It’s been an amazing four weeks back fully immersed in Stage3. No one in corporate land really appreciates how great it is to wear shorts on 30-degree days instead of woollen dress pants!

Getting my legs some much-needed colour aside, these four weeks have really opened my eyes to the opportunities that great companies are leaving on the table through either a lack of cohesion in the marketing efforts or through just focusing on the wrong metrics and not even tracking the right ones.

Here are ones I have been seeing consistently:

Connect your marketing efforts for greater impact

One client previously had a digital agency that created their website; one putting Facebook posts up 3 times a week; and another running Google Ads.

Three agencies to meet and discuss objective with.

Three agencies to manage account payables with.

Three agencies that didn’t talk to each other.

The problem with this approach is that there is a disconnect from a technical perspective, even if you can maintain branding and tone of voice (which is hard to do).

What I felt was missing from this set up was:

  • The web designer wasn’t responsible for how that website performed in organic search results (SEO) nor on how many visitors converted into customers but was focused on how it looked (and it looks great!)
  • The guys putting up Facebook posts were simply putting up posts. With recent changes with Facebook, these types posts are now redundant as priority is given to friends, groups and paid ads
  • The Google Ads guys had done a great job of setting up some basic Ad Groups and were working towards some refined Keyword (+ and -) that was seeing some good CTRs. Problem was that they weren’t converting into
  • Missing was a great, relevant landing page with a killer offer. Landing page for a direct response campaign does not need to be the main website (in fact… never do that unless your main site is a conversion machine)
  • Missing was conversion tracking to determine what was converting the most clients. Just because an ad has a high CTR, doesn’t mean its bringing in business. By tracking conversion, you might find that an Ad Group with a lower CTR has a higher conversion rate once they land.
  • Missing was retargeting. A very small percentage of website visitors buy on the first visit. Unless you are running a retargeting program, you are throwing a lot of money at top-of-funnel activities and then letting it all leak out. Flour seive is more like it!
  • Most importantly, there wasn’t a customer view on what their journey looked like, and what the business objective was. It was the agencies view of what they were doing. It was siloed.

Know your numbers

As I mentioned in the above case study, tracking conversions is a must for any direct response/ inbound marketing efforts. But this lack of awareness of how someone’s business is digitally performing is systemic.

Simply knowing how many visitors are landing on your website is a must; knowing where they came from is required. There are some free tools that let you know this information like Google Analytics. Once you know what your digital shop traffic looks like, you are then able to make business decisions on where to invest your marketing dollars. Do you invest in getting people at the top of the sales funnel, or do you invest in maximising the ones you already have?

Another number that is usually overlooked in the lifetime customer value. How much, over the course of their connection with your business, do they generate. For example, a typical customer signing up to a $10 monthly subscription might stay for an average of 5 years. Simple LCV would be $600.

Now you know the LCV… what’s the cost per acquisition? Not just the cost of the click, but the total cost (including agency fees etc.).

In a conversion with a prospective client this week, they were comparing our costs with their current providers, and we were more expensive. But they couldn’t tell me how many customers the “cheap” agency had provided for their ad spend. Sometimes, you do get what you pay for, and it ends up being more expensive in the long run.

Test, testing, testing

Almost everyone I have spoken to that either is managing their marketing themselves or that have an agency doing it for them aren’t doing tests to help optimise campaign performance. One creative; one website; one audience etc. How on earth do they know if its right? Just because it was right before, doesn’t mean it will continue to be right. And just because someone likes it, doesn’t mean the target audience likes it.

I have seen over complication in test-and-learn programs, particularly in larger corporates where the ROI can be lost in the P&L ownership, but taking a leaf out of high school science, my guidance to testing is:

Minimise the number of variables being changed.
If you want to test an email subject line, don’t change the creative at the
same time otherwise you won’t know whether it was the subject heading or the
creative (or both) that caused a change in behaviour

Analytics and reporting are key.

Quite simply,if you don’t track the outcomes then how are you going to get any insight? Bit of a no-brainer

Log the changes somewhere, even in excel.

That way you can always come back and review what you did previously. Nothing worse than having “Subject Line A” in your reporting, and you have no idea what Subject Line A is!

Don’t assume anything.

Test it. My opinions are irrelevant. I am a case study of one. I loathe reality shows, but apparently, there are enough people watching that drivel that every channel must have a dating show, a cooking show, and probably a DIY show. But I digress…

So…. Huge amounts of opportunities, and I am more excited now than ever to help those that want to take advantage of them!