Prove That Digital Marketing Works!
During the pitch process, potential clients who haven’t engaged in digital marketing, or had bad experiences with previous vendors, often question whether or not it works. Especially when coming into a new form of marketing cold from traditional marketing, clients are often hesitant to invest large sums of money up front. Showing a need and proving results will become crucial to making the relationship work.
A proper setup for data tracking and reporting will help you build a framework to demonstrate results. Once you begin to show a client concrete numbers for how many people see ads, how many people visit a site, and how many convert to leads/sales, they’ll often start to appreciate value that may not be immediately apparent. Especially when compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing offers almost infinite trackability to prove success.
See our article Digital Marketing Report Templates for Traditional Marketers for more on building reports that communicate help communicate value to those who are new to digital marketing.
However, even when you’re reporting regularly for clients, they may still have some questions about the value of a campaign.
How Can We Determine Our ROI?
ROI is an obvious core concern for marketers. When you show a report filled with clicks, impressions, sessions, and pageviews, a business owner may glance at the numbers but come back by saying, “OK, great numbers, but where’s the ROI?”
To ultimately prove the success of digital marketing efforts, you need to be able to tie results to real-world profits. Now, for an ecommerce company, showing ROI from the web is relatively easy, because you can directly correlate revenue from products sold with the website and the various sources leading users to purchase.
However, for a real estate company advertising to people interested in renting out apartments, proving ROI is a more difficult task.
For a lead generation client, measuring return beyond website traffic starts with proper conversion tracking. Set up Goals in Google Analytics and ad platforms to understand how many leads come from actions such as submitting contact forms. Next, if a significant number of leads come via phone calls, using a call tracking platform like CallRail or DialogTech, can correlate phone calls with sources like organic search or paid search.
Even if you know the average revenue you make per lead that comes into your business, you can approximate ROI by setting a value per lead. For instance, if you receive around $1,000 per lead and you get 20 leads, you can estimate a return of $20,000. Setting a Goal Value will allow you to measure this directly in Google Analytics.
However, for many lead generation clients, even a lead value is an approximation. Ultimately, you should work toward measuring actual return from leads that come in via the web. To set this up, you’ll need to track the original referrer for every form submission that comes through your site. This configuration means you can see that people came from a Google AdWords click or a Facebook link.
This tracking will vary depending on your website’s configuration; some systems may allow you to automatically track this, while others may require some custom development. Talk with your web developer if you need assistance setting this up. This article provides an overview of how to approach building in referrer tracking, along with sample code.
Once you’re able to track the original referrer by name for form submissions, compare this data to final sales records, bearing in mind that a sales process may take months to close. Note the people who actually bought after submitting a form, and include revenue figures if possible. Finally, tally the revenue by source to determine total revenue and average revenue per lead.
Why Can’t We Manage Digital Marketing Ourselves?
A marketing manager who’s newer to learning about digital marketing may feel confident after reading through a few blog posts. Why hire an agency when a company can use its own staff to handle SEO and PPC? Many agencies face internal client staff who want to simply handle everything in-house.
While in-house work can make sense for companies of the right size who’ve hired professionals with the right experience, launching into digital marketing with minimal knowledge can be disastrous. Once again, data can help to prove the value of a niche professional managing campaigns.
For instance, a marketing manager may be responsible for an AdWords campaign in addition to overseeing countless other tasks. But a few months of careless spending can result in hundreds or thousands of wasted dollars. To prove your worth, your agency can pitch a trial take over of the account for the next three months, with the defined task of increasing conversions and bringing down cost per conversion.
In this situation, setting up accurate analytics and conversion tracking can help to show the value of hiring someone who manages PPC accounts as a full-time job vs. delegating PPC management to someone who doesn’t have the bandwidth to learn or keep up with the industry.
With the proper management and resources, you’re more likely to achieve the goal of increasing conversions and bringing down cost per conversion. A report at the end of this trial period can help to sell the client on the cost-effectiveness of hiring an agency to maximize online marketing efforts.
Whether you’re facing a tough sales call or preparing to report for a challenging new client, it’s important to know how to answer questions from digital marketing skeptics. But if you set up the proper framework for tracking results and customize reports to prove success on the client’s most important metrics you’ll be off to a solid start. The right data-centered approach will help to close more clients and strengthen existing relationships.