Measurement and Refinement

When developing a plan, include a mention of the metrics you intend to use. Metrics will allow you to take measurements to assess the effectiveness of your efforts and chart your success. They can also help you to recalibrate if you are not seeing the results you are hoping for.

Conduct baseline research at the beginning of your campaign to establish where you are starting. You can chart your progress from that point forward and determine whether you are seeing the results you intend. Measuring your efforts provides feedback that will inform your future campaigns and can make you more successful down the road.

It’s difficult to evaluate every single aspect of your communications efforts. Focus on the components that are most critical.

There are a number of free tools available online that can help you track your efforts. For example, Google Analytics is a free web-based application that can help track visitors to your website. If your goal is to drive more traffic to your site, you can determine whether your campaign is working and whether you are seeing the kind of returns on your investment you anticipated. Google Analytics can teach you more about your audience, showing you geographic data and navigation data. Learning how people navigate your site can help you create better content and assure that you are meeting the needs of your audience.

Some of the tools you use may have built-in analytics. Most e-newsletter platforms, for example, offer detailed information showing the rate at which your newsletters are being opened, which stories and visuals readers are clicking on and revealing other insights into how people are interacting with your content. You might find that a regularly recurring letter from your director is being well-read, while feature stories on your industry are being ignored. By paying attention to these numbers you can adjust your content to suit your audience and avoid wasting your resources on areas that are not yielding benefits.

Evaluation tells you whether your tactics are working but it can also tell you whether the corrections you make are putting you back on track. By setting up a feedback loop you are ensuring that all of your efforts are worthwhile.