Most companies can’t tell how well their marketing is performing.
Even if they could tell, they still wouldn’t be able to put a value on it.
And if you can’t put a value on it, then you can’t logically invest anymore time or money in it (or convince others that they should).
But wait, because it gets worse…
Individual tactics routinely decrease in value over time. And what works for one person, in one industry, at one moment in time, will certainly not work the same for someone else.
So your strategies and day-to-day campaigns need to evolve and improve over time to continue seeing any results.
That’s difficult. And staring at a bunch of random numbers in Google Analytics doesn’t help much either.
It’s only when you understand the dynamics and begin to overlay context (about what’s going on, why it’s happening, and how to fix/change/adjust) that you start to glean any meaningful insights.
Here is a sample of what you should be looking for, and how to begin making informed decisions on how to improve your marketing.
What Gets Measured Gets Managed
The best way to improve, and find gaps in your marketing is to simply write down all the steps it takes for a stranger to become a loyal customer or client (aka the customer lifecycle).
Take a simple piece of paper and start writing down all the steps it takes. My business might look like this:
- Acquisition: User searches for information in Google and finds one of my articles (SEO).
- Activation: User reads article and decides to become a PRO member for more information (content marketing).
- Retention: User receives a series of email newsletters and decides to join an upcoming webinar (email marketing).
- Referral: User likes what they read and consume so far, and shares or recommends it to others (Facebook).
- Revenue: After 30 days of lead nurturing, user decides to take the plunge a buy a course, training program or consulting services.
In an ideal world, you should know how much you’re spending (or investing) in each tactic, what you’re getting for it (traffic, awareness, impressions, etc.), and how that compares with your other marketing efforts.
But here’s the problem… not all channels are created equal. Some are better at one thing, while others are better at another.
Facebook marketing is great at driving awareness. And is helpful for retention. But driving conversions, it’s not the best. Email marketing is much more powerful for driving sales from repeat visitors.
And in my example above, you’ll see that customers or clients routinely need several different touches by different methods. Generating one new customer or client takes a combination of SEO, content, email, and Facebook.
So if you’re overloaded in one area (like driving awareness), but not enough in another area (like email marketing or using premium content for lead nurturing), then your marketing will break down.
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A Caveat: Beware of Over-Optimization
As with most things in life, you can take this too far.
Trying to over-optimize your marketing based on data can be misleading, and worse drive you into failure.
Let’s say I want to use Facebook advertising to grow awareness and acquire new likes (which is a perfectly legitimate and potentially high ROI strategy by the way).
So your goal is to “acquire” likes for as little as possible. But if you try to push the cost of acquisition down too much — say to $0.25 instead of $1 — then quality and results can suffer.
You can buy really, really inexpensive “likes” from people in small, remote countries of the world. But are those people really going to buy your products or sign up for your services? In most cases, probably not.
So it’s better to spend a little more on acquiring a lead, because they’re going to be higher quality and therefore more likely to pay you more money.
Which is why we’re all doing this anyway. 🙂
Update #1: This concludes my little series on improving your inbound marketing strategy. If you’d like to hear more, then my training program starts in a few days and is closing soon. Check out the details here and let’s talk before it closes.
Update #2: Next up, we’re going to what the future of search engine optimization has in store. I’m preparing a mini-course and training webinar that I’ll be opening up soon. So stay tuned!
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