Is My Marketing Effective? – Keep Tabs on Your Own or Your Agency’s Efforts
If you’re not investing a healthy portion of your annual revenue on your marketing, something’s wrong. Marketing and sales drive a business forward and make expansion possible. In a time where you’re either growing or shrinking, with nothing in between, it’s more important than ever!
It’s all well and good to invest in your marketing, but how will you know if these funds are going somewhere worthwhile?
In this article, you’ll learn how to gage if your marketing is effective.
Good marketing isn’t cheap, so there’s nothing more important than being able to judge for yourself if your marketing efforts are getting you results. This article will help you do just that.
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If you don’t have time to read the full article, at least take this snippet of wisdom with you into your next meeting with your marketing team or agency:
Don’t be afraid to quiz them a little about why they do what they do.
Your marketing team, be it in the form of an external agency, an internal team or a combination of both, should be happy to answer any questions you have. Let them explain to you why they choose certain keywords, why a campaign may have been successful or why it may have failed, and even question them about what they’re using to measure their results.
A good agency or marketing department will be able to explain to you why things are working and what things mean.
However, if you’re looking for more detail, this article is the perfect way of learning what things to keep an eye on!
What are your goals for marketing?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is what your goals are for your marketing. Sure, at the end of the day you want more sales, but this is part of a joint effort between your marketing team, sales team, and management. Getting very specific on what you want from your marketing team, be it an agency, an internal team or yourself, makes it much easier to know if your marketing is effective.
Marketing campaigns are centred on specific situations and desired outcomes. When you’re organising an event to promote your business, you want your marketing to result in event visitors. In this case, it’s about building awareness and getting people into the building.
If you sell services, your marketing goal is most often to get more leads and improve the quality of the leads coming in. When running an ecommerce store, you expect your marketing to lead to sales on your website.
By first becoming clear on what your goals are, you’re in a better position to judge the effectiveness of your marketing.
This already tells you what the most important indicator to marketing effectiveness is, but here are a few more you should keep an eye on…
There are a few important indicators as to whether your marketing is effective or not. Even though not all of your marketing will be tangible, it will leave clues indicating how effective it is. Some of the most important indicators are obviously your return on investment and the number of leads coming in, but there’s much more than that!
Return on investment
Ensuring you’re receiving a good return on investment is one of the most important parts of any marketing campaign. This simply means that you’re receiving more money than you’re putting into your marketing.
As a business owner, you don’t need to know all the jargon or formulas that come with it though. There are two ways you should check if your marketing efforts are bringing in a good return on investment, and these are:
Check monthly/yearly net profit before and after
This is a very rough way of gaging if your marketing is effective. Make sure to take a reasonable selection – don’t just compare one month to another month and draw a conclusion from this.
After your marketing campaign has been active for a good few months, compare the months before to the months your campaign has been running for. Make sure to go back to your previous year’s figures too to ensure there’s not a seasonal trend clouding the numbers.
Ask your team/agency the right questions
In marketing, it’s vital to track the effectiveness of your campaigns. You should really already be receiving monthly or even weekly reports from your marketers, which should include your return on investment.
If for some reason you don’t, or you get weekly/monthly reports but not a yearly or 6-month overview, then ask them for this. Ask them to show you what your return is on the money you spend as well as how your marketing efforts have progressed throughout the year. Your return on investment is much easier to track over a longer period of time and it also provides a more accurate representation.
There is one exception to this though, and that’s with paid advertising. But we’ll get into that in a bit!
Want to learn more about how your marketing agency can track your return on investment? This post by TrackMaven has some interesting points! https://trackmaven.com/blog/tracking-marketing-roi/
Number of leads
Even if your marketing efforts are extremely successful, you may not be seeing the return on investment that you were hoping for. This could be because there are other bottlenecks holding your business back. In these cases, it’s always important to look at the number of leads coming in. Your marketing team should be able to show you where your bottle necks are too!
Some of these bottlenecks may be:
Not closing the sales
Whether it’s you who takes the phone calls or a sales agent, if the leads aren’t closed then your marketing efforts could be in vain. It can sometimes be very rewarding hiring a professional sales agent to take your calls or close your leads.
Inconsistency in your branding
If you portray yourself as a happy and jolly company, then picking up the phone like the grinch on Christmas morning isn’t any good… Consistency is key!
Your pricing strategy
Your marketers may not always have control over the pricing of your services, and even though they get leads through the door, your price might simply be too high.
One thing we will say here though, is that all of these points can be addressed together with your marketing department/agency. A good marketing team will keep a close eye on the metrics, so you don’t have to!
Something we’ve talked about in a previous post (https://www.racermarketing.co.uk/knowledge-hub/customer-expectations-how-to-exceed-them-using-brand-positioning) already; branding is an important part of any marketing strategy. Even though the end goal of your marketing is to get you more sales, don’t discount the benefits of getting your business in front of a lot of your target audience.
Not everyone will be in a position to buy from you straight away. Making sure they know who you are when they are ready to buy can be extremely valuable.
An idea made famous by Jonah Berger: Top of mind is tip of tongue! https://www.curalate.com/blog/jonah-berger-summit/
Website traffic is another great indicator of whether or not your marketing is effective. Since most marketing has become digital over the past years, website traffic has become a vital part of your marketing.
It’s not just about increasing the number of visitors to your website though!
