Has this ever happened to you? You’re a bad-ass marketer, trying to start some top-shelf marketing efforts.
When it comes time to execute, though, your boss doesn’t have any money to support you. Why? Maybe no one has tried your idea. Perhaps it didn’t work well last time. Maybe “leadership” doesn’t like the idea.
Whatever the reason, it’s going to be hard to prove your idea works if you can’t execute anything. Even more difficult if you don’t even know it’s potential.
The Needing-money-to-make-money Problem
Yes. It’s true. Proving you can make money doing something you’ve never done before is difficult.
Make an effort to identify all the sources that help pay your salary. Take the time and effort to record and organize the analytics of your on and off-line business. Know where to spend your money when you do eventually have it.
Know your business’ strengths and weaknesses. Capitalize on strengths and minimize or build resources for your shortcomings.
If you don’t know your bounce rate is through the roof, then you don’t know the real reason your otherwise well-designed site doesn’t convert.
If you don’t know what your lifestyle brand’s audience’s sense of humor is, then you’re not going to succeed on social media.
Identify Your Opportunities
Once you know how the business functions, you’ll see opportunities for improvement and where to capitalize. Spending in these two areas makes it clear for everyone that there’s a need for a budget, and it will help the business.
The “What If” Question
What if it works better?
Assuming you’re following best practices, being innovative, and/or following the industry, your idea has the potential to work better than current methods. ‘New’ has risk, yes, but it also has potential.
Note: Be honest about this – but first, be smart. Critique your own idea to find risk. Then think about how to mitigate the risk. But then pose this question, “what if it works better?”
Don’t Reinvent The Wheel.
You’re not the first person to try to make money on the internet.
Many campaigns, clicks, and experiments have proven that some digital marketing techniques work, and some don’t. And ya know what’s great about that? It’s available for free.
Research Your Opportunities
Hundreds of free sites called “blogs” talk about best marketing practices. There are millions of pages about general and niche practices. Get in there and learn what you need to about the marketing opportunities you’ve identified.
Find examples of what traditionally works and what doesn’t. Use the free knowledge to plan and fine-tune your idea. Even this site has free resources. (You’re reading one right now.)
Bonus points for case studies that show ROI!
Build Up Your Pitch
With your original idea beefed up with your own critiques and more research, you’re ready to pitch. The actual pitch depends on your company and how you present your approach to the right people.
Be professional, serious, know your audience, and show them – every and any way you can – how your idea will improve the company. Dollar amounts – which are all estimates – look good in bold font.
Ya, it’s a cliche, hold up.
Even the best of practices say to customize for your niche. Use your research and knowledge of your industry to estimate what’ll work. You’ll always have data to back up these decisions.
Sure, if you’re feeling creative, add a few wildcards in there. But reference your intuition, data, or other discoveries if you can.
With your informed options… TEST. Here’s what we recommend
- First, just rank, order, or estimate what you think will do well (that’ll come in handy later)
- Review everything
- Push it live
- Watch closely (especially if it’s a new campaign or new research)
- Ongoing changes – if it’s obviously not working after a decent amount of trials, take it out of the game.
- Review results and compare them to your hypothesis (step 1). Were you right? If not, why?
- Share information with everyone else – you never know if your failure or success will inspire someone else.
ROI Is Your Go-to
Return on investment (usually measured in dollars) will help prove your worth (which, in business, is measured in dollars, too).
Here’s the simple equation:
ROI = investment gain (or cost – revenue) / initial investment (or cost)
Get as granular as you want with that. Some people include overhead costs, and some people just write down how much they spent on ads (more on that below).
This equation applies to all aspects of your marketing.
Before you do or measure anything, record pre-campaign numbers as a baseline to compare your end results too, up or down, you’ll know what you need to do.
Search Engine Optimization ROI
Depending on your goals, measure different metrics (before, during, and after a campaign or SEO significant change) to help determine if your campaign is working.
