Tags: ROI

How To Increase The Expected ROI For Email Marketing?

How To Increase The Expected ROI For Email Marketing?

Practical Marketer • October 10, 2016

Many talk about the expected Return on Investment for email marketing being $40 per $1 spent. Although I love this stat and I believe that many can achieve even more than this, it’s important to understand how your email marketing is being used before setting expectations. Below are a few examples as to how email marketing can be used for your business and what to look at when trying to increase the ROI of your email marketing efforts. For Sales When it comes to creating sales or promotional emails the numbers are pretty straightforward, right? How much did it cost to create and send the email vs. how much money did it generate? If you were a daily deal company, it may be that easy. However, when it comes to the habits of today\'s consumers, this black and white view may need a few shades of grey … no leathers needed here (unless that is what you are selling). Here are a few things to pay attention to when trying to increase the expected ROI for your next promotion: Are you sending to the right people? Many companies lack segmentation in their email marketing strategies. If you try to send to everyone you may be discouraged by the results, since it’s important to know that not all of your subscribers are buyers (YET). What I mean by this is that some people may not have the need for your product at that time or they may have just subscribed to you emails because you have an excellent blog and they would like to get updates of your posts. It is important to try to segment your subscribers based on behaviours and sign up purpose. For example, for people who signup from your blog pages, you may want to have these in a separate list from people who signed up on your pricing page. I think this is step one of setting up your next promotional email: Segment your lists. This isn’t cheating! For the people who aren’t in your buying category, you can send them more of a “warm up” email to entice them to move into that category. What are the selling points? The other day I was speaking with a friend that had issues with a product they were trying to promote. They had segmented their list and had a series of 3 emails to promote their new product. All of the emails had the same information and were pointing to the same landing page. The issue with this is redundancy. If you have an idea to set up a series of emails, I sure hope you have a reason for this. People receive a lot of emails. Sending too many emails with the same info will only disappoint your subscribers. When trying to promote a product if you want to have a series of emails, make sure to find reasons to send that series. Are you focusing on different selling points? Is time of the essences? If that first email didn’t get the result you were looking for what improvements can you make with the next one? This is also a perfect opportunity to learn more about your subscribers. Having different selling points will give you insights as to what your subscribers are more interested in. For example: If you are selling computers, you may have 3 different emails that focus on computers for Gaming, School or Work. This will help you create more in-depth segments on your subscribers to increase your engagement rate later on. Do you have a fluid buying process? Is it easy for your subscriber to understand and buy the product or service you are promoting? I have seen cases where companies have complicated rules or just don’t have an easy and fluid process to buy. For this last case, the most common mistake I see is an email that promotes something but the call to action just dumps the subscriber on their home page. It’s important to use landing pages to keep the flow of the sale. Using landing pages allows you to focus on the promotion and get specific feedback to better your next promotion. If you just dump subscribers onto your homepage, they may get distracted with other areas of your site and totally miss the reason they came to your site in the first place. In regards to providing easy to follow steps to redeem this promotion, be sure to use your channels properly. Often times companies try to include everything in the email. Remember, you have less than a 3-second likability opportunity with email. The promotion needs to WOW me and intrigue me to click on the call to action. Once you have me on the landing page, you have more real estate to explain the steps or rules to qualify. Think of your email as the doorway to the promotion, not the promotion itself. Measure. What is the goal? For this last point, I want to remind every marketer to measure what they do. It’s easy to get lost in the idea of just sending emails and pushing people to landing pages. If your results are just focused on looking at the sales numbers, you won’t know why your sales are going up or down… If your marketing efforts include multichannel strategies, be sure to set specific milestones and overall goals to reach that pertain to your email efforts exclusively, and, of course, do the same for the other channels involved but be sure to keep them separate. Doing this will help you understand the true value of email marketing. If the goal isn’t reached, the milestones should help you understand how to improve your next campaign. Key takeaways? Divide and conquer. These are suggestions that any marketer can follow and implement with their own strategies. Today, customers are crossing and subscribing to many of your channels: Your website, emails, social, etc. Be sure to set clear paths for each, measure by stages and stay focused! Jumbling it all together will only drive you crazy and discourage you and your team.


