Just because your office tag or role plaque doesn’t say “project manager” doesn’t mean you’re not one.
Software engineers are project managers.
So are wedding planners.
And if you’re in charge of in-house marketing campaigns, so are you.
Even in the midst of a flurry of ever-changing deliverables and deadlines, most creative teams and marketing agencies still tend to downgrade the sheer importance of marketing project management software.
You tell yourself that you’re the best digital marketer your firm has ever seen. That there’s no way a project could turn into a fire drill under your watch. But you’d be damned to carry on with this line of thought.
Take this to the bank: project management software is by far the most important asset you can have in your digital marketing stack.
Don’t believe us? Check out these stats:
Need we say more?
Keeping reading to learn:
What Is Marketing Project Management?
Marketing project management is all the planning that’s necessary to take a marketing campaign from an idea to execution. On a fundamental level, it’s deciding how to achieve a goal, what needs to get done, planning the steps, and then making sure it happens.
Let’s look at an example project. Say, for example, your marketing team wants to launch a blog on Medium.
Managing that project would involve:
- Doing a bit of background research on Medium
- Deciding what KPIs this initiative helps you achieve
- Setting deadlines
- Planning how to make it happen
- Finding help
- Monitoring the project to make sure it gets done correctly and on time
On a more minute level, marketing project management involves:
- Brainstorming projects to satisfy KPIs
- Scheduling realistic start dates and deadlines
- Budgeting entire campaigns and individual tasks
- Planning individual tasks across multiple teams
- Assigning the right task to the right person at the right time
- Executing the plan on time
- Re-balancing tasks and workloads on the fly
- Finishing the marketing project
- Evaluating metrics and identifying wins and fails
- Revising what needs fixing now and changing to improve future campaigns
It’s a lot, but don’t start hyperventilating.
Thanks to marketing project management software, you can manage every single teeny-tiny detail of your marketing campaigns from a single easy-to-use dashboard.
What Is Marketing Project Management Software?
Marketing project management software is a purpose-built platform that helps marketing departments to plan and execute projects. It comes pre-built with all the integrations and tools you need to streamline workflows, plan campaigns, collaborate, and manage all of your creative digital assets.
The best part? It comes chock-full of the following project management features:
- Resource allocation
- Campaign performance management
- Workflow optimization
- SLA reporting
- File sharing
- Project tracking
- Time tracking
- Workload management
- And more!
A truly cutting-edge project management tool will pull all of these capabilities under one roof. Make that happen, and the results will speak for themselves.
Why Your Marketing Team Needs Marketing Management Software
Your marketing team is full of different personalities, roles, and skillsets. The members of your creative team likely thrive with a more flexible approach and push back against structure and clearly-defined processes. The marketing analytics team lives and dies by logical outcomes and hard numbers. Your marketing project management software should help these cross-functional teams work together toward the same goal — creating great content and executing effective campaigns.
Here are six reasons you need marketing project management software and how it will transform the way you work.
Without a clear way to track and manage timelines, deadlines, and next steps, coordinating campaigns can feel a lot like herding cats. The right marketing project management solution should provide a holistic view of every task and deliverable, so you can see exactly when and where things are getting off track.
You can’t build successful integrated marketing campaigns without seamless communication and collaboration. But using email to send comments back and forth is a great way to lose track of critical feedback. A good marketing project management software should enable collaboration — allowing you to build flexible workflows to manage task approvals and giving your team the ability to provide and track feedback in the same place so no one misses any edits or comments.
Marketing project management software gives your department the ability to monitor team processes, assess campaign progress, and identify potential bottlenecks. The result is the transparency you need to make informed, effective decisions that will minimize waste, improve operational efficiency, and maximize campaign performance.
4. Marketing resource management
A good marketing project management tool should also provide marketing resource management capabilities to help you manage all of your marketing resources. The ability to store relevant brand, content, and visual assets will help your team leverage what’s already been created and reduce duplicative efforts, saving your marketing team both time and money.
Marketing campaigns have a lot of moving parts — they’re essentially the product of a comprehensive laundry list of “to-do’s.” Marketing project management software helps you keep track of every task and deliverable in one place, so you stay organized, efficient, and productive.
Too often, marketing teams spend the majority of their time and energy wrangling tasks and responding to fire drills. A good marketing project management software provides calendars, alerts, and a clear view of what needs to happen next, helping everyone on your team stay focused on what’s most important. Bonus points if the tool provides operational efficiency analytics, like Welcome’s CMP.
Is Marketing Project Management Software Worth The Punch?
Take a quick detour to Google.
Look up the pricing figures for marketing project management software.
What do you see?
If you’re like some marketers, you’ve probably looked away in chagrin (no way you’re going to spend that much on a marketing management solution!)
