How to Maximize ROI From Your Online Marketing
Welcome to the third and final part in our “building an unbeatable online presence” series… Let's focus on maximizing your return on investments (what every business owner truly cares about at the end of the day) from your online marketing campaigns.
We'll take a look at cheap ways to buy traffic, and I'm also going to cover some ways you might be losing leads currently (especially if you've taken the actions I went over in the first two parts to the series and are starting to rake in some serious traffic…), and how to convert more leads to sales.
It is true that becoming an online marketing guru is a full time position, however, you can handle your own marketing with little to no experience with a bit of key information. In this article, I want to give you some of the basics used by master online marketers to increase the business you're getting from the Internet.
To get your campaign up and running, you're realistically going to need to put aside a little bit of time each day - I recommend at least an hour a day until you've got it down - but once you get your ads up and running, a little bit of maintenance is all it will take to tweak them and keep them rolling strong.
If you're buried yourself, do you have an office manager, a spouse, or someone else you trust to take on these tasks for you?
Using a PPC Company vs. DIY
Let's start by taking a look at pay-per-click advertising.
Good news! Doing your own PPC is actually much easier than most people think it is.
There are tips and tricks that a lot of companies might not want to tell you about managing your own PPC, because it is one of the more lucrative careers these days.
Most of these companies make a lot of money to handle it for their clients. The typical provider of PPC services takes 30% of your spend in one way or another.
That's one of the main reasons so many people feel like it doesn't work well - do the math and see how it works for you.
Here's an example: let's assume you spend $1000 per month on PPC with a firm handling it for you. They need 30% to survive. How do they get it? Well if they have a directory of some sort, they place a large portion of your buy into that directory and a smaller portion on the actual search engines.
They get the lion's share of the money, and you get lesser traffic because Internet searchers have to first find the directory, then pick you out of the hundreds (or thousands) of competitors listed.
Let's further assume that $500 of your budget goes to Google, Yahoo and Bing.
We'll pick a mediocre rate and say that your cost per click (CPC) is $4 (in larger industries, you may be laughing at that number, but bear with me).
You'd get 125 clicks over the month at that CPC.
In a 31-day month that's 4 clicks per day.
Many industries need at least 12 to 15 clicks to get a response from a potential customer. This means that you will probably get 1 lead every 3 to 4 days.
Do you sell everyone that contacts you? Most companies don't.
What we've heard from a lot of clients is that they need about 3 leads to make a sale.
In our scenario, you would get a sale about every 10 to 12 days from a $1,000 a month investment.
That's 3 sales per month at an average acquisition cost of $333.00 each.
Is that what you expected to get from the campaign?
Does that sound like what you've been experiencing?
You can substantially decrease your cost per sale by doing your own pay-per-click advertising. There are companies offering training online that's fast and teaches you the basics you need to know to control your own campaign. (Digital Marketer is one site that has a great article on making the most of AdWords, which you can read here.)
We're not going to get into the nitty gritty details of setting up your AdWords account in this article, as there are countless tutorials on YouTube that will help you tackle any angle you're having trouble with, and we have more to talk about here today.
I just want to go over a couple common concerns a little bit more to show you where the problems often come from, so you don't worry about losing a large chunk of money on your ads.
One big thing I've heard over the years from clients is that they've had issues with their geo-targeting (specifically when they use a firm to manage their ads).
The company handling your ads probably has incentive to get it seen everywhere, even if it really isn't an exact match for you.
If your budget runs out in the first or second week of the month and you have no leads, you will likely spend more, and then they make more money that way.
Say you're a caterer who only does NYC, but your ads are showing up in Poughkeepsie.
Not cool, right?
Especially if there's no city mentioned in your ad! It might just say “Great Catering, Good Prices.” Then you're getting clicked on in all sorts of markets outside your service area, and wasting money with each one.
When you control your own AdWords account, you can control the areas that you target, down to the zip code.
And no one cares more about saving you money than you do. I know you don't want your hard-earned money to go to clicks in markets that your company doesn't even service, so that's one area to check right off the bat to make sure you're not draining your funds away.
With careful monitoring of your budget and proper setup of your target market, you should have no problem getting your ads seen by the people you actually want to click on them.
AdWords isn't the only way to get paid traffic though! In fact, in most markets, it's far from the cheapest route.
Paying for ads on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn works well, too.
Each of these platforms has a slightly different market that it caters to, but pretty much each of them can be utilized to reach the perfect audience for nearly any small business.
They've each got tutorials on their site that are really helpful. You don't want to start with several of them, though; pick one that you can hone in on and become expert in to start getting your money's worth before you branch out and tackle another one.
Try Facebook first and work out what targeting options are successful for your business.
You can get very specific in your targeting, so try to narrow it down to your exact target market for better results.
Facebook lets you hone in on your prospective clients in many ways, from the common demographics like sex and age down to specifics like exact interests, behaviors online, and even job titles, occupation, or the company that they work for.
Plus, FB will give you a piece of code to install on your site that tracks your site visitors, and then once you've gotten a certain amount of traffic, you can start to hit them with a retargeting campaign, reminding them why they were interested in your product/service, and inviting them back with some sort of enticing offer.
