Would you try to drive a car with only half an engine? It wouldn’t get you very far. So why drive your marketing until the engine’s fully built?
Every marketing activity needs an engine: a solid framework of planning, researching and testing. Without this it simply won’t take your business where it needs to go.
Many SME owners are tempted to cut corners when it comes to marketing. There’s no time, there’s no spare cash, they’re simply impatient, or they don’t understand the value of optimising a campaign through quality researching and testing. But consider this: President Obama raised an additional $60 million using A/B Testing (source: event360). So imagine what it could do for you.
Marketing is not something you can just rush into. Before you begin it’s important to ensure that A) your campaign has the best chance of making an impact and B) that you are geared up to nurture all the new leads through to sales conversion.
Attempts to reduce your marketing budget by not investing in planning and preparation is usually a false economy. While it’s all well and good to try and save money and spend just $800 on an ad-hoc campaign, if it generates only one lead, that’s $800 down the drain. If you spend $2000 doing it properly; paying for research and A/B testing prior to launching the campaign, you could end up with 50 leads. Crunch the numbers and look at cost per lead. When it comes to marketing, the least possible spend generally equates to the least possible result.
The biggest challenge facing SMEs today is the noisiness of the marketplace: time-poor consumers are bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages every day. Only the most relevant of these cut through. So research and test your message to ensure you use the A version: the one people respond to, the one that’s going to drive results. Look at your technology, channel selection, words and imagery. Tell your target market – clearly – what’s in it for them; validate your message and make it relevant. Optimising will result in a tighter, more focused campaign that cuts through the noise and hits the target market bullseye.
This applies to every aspect of your marketing, from branding through to calls-to action. Let’s take eDM as an example: you spend two hours writing an email, then send it out with a boring subject line at 5pm on a Friday. The email languishes in inboxes over the weekend only to be deleted come the Monday morning rush. What have you achieved? Two hours of wasted time.
A best practice approach to optimising that eDM campaign will require a more substantial time and dollar investment but will certainly generate better results.
- Invest in putting together couple of versions of your email and A/B testing different subject lines, headers, copy and layout/design to establish the one that will generate higher conversion rates. At May 2015, statistics from Vision 6 show that nearly 40% of all emails are opened, though this figure varies across industries. The click through rate is about 7.4 %.
- Nurtured leads produce 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads (Hubspot). And that means creating a targeted, compelling landing page to funnel your leads through to conversion – be that to a sale, attending an event, or joining your mailing list. Landing pages are important: according to Search Engine Land, the average landing page conversion rate is 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. So do you research and find ways to make your landing page work harder.
- Research the optimum time to send your eDM based on the daily habits of your target market.
- Nearly 47% of people read emails on mobile devices (Vision6) and 75% of smartphone owners say they are highly likely to delete emails they can’t read on their phones (Marteko). So always create your email using a professional package so it displays optimally on all devices.
- Monitor the metrics: use Google Analytics to measure your click-throughs, open rates and ROI. Use the information to continue optimising your strategy: tweak, revise, and review again.
When it comes to marketing, spending money on only half the job is like taking pieces of the engine out and expecting it to run in optimum condition. But if you invest the time and money up front, building a really powerful engine, your campaign can quickly cruise into high gear for maximum effectiveness and results.