But think about it.
How much do you spend on analytics subscriptions, time-tracking tools, collaboration software every month?
Our guess is that the tallied-up numbers exceed what you’ll ever spend on an all-in-one marketing-specific project management solution.
Still not convinced?
Think about the value of your time. The hours that your designers, writers, and project managers waste away trying to pinch pennies.
Add the figures up, and you’ll arrive at only one conclusion: the value of your team members’ time exceeds what you’ll spend on one-off or single-purpose marketing solutions.
Just think about it.
Types of Marketing Project Management Software
Social Media Management Software
Social media management platforms like Hootsuite and Sprout Social allow you to schedule posts, measure content engagement, and understand social campaign performance. However, for sophisticated content marketers producing a lot of content for different channels and running integrated campaigns, social management software only solves one part of the content creation and distribution process.
Workflow and Project Management Software
Workflow and project management software solutions (think: Basecamp, Smartsheet, Trello) allow teams to plan projects, track tasks, schedule distribution, and allocate resources. While these capabilities are critical to your marketing efforts, these tools don’t offer marketing-centric functionalities around ideating, digital asset management, or analytics that marketing teams need to create effective integrated campaigns.
A content marketing platform (CMP) is a software solution that enables marketers to drive awareness, leads, and revenue through content. Some CMPs also offer project management capabilities to help marketers manage content production and campaigns. Welcome is an example of an end-to-end marketing project management solution that provides data-driven ideation, analytics, and marketing resource management capabilities to help marketers ideate, create, manage, and track content production and campaign performance all in one place.
9 Ways to Use Marketing Project Management Software
1. Create Cohesive Marketing Strategies
Your marketing team can’t do everything—you have to prioritize.
Look at your goals, and then look at the options. Which campaigns and marketing tactics will help you achieve those goals?
For example, if you want to drive brand awareness, you’d want to focus on developing a robust digital advertising campaign. And if you wanted to grow your organic traffic, then you’d want to invest in on-page SEO enhancements and link-building programs.
Always have a goal or a KPI before you plan a marketing strategy.
Many teams get lost trying to find goals to justify marketing projects—don’t get caught in this trap. The goal comes first, and the marketing project follows.
Marketing project management software keeps you aligned and honest. Welcome empowers you to attribute campaigns and content directly to KPIs. Whether you’re trying to grow leads, build pipeline, or drive growth, Welcome gives you ROI analytics to discover and prove which campaigns move the needle.
2. Assess Your Marketing Resources
Once you know the campaign you need (not want) to launch, it’s time to start planning how to make it happen.
Every marketing project requires resources. It’s impossible to execute a campaign without money and human talent.
Software can help you evaluate your marketing resources and realistically allocate them. Here are a few of the most important resources to consider:
- Time: Time is your most valuable asset. With unlimited time, you can accomplish anything. Unfortunately, time is finite. To execute any campaign, you’ll need to manage calendars, schedules, due dates, and deadlines.
- Budget: Marketing takes money. Even organic marketing (like SEO, content marketing, social media marketing) requires time, software, and human hand-holding. Budget your cash wisely to stretch your dollars and boost your ROI.
- Digital Assets: Look at your software, collaboration tools, analytics, and existing content. These are all valuable resources with real value.
- Bandwidth: Your team members can only do so much. Track their time and capacity to balance workloads and prevent burnout.
- Templates & Workflows: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You don’t need to recreate the wheel with every new campaign—use templates and duplicate workflows to replicate successful projects.
Welcome makes resource management as easy as click, click, done. Whether you want to organize your marketing assets in one central hub, optimize your budget, or balance your team workloads, Welcome has the tools you need to make it happen.
3. Collaborate Across Teams
Top-notch digital marketing doesn’t happen in silos. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Effective marketing campaigns involve multiple teams. Even writing a simple blog post should involve content marketing, creative services, SEO expertise, demand generation, and more.
However, getting multiple marketing teams and team members aligned and on-schedule is easier said than done, especially if each team has its own goals, tools, deadlines, and workflows.
For example, it’s always going to be a struggle to work together when your creative team is on Trello, product marketing is using Wrike, and content marketing is in Asana—you need a single platform to integrate all your teams!
The right project management software gets all your teams aligned on a one-stop-shop platform—not scattered to the winds across 17 separate tools. However, your teams shouldn’t have to sacrifice efficiency or create brand-new workflows to adapt to a new collaboration tool.
Fortunately, you don’t need to build your own solution or integrate separate (and expensive) tools. Welcome provides a complete project management orchestration tool that’s uniquely designed for marketing teams.
It has features and functionality to help with everything from content marketing to creative services to digital asset management—no need to sacrifice one team’s needs for another.