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How a Content Marketing Strategy Can Drive Growth

How a Content Marketing Strategy Can Drive Growth

Beyond • June 10, 2014

Many firms struggle with online marketing and wonder why they are not driving in as much business as competitors. In most cases, these firms are missing a key component of on online strategy: content marketing. Without compelling content to attract qualified prospects, an online marketing program will lose its way. Content, first and foremost, should educate your readers. This content can be distributed through multiple channels, such as blog posts, webinars, guides, ebooks, and research studies. As people consume this content, they come to trust your firm and think of you as experts and thought leaders. But to get the most out of your content you have to manage the time you spend creating and planning it with the resources you have. And the only way to make this happen is to develop a content marketing plan. But what does a content marketing strategy look like? And how do you ensure its return on investment? This figure illustrates a content marketing model from beginning to end. It consists of 5 steps: Decide what kind of content you want to produce. This means first knowing your readers (your target audience) and determining the best ways to reach and educate them. What topics would benefit your readers most? And if you are familiar with search engine optimization, what keywords are you trying to rank for? Create content across multiple channels. If you are implementing a content strategy for the first time, start with a blog. Plan to produce educational, easy-to-read articles that are action-oriented and engaging. Next you may want to consolidate some of these posts into longer guides that address a topic of interest to your audience. Webinars are another great channel to educate and engage audiences who are interested in your services, but who may not be quite ready to buy. You’ll want to require registration for your longer-format content, such as guides and ebooks. But more on this in a moment. Now it’s time to promote. Promoting your content is critical to your content marketing strategy. Share your blog posts on social media, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Do the same for longer content, but also promote this type of content within your blog posts. This way, you entice your blog readers to exchange their email address for valuable, relevant content. This is a proven way to generate high-quality new leads. Nurture leads through your content. Once your readers have supplied their email address, you can continue to educate and nurture them. How do you do this? Think about what might interest prospects who are in the early stages of the buying process. Webinars, for instance, are a great way to step prospects up the engagement ladder, as you can interact with them in a more personal way (they can hear your voice and perhaps see your face) without any pressure to buy. Analyze and adjust your strategy along the way. What changes need to be made? Is your content drawing people to your website? Are you receiving email addresses in exchange for downloadable content? And are you growing your email list? Look at the numbers and if the answers are no, it’s time to revisit your approach. What’s the Point? Now that you have an idea of what a content marketing strategy looks like, you might ask yourself, why do I need one? In our research of hundreds of professional services firms, we found that high growth firms (firms that have a minimum compound growth rate of 20% per year) focus significantly more on content marketing than their average growth counterparts. Take a look at the figure below. High growth firms focus on blogging more than 2X as much as average growth firms. Similarly, high growth firms focus on whitepapers and ebooks much more than average growth firms (with a focus rating of just under 4 versus 5.5). The goal of content marketing is to educate your target audiences, drive them to your website, convert them into leads, and nurture them until they are ready to buy. It is not an easy or quick process, but it works. If you commit the time and resources it takes to do content marketing right, it can transform your business.


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ROI From Your IT Guy: A Programmer’s Perspective

