Last month we touched on the thought processes and basic elements you need to keep in mind when it comes to the creation of your company’s website.
To briefly recap: Remember that your website is your online premises, your office, your store – optimising the layout of that ‘store’ and the shopper’s experience while there greatly aids in converting ‘feet’ into sales.
Before you fire away allocating marketing budget to a variety of online and offline activities as you aim to drive more feet to your store, though, you need to consider the strategy you will follow.
In short you need to know:
- What the objectives are for each activities
- What and How you will track performance (against those goals and objectives)
- Which channels you will be using to communicate with your market
- When, how and who will analyse your results – allowing you to
- Optimise your campaigns to extract the maximum return from your marketing spend.
It’s simply no longer a case of getting your message across to a big audience and then hoping that the audience response justifies spend.
You have to get analytical, you have to be targeted, and you have to be aware of how the modern, tech-savvy customer interacts with your business.
Object(ive)s of desire.
Ultimately, marketing spend must result in increased turnover. Yes there are certain activities that are not directly linked to generating, nurturing and converting leads into sales, but then those activities should probably not be noted as marketing spend in the first place.
Sponsoring your child’s school sports tour to the tune of R30, 000 for example should form part of your sponsorships and charities budget, as opposed to marketing. Why? Because you may not expect direct return from the spend and it skews the efficacy of your marketing team’s efforts by lumping non-return activities with other actions.
Alas, I digress a little but it is important that you correctly allocate budgets in the first place – and then tie those budgets into clearly defined objectives.
Generating X for spending Y
Your first question is: How many leads, website visits, case study downloads, video views etc. would constitute an acceptable return on your planned marketing investment?
Basic as the above example may be it does illustrate what you and your marketing team (and your sales team for that matter) should agree on before embarking on an exercise.
The digital landscape allows you to set a variety of goals against which you can measure progress made. Just ‘going for it’ without first ticking the goals box will only lead to two things:
- You will lose money
- You will not (really) know why
The Great Track
You’ve set realistic goals and it’s looking good. Based on the information you have, the tests you have done, industry benchmarks and other data used during your goal-setting process – you are comfortable that you will see the desired return on investment – whatever that ‘return’ may be.
Now you need to look at tracking and reporting
Accurately tracking performance allows you to spot potential problem areas early and adapt your campaign accordingly.
If you are running content marketing campaign, focused on a very specific audience, over a period of six weeks and you know that, to hit your overall lead target you need a minimum of 500 opens or reads per week – it’s safe to say that only getting 300 reads in week one puts additional pressure on you to make up the numbers over the remaining five weeks.
It’s no use only seeing where you are one month into your campaign, you need a constant flow of data that can be measured against smaller campaign goals. That way you avoid nasty surprises and do you allow yourself the time needed to get your campaign back on track.
In the digital space you can track many parameters that are not necessarily available to traditional advertising – such as:
- How many visitors visited your website or landing page? (Indicator of campaign performance)
- What did they look at? (Do you need to improve the user path / experience?)
- Reasons for leaving your website / landing page? (Allows you to remedy design)
- Average spend (if it’s below your target you need find ways to upsell the client).
Tracking is the single most important element of digital marketing because it enables you to make data based business decisions as opposed to old school hit-and miss tactics.
Customers expect instant, frictionless interactions with companies.
They need contextually relevant information that is useful and consistent across a multitude of platforms, from mobile to desktop and beyond.
It is no longer a multi-channel strategy that is required but, rather, a cross-channel approach. It’s not one or the other, rather the sum of all.
Many touch-points are the order of the day on the journey from lead to customer, with three key aspects driving interactions with your business, namely:
- Accessibility: Instant, always on access to the information they need.
- Simplicity: Be clear, be relevant, make it easy to understand and interact with you
- The faster you respond to queries, the likelier you are to make a sale
- The faster your website loads, the likelier you are to make a sale.
Any way you look at it, the modern customer is a cross-channel-creature that requires consistent messaging, regardless of which device or platform they choose to use when interacting with your business.
Analyse This/Optimise That!
What does the data say?
In the past marketers had a bit of a hit and hope attitude, only discovering later whether or not a campaign was successful.
The digital world provides oodles of real-time data that’s not only useful in terms of tracking campaign performance but, also, in pointing out flaws in your business.
Analytics can tell you everything you need to know and will assist in optimising your campaigns, website and (in truth) the overall performance of your business.
The More Things Change…
The basics of marketing are the same as a hundred years ago.
Customers have a demand and companies who can meet those demands will sell. The only difference in a digitally connected world is that now there are multitudes of ways through which clients and companies interact with each other.
In the end it comes down to making business decisions that are no longer driven by gut feel but by clear, actionable, data – and then providing a frictionless digital experience for your target audience.
Get that right and your business will take one giant leap towards reaching your goals.