4. Turns Individual Contributors (ICs) into Marketing Project Managers
You don’t need “Marketing Project Manager” in your title to design and execute top-notch campaigns. With the right tools and know-how, your ICs can become partner managers.
Marketing management platforms like Welcome give you shared workspaces and flexible permission control. This empowers you to delegate to magnify team members’ responsibilities without losing control over deadlines, brand governance, or data security.
Your ICs can do more than just complete tasks—they can create dependencies, build workflows, annotate in real-time, and help accelerate production and expedite time-to-market.
Empower your ICs to do more by using collaborative software that gives them a safe space to spread their wings and learn to fly.
5. Manage Team Bandwidth with Capacity Planning
Your teams and team members are likely working on various projects, campaigns, and assignments on any given day. To make sure nothing falls through the cracks, you’ll need to monitor capacity and balance workloads.
Some team members will get overworked, while others will get underutilized. Monitor real-time workloads with Welcome to see who needs help or if a project needs additional support. Easy drag-and-drop workflows make it quick and easy to redistribute tasks and keep everything balanced.
You can also enable time tracking to empower your team to log time spent on each task. Collecting data like this can help you more effectively plan in the future to dial-in in your deadlines and budgets.
You’ll also want to keep a close eye on your budget. Marketing project management software can help you monitor your campaign budgets’ health with robust reporting, tracking, analytics.
Setting budgets and tracking them in real-time makes it simple to adjust and reallocate on the fly. If a high-priority campaign is eating more cash than you anticipated, you can analyze a holistic view of your marketing spend to see what low-priority initiatives you can cut to balance the budget.
6. Plan Workflows That Work in the Real World
Many marketing plans fail because project managers arbitrarily throw around tasks, assignees, and deadlines with little rhyme or reason. This leads to underutilization, burnout, late launches, and ultimately failed campaigns.
Not good. Not good at all.
An orchestrated project management platform like Welcome empowers you to build real-world workflows that make sense. You can view calendars, create workback schedules, assign budget to specific tasks, and build dependencies that drive a project seamlessly from start to finish.
This type of project management transforms willy-nilly choices into data-backed decisions. Every deadline has a purpose. Each assignee is picked for a reason. And every task has a historically tested budget.
It all works together, and it all makes sense.
7. Automate Minutiae and Streamline Marketing
Allow software to do what software can do so your human talent can do what only human talent can do.
Only your brilliant creative team can create top-notch digital assets. Get them out of the administrative weeds and into their “happy place” so that they focus on doing what they do best: being creative.
Same thing with your content marketing team. Let software handle intake requests and intelligently make assignments so they can get back to writing.
Welcome’s marketing automation takes trivial marketing items off your to-do lists so you can focus on high-priority tasks. Automate workflows, proofing, approvals, reporting, intake requests, and even assignments.
One less thing for you to do means more time to focus on what matters.
8. Manage Your Digital Assets
Marketing project management software gives you a central hub to collect, store, and repurpose all of your digital assets—no more digging through your emails or Google Drive folder to find the right file.
Marketing teams waste too many resources recreating assets and duplicating work. A simple digital asset management system within your project management platform is all it takes to save valuable time and money.
Here are a few ways a software solution like Welcome can help:
Compile your digital assets with intuitive tagging and organization to make them easy to find later. Advanced search, filters, and foldering make it simple for any collaborator to find the specific asset they need.
Govern Your Brand
Digital asset management helps prevent the new PR hire from using your brand’s out-of-date logo in the important press release.
You get to control and monitor what assets get used, when they’re downloaded, who uses them, and where they’re distributed. This gives you complete control over your digital brand.
No more asking your lead designer (for the billionth time this week) for a link to the new product illustrations.
A digital asset management system makes every asset searchable so every marketing team member can find exactly what they’re looking for without blowing up everyone’s Slack.
Repurpose and Reuse
Save valuable time and resources by repurposing and reusing existing content. A project management platform makes all of your old assets easy to find and access.
Remember that expensive YouTube ad the agency created for you years ago? Why not revive and refresh it instead of dropping another $50K on a brand-new campaign?
And take that lead-gen PDF you built last year and repurpose it into a month’s worth of blog content.
9. Adjust the View to See What Matters
Project managers can’t rely on a single view to oversee campaigns. You need the ability to zero-in, zoom-out, and filter dashboards to your specific needs.
Sometimes, you’ll want to monitor the overall health of your campaign from a bird’s-eye view—and other times, you’ll want to drill down to see exactly what individual members of your team have on their to-do lists.
Welcome’s global campaign dashboard comes armed with all the features you need to take complete control over even the most complex of projects:
- Big-Picture Project Plans: Zoom out to see real-time yearly, quarterly, and weekly views of your campaigns to make sure you’re on track to hit distant deadlines.