ROI From Your IT Guy: A Programmer’s Perspective

Beyond • July 28, 2013

Your IT guy is pretty much the most overlooked team member – an invariably also the most crucial. Not only does he (or she) pretty much hold together the entire infrastructure of your company, but they’re also the most underutilized advisor. Since they know about all the nuts and bolts of how things work, or should work, doesn’t it make sense for us to turn to them when considering how to best forge a path forward, especially when it comes to ROI. There might be two issues with this, though. First, you may not have an IT guy. You may be that budding DIY entrepreneur (and there are many, especially with an engineering background) that can’t yet afford a full fledged IT dude. Take heed. Second, your IT guy might not be the best conversationalist. I hate to stereotype but IT guys don’t always communicate their ideas very well. This probably has a lot to do with why they’re otherwise overlooked, quarantined in one corner of a far-flung office, needed but not relied upon unless in the wake of a digital disaster. Luckily, I have access to one of the brightest most eloquent (and humble) IT minds. One Arthur Bearden, a rarity among his type for if nothing else than his ability to talk to us lay-folk with patience and in a language we can understand. Here’s what veteran IT guru Arthur Bearden has to say about ROI: Looking beyond direct ROI is vitally important. A resource that looks very expensive and brings in no direct revenue may in fact be worth many times its annual cost in higher efficiency for other resources, elimination of costly needs, and clarity in business intelligence or planning. [Here are] two examples from a programmer\'s perspective (for obvious reasons): (1) A second, or third, monitor may be $300 to $500 for a better model. It\'s easy to write off the monitor as an unnecessary expense. Consider, however, that a second monitor allows a developer to reference and copy data more quickly and more accurately. Better models help reduced eyestrain. Larger models can display more data. It can also allow the developer to have collaboration software (IM, email, Skype, Google Docs, etc) active and visible while they code, which can increase the efficiency of your whole team. All of this can increase the efficiency at which the developer codes. Given a salary of $50k to $150k per year, it doesn\'t take much of an increase in productivity to recoup and see an amazing ROI...as long as you\'re looking at the indirect benefits. (2) Programmers as a staff position. Again, $50k to $150k per year. A hefty expense at most companies. Many managers see them as an \"extra\" once the base system or product is in place since the system can coast without the developers for a while. However, some fail to account for the benefits of indirect ROI from programmers. Developers can streamline the operations of other staff by increasing their ability to process units of work: i.e if a utility program can increase a worker\'s output from 20 units/hr to 30 or 40 units/hr, then that\'s 33% to 50% of that worker\'s pay that can be attributed to the ROI for the programmer. Sometimes, that can approach 100% if the job can be completely automated. Multiply that by an entire department and it adds up quickly. Looking out even further, how much is it worth to keep the company\'s business processes and technology up-to-date? How about innovating enough to stay ahead of competitors? Customizing to fit your business? And being able to communicate directly, on a whim, with immediate feedback? Some of it is difficult, at best, to measure and yet very important for a company\'s long-term outlook.


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Important ROI Stuff You’re Not Thinking About

Important ROI Stuff You’re Not Thinking About

Beyond • July 27, 2013

We tend to be social obsessed when it comes to considering marketing ROI. Yet, as the list suggests, there’s a lot more to ROI than you think – and a lot more you’re missing out on. [Dramatic drum roll please….] Content, a Proven Strategy Content remains king, remaining the best long-term strategy for online marketing. Content remains undefeated when it comes to really getting a return on investment. From white papers, blogs, webinars and email marketing, content allows marketing and sales department to really get their hooks in the complete lead-to-client life cycle. Tracking Vistors One of the challenges across the ROI landscape has been being able to actively target users across the web. Right now, you’re probably relying on Google Analytics, which uses cookies. The problem with cookies is that they get lost as users jump from mobile device to mobile device to desktop. You can imagine how much data tracking gets lost here. The solution great minds are brimming with is a “Universal Analytics” approach that assigns user IDs to visitors. This allows you to connect your CRM with Google Analytics and track each visitor through the conversion process. Looping Through Missed Conversion Opportunities There’s also an emphasis on recapturing visitors you left a website without converting. You’ve probably already seen by being blasted with ads for websites you browsed through. It’s a new twist on ROI with companies “remarketing” to a potential client pool. It’s easier to give a couple extra nudges to a potential client than to loop in new ones. Social Search Fusion Your social capital is well on its way to affecting both SEO and paid searches by linking up with your Google Plus account. It’s another way Google is desperate to make Google plus relevant – and what better way than to encourage marketers to connect with their Google + account as a way to increase their ranking? Link Building Clean Up You can forget about link building unorganically. Google police is cracking down on shady link building efforts, including directory listings and reciprocal exchanges with the intention of severely penalizing anyone involved. You can be penalized even if you haven’t taken any of these steps and have still be round up by someone else – just take advantage of Google’s Disavow Tool. You probably should have seen this one coming considering the web is getting more and more complex. I don’t even want to think about how much time and money companies have spent on these campaigns. A takeaway lesson here is to project web trends before jumping on the marketing bandwagon. Project an intelligent forecast to see whether your ROI efforts are worth it. Gearing for Mobile Let’s face it: We can’t get a grip on mobile. Maybe you’ve paid for a mobile friendly version of your website, but how many times can you re-optimize your site for the newest mobile gadget? The best solution is to have a site that can adapt to any user on any old, new, or upcoming device. You’ve likely spent a collective fortune on your company, including your website. Yet how much return on investment are you really going to get if tablet users (who do the majority of web browsing) are trying to visit your site. As conversion optimization specialist Alhan Keser puts it: “If you have a list of links with fewer than 40 pixels of space around them, then users are likely to make mistakes when tapping a link. Are you asking users to fill out a lengthy Web form? Forget about it. No one likes typing an essay on an iPad. Smartphone users have even more needs. Not only are they using their thumbs, but they are also very goal oriented. If a smartphone user is on your website, it\'s most likely because he or she wants to call you, find you, or quickly get an idea for what it is you do. That means providing those actions explicitly, with large buttons, and having a website that loads quickly.” The answer, according to Keser, is to say hello to the one-size-fits-all website courtesy of Fork, an open-source CMS solution. This is probably one of the most important yet overlooked aspects of ROI.


