Getting maximum Return on Investment from a marketing budget is far from an easy task. While new digital channels and inbound marketing options promise an unprecedented price to quality ratio, it can still be daunting to sort through the options and map them to your goals. Costs can be confusing, and beginning marketers often find the results disheartening.
As you might know, some of those channels and strategies produce a much better ROI than others, and great results are highly dependent on the execution. Here are eight of the most productive choices – and what to focus on in implementing each.
Social media marketing is still on the rise. According to a survey by Strong View, a leading provider of email marketing and cross-channel marketing solutions for enterprises, 56 percent of marketers planned to increase their social media spending in 2016. Nearly 43 percent of B2B and 77 percent of B2C companies have acquired clients through a social media campaign, according to Hubspot’s 2016 State of Inbound Marketing report.
Social media campaigns can be highly tailored to specific campaign messaging and the personality of your brand. It’s possible to accomplish almost any promotional goal in an organic way, which boosts ROI and makes social media marketing great for both small businesses and large corporations. The only trouble with social media marketing is how few businesses do it well. Don’t treat social like an afterthought just because the platforms are free or nearly free.
Pro Tip: Identify what specific actions you want from your audience, and focus on eliciting those responses throughout the social media campaign. Measure and refine.
A functional, well optimized website will give you numerous additional ways to boost ROI.
It can be very easy to track website performance – there are dozens of tools you can rely on for metrics and insights. Professionals in the field know what it takes to plan, design, write and build a website that will rank well on the search engine results page and reach your target audience. When it comes down to it, nearly all marketing and intelligence metrics are built around your website, and here is where you can really focus and fine tune your conversion funnel. Using the principles of Growth Driven Design, it is possible to constantly monitor, measure and improve your website’s effectiveness, pulling ever further ahead of less proactive competitors.
Pro Tip: Don’t think of your website as a blunt-force tool for all audience members. Identify buyer personas for your ideal customer types, and design a conversion path for each one.
Blogging and dedicating marketing budgets to effective content marketing is also critical for creating high ROI in an increasingly content-leveraged marketplace.
Today, prospects seek to get something out of each interaction with brands. Well-written, informative, and truly helpful content solidifies your reputation as the thought leader in your field. And by creating and publishing a range of content, you build an ever-growing web of pathways to your other marketing assets, increasing your online authority along the way.
Pro Tip: Refer back to those buyer personas, and write content that will be helpful to each of them.
Many marketers are terrified of email marketing. That’s because it’s often done wrong, with negative, embarrassing and even costly consequences. Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) made it much harder to run a regulation-compliant email marketing campaign, with stiff penalties for any business that breaches any of its many rules. Still, when implemented properly, email marketing can deliver the highest return on investment of any marketing effort. And through ever-improving technology and tools, open rates, click-through rates and unique clicks continue to increase, according to the 2016 Canadian Email Marketing Benchmark Report. There is much to know about email marketing, and crafting the right methodology for your business is tricky, but do it right (or hire a great partner) and you’ll see excellent results.
Pro Tip: segmented email campaigns targeted to specific user types perform far better than general email blasts to your entire database. If you use email marketing, look into list segmentation best practices.
Paying to be seen on Facebook or to have your website strategically listed in the search engine results page for the right keywords can enhance targeting, grow your popularity and create new revenue generation possibilities. I often remind clients that paying on delivery of qualified traffic (as in buyers searching for your specific offering in Google with credit card in hand) is endlessly better than throwing out traditional marketing in the hopes of a few of the right people seeing it and venturing to your website.
Pro Tip: Run test campaigns in a variety of different digital channels before committing to a big spend. You may find that LinkedIn ads, though more costly per click, generate a better ROI than lower cost methods because they are able to target specific job titles and qualifications.
Smartphones are everywhere! In order to benefit from that ubiquity, you not only need a responsive website that loads quickly and looks great on screens of all sizes, but advertising that targets mobile users – especially if people tend to access your business while on the move. Mobile marketing can be tailored to the user’s location, interests and behaviours.
Pro Tip: When opting for mobile, always think about your prospect’s needs and situation in relation to your desired actions. Some ad types, specifically those involving more elaborate content or calling for a succession of tasks, still tend to have significantly higher engagement from desktop or tablet users.
Nearly 52 percent of marketing professionals surveyed by CopyPress believe that video content results in the highest ROI of all. Video has the potential to go viral, reach millions of people and enforce the brand identity. It is also the most engaging, with the ability to blend visuals, motion, voice and music. Creating video for the web doesn’t have to cost the moon – a fresh and clever idea matters much more.
Pro Tip: except for user-generated content in social campaigns, avoid low-quality video content. Audience expectations have risen sharply in recent years, and poorly executed video can drag your brand down.
Online display ads are sometimes perceived as are an old-school method, but rumours of their death by ad blocker are exaggerated. Minimum spends can be quite low, and banner ads can be part of a retargeting campaign that shows to people who have demonstrated interest by visiting specific pages of your website.
Pro Tip: Pay-per-click (PPC) is almost always far better value than the cost per thousand (CPM) model, as you pay only for actual visits to your landing pages. CPM vendors claim to offer better “awareness” but in reality you will usually get more impressions per dollar with PPC.
Digital marketing has evolved to the point where it’s possible to assemble a very precise arsenal of powerhouse tools which, in the hands of a patient and skilled strategist should deliver a substantive return in sales leads.
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