"Show me the money!"
If there’s one sentence that puts the frighteners up marketers, it’s got to be that one.
Measuring ROI in marketing is far easier said than done. Leads often take a long time to warm up and close. You may grab someone’s attention with your first campaign, but it might be five more before they’re ready to buy.
So which campaign do you attribute the close to? Which was the most effective? Which should you run again?
The best way to deal with ROI measurement is to ensure that you’re doing everything you can, from day one of a new strategy launch, to deliver an ROI that has everyone raising their eyebrows (in a good way).
Here’s what we’ve found works best for our clients, so they can go into that marketing meeting with their heads held high.
1. Re-do your buyer personas
Back in the day, creating projections of your ideal customer relied a lot on guesswork and memory. But now, thanks to the advent of Big Data, we’re now blessed with detailed customer data, allowing us to remove the guesswork and make incredibly well-targeted personas.
That said, data can’t be collected for everything, so you’ll need to combine that science with the knowledge your sales team already has. After all, it’s them who are at the coal face everyday, listening to the challenges of your prospects directly.
By combining their knowledge with the data you’ve acquired over the years, you should be able to paint an accurate picture of what your buyers really look like.
This will go a long way to ensuring that the rest of your strategy is well informed and that the content you produce off the back of it will resonate well with your prospects and current customers.
2. Build a picture of the buyer journey
As well as building a picture of who your prospects are, you also need to understand how they navigate the path to purchase.
If you know where their journey tends to take them, you can be waiting for them at each stop with a bit of welcome advice. Then, when they finally reach the point of purchase, they’ll be more likely to think of you.
But if you don’t understand the buyer journey and just throw content out there for the sake of it, you’ll find that you get much less traction and a far smaller return on your marketing investment as a result.
3. Make it obvious
One of the first stops prospects make will be your website. After all, it’s no secret that consumers today like to do their research online before engaging with a business.
When they arrive, make sure it’s absolutely clear what you want them to know.
If there’s too much information and each page is crowded design-wise, the odds are that they’ll leave having taken nothing away.
This is where proposition work will come in. You have to ensure you create a business proposition which makes it clear in a few simple sentences exactly who you are, what you do and why you’re different.
You’ll also want to use analytics and heat mapping software to reveal how long and where visitors end up on your website. If your findings show that they’re not going where you want them to, a re-design of your website might be required.
4. Invest in content
Content is the ‘welcome advice’ we mentioned above, which will directly link into your buyer personas.
By creating content that’s focused on your prospects’ challenges, you can engage potential buyers before they’re ready to make a decision to buy and build trust with them, so that when they are ready to buy, you’re the business that they turn to first.
Another thing that makes content great is its share-ability and that it can be repurposed; once it’s produced, it’s out there, ready to be found by your prospects.
Some of the content you can get created won’t even cost you a penny but is incredibly effective when trying to convert prospects who are almost ready to buy.
User-generated content is incredibly strong because it acts as a proof point for prospects who are considering buying into your brand. Your customers are much more effective at selling your brand than you can ever be, so it’s incredibly important to use their stories in ensuring that your content plan achieves a return on investment.
5. Concentrate on a few channels
There’s a perception that you should spread your net as far and wide as possible when promoting your content, but when talking about ROI, it’s almost impossible to track everything if you push your messaging out everywhere.
It can also be a costly mistake; if you decide to run 10 smaller campaigns across 10 different channels, you’ll either spend far more than you’d initially set out to or will have to split your initial budget into 10 separate budgets, essentially meaning your reach is far less than if you’d split the same budget out across two or three relevant channels.
It’s much better to understand the market and invest your time and money more wisely than just try to reach everyone, everywhere. That way, you can engage with your audience via the channels on which they are most active, start to build some trust and, with a bit of luck, generate some actual leads.
Knowing which channels to invest in all comes down to understanding the buyer journey, having crunched all your big customer data. This information then needs to be passed on to your salespeople, so that they are reaching out to prospects via their preferred channels, once leads have been warmed up accordingly.
6. Align sales & marketing
Speaking of leads (that’s what you’re here for, after all), there’s no point generating a tonne of them if they aren’t the right kinds of leads for your sales team to close and for operations to be able to service.
Marketing and sales alignment is crucial if you want to see a serious return on your marketing investment. Ultimately, you’re relying on sales to bring home the bacon, so you need to give them every chance of closing the deal. The only way to do that is to get both departments – whether in-house or outsourced – on the same page.
Bonus point: Data!
It's worth considering that if you're planning on running campaigns or building a strategy targeted at bad existing data, the likelihood of getting anything back worth shouting about is poor.
Personally, I would take an average campaign with perfect data over a perfect campaign with average data every day of the week.
UP NEXT: Our ‘Complete Guide to Unifying Your Sales and Marketing Efforts’ will show you how to go about aligning your sales and marketing teams for even greater ROI. Click here to read now.