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How to Manage Your Event Marketing ROI Metrics

How to Manage Your Event Marketing ROI Metrics

Beyond • July 27, 2013

You’ve got loads of time to figure out ROI on the business back burner. You’ve got day in and day out to figure out traffic patterns, generate content, and restrategize for the next month. However, ROI is a whole different ball game if you’re primary business involves event marketing. Here you’ve got a short window of time for prep work, an exacted time for the live event, and an even small time frame for looping back through post event. So how exactly do you calculate ROI in event marketing? You can start by squeezing the pre-event marketing sponge. Pretty much everyone charges you for a booth or a table at an event. However, they don’t all do you the favor of letting you know about the event logistics. You should be asking event coordinators key questions like: What’s the expected event traffic? What were last year’s numbers? What’s the audience demographic? Are there any sponsorship opportunities? Can I get an event map to gauge neighboring brands/competition? Can I also get a listing of what signage can be expected so ours isn’t dwarfed out? Event marketing coordinators are marketing YOU for your business, so make sure you ask all the questions you need to get the most value for your investment. As for the actual event marketing ROI strategy, there are a few reasons why this should be a core focus around which you plan your event. For starters, according to an Event Marketer White Paper, notes that while “event marketing has the inherent ability to bridge advertising messages with your marketing goals...events don’t happen in a vacuum. The assessment of your marketing mix based on an established set of metrics that you create will serve as the foundation to determine the return on investment (ROI) of your event.” The ROI factor is critical since, as Global Experience Specialists and BtoB Magazineidentified in an infographic entitled Event ROI and Measurement Trends. They noted that a whopping “60% of respondents are less than satisfied with measurement of their event.” They go on to add that “most everyone collects metrics but not everyone is measuring the right thing.” In order to gauge your event performance, event marketers have recommended a new framework to precede ROI – and it’s called ROO [return on objectives]. This makes perfect sense since you can’t measure return until you have a concrete idea of what you’re objectives where. Surprisingly, here its more than just about how many people visited your booth, how many business cards did you exchange, or how many email sign-ups did you gather. Instead the three pivotal questions are:   What are you setting out to do? What concrete data do you have? What steps do you have in place to use data to improve future performance? Offering an onsite (and preferably online) survey is one of the best ways to gather concrete data. People love an opportunity to engage, and are also more likely to offer their opinion if they’ll be entered into a drawing for a cool freebie, like free tickets, company products, or hot gadgets. You can also use the opportunity to offer a quick digital sales pitch they have to watch before being able to fill out a quick survey (of all multiple choice answers). This allows you to test the perception shift before and after they’ve learned about the company or had the chance to engage with it somehow.


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Succeeding At Social Media ROI Measurement