For SEO, look into:
- Page rank
- Conversion rate (for all aspects of your marketing funnel)
- Time on page
- Pages per visit
- Bounce rate
- Scroll depth
- Source of visits and bounces
- Click-through rate
- Domain/page authority
- Keyword ranking
- Number of backlinks
Say you wanted to rank higher for food delivery searches in many locations. Factors that affect the SERPs include page rank, title tags, meta descriptions, and maybe some backend organization. Additionally, beefing up your Google My Business best practices would also be a good idea.
Get a baseline of your page rank, conversion rate, and sources of visits. Apply your changes, let crawlers do their thing, and re-record your metrics. Compare conversion rate (with dollar amounts applied) to see improvement.
Web Design And UX ROI
Design and user experience are more difficult to measure. There are a few different ways to do it (and at various price points).
- Survey users after they use your site for
- A/B test two pages with one, specific, change
- Split testing (more advanced than A/B testing)
- Screen recording
- Monitored and unmonitored user testing
- Blur tests
- Time-based or task-based user tests
- User observation
Bonus points if your site meets accessibility requirements.
If conversions improved from one design to the next, factor that differences into the ROI equation, and you know the value of design/UX.
Pay Per Click ROI
You can test and refine PPC ads – on any platform – for a pretty affordable price. Many platforms even help by displaying low-performing ads less than high performing ones.
Again, once you have enough data to provide a fixed conversion rate, factor it into the ROI equation.
Social Media ROI
As with many marketing elements, organic social media value proves challenging to measure. It can be intangible.
Case and point: Wendy’s.
The social value of Wendy’s twitter earned the company internet fame. No one tweet went so viral that everyone went to get a fresh, never-frozen burger. And it didn’t happen overnight. The account got recognition for its blunt comedic tweets.
Depending on your goals, you should take a look at:
And for the love of all that is holy, read and respond to your comments. This is feedback. Take it seriously.
We recommend taking a longer-term approach to measuring organic social media. You may need to establish a voice for each platform, even if they follow the same general view. After a while, you’ll be able to see a change in these metrics. If not, it’s time to test something more drastic.
Email. Where there are more variables than metrics to guide your marketing.
Document what you’re communicating to compare to how well it’s engaged with:
- Word count of emails
- Images and how many
- How many calls to action and placement
- Day and time sent
- The “tone” of the message
Tests these variables (one at a time, mind you) to optimize your metrics.
Metrics to keep track of:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Open-to-click-through rate
- Actions are taken after a click-through.
- Unsubscribe rate
- Reasons for unsubscribe
Track improvements that convert users from one step of the funnel to another (you are segmenting, right?). Each conversion increases the opportunity for the next step of the funnel. All roads lead to improving ROI.
Like with all these marketing aspects, research what kind of content will attract, convince, and convert your target audience.
And, like social media, you’ll probably want to measure the success of your content over time. Some material is seasonal, like ‘gardening checklist’ infographic for a home and garden store. Other content is evergreen, like ‘healthy snacks’ blog post for a personal trainer.
Let’s say your audience likes vlogs, and you choose your website as a platform to put your content on. You can redistribute it on social, email, PPC ads, and even other places on your site.
Time passes. You can now review analytics and see what is performing best. Look at:
- Time on page, indicating if users read it
- Bounces, indicating if users didn’t like what they expected to see
- Shares and linkbacks, indicating users think your stuff is worth sharing.
Reproduce what’s already successful. Take the highest performing content from the three stages of the marketing funnel – awareness, consideration, and conversion.
Re-produce the high-performing content from each stage into a different form your audience will consume video, podcast, webinar, whitepaper, infographic, etc.
The ROI of your most successful content skyrockets from what one blog post could do to the possibilities of videos, ads, graphics, and more.
Be smart about researching your ideas to back up new things. Test them, but don’t be afraid to pull out if things aren’t going well to re-assess. Identify and track the metrics you want to change before, during, and after you start a change. And recycle the successes to increase ROI.