy is performing, we use our Data Insights team, as they have the best understanding of how to get the most out of research, fill in any gaps and inform strategies.
That being said, there are some simple ways you can analyse data with these tools yourself, with a dashboard being one of the most effective options. Setting up a dashboard on Google Analytics allows you to create custom widgets, so you can quickly review performance without needing a deeper understanding of how the platform works.
Dashboards are fully customisable, enabling you to create widgets based on your strategy goals and personas. They are also quick to set up and you can adjust the date ranges easily, allowing you to compare strategy performance at different stages of your campaign, and look at overall website performance before and after the campaign was launched.
Webmaster Tools lets you gain a better understanding of how your site is being seen. You can look at overall performance and general website health, which could have an impact on how well your strategy does if there are, for example, a lot of broken links. You can also perform keyword analysis, which can help flesh out your previous keyword research and give you a better understanding of what phrases you should focus on in your content.
If you have conducted surveys as part of your research, it can be incredibly easy – and all too tempting – to pick out the answers that best suit your existing ideas about the direction your strategy should go. However, this isn’t based on going to provide an accurate understanding of your real results and so it is vital to approach the survey findings in a neutral way.
Any key takeaways you find in the survey results should be noted objectively to make this aspect of your research worthwhile. You can do this by writing down and tallying any recurring results, along with keywords. This should be done for all of your surveys before summarising your findings at the end.
Not only will this provide a better overview of survey results, it will also better inform your strategy.
While your personas will have given a general overview of who your competitors are in relation to your target audience, greater competitor analysis can help your strategy in other areas too. It is important to not only understand who your competitors are, but also how they engage their audience, position their products and deliver their customer experience.
Of course, you won’t have access to their Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics for this part of your analysis, but there are other tactics that can provide insights.
By now, you should have a clearer idea of your target audience and their pain points. However, social listening can add more value here to assess the accuracy of your findings.
Conversations on industry forums and social platforms will provide greater insight into your target audience and the challenges they are likely to face. This will help you see how best you can position your solution as the answer to their problems.
Module 5: Content planning and implementation