Succeeding At Social Media ROI Measurement

Beyond • July 26, 2013

A recent study by the Lenskold Group tackled the elephant in the social media room: Can a correlation be made on the measurement between traditional marketing Return On Investment (ROI) and the similar calculation on social media? Accurate ROI determination has long dogged social media marketers as the actual link between the behavior of a social media follower and a subsequent sale is much more tenuous than it would be in a conventional medium such as a TV commercial or a magazine ad. However, there are companies who are successful in this task and you can be among them. 72% of all companies do not apply social media profitability metrics The study found that fully 36% of all respondents used traditional marketing metrics which are essentially inapplicable to the dynamics of the social media sphere. An equal number of another 36% stated that they apply some financial metrics to their brand’s social media activities but not profitability metrics. This is somewhat tantamount to ignoring the fundamental tenet of business which is, after all, to make a profit. The smallest slice of the respondent pie stated that they do apply ROI or other profitability metrics to their social media participation, but this was only 28% of the respondent total. 15% of social media ROI-analysis brands have given up in the last year This 28% may seem low but it is a figure which has been on an uptick in the last few years, as that figure stood at well below 20% just five years ago. What is troubling about the chronological findings is that the companies which do apply ROI or other profitability metrics to their social media presences has actually dropped from 2010 when it hit a high of 32%. The reason why this nearly 15% of all marketers who had been using state of the art calculations to determine their social media ROI have thrown in the towel may be indicative of the difficulty of the application of these metrics, as well as an inability to integrate them into an overall analysis of marketing effectiveness. Few companies show improvement in conducting the ROI calculations Another aspect is the sheer challenge of conducting the ROI calculation in the social media universe. The majority of 52% of all the companies which reported that they were using these analytic tools stated that they had either not been able to improve their capabilities to measure the financial returns or had a slight improvement from the previous year. Only 14% reported that they had undergone a significant improvement. 31% of traditional analysis users have no social media presence at all The factor which is definitely the most telling in the comparison about the organizations which are applying ROI metrics to social media versus those who are stuck in the traditional past is the participation of their marketing team in various social media. While fully 84% all ROI users stated that their staff was active in leveraging social media for marketing purposes, this number fell to 69% in the traditional calculation category. This left a remarkable 31% of all respondent companies stating that their marketing staff had absolutely no participation in social media in any way! 57% of traditional calculators state social media is a low priority The astounding discoveries inherent in this comparison are not just limited to participation of the staff in social media marketing, but also in the priority which they apply as a company to measuring the impact and contribution of their social networking activities. Nearly three out of four or 72% of ROI metrics users stated that they placed a high priority on social media measurements while among the traditional metrics users this figure dropped precipitously to just 43%. That equates to fully 57% of all companies which are currently involved in traditional metrics analysis outright stating that measuring social media ROI is a low priority. Deriving usable metrics from your social media activities is possible if you are able to motivate your staff and embrace the possibilities. Make a priority of your social participation and apply the ample tools available and get a leg up on your stuffy competition.


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Benchmark 5: Tips on ROI from Bastille

Benchmark 5: Tips on ROI from Bastille

Beyond • July 25, 2013

Marketing may have been the focus of my major in college, but I enjoy getting to show my parents that I’m capable of putting my music minor to good use too. My own personal ROI of sorts, on convincing them that I could do so in the first place. This week I saw Bastille perform their first show ever in Los Angeles at the sold out Troubadour. In a rare showing from an LA audience, they weren’t talkative, iPhones were not often held overhead and they were totally invested in what the band was doing onstage. So, in honor of this week’s En Route to ROI series and how much fun I had at the show ... here’s the Benchmark 5: Tips on ROI from Bastille. Give your all to your audience. They will give it back tenfold. Dan Smith is an expert frontman. He moves around the stage with purpose, riling up all sides of the venue. He even sang part of their hit song “Flaws” standing atop the bar at the back of the room. Your audience will take notice of your efforts and want to repay it. Give them something familiar. Bastille was playing in LA for their first time. It was a new audience to them. They did what most bands do in a new environment. Win fans over with a cover. If you give your audience something they can connect to, it will serve as your foot in the door.   Pair with a bigger commodity. The band recently concluded a stint as the opening act for Muse in the UK. That’s a great way to gain exposure. Especially since Muse is one of the biggest current touring acts from that locale. If you can partner up with a major player in your market (not a competitor...but a business that compliments your product), it will lend some credence to your company. Charm them. Smith was tremendously appreciative of the reaction the band got from the LA crowd. He thanked us profusely. He also made us laugh, asking us to jump up and down with him for a song ... since it was the only dance move he had. Charm will lead to plenty of opportunities for you and your business. Keep it on the earnest side and far away from the used car salesman side. Overcome your obstacles. Smith lost his voice the day before. He admitted as much to the crowd. To the untrained ear, there was probably no difference. I could see that he’d fall off notes here and there, or rely on his bandmates or the crowd to fill in some gaps. It didn’t matter. He moved about the stage with maximum energy and the crowd ate it up. Everyone roots for an under dog and will rally behind you. Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?\'http\':\'https\';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+\'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, \'script\', \'twitter-wjs\');Follow @BenchmarkEmail !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?\'http\':\'https\';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+\'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, \'script\', \'twitter-wjs\');


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4 Steps to Double Your Google AdWords Profits

