The Keys to Long Term Return on Investment (ROI)
In the results of Hubspot's 2016 survey of marketing managers, it was shown that 43% of all marketers identify proving ROI as one of their top marketing challenges. It seems that “Prove it,” is not just a playground taunt, nor is it limited to geometry class.
The more accurate and precise your measurement of reality is, the better chance your enterprise will succeed. If knowledge is power, you better know information that accurately matches reality!
The importance of being able to calculate and prove your Internet Marketing ROI is not to be taken lightly. Without being able to accurately measure it, a business doesn't have the ability to improve its performance in the areas that need it the most, and finds itself blindly investing in “improvements” that may be just the opposite.
Oftentimes, many of the rewards that your business reaps from successful marketing will be factors that can't easily be quantified like thought leadership, respect, credibility, and brand awareness.
Our challenge as marketers lies in discovering the best resources for calculating those metrics that can be concretely attributed. Thankfully, the task of measuring ROI in internet marketing isn't something that demands complex scientific calculations or impossibly specialized fields of expertise; that's what the analytics are for.
Know thine analytics
Accurate ROI measurement can be accomplished with the help of a few simple analytics solutions made for crunching the numbers. Some of the data that these tools calculate are clicks, organic search volume, and conversions. These are easy number to come by if you’re using any kind of marketing platform.
Google analytics is a stump-simple way to track vital numbers that tell you exactly what is happening to your marketing efforts. Adding a line of code to the metadata of the site or pages you want to track, and voila! Google hands you the statistics you need to know.
In the olden days, when mass marketing analytics was much less precise, advertisers had no idea if their schemes were working until the end of the quarter when sales figures showed an up or down trend. Even then they couldn’t be sure of what exactly drove the trend.
Now it's possible to test surgically-differentiated marketing to small segments of your market with almost minute-by-minute reports on how a campaign is doing.
Disclaimer: While high-quality analytics will surely pull a great deal of weight, they still need to be met halfway. Accurate ROI measurement demands a decent comprehension of your analytics program (Google Analytics in most cases) and its relationship to the attribution of conversions in your campaign.
Set your ideal conversion priceOwners of all types of business websites, e-commerce or otherwise, will benefit generously from setting concrete goals for marketing spending, such as "price-tagged" conversions; that is to say, the budgeted amount to spend on a reticent lead before a successful conversion occurs and (hopefully) absorbs the higher cost over time. You’ll have an ideal minimum cost set by the easiest conversions, and between the two, a number that represents an average cost per conversion.
Now you know exactly what to budget for and if you’ve hit it or not.
When you have discovered a point at which the value of all conversions is greater than the price paid for non-converts, you have discovered a winning campaign and can confidently capitalize upon it. It is vital to make sure that no internet marketing campaign is ever given a top dollar investment before a strong conversion ratio is seen at lower levels of investment.
Determine the kind of conversion rate that your campaign is fundamentally designed forThe length of time that it takes to see returns will generally depend on two factors:
- The campaign content's power to compel its audience
- The nature of the campaign's medium
Organic traffic generated from SEO, unlike social media, generally won't move at the same pace as a promoted social media post that gets hot; however, depending on what your goals are, this may or may not be a downside. In any case, organic traffic is always a slower, steadier source of leads that should be funded well.
Compared to social media and organic SEO, PPC campaigns for paid Google listings give an extremely comprehensive breakdown in their measurement reports, such as...
- Clicks- actual clicks on a link or ad
- Impressions- the total number of people on whose screens your ad appears
- CTR- Click Through Rate
- CPC- Cost per click
While the medium of your campaign surely matters, is only half of the picture. The nature of the campaign itself, and the type of questions that were asked before drafting it, carry more weight in its long-term ROI potential than its medium.
How many hoops do leads need to jump through before reaching a decision point for converting? Are leads expected to convert right away with a purchase, or volunteer their contact information for a later phone call? What kinds of people are we targeting, and what will they be doing when this goes up? These are the questions that should be asked and answered long in advance of the campaign itself going live.
Always keep your eye on the long-term engagement horizon
In the heat of the moment, it's very easy to get seduced by the possibility of short-term gains. No matter how beneficial it may seem to go for a fast-moving trend, that tunnel vision will almost always result in a loss of steam and a marketing strategy that finds itself stalled.
Rather than fixating on what the latest trend, it's safer and smarter to develop ways that your target audience can be kept engaged on a consistent basis. Rather than giving the audience a one-stop experience that they may or may not remember the next morning, it's far more lucrative to invest in the things that develop ongoing relationships.
Once your target audience has gotten your brand firmly planted in their long-term memory, you've truly set the stage for opportunity. With the brand strongly and positively established in their memories due to constant engagement, they'll be willing to call upon the business again when the time is right.
A search engine is wonderful resource when used correctly, and a disappointment when relied on exclusively. With all of the different sources of printed and electronic knowledge we have, it's easy to lose site of the original source of that precious information: human beings.
Your own team members, with all of their unique life experiences and diverse education, just might be your most powerful and most neglected information matrix. Take some time to tap into your team's collective knowledge, encourage taking breaks from web searching to start brainstorming, and the results could be surprising.
Though this all might seem a bit intimidating to those seeing it for the first time, these concepts are more daunting than difficult. For all of its nuances and complex-sounding algorithms, online marketing is all about making life easier; with it, we have opportunities to engage with our audiences in ways that were never possible with traditional advertising forms.
Your mileage WILL vary. If you stay persistent in your audience engagement efforts, you just may discover a subtle common denominator that threads through all your most successful campaigns; at that point, you will have finally discovered your business's unique key to long term ROI.
Digital marketing realities are way easier to prove than a lot of other “facts” we believe are true. Like the “fact” we all learned in school, that chewing gum takes seven years to digest. In fact, you don’t digest it at all. In a couple of days, it’s gone. So, get real- your marketing, sales and bottom line are depending on it!