In all honesty, it's cheapest, and requires the least effort, to get them to take up your offer the first time they click. To do that, you have to offer the people that click on your ads something interesting enough when they first arrive that they will exchange their information to you at the very beginning to receive what you're offering.
While the retargeting features truly are great, there's no denying if you can get a sale, or at least an opportunity for one, on the first contact, it's much easier (and much more cost-effective) than getting that visitor to come back to your site repeatedly for another chance.
Plus, you can set up specific retargeting campaigns for your customers to target them with exclusive offers for repeat clients, and the like. You can get extremely creative with these campaigns, but we're not going to delve too deeply into that today, either.
What I want to do is make sure you're making the most of the leads you do get, whether from your organic traffic, or your paid campaigns. After you've worked so hard to get them to your site, and then gotten them to actually reach out to you, you deserve to at least try to get their business.
Grab it While It's Hot
One of the most successful clients we've had once told us his secret to maximizing his ROI from his SEO and marketing efforts. He said his secret was to take advantage of the laziness of his competitors.
No matter where he was, what time it was, or what he's doing, he always, always answered his phone. He'd leave it outside the shower, next to the bed, or on the table at dinner. Whenever a prospective client would call, he'd answer the phone immediately, and offer a free estimate at their house instantly.
It might’ve been inconvenient at times, but he knew that if he didn’t do that, one of his competitors would get to them first, and that they'd get the sale instead of him. The payoff was well worth it. He ended up building his business into a multi-million dollar enterprise through our partnership, and that was due to his closing a large percentage of his sales before they’d even gotten a call back from his competitors.
Etiquette - It Goes a Long Way
Answering the phone right away is very important, but answering it professionally is just as important. One of our team members was meeting with a client one time and the client's phone rang. He took one look at it and said “I don't know who that is, I'm not answering it.”
Our team member pointed out that it might be business calling, so he grabbed the phone and barked, “yo.” Not surprisingly, the caller hung up. He called the number back, and as luck would have it, it was a prospective client on the other end of the line. He'd scared them away by not using proper manners on the phone, and who knows how many times that had happened before?
He then played his voicemail, which was “Yo, this is John - you know what to do.” He decided to change that to a professional, “You've reached XYZ Tree Service, I’m probably trimming trees right now and can’t hear the phone, but if you’d be so kind as to leave a message, I'll call you soon. Thanks.” His problem of “not getting calls from his website” suddenly vanished, and his business picked up quickly.
No matter how good you are at your services, if you don't answer, or treat clients in a way that might turn them off, you'll more than likely lose their business to someone who treats them with professionalism and respect. This might sound like an obvious point, but it might not hurt to evaluate how you (or your staff) are treating incoming leads currently and see where you might be able to handle them better.
Hop on Those Leads!
Aside from prospective clients calling you, they are probably filling out request forms on your site as well. (Especially in today's day and age, you may have noticed a significant spike in your web leads vs. phone calls in the past few years.) Do you know what they look like when they get to you? Does your office manager, or spouse?
In today's immediate gratification society, if a person doesn't reach you, they'll probably just go right to the next site and find somebody willing and ready to take their business now, like our friend from the first example.
He had his e-mails set up to go straight to his phone (if you have a separate business address that doesn't go to your phone, get that changed ASAP), so that he could call them back instantly, before a competitor did.
We've occasionally had clients tell us that they weren't getting business from our SEO services. One of the first things we do in that situation is to check over their rankings, traffic, and the leads they are getting from their site. Usually, all three exist in good numbers. Then we’ll ask the client about the leads, and say “hey, I see X leads here from the last 3 weeks - did you get those?”
We had one client tell us, “yeah, I got them, but they're all crap.” We asked what he does when a lead comes into his e-mail, and he said he e-mails them back whenever he gets the chance, and if he hasn't heard back within a few days, then he'll call them to follow up with them. By that point, the prospect has already been sold by someone else!
Get the leads to go directly to your cell phone so that you can talk to the interested prospect immediately. Don't e-mail a lead unless there is no phone number or other option, as someone else is calling them to take their business.
We had another client who told us he wasn't getting any leads from the site. We filled out a test form and sent it in, and he said he didn't recognize it, as he never checked his e-mail, but his wife checked it instead. She came to the phone and said, “oh, there's that stupid spam again!” She'd been deleting the leads, not realizing what they were, and the trash was full of leads.
Our tech team run all of our clients through test forms now to make sure they know what they're looking for when that potential money comes in, but it was a valuable lesson learned for them, and us!
If you're getting your leads and answering your phone calls and you aren't closing at least 1 in 3 major sales or 4 in 5 smaller sales, then you may want to look into some sales training for your team. There are a few great online resources that can help you increase your closing rate, and really capitalize on your online marketing, by maximizing your ROI.
Not getting the leads you want to be getting? Give us a call for a free site evaluation and we'll help you find out why, and more importantly, how you can turn it around to start getting more business from the Internet.