4 Steps to Double Your Google AdWords Profits

Beyond • July 25, 2013

The thought of doubling your AdWords profits probably sounds daunting, or even unrealistic. What if I told you it’s possible to more than double your profits with mere 20% improvements in your sales funnel? 20% improvement sounds reasonable enough, right? How can you possibly double profits with only 20% improvements? Well, there is a catch here. You actually need to make 20% improvements on four different areas in your sales funnel. Again, we’re talking about fairly small changes, and by the end of this article I promise you’ll have both the tools and the confidence to make this happen. If you can improve these four areas by just 20% then you’ll more than double your profits: Response Rate (i.e. Click Through Rate for Search ads) Conversion Rate (i.e. # of sales divided by # of clicks) Average Transaction Value (i.e. dollar amount per sale) Average 90 Day Value (i.e. dollar amount of future sales within a 90 day period) Let’s use an example Google AdWords campaign to see how this works.  In the table below, I listed some realistic AdWords numbers. When you’re done reading this I recommend you create your own table and list the real values from your own AdWords campaign. That way you’ll see exactly what you need to do to double your profits.   As you can see in the last row of the table above, by improving the four metrics by just 20%, we increased the profit from $2,500 to $5,400! Also note that the cost per click remained the same in my example. If you’re familiar with AdWords, then you know you’ll typically reduce your cost per click as you improve your ad click through rate. So in practice you can expect to see an even larger profit improvement. Let’s take a closer look at each metric to see how we could make these 20% improvements: 1. Response Rate or Click Through Rate The first step to improve your advertising response rates is to match the message in your ad to your market.  In other words, your ad must connect with what your prospect is already thinking about.  Or, as legendary marketer, Robert Collier, says, “Always enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.” Also, make sure your ad is benefit focused rather than feature focused. Answer the following questions to give you more ad ideas: What are the results your product or service will deliver? What emotions will your customer feel after using your product or service? Finally, many ads can be improved by 20% simply by adding a stronger and clearer call to action. 2. Conversion Rate Your sales conversion rates are a factor of your offer, your website copy, and your in-person or phone sales scripts. By far the most important of those 3 factors is your offer. An irresistible offer can improve your conversion rates by 20% despite weak website copy and/or weak sales scripts.  So focus on your offer first. You’ll know if you have an irresistible offer if your prospect thinks, “I would be a fool if I don’t take advantage of this.”  And you should be a little nervous because great offers shift most of the risk on your business to deliver great results.  Typically this is done with some form of a guarantee. 3. Average Transaction Value What’s the easiest way to increase your transaction value by 20%? Raise your prices by 20%. Now before you shrug that option aside, take a minute to carefully assess your prices.  Are you a premium provider offering discount prices?  If that’s the case, then seriously consider raising your prices. Offering a great price in your market can often be mistaken for lower quality by your customers. Through years of trial and error, we’ve all been trained to believe higher prices equal higher value. So make sure you’re not shooting yourself in the foot with low prices. If raising prices is out of the question, then maybe you can offer additional, complimentary products or services. Or can you offer a deluxe or premium package that provides a faster and/or easier solution at a higher price? Both options could boost your transaction value up over the 20% threshold. 4. Average 90 Day Value In my experience, most businesses do not even measure their 90 day customer value. This is also referred to as lifetime value or backend sales. For some businesses, this is the difference between thousands in profits vs. thousands in losses when advertising. To increase your 90 day customer value, think about everything your customer needs. Then consider whether you can add the additional products or services or whether you can partner with another company. For example, if you’re a real estate agent your clients most likely need a moving company. They may also want an interior design firm and a kitchen renovation specialist. So you could form partnerships with high quality businesses, refer your clients, and earn referral fees. Or if referral fees are not appropriate, then reciprocal referral partners can also be very lucrative. By now you should have several ideas for how you can improve each of these four areas by at least 20%.  Even if you only improve by a very modest 10%, then you will increase profits by 50%!


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Can a Small Business See Higher ROI Using Facebook Ads Than Larger Organizations?

Can a Small Business See Higher ROI Using Facebook Ads Than Larger Organizations?

