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There are many misconceptions about digital and its return on investment. Many business owners worry that the money they invest in digital will be lost, but this isn’t typically the case - so how can you ensure a ROI on digital?
When it comes to implementing a new digital strategy, thorough planning is of the utmost importance. It can be easy to get carried away with ideas about what you can do, and just dive in head-first with no real direction, but doing so will only cause you to see a loss on your investment.
Before developing any marketing strategy or planning, be sure to revisit your brand and determine exactly what you want to communicate to your audience, and who that audience will be.
During the planning stage (as well as on an ongoing basis), it can also be beneficial to take a look at what your competitors are doing. Take note of what seems to be working for them, and what you maybe don’t like about their strategies, and learn from both.
Having a calendar of key dates in your industry, as well as things that people are thinking about at different points in the year, can also prove useful when writing content as this will help keep your content relevant and ensure you don’t miss any important events that you really should be talking about.
If you notice that your content seems to lack direction, or that you’re sometimes unsure of what you need to be writing about and how to promote your business, you may need to revisit who your audience is.
Having a target audience in mind is vital, but brands often forget to create a group of brand cameos. By doing this, you can be clear who the different groups within your audience are, what they value and what they’re interested in.
You will be able to cater different posts to different people, and really hone in on what matters to them, which will greatly increase your chances of connecting with your audience and converting them into customers - subsequently increasing your sales.
As well as knowing who your audience is, it’s crucial that you know which social platforms they gravitate to. Your social activity should be consistent and include all the right kinds of content, but if you’re not using the same platforms as your customers, you won’t be getting back what you put in.
Facebook and Twitter, as two of the most commonly used social media platforms, are often a safe choice for businesses; however, if you work in a B2B company, then using Facebook might not see the ROI that you’re aiming for, whereas LinkedIn may work wonders.
Likewise, if your business is mostly visual (e.g. if you’re a photographer, interior designer, or fashion retailer), then using visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest can be highly beneficial for your business, as you can use them to inspire your customers.
Making sure that you are actually in the right place for your customers is a simple (yet often overlooked) way to ensure a ROI on your social presence.
If you do try a new marketing campaign and it doesn’t seem to be bringing in conversions, this can always be reviewed before it ends to identify which aspects might not be performing as well as hoped, and how they can be amended to improve the campaign.
Furthermore, when beginning a new marketing strategy using digital, it is usually difficult to get any real insight into its performance before the end of at least a three month time period (or possibly six months depending on your industry). This means that you shouldn’t be too quick to discard your digital strategy as you could see a much stronger return on investment after a few more months.
In an integrated digital strategy, one aspect of your marketing might not appear to be increasing conversions - but it might be doing more than you think.
Social media, for example, is a platform that a lot of business owners don’t believe increases conversions because the results aren’t instant and can be difficult to measure;however, it should be taken into consideration that customers may engage with your brand on social, and then convert after clicking through on an email. This would mean that, when using the last interaction model, the email would be given ‘credit’ for the conversion, when social media did also contribute to earning the customer’s trust.
The final action being given full credit for influencing a conversion is why the last interaction model is not always the most effective, and the first interaction model (which gives full credit to the first brand touchpoint in the conversion journey) is also often ineffective for the same reason.
Time decay (where the touchpoints closest to the time the conversion happens are given the most credit) and position based (the first and final touchpoints both receive 40% of the credit, and the remaining 20% is awarded to the touchpoints in between) models are often seen as more appropriate as all platforms are taken into consideration.
Another thing to consider when implementing any new marketing efforts is whether the person producing your content and managing your marketing activity is an expert. If the person in charge of your digital strategy has knowledge and experience of digital marketing, then this can really increase the likelihood of having a strong ROI on investing in digital.
If there isn’t anyone in your internal team with expertise in this field, then your business may benefit from hiring an agency as they will have expert knowledge of digital, and will have an understanding of the metrics you should be measuring (as well as industry averages in these) so will be able to effectively analyse your data.
How consistent your activity on digital is can significantly affect the success of your campaign, and therefore affect your ROI. If you don’t post on social on a regular basis, your blog is updated infrequently, or you don’t have a clear strategy and calendar for digital marketing then this can paint a negative picture of your brand and can impact conversions.
If you are consistent with how much content you post, and how often you are active on digital, then this will keep you front of mind with your customers and help to increase brand awareness and sentiment. To learn more about how to stay front of mind with your customers, take a look at one of our previous blog posts.
It can be difficult to really determine if you’re seeing a return on investment without proper reporting and analysis, and digital offers a range of tools that aren’t available to you if you use traditional marketing such as TV ads or flyers. So what tools can you use for monitoring different aspects of your digital marketing?
Many social media platforms have their own reporting and analytical tools for businesses.
Facebook tells you:
Twitter tells you:
Using a tool such as Google Analytics is an easy way to monitor the success of your website. Google Analytics allows you to track a wide variety of key metrics, including:
If you find that the majority of your business’ customers and clients call you, it can be difficult to know how they found you, so setting up call tracking on your website is an efficient way to find out if an enquiry or lead came via your website. This will keep a log of the number of calls made so you can find out exactly how many people have found you online, and then made contact offline.
If your company creates content, this can be monitored through the same tool you use to monitor your website. Being able to see how many views each post has received, how many times your ebooks were downloaded, or how many views your videos have , as well as how long visitors have stayed on your pages can be clear indicators of success. It’s also useful to know if any of your pages have high bounce rates, as the content of these pages could be improved.
If you use a platform such as Campaign Monitor or MailChimp for your email marketing campaigns, these provide a range of insights. The information the platform will provide you with can include:
If you set up a Google AdWords campaign to advertise your business, this comes with a variety of different reporting tools so you can measure the performance of your ads. They will provide information on metrics such as:
For more information on AdWords reports, take a look at Google’s Adwords reporting support.
When using digital to market your business, it can be easy to assume it doesn’t work and give up too quickly, but ensuring that you take steps to build an effective strategy and review this on a regular basis can help you to reach a wider audience and grow your business.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you use digital to advertise your business and see a strong return on investment, get in touch.