- Project Schedules: Utilize project timelines, kanban boards, and Gantt charts at any scale to monitor bandwidth, dependencies, and workloads.
- Task Drilldowns: Zero-in on all your marketing activities to ensure each sub-campaign and task is rolling up to broader strategic initiatives.
Phases of Marketing Project Management
The first stage of the lifecycle is the beginning of the marketing project. This is the time when key players in the marketing team will determine the objectives of the project.
These objectives are generally transferred into project goals, and these goals create the foundation of a project charter. A project charter is a short document that lays out the details of the project’s core goals and expectations.
Determining your objectives is the key to successful marketing. It also lays the foundation for how well you streamline your marketing process.
The second stage of the project management lifecycle is the planning stage. This is the time when your marketing team will set a project budget and focus on deliverables.
For instance, your team members may decide that a marketing campaign or gathering data is an appropriate deliverable. These deliverables are what will help your team cultivate a marketing plan that is broken into several tasks.
The team at Welcome is dedicated to helping marketing teams plan better. Marketers’ #2 biggest challenge is the lack of a single, unified calendar to visualize content development, campaigns, and other projects (Internal Survey with Sirkin, January 2021). We help businesses visualize campaign plans and marketing activity better through content calendars, strategic briefs, and budget allocation.
Keep in mind that the more complex your marketing plan is, the more tasks your marketing department will need to perform. Be sure to estimate the full scope of the project. Know who is going to perform what task for a successful outcome.
The third phase of the lifecycle is the point at which your team is expected to implement the project plan. At this point, you should have team leads who will help to see the marketing project through.
Your team leads will be responsible for tracking and reporting progress, developing new tasks when necessary, and removing anything that does not support the completion of tasks.
Your team leads will also need to have a clear understanding of the core objectives when tracking progress. For instance, if the goal is to increase brand awareness, there will need to be appropriate metrics in place that can analyze and track the process.
The last stage of the marketing project management lifecycle is the evaluation stage. This is the point of project completion and is also the time when your marketing team will determine whether a project was successful, whether it needs to be tweaked, or whether the team needs to experiment with something new altogether.
Ultimately, the evaluation stage is an important step that promotes the continuous improvement of marketing efforts.
4 Marketing Project Management Tips
Are you still keeping up? Good. Are you ready to manage your marketing projects better? We’re going to show you a few tips that can be put into practice right now.
Define Your Marketing Goals
Marketing often feels like a broad arena. As such, many businesses struggle with what marketing tactics they should be focusing on first. But if you want to attract the right customers and grow your business, it’s going to be important to first define your marketing goals.
Thankfully, this part is simple. All you need to do is think about what you expect from your marketing efforts. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you pinpoint your marketing goals.
- Would I like to increase website traffic?
- Do I need to generate more reviews for my business?
- Do I need to convert site users into leads?
- Would I like to increase the number of email subscribers?
Answering these kinds of questions will ensure that your marketing projects work cohesively towards a common goal. This doesn’t just improve your overall marketing efforts but leads to better results.
Keep in mind that you want to keep your marketing goals as minimal as possible. The more goals you have, the harder it will be for your team to successfully meet deadlines.
Prioritize Marketing Projects
Once you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to prioritize which projects are most important. Prioritization is key when it comes to the digital marketing process.
Too often, businesses will have a list of projects that they want to complete and end up doing them in random order. But it’s always important to prioritize your projects based on your overarching goal to improve your marketing results.
This means that it’s time to pull out a pen and paper and write a comprehensive list of the marketing projects you wish to complete as well as your current project schedule. Be sure that you know how you will measure success with each project as well.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to think about where these projects rank in terms of growth. The projects that will bring you the most growth should be ranked high on your priority list. While other projects should be left for later.
Understand Your Marketing Project Management Requirements
You won’t be able to truly manage a marketing project effectively without understanding all the project requirements. The last thing you want your marketing team to do is to start a project. Only to find that they don’t have everything they need to successfully launch.
This can be a huge time and money waster, and it’s better to avoid this when possible. A great way to quickly get an understanding of project requirements is through a process called agile project management.
This essentially enables marketing teams to think and move quickly to determine what is required in a project. Agile project management allows teams to adjust as they go. So that team members are never wasting time and are always in the know of what they need to carry out a particular project.
Assess All Your Resources
Know what projects need to be tackled? It’s time to assess all of your resources and ensure you have everything you need to implement your marketing project.
When assessing your resources, you’ll need to think about the talent you have available on your marketing team, your current marketing budget, as well as the tools that will help accelerate your marketing.
These resources are key to executing your marketing strategy. It’s time to take a look at the goals of each of your marketing objectives. And then compile a list of the resources you have and what you will need to achieve your desired results.
