If you’re a small business just dipping your toes into the world of digital marketing, it can be a massive, complicated and confusing task. How do you know where to spend your marketing budgets? How do you know how to properly measure them for effectiveness? or even what effectiveness looks like? Do you even know what ROI means? (“Return on Investment” for the uninitiated)
We’re here to help. Here are a few initial steps you can take to fine tune your digital marketing strategy with little to zero knowledge of the landscape.
Find Your “Cost Per Acquisition” or “Cost Per Action” (CPA)
In the world of digital marketing a “CPA” is not a Certified Public Accountant – It’s your cost per acquisition. To translate that into standard English, it’s how much you pay online to achieve a purchase or sign-up from a customer. This can vary based on what type of business you run. I like to use this graphic that I took directly from Google – When you run an AdWords campaign or any campaign for that matter, you need to have a goal. Google does a great job of breaking the types of goals businesses might have into categories… here they are for your reference:
Look at that chart and decide which of these “conversion goals” best fits your business model. Once you find it do the math on what kind of return you need in order to be profitable on a “per action” basis. For example, if you sell t-shirts @ $20.00 a pop, it probably costs you $5 – $7 to print them, and another $2.00 to ship them. So on the high end $7 + $2 = $9 – you have $11 left to play with. Your CPA is $11.00 and so as long as you can sell a shirt by spending less than $11.00 you are making a profit. That’s a very simplified breakdown but it should give you the right idea.
Think About the Target Audience for Your Brand and Where They Hang Out
If you’re a brand trying to targeting teenagers SnapChat or Instagram would probably be a good venue for your brand. On the other hand, if you’re an auto dealership trying to target local customers, you will want to try avenues like local papers, local radio, local tv stations.
The web is no different but you can also microtarget and choose the content you run within. If simply buying ads in your DMA or Zip Code isn’t working you can also choose to target “in-market customers” or people who are searching for “buy ____ car” and then retarget them with additional ads featuring the product they looked at if they don’t purchse. The content that you choose to target people amongst is important as well. People who are browsing automotive websites such as Edmunds, Auto Trader, Car & Driver, etc. are much more likely to be researching a purchase decision, further down the buying funnel and hence – a more likely customer.
With digital you can test, analyze and find a perfect mix of content and data to get the most valuable eyeballs on your advertising.
Measure and Adjust
With digital you can easily see a lot of things firsthand that just weren’t possible with magazine or TV advertising. As an example, analytics now allow you to see exactly where a user came into your site from, how long they were on it, what pages they viewed, etc. With access to this level of data you can really dig into all the details of how users interact with your brand and make effective adjustments.
If you find that you’re generating a lot of leads from Google AdWords, that’s probably a good place to increase your spend. On the other hand if you are spending exorbitant amounts there and seeing no “ROI” return on investment it might be a good idea to re-adjust your campaigns or… or hire an expert. A simple call into Google AdWords support might even be the key to unlocking what really drives substantial business for you online. Whatever the case…
Don’t Expect Instant Results!
Picture yourself, sitting on the couch eating Cheeto’s when an ad for the new iPhone comes on. Being the tech fanboy you are, do you immediately drop everything you’re doing right then and run out and buy that phone? No, you don’t… maybe it’s not out yet, maybe you need to save up the money, maybe you’re in your underwear and need to shower first. Whatever the case remember that a person has to see your advertising messaging at least a few times before it sticks and online is no different. You will get visitors to your site who don’t convert to sales. Maybe they are just researching, but they liked what they saw and are served another ad for your brand a couple weeks later. At that point they are ready to make a decision, click through and buy your product.
Ever heard of the term “Effective Frequency?” That’s the amount of times it takes someone to remember an ad. A lot of companies will spend a little, see minimal results and deem their campaign a failure. This is usually due to a lack of understanding. When you start a digital marketing campaing (or any campaign for that matter) you need to spend some budget and then start looking at the data and adjusting. Very few people will close a customer on the first click and even if they do the chances of that being anything but an impulse purchase are slim. If you want to build a real, long term customer base you have to be consistent.
These are a few great tips to help you get the ball rolling with your first digital marketing strategy. Remember that every brand is different on different levels. A CPA goal for a Lawyer for example could be several thousand dollars as a big case with a big payout could be millions in profit. On the other hand someone selling t-shirts has a lot less wiggle room. It’s important that you educate yourself, have realistic expectations – and are constantly monitoring and adjusting your ads.
(Stay tuned for Pt. 2 – Coming Soon!)
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