Sure, it’s great to get in front of 1000 new people, but if these people aren’t at all interested in what you offer, then it’s a complete waste of time and money.
In this case, you most likely won’t even see the branding benefits as you’ll be more of an unwelcome interruption to someone’s day than anything else.
There are a few very important website statistics you should look out for. However, you need to think about these statistics in the context of your business…
All the following statistics are easily found on your Google analytics, or should be provided in any marketing report you receive.
Users and sessions
Obviously, one of the first indicators of effective digital marketing is that you have a good number of users on your website. Where your users are the people viewing your site, the number of sessions is the number of times your site is opened.
So, if Billy, Heather and Charlotte all visit your site twice, you’ll see three users and six sessions.
It’s not a fantastic indicator, but it can be seen as a “clue” to the effectiveness of your marketing.
A large number of visitors doesn’t mean your marketing is effective, it just means a lot of people are viewing your site. If you are getting a lot of irrelevant visitors when your marketing team first starts, you may see your website numbers drop even though your results are improving. This isn’t as uncommon as you may think, as it’s better to get in front of 100 people interested in your services, than 1000 people that aren’t!
This is why it should be seen as a clue and not an end-all-be-all indication.
Bounce rate can be an extremely important metric, especially for SME’s. A “bounce” is when someone enters your site and then clicks off of it without interacting with the page in any way. Good marketing will mean your bounce rate is lowered, as people take action on your site.
This could be clicking through to your about page, or even just clicking on the email icon to shoot you an email.
As with visitor numbers, a high bounce rate doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If all information is given on the page that your visitor enters the site on, and they call you from there, then even with a high bounce rate your marketing is still effective. As with everything, it’s an indicator and not a definite.
Where your visitors are coming from
This one is very important. On google analytics, you can find this under acquisition – overview.
As a business owner, it’s important for you to understand where your visitors are coming from in order to focus your marketing on the most effective channels. This is something that should be included in any marketing report you receive too!
As you can see, this overview also shows you your weekly visitor trend. In the example above, you’ll see that visitor numbers peak every Wednesday/Thursday. You’ll also see that organic search performs better in this example than direct traffic. This could be completely different for you and varies greatly from one business to another!
The reports you need, and what to look out for
Even though it’s good to know these things as a business owner, it’s more important for you to be able to interpret the reports you receive from your agency or marketers properly. Below, we’ve listed the most important things to look out for in the reports you receive to help you understand what the results of your marketing campaigns are!
No matter the business you’re in, you should be receiving a monthly marketing report that covers the general information needed, including ROI, website visitors, what campaigns are currently active and what has been done that month. This should ideally be accompanied by a call. Your marketing team or agency should be able to explain everything to you, including which campaigns did well, which didn’t and why.
Not every campaign will be a winner, but that’s exactly why you hire a marketing team in the first place. They should be able to explain what they tried, why they tried it and what they learned.
That being said though, your overall marketing efforts should be profitable in the long run!
If you’re marketing team or agency is big on SEO, then an SEO report detailing the number of visitors as well as the results that these visitors get you is vital. However, there’s one important thing you should keep an eye on, and that’s the keywords they’re targeting.
Simply stated; a keyword is the search term that a user uses to find you. It’s what they type into Google. If you’re a painter from east-London, then the keyword “painter East London” is an obvious one. People looking for a painter in East London will search for that, and therefor it’s a good idea to get in the top ten search results for this keyword. You don’t need to know all the technical details behind finding the right keywords, just make sure to ask your marketers why they chose the keywords they did.
The reason for this is that it’s very easy for marketers to pump up your visitor numbers by targeting less-effective keywords that easily drive a lot of random traffic to your site. This may make them look great, but it’s really just wasting your money.
Don’t be afraid to let your agency or marketing team explain why they’re targeting the keywords they are.
Social media report
Social media is great for branding as well as customer support. Important things to keep an eye on for your social media channels is the engagement, the number of visitors to your social media pages, your organic reach (the number of people that see your name) and, as with all marketing, the ROI.
Paid advertising reports
When running ads, the cost can become huge. By far the most important metric during any paid advertising campaign is your return on ad spend. If you’re not receiving a positive return on the money you’re spending in the long run, then there’s no reason to continue running your advertising campaigns.
Even if the campaign is there to generate leads, your marketing team/agency should be able to tell you the value of one lead. So, even though they cannot measure the direct return on your spending, they can give you a return on ad spend based on the number of leads that come in.
The only time when return on investment is more difficult to measure is when you’re running a paid campaign for branding purposes. In this case, it’s best to keep an eye on the number of impressions, which is the number of people that see your ad. However, in this case you should still see your website visitors rise, and the end goal is still to see some kind of results in your income in the long run.
Quiz your agency!
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again…
Don’t be afraid to ask your agency or marketing team to explain why they do what they do, what they’re measuring and why.
Doing this will ensure you know what they’re up to and make the experience working together a whole lot more pleasant. At the end of the day they should be getting you results, but it’s important that you’re critical as to what results are, and what’s just inflating the numbers.
By doing this you can keep tabs on your marketing without having to take any marketing courses yourself.
Looking for an agency that proactively quizzes itself? – Send us and email or give us a call to see what we can do for you. We send all our clients regular reports and always take the time to answer any questions that might come up.