For instance, you might find that you need to include more team members with technical skills who have a deep understanding of SEO and website customization. Or you might find that you need content marketing automation to help you consistently reach your audience.
Here at Welcome, we help team members optimize the content creation process through personalized solutions. We enable businesses to create faster and adopt repeatable processes to deliver high-quality content to their audience.
Marketing project management is key to long-term growth and sustainability. Ultimately, marketing project management enables marketing teams to organize and work more collaboratively. This improves the efficiency of every marketing project. It also enables businesses to see powerful results that will take their company to the next level.
Step Up Your Marketing Game: Invest in a Project Management Tool That Does it All.
Even if you’ve already automated one aspect of your marketing project management operations, the chances are that there’s something that could run more smoothly.
Trello, Wrike, Brightpod, Workamajig, Basecamp, Monday.com, Clarizen, and Asana are all worthwhile options when it comes to the effective management of your marketing projects.
But they’re nowhere near Welcome’s all-in-one marketing project management software.
Yup, that’s right.
And we’ll illustrate this fact using these four use-cases:
- Stop burying your head in spreadsheets: Automate your project workflows with the help of Welcome’s customizable shared workspaces, Gantt charts, and calendars.
- Bring every stakeholder in on the loop: Say goodbye to strained communication between creators (whether that’s external marketing agencies or in-house writers), promoters, and decision-makers, and hello to streamlined, real-time collaboration.
- Avoid the all-too-familiar black hole of failed projects: Stay on top of every marketing project in your pipeline via Welcome’s task management functionality, resource management capability, and project management tools.
- Launch projects like a pro: Reveal your marketing campaign to the world with unmatched precision. Welcome makes it easy to keep messaging consistent, maintain brand image, and analyze results—all in real-time.
So tell us, which other marketing project management software do you think can pull this much weight?
Ready to give it a try? Get started with a free Welcome account today!
OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons
A week or so ago, the extraordinary drama happening at OpenAI filled news feeds.
No need to get into all the saga’s details, as every publication seems to have covered it. We’re just waiting for someone to put together a video montage scored to the Game of Thrones music.
But as Sam Altman takes back the reigns of the company he helped to found, the existing board begins to disintegrate before your very eyes, and everyone agrees something spooked everybody, a question arises: Should you care?
Does OpenAI’s drama have any demonstrable implications for marketers integrating generative AI into their marketing strategies?
Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain (and give a shoutout to Sutton’s pants rage on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), or keep reading his thoughts:
For those who spent last week figuring out what to put on your holiday table and missed every AI headline, here’s a brief version of what happened. OpenAI – the huge startup and creator of ChatGPT – went through dramatic events. Its board fired the mercurial CEO Sam Altman. Then, the 38-year-old entrepreneur accepted a job at Microsoft but returned to OpenAI a day later.
We won’t give a hot take on what it means for the startup world, board governance, or the tension between AI safety and Silicon Valley capitalism. Rather, we see some interesting things for marketers to put into perspective about how AI should fit into your overall content and marketing plans in the new year.
Robert highlights two takeaways from the OpenAI debacle – a drama that has yet to reach its final chapter: 1. The right structure and governance matters, and 2. Big platforms don’t become antifragile just because they’re big.
Let’s have Robert explain.
The right structure and governance matters
OpenAI’s structure may be key to the drama. OpenAI has a bizarre corporate governance framework. The board of directors controls a nonprofit called OpenAI. That nonprofit created a capped for-profit subsidiary – OpenAI GP LLC. The majority owner of that for-profit is OpenAI Global LLC, another for-profit company. The nonprofit works for the benefit of the world with a for-profit arm.
That seems like an earnest approach, given AI tech’s big and disruptive power. But it provides so many weird governance issues, including that the nonprofit board, which controls everything, has no duty to maximize profit. What could go wrong?
That’s why marketers should know more about the organizations behind the generative AI tools they use or are considering.
First, know your providers of generative AI software and services are all exploring the topics of governance and safety. Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and others won’t have their internal debates erupt in public fireworks. Still, governance and management of safety over profits remains a big topic for them. You should be aware of how they approach those topics as you license solutions from them.
Second, recognize the productive use of generative AI is a content strategy and governance challenge, not a technology challenge. If you don’t solve the governance and cross-functional uses of the generative AI platforms you buy, you will run into big problems with its cross-functional, cross-siloed use.
Big platforms do not become antifragile just because they’re big
Nicholas Taleb wrote a wonderful book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. It explores how an antifragile structure doesn’t just withstand a shock; it actually improves because of a disruption or shock. It doesn’t just survive a big disruptive event; it gets stronger because of it.
