Nik Ellis examines the good and bad of digital marketing.
There’s lots of reasons that companies have a marketing function but let’s face it, from the boss’s point of view they want to see an increase in sales.
Marketeers will champion ideas such as brand awareness, engaging customers, thought leadership, consumer insights, and so on. Valid points & it could be argued that all passively increase sales, but ultimately the cost of marketing, digital or traditional, should ideally be outweighed by the additional profit that it generates.
With this basic principal in mind, how exactly do we ensure that our marketing efforts boost the bottom line, rather than be swallowed up as an expense?
Strategic Digital Marketing
We often start at the end, by defining a desired result, often utilising a press release “We are delighted to announce that we have broken the £1m turnover bracket thanks to…” The goal needs to be defined, not a wishy-washy ‘let’s make more money’ goal, but a measurable target to hit by a given date. The total cost of a marketing campaign should not exceed the expected profit (not turnover) from increased sales, so this has to be a realistic and achievable target.
Secondly consider a campaign as organic rather than something you set up, leave & hope for the best. The beauty of digital marketing is that you can adjust so much of a campaign, every minute if so desired, to optimise your campaign; increase what’s working, diminish what isn’t.
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
An old marketing adage with its roots in traditional advertising when a scattergun approach was considered best, advertising your product to everyone possible. However in 2021 we have some powerful digital tools to place products or services specifically under the noses of the specific people who are most likely to buy.
The great thing about digital marketing is that the more sales, the more data that becomes available to tell us exactly who is buying. In turn this allows us to focus on optimising the positioning of adverts homing in on potential new customers who, demographically speaking, look alike to existing buyers.
Unlike a bill board or pitch side ad, we can track exactly who has responded to the advert & follow their journey through to a sale. Thus we can justify our marketing spend if it produces a positive return on investment & conversely we won’t be putting adverts under the noses of people who are highly unlikely to buy from us.
We can even see if consumers are landing on your product but bouncing away; if the percentage of people buying is particularly low it tends to indicate a fundamental problem. Typically this is either the product, perhaps its pricing or availability, or it could mean an issue with the shop or website itself. Either way a learning process that can be fixed.
“I’ve got a great website, so why aren’t I getting loads of sales?”
A website is the digital version of a shop. They both need two things to be successful; a decent amount of people going through the shop door and, perhaps more importantly, a fair proportion of those visitors actually buying.
Digital marketing, in all it’s varied forms, is the equivalent to the likes of news paper ads, sports sponsorship, billboards etc used pre-internet. It is what is used to send visitors to your website. Once visitors are in your shop, there are a different set of skills utilised to assist and direct the consumer from their initial interest through to an actual sale, a bit like a helpful (not pushy) shop assistant.
Digital marketing, in all its various guises, if implemented correctly & managed regularly should form an integral part of a business, driving the lion’s share of sales.