The Do’s and Don’ts of Digital Marketing
There are no hard-and-fast rules for digital marketing. It’s an aspect of business that’s ever-changing and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Internet platforms and social media channels popular today didn’t even exist just a few short years ago when everyone (and, yes, even their mother) began shopping around online prior to making big purchases, such as buying home appliances, a vehicle, or leasing an apartment.
Every company must take a custom approach to their digital marketing strategy based on their own target audience, marketplace, team members and business goals — then adjust accordingly after analyzing the results to see which marketing endeavors increase leads and revenue, which is everyone’s ultimate goal.
That may be the single aspect of digital marketing we all share as business owners and leaders: we want to attract more people (leads, customers, partners, influencers, advertisers, media, and other industry thought leaders) and we want to increase our profit, or at least reduce inefficiencies for a better margin.
A couple of weeks ago, we kicked off a three-part blog series on digital marketing to help you navigate the new as well as the tried-and-true digital marketing methods that work for an experienced group of business professionals I recently interviewed.
Some sell furniture and some lease apartments. Some specialize in digital marketing consulting and some specialize in technology so businesses can better manage digital marketing. For Part 2 of our blog series, I’ve compiled the top three proven tips my sources say helped them improve digital marketing performance.
How these tips apply to your business depends on your particular industry and existing marketing plan, but the overarching principle pertains to every kind of business that invests in any online advertising and marketing — which really should include every kind of company at this stage of the digital revolution.
1. Invest in digital marketing avenues that deliver trackable ROI data tied to revenue. When evaluating new digital marketing technology, always pay attention to the analytics side of the tool. What data does it deliver, and more importantly, does it calculate ROI results or track the number of leads to sales?
“If you’re not sure where to spend your marketing money, go with something that can be tracked,” says Justin Bowen, Web Content Manager for The Great American Home Store, one of the many success stories of PERQ’s Marketing Cloud. “Tracking is critical. If you’re not tracking results, you don’t know what to change or what to do better.”
Bowen says knowing precise ROI for each digital platform makes it easier to make educated digital marketing budget decisions, such as investing in a new technology solution or cutting a campaign that isn’t working out as planned.
“Last year, we had a budget issue and were told we had to cut back because certain efforts weren’t providing the right amount of return on investment,” Bowen says. “Anything we spend on digital has to be trackable. The opportunity to do so is there if you choose the right platform. Demand that from any vendor; make them prove it delivers actual sales.”
2. Set analytic metrics and goals for each digital marketing platform. Simply collecting data isn’t enough. Before launching any marketing campaign, you need to set metrics and expectations so you can measure effectiveness over time.
By setting a benchmark, your digital marketing department can decide which investments are worth the cost and easily justify increasing or decreasing the budget for an online marketing tool or ad campaign.
Not all leads can be compared by the same standards. An in-depth lead profile from someone who’s already engaged with your website and volunteered their personal data delivers more value than a cheaper lead generation source that merely gives you a name and email address but no information on what the consumer is looking for, when they plan to buy or lease, how they prefer to communicate or any other personal buying preferences.
“The data we receive from our website allows us to make better decisions,” says Jenny Richard, Director of Marketing at Gene B. Glick Company, a multifamily property management company. “Collecting what amenities are important from one property to another, where they like to spend their time outside the community, understanding our customers’ journey and how far in advance of their move-in date they are looking are some examples that we focus on.”
Richards says they focus on metrics like appointment conversion and lead attribution, regularly meeting with their property managers to review the online analytics and collaborate ways to achieve benchmarks they set.
“With the wealth of data available to us, our strategy includes setting benchmarks and monitoring the results of our efforts on a bi-weekly basis to pivot as needed,” Richards says.
Additionally, Glick put into place a benchmark for response time on e-leads and SMS inquiries of 4 business hours. “We have a goal to significantly improve this response time as we know the importance of responding more promptly — it’s imperative to reduce the risk of losing a potential renter,” Richards says. “We look forward to more robust technology to provide us additional visibility into this.”
3. Add AI automation technology to increase efficiencies and conversion rates. Within 150 days of adding AI-driven software to its existing store website, The Great American Home Store saw a 3,740.41% return on investment and 2.38% conversion rate on unique leads captured through the interactive website experiences.
The explosion of AI technology means smaller businesses can now provide an online experience that rivals giant e-commerce and national brand websites, while also managing internal lead processes and analytics the same way big corporations do.
An AI-powered digital marketing cloud offers companies a powerful tool to increase staff and investment efficiencies and better manage all of their data in one place. Companies use cloud technology to automatically store lead data and internal notes, track consumers across multiple touchpoints, tie sales data to online leads, assign leads to sales staff, and add marketing automation like email and texting to nurture online leads long-term. When built to serve your specific industry, a digital marketing cloud can deliver a huge boost in efficiency, actionable insights and consumer satisfaction.
Above all else, a marketing cloud that features machine learning capabilities can analyze millions of consumer data points collected from online shoppers across hundreds of B2C websites alongside your own company data to better predict customer conversion and narrow down a target audience for specific platforms, as well as automatically adjust your various digital marketing campaigns in real time.
When it comes to digital marketing, everyone I’ve talked to all agree: start with the fundamentals. Make sure your entire team is on the same page about what success looks like for any given marketing campaign and you have the tools in place to properly measure the results.
Be willing to switch directions if something doesn’t pan out, but also give it some time to ramp up and grow. If you change too much at once or switch things around too quickly, you won’t get a clear idea of its true potential. The wait is worth the reward when you find a winning digital marketing strategy.
Check back next month for the final piece of our 2019 digital marketing series to see what three common mistakes sources say they either learned the hard way or often see other businesses make when managing a digital marketing strategy.