It’s hard to imagine a company the size and scale of OpenAI could self-correct or even disappear tomorrow. But it can and does happen. And unfortunately, too many businesses build their strategies on that rented land.
In OpenAI’s recent case, the for-profit software won the day. But make no bones about that victory; the event wasn’t good for the company. If it bounces back, it won’t be stronger because of the debacle.
With that win on the for-profit side, hundreds, if not thousands, of generative AI startups breathed an audible sigh of relief. But a few moments later, they screamed “pivot” (in their best imitation of Ross from Friends instructing Chandler and Rachel to move a couch.)
They now realize the fragility of their software because it relies on OpenAI’s existence or willingness to provide the software. Imagine what could have happened if the OpenAI board had won their fight and, in the name of safety, simply killed any paid access to the API or the ability to build business models on top of it.
The last two weeks have done nothing to clear the already muddy waters encountered by companies and their plans to integrate generative AI solutions. Going forward, though, think about the issues when acquiring new generative AI software. Ask about how the vendor’s infrastructure is housed and identify the risks involved. And, if OpenAI expands its enterprise capabilities, consider the implications. What extra features will the off-the-shelf solutions provide? Do you need them? Will OpenAI become the Microsoft Office of your AI infrastructure?
Why you should care
With the voluminous media coverage of Open AI’s drama, you likely will see pushback on generative AI. In my social feeds, many marketers say they’re tired of the corporate soap opera that is irrelevant to their work.
They are half right. What Sam said and how Ilya responded, heart emojis, and how much the Twitch guy got for three days of work are fodder for the Netflix series sure to emerge. (Robert’s money is on Michael Cera starring.)
They’re wrong about its relevance to marketing. They must be experiencing attentional bias – paying more attention to some elements of the big event and ignoring others. OpenAI’s struggle is entertaining, no doubt. You’re glued to the drama. But understanding what happened with the events directly relates to your ability to manage similar ones successfully. That’s the part you need to get right.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader
Introduce your processes: If you’ve streamlined a particular process, share it. It could be the solution someone else is looking for.
Jump on trends and news: If there’s a hot topic or emerging trend, offer your unique perspective.
Share industry insights: Attended a webinar or podcast that offered valuable insights. Summarize the key takeaways and how they can be applied.
Share your successes: Write about strategies that have worked exceptionally well for you. Your audience will appreciate the proven advice. For example, I shared the process I used to help a former client rank for a keyword with over 2.2 million monthly searches.
Question outdated strategies: If you see a strategy that’s losing steam, suggest alternatives based on your experience and data.
5. Establish communication channels (How)
Once you know who your audience is and what they want to hear, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Here’s how:
Choose the right platforms: You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform. Pick two platforms where your audience hangs out and create content for that platform. For example, I’m active on LinkedIn and X because my target audience (SEOs, B2B SaaS, and marketers) is active on these platforms.
Repurpose content: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. Consider repurposing your content on Quora, Reddit, or even in webinars and podcasts. This increases your reach and reinforces your message.
Follow Your audience: Go where your audience goes. If they’re active on X, that’s where you should be posting. If they frequent industry webinars, consider becoming a guest on these webinars.
Daily vs. In-depth content: Balance is key. Use social media for daily tips and insights, and reserve your blog for more comprehensive guides and articles.
Network with influencers: Your audience is likely following other experts in the field. Engaging with these influencers puts your content in front of a like-minded audience. I try to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily engaging with content on X and LinkedIn. This is the best way to build a relationship so you’re not a complete stranger when you DM privately.
6. Think of thought leadership as part of your content marketing efforts
As with other content efforts, thought leadership doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrives when woven into a cohesive content marketing strategy. By aligning individual authority with your brand, you amplify the credibility of both.
Think of it as top-of-the-funnel content to:
Build awareness about your brand
Highlight the problems you solve
Demonstrate expertise by platforming experts within the company who deliver solutions
Consider the user journey. An individual enters at the top through a social media post, podcast, or blog post. Intrigued, they want to learn more about you and either search your name on Google or social media. If they like what they see, they might visit your website, and if the information fits their needs, they move from passive readers to active prospects in your sales pipeline.
How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips
Collecting high-quality data is crucial to making strategic observations about your customers. Researchers have to consider the best ways to design their surveys and then how to increase survey completion, because it makes the data more reliable.
I’m going to explain how survey completion plays into the reliability of data. Then, we’ll get into how to calculate your survey completion rate versus the number of questions you ask. Finally, I’ll offer some tips to help you increase survey completion rates.
My goal is to make your data-driven decisions more accurate and effective. And just for fun, I’ll use cats in the examples because mine won’t stop walking across my keyboard.
