What separates success from failure in digital marketing is having a plan. You need to know your audience, communicate clearly, and experiment with intention. I’ve found following this same strategy can be extended to achieving success in leadership. By incorporating set steps into your employee management, you will glean more valuable insights and better understand your employees’ preferences instead of blindly guessing at how they interpret your communications.

Know Your Audience

It has been my experience in doing digital marketing that target audiences are ever shifting. It is of chief importance to stay up-to-date and connected with the data revealed by your audience, because it allows you to continuously tweak your aim and provide meaningful value to them. Imagine a new group of users starts following your Facebook page. Implementing an analysis of your audience is the most effective method of tracking this new user base and finding out who they are, where they’re from, and what similarities they share with your current audience. Consider any differences you find as insights on how you should tweak your marketing strategy to appeal to the new followers.

The same mantra is important when thinking about leadership. It’s essential to understand your audience when you are a leader. Inability to understand who you’re speaking to is one of the fastest routes to alienating people, almost ensuring they stop listening to you before you start talking. The simple day-to-day becomes increasingly difficult when people are reluctant to follow your lead. If you are looking to develop good morale and exemplify leadership amongst your peers and your team, then understanding your audience is of chief importance in creating and sustaining trustworthy rapport.

Communicate Clearly

As a digital marketer, clarity is more than simply proofreading content to remove unnecessary adverbs. It’s about approaching words in a different way, about choosing how to best deliver your words with purpose to the intended audience. If you can’t convey your message in a simple sentence, then it’s probably too unfocused. The content may be complex, but the experience of receiving the message and thus the words themselves must be simple to digest.

Knowing how to communicate clearly is just as important for leaders. Being a good communicator actually takes hard work and energy, because you’re being mindful of both what you’re hearing and what you’re saying. As communication is a two-way street, a good leader must listen and adopt the best communication strategy for ensuring his/her thoughts are heard. What’s most important here is to convey both the purpose and the value of each message. But what most people do not realize is that the message is not just what you say, but rather how you say it.

Experiment with Intention

Interpreting data is the main challenge for digital marketers who are tirelessly working to leverage collected insights and increase the success rate of campaigns. Let’s say you create two variations of a landing page for a product you’re marketing. You divide your traffic between the two and then see which is more successful in generating conversions. The insight gained from this experiment empowers you to shift your strategy, allowing you to create a page that garners the best results.

Experimenting is just as effective in leadership as it is in marketing. In order to succeed as a good leader, you must reach outside of your comfort zone and consistently adapt your approach. You have to try different things, collect data from people’s reactions, facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice. Pick a culture challenge that you are currently dealing with — perhaps how best to introduce a new process to a long time employee. From there, consider how you can shape a quick, safe-to-fail experiment for introducing the novel system. This allows you to test your approach quickly in a controlled environment, making sure it works as you had envisioned before rolling it out all your employees.

As it turns out, there isn’t one method for marketing or leadership that works for everyone. In both cases, I have had to reflect on my learnings and implement the above formula to find success. By looking at yourself from the outside in, and systematically measuring the effect you have on your listener, you can improve results in both your personal and professional life. Whether you’re a first grade teacher, a CEO, or an affiliate marketer, you can become more successful by seeking to understand your audience, communicating clearly, and experimenting with different approaches.