Stuart Marler
Stuart Marler 22 April 2015

Exclusive: Your Digital Marketing Campaign's Return On Investment

Why worry about your return on investment for your digital marketing campaign? Simple one word answer. Profit.

Return on Investment (ROI) is a major concern, especially for digital marketing campaigns, for many business managers and especially marketing departments these days.

"Where is the marketing budget being spent and what am I getting for my money?" is a big question being asked across the business world. Not only from the small business owner but all the way up to the multi-nationals. Just because the UK is coming out of recession and into growth, it does not mean that profits are not a major concern.

The amount of digital marketing agencies are growing, as are in-house digital marketing departments, and with this growth there will always be agencies and departments that may not be doing the work to a satisfactory level of competence and as a result the ROI is not going to be as rewarding as it could be. Many agencies outsource work which leads to a fragmented campaign with differing standards of work .

How can you tell if you are getting your money’s worth and getting a good ROI for your digital marketing campaign?

For a start, read our recent article on How to measure your return on investment - an excellent insight in what to expect from a digital marketing campaign and how to measure it.

Being concerned about the ROI from your digital marketing campaign shows that your profits are an important part of your business - as they should be.

So, here are some key questions to ask your team or agency before investing:

  • Do you outsource any aspect of your digital marketing work?
  • What should I expect from the campaign?
  • How is ROI measured?
  • How often will you re-assess the campaign?
  • How will results be reported to me?
  • Will the budget stay the same for the duration of the campaign?
  • Can you give me examples/case studies of previous work?

We so often hear our clients saying that they don’t know about digital marketing and they don’t need to…that is why they employ us. To a degree this is understandable. HOWEVER, please take the time to look into the ROI and SEO in general.

Keep your agency on their toes. It’s a sad fact that many agencies will take advantage of this lax attitude, plying their clients with positive reports that mean little, doing the bare minimum and pocketing a tidy sum at the end of each month. If your agency or team are not regularly reporting back with concrete facts, figures and ongoing plans, there is something wrong.

Do you outsource or keep in house?
Great question, this question refers not only to costs but also time. Other factors to consider when choosing whether to outsource or bring it in-house – as a business owner or manager, do you have enough knowledge of digital marketing to manage the department and are you able to establish whether your team are doing the work to a standard that will bring in a high amount of ROI?

This question is key when discussing ROI. The costs of an in house team may far exceed the cost of an agency, and unless you are a large company who can invest in dedicated training or can afford a competent digital marketer/s, it can be a minefield. 

A word of advice, check out the contract period of any digital marketing company. Some will only ask for 1 months notice, some will ask you to sign up for 6 months or a year. This will need to be factored into your marketing budget.

Do you have the time and resources - costs - to build in-house department?
Running an in-house digital marketing department can be costly, far more than outsourcing the campaign to an external agency. But there are some benefits that could outweigh these, mainly that you can keep a close eye on events and performances, and your team will have firsthand knowledge of the company.

But with a good digital marketing agency, like ourselves - blow my own trumpet, why not!! - you can keep an eye on all points of interest, or concern at a far more cost effective solution. By setting up your goals, and with a close working relationship with your account manager and their team, you can monitor the goals, the ROI and make alterations with your outsourced team just as easily. IF you decide to outsource your digital marketing, just do your homework. Take advantage of free website appraisal reports, talk to agencies, and ask for references. Don’t be afraid to ask about ROI. A good agency will break down all aspects of their service and will take the time to explain the intricacies of the campaign fully.

What are you expecting from a digital marketing campaign?

Here is the important thing. No digital marketing agency can truly offer instant results. If they say they can, run. OK, so there may be some initial tweaks which will see you rise higher up the pecking order of Google, but it’s the long term changes which will reap the benefits. 

For the most part, the number one desired outcome is to increase visitor numbers, rankings, sales and brand awareness. So, this will of course involve fully optimising your site to ensure you are targeting the right people, thus increasing visitor numbers. But it isn’t that straightforward. Most SEO companies can increase visitor numbers, but what is the use of that if these visitors aren’t converting to sales? The key is to look at why visitors aren’t converting, assess the website, amend, tweak, test, set goals, and report on conversion figures. This is truly the only way to judge return on investment. Once armed with this information, you or your agency can build on the success of the campaign to achieve increased ROI.

What we’re really trying to say here is don’t be swayed by increased visitor numbers or higher rankings. Look deeper into your digital marketing campaign. Increased visitor numbers & better rankings do not automatically equal increased sales. 10 targeted visitors will stand you in better stead than 1000 random visitors. It’s the age old adage…quality over quantity.

Are you putting all your eggs in one basket?

Digital marketing alone will not wholly fulfill the promotion and marketing of your business. You still have sales people on the road, with business cards - promoting your website and social media - right? What about print advertising, radio, television and print in general. A dedicated public relations campaign, incorporated with a digital marketing campaign can do wonders for any business - if you can afford it. Utilising a PR company with a digital marketing company, will ensure that content can be made and re-used across all channels. For instance an article written for print - newspaper, trade magazine etc. could run into several thousand words, this can be then split into several blogs, all linking together and then even more divided for social media, even a video, slide share and informative posts, and great content for email newsletters.

Being concerned about the return on investment of your digital marketing campaign can open your eyes to a wider scenario. As a business owner you need to know that your money is being invested wisely. Ask for the cold hard facts. Looking at the business goals, and the reporting of the achievement of these are fundamental in achieving a return on investment.

Re-assess your campaign on a 6 monthly basis. Are you seeing results. Are the results improving month on month. If not, what needs to change. What’s working, what isn’t? These are all questions your agency or in-house team should be asking themselves. Online marketing is less about making sweeping changes, and more about working month on month, testing results and developing a strategic plan which evolves regularly, making best use of your money whilst building your brand.

If you need any more advice, do get in touch.

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