Why Measure Survey Completion
Let’s set the scene: We’re inside a laboratory with a group of cat researchers. They’re wearing little white coats and goggles — and they desperately want to know what other cats think of various fish.
They’ve written up a 10-question survey and invited 100 cats from all socioeconomic rungs — rough and hungry alley cats all the way up to the ones that thrice daily enjoy their Fancy Feast from a crystal dish.
Now, survey completion rates are measured with two metrics: response rate and completion rate. Combining those metrics determines what percentage, out of all 100 cats, finished the entire survey. If all 100 give their full report on how delicious fish is, you’d achieve 100% survey completion and know that your information is as accurate as possible.
But the truth is, nobody achieves 100% survey completion, not even golden retrievers.
With this in mind, here’s how it plays out:
- Let’s say 10 cats never show up for the survey because they were sleeping.
- Of the 90 cats that started the survey, only 25 got through a few questions. Then, they wandered off to knock over drinks.
- Thus, 90 cats gave some level of response, and 65 completed the survey (90 – 25 = 65).
- Unfortunately, those 25 cats who only partially completed the survey had important opinions — they like salmon way more than any other fish.
The cat researchers achieved 72% survey completion (65 divided by 90), but their survey will not reflect the 25% of cats — a full quarter! — that vastly prefer salmon. (The other 65 cats had no statistically significant preference, by the way. They just wanted to eat whatever fish they saw.)
Now, the Kitty Committee reviews the research and decides, well, if they like any old fish they see, then offer the least expensive ones so they get the highest profit margin.
CatCorp, their competitors, ran the same survey; however, they offered all 100 participants their own glass of water to knock over — with a fish inside, even!
Only 10 of their 100 cats started, but did not finish the survey. And the same 10 lazy cats from the other survey didn’t show up to this one, either.
So, there were 90 respondents and 80 completed surveys. CatCorp achieved an 88% completion rate (80 divided by 90), which recorded that most cats don’t care, but some really want salmon. CatCorp made salmon available and enjoyed higher profits than the Kitty Committee.
So you see, the higher your survey completion rates, the more reliable your data is. From there, you can make solid, data-driven decisions that are more accurate and effective. That’s the goal.
We measure the completion rates to be able to say, “Here’s how sure we can feel that this information is accurate.”
And if there’s a Maine Coon tycoon looking to invest, will they be more likely to do business with a cat food company whose decision-making metrics are 72% accurate or 88%? I suppose it could depend on who’s serving salmon.
What is survey completion rate?
Survey completion rate refers to the number of completed surveys divided by the number of total survey respondents. The result is then multiplied by 100 to get a percentage. Survey respondents include those who completed the survey, and those who started the survey but didn’t complete it.
While math was not my strongest subject in school, I had the great opportunity to take several college-level research and statistics classes, and the software we used did the math for us. That’s why I used 100 cats — to keep the math easy so we could focus on the importance of building reliable data.
Now, we’re going to talk equations and use more realistic numbers. Here’s the formula:
So, we need to take the number of completed surveys and divide that by the number of people who responded to at least one of your survey questions. Even just one question answered qualifies them as a respondent (versus nonrespondent, i.e., the 10 lazy cats who never show up).
Now, you’re running an email survey for, let’s say, Patton Avenue Pet Company. We’ll guess that the email list has 5,000 unique addresses to contact. You send out your survey to all of them.
Your analytics data reports that 3,000 people responded to one or more of your survey questions. Then, 1,200 of those respondents actually completed the entire survey.
3,000/5000 = 0.6 = 60% — that’s your pool of survey respondents who answered at least one question. That sounds pretty good! But some of them didn’t finish the survey. You need to know the percentage of people who completed the entire survey. So here we go:
Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.
Completion rate = (1,200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%
Voila, 40% of your respondents did the entire survey.
Response Rate vs. Completion Rate
Okay, so we know why the completion rate matters and how we find the right number. But did you also hear the term response rate? They are completely different figures based on separate equations, and I’ll show them side by side to highlight the differences.
- Completion Rate = # of Completed Surveys divided by # of Respondents
- Response Rate = # of Respondents divided by Total # of surveys sent out
Here are examples using the same numbers from above:
Completion Rate = (1200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%
Response Rate = (3,000/5000) = 0.60 = 60%
So, they are different figures that describe different things:
- Completion rate: The percentage of your respondents that completed the entire survey. As a result, it indicates how sure we are that the information we have is accurate.
- Response rate: The percentage of people who responded in any way to our survey questions.
The follow-up question is: How can we make this number as high as possible in order to be closer to a truer and more complete data set from the population we surveyed?
There’s more to learn about response rates and how to bump them up as high as you can, but we’re going to keep trucking with completion rates!
What’s a good survey completion rate?
That is a heavily loaded question. People in our industry have to say, “It depends,” far more than anybody wants to hear it, but it depends. Sorry about that.
There are lots of factors at play, such as what kind of survey you’re doing, what industry you’re doing it in, if it’s an internal or external survey, the population or sample size, the confidence level you’d like to hit, the margin of error you’re willing to accept, etc.
But you can’t really get a high completion rate unless you increase response rates first.
So instead of focusing on what’s a good completion rate, I think it’s more important to understand what makes a good response rate. Aim high enough, and survey completions should follow.
I checked in with the Qualtrics community and found this discussion about survey response rates:
“Just wondering what are the average response rates we see for online B2B CX surveys? […]
Current response rates: 6%–8%… We are looking at boosting the response rates but would first like to understand what is the average.”
The best answer came from a government service provider that works with businesses. The poster notes that their service is free to use, so they get very high response rates.
“I would say around 30–40% response rates to transactional surveys,” they write. “Our annual pulse survey usually sits closer to 12%. I think the type of survey and how long it has been since you rendered services is a huge factor.”
Since this conversation, “Delighted” (the Qualtrics blog) reported some fresher data:
The takeaway here is that response rates vary widely depending on the channel you use to reach respondents. On the upper end, the Qualtrics blog reports that customers had 85% response rates for employee email NPS surveys and 33% for email NPS surveys.
A good response rate, the blog writes, “ranges between 5% and 30%. An excellent response rate is 50% or higher.”
This echoes reports from Customer Thermometer, which marks a response rate of 50% or higher as excellent. Response rates between 5%-30% are much more typical, the report notes. High response rates are driven by a strong motivation to complete the survey or a personal relationship between the brand and the customer.
If your business does little person-to-person contact, you’re out of luck. Customer Thermometer says you should expect responses on the lower end of the scale. The same goes for surveys distributed from unknown senders, which typically yield the lowest level of responses.
According to SurveyMonkey, surveys where the sender has no prior relationship have response rates of 20% to 30% on the high end.
Whatever numbers you do get, keep making those efforts to bring response rates up. That way, you have a better chance of increasing your survey completion rate. How, you ask?
Tips to Increase Survey Completion
If you want to boost survey completions among your customers, try the following tips.
1. Keep your survey brief.
We shouldn’t cram lots of questions into one survey, even if it’s tempting. Sure, it’d be nice to have more data points, but random people will probably not hunker down for 100 questions when we catch them during their half-hour lunch break.
Keep it short. Pare it down in any way you can.
Survey completion rate versus number of questions is a correlative relationship — the more questions you ask, the fewer people will answer them all. If you have the budget to pay the respondents, it’s a different story — to a degree.
“If you’re paying for survey responses, you’re more likely to get completions of a decently-sized survey. You’ll just want to avoid survey lengths that might tire, confuse, or frustrate the user. You’ll want to aim for quality over quantity,” says Pamela Bump, Head of Content Growth at HubSpot.
2. Give your customers an incentive.
For instance, if they’re cats, you could give them a glass of water with a fish inside.
Offer incentives that make sense for your target audience. If they feel like they are being rewarded for giving their time, they will have more motivation to complete the survey.
This can even accomplish two things at once — if you offer promo codes, discounts on products, or free shipping, it encourages them to shop with you again.
3. Keep it smooth and easy.
Keep your survey easy to read. Simplifying your questions has at least two benefits: People will understand the question better and give you the information you need, and people won’t get confused or frustrated and just leave the survey.
4. Know your customers and how to meet them where they are.
Here’s an anecdote about understanding your customers and learning how best to meet them where they are.
Early on in her role, Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s Head of Content Growth, conducted a survey of HubSpot Blog readers to learn more about their expertise levels, interests, challenges, and opportunities. Once published, she shared the survey with the blog’s email subscribers and a top reader list she had developed, aiming to receive 150+ responses.
“When the 20-question survey was getting a low response rate, I realized that blog readers were on the blog to read — not to give feedback. I removed questions that wouldn’t serve actionable insights. When I reshared a shorter, 10-question survey, it passed 200 responses in one week,” Bump shares.
Tip 5. Gamify your survey.
Make it fun! Brands have started turning surveys into eye candy with entertaining interfaces so they’re enjoyable to interact with.
Your respondents could unlock micro incentives as they answer more questions. You can word your questions in a fun and exciting way so it feels more like a BuzzFeed quiz. Someone saw the opportunity to make surveys into entertainment, and your imagination — well, and your budget — is the limit!
Your Turn to Boost Survey Completion Rates
Now, it’s time to start surveying. Remember to keep your user at the heart of the experience. Value your respondents’ time, and they’re more likely to give you compelling information. Creating short, fun-to-take surveys can also boost your completion rates.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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