Beyond • July 24, 2013

While many professionals are skeptical about using advertising on Facebook, it could still be of some use to small local businesses. We have all heard that large companies like GM and Nationwide have pulled campaigns from the social media monster in the past due to poor performance. Does this mean that Facebook is a money pit for marketing purposes in general, or could it partially be the fault of inefficient skills to produce a campaign that works? Much like Google\'s Adwords, you need to know how to set up the campaign for your goals in order for it to be successful. Here are some things to consider when looking at advertising on Facebook for your small business: Landing Page In order for a campaign to be successful on Facebook, the small business needs to have a landing page that clearly defines what the business does and where it is located, as local companies tend to perform better. The landing page also needs to tie into the ad very closely to give the customer a continuous experience that reinforces their decision to click on the ad in the first place and to interact with you.   Choosing the Right Method When you place an ad on Facebook, you are able to choose between impressions and clicks for the campaign. This means you can either choose to pay for every time your ad is shown to a user (impressions) or only for each time a user actually clicks on your ad to go to your landing page (clicks). There isn’t a right or wrong answer here, you really can and should experiment with both to see which is better for the audience you are targeting with the Facebook ad. How often your ad is displayed is dependent on the bid amount you place and your daily budget. This works in largely the same way that Google Adwords does as it will cease showing your ads once your budget has been reached, and the lower you bid the less likely your ad is to be seen.   Locality One of the reasons why this solution could help a small business even though it failed for larger businesses is that some people prefer to deal with local businesses when possible. If you target areas within 25 miles of your business location you could greatly improve the ad results. If you cannot service someone, why on earth would you ever show them an ad? Facebook allows you to get pretty granular with their users so it only makes sense to leverage that when you setup your ad campaign.   Demographics Facebook gives you a lot of additional control over users that will see your ad including targeting gender, age, marital status, schools attended, or even general interests of a user. While it is true that not all Facebook profiles contain accurate information, many do and this can help you zero in on the right types of users to show your ad to and, maybe more importantly, those that you don’t want your ad to show to.   Direct Categories You can drill down into categories as well and make sure that the products and services of your business actually will make sense to the user. Ideally you want to find people that are right at the point of making a decision as to which company they want to choose to fill a specific need. If you have a catering business, for example, you may look for people getting married. A variety of factors come into play for a successful ad on Facebook. In reality, what may work for one organization might not work for another and while some local businesses have seen a great ROI from Facebook ads, others have lost a great deal of money. It really depends on a lot of factors;the most important being knowledge about your products and services and the type of people that are interested in them. If you do that well, you have a great chance of driving some ROI from your Facebook advertising.


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Why Social ROI is the Bermuda Triangle of Online Marketing

Why Social ROI is the Bermuda Triangle of Online Marketing

Beyond • July 23, 2013

ROI has pretty much been the Bermuda Triangle of online marketing. Everyone knows it exists somewhere, but few who have ventured out have ever returned. Perhaps the reason ROI has been such a complex area to navigate over is because we don’t really understand it. Perhaps we need to treat ROI as more of a suggestion than a rule. At least when it comes to social media. Throw Out the Rules Marketing Land columnist Courtney Seiter thinks it’s ok if you can’t measure social ROI. She cites an Atlantic Monthly article called “Dark Social” that suggests it’s pretty much impossible to accurately measure social media ROI. Why? Because Facebook and Twitter for example, “represent only a small fraction of the social activity that’s really going on. The article shares evidence that reveals that the vast majority of sharing is still done through channels like email and IM that are nearly impossible to measure (and thus, dark).” Return on Influence versus Return on Investment Rather than opting for “cold metrics” like page views, clicks, and impressions, we should be reaching out to the type of audience we’re gathering with our online efforts. Are we just getting clicks (and where are those clicks going, are they converting to sales) or are we getting something more valuable like influence. Influence arguably trumps cold conversion. Influence gets you loyalty, an audience, and (more importantly for cold-metric types, it gets you) repeat conversion and word of mouth. Instead of thinking about social ROI as an android, think about it more from a human perspective. Social is about the courtship. Where physical store fronts are effaced or replicated across the digital space, social is about that first step a customer takes into your shop. It’s about the first time they meet you. Imagined – or perhaps if you can recall – how turned off you are anytime you go into a shop where you’re tail-gated by attendants, each hawk-eyeing you to see what you’re looking at, what you might buy. It doesn’t encourage a sale. The same goes for when you’re in a social landscape. Customers know if you’re on there to hawk-eye their movement, entrap them into your site, push products your way – versus, when you’re on there to engage them, to find out what they’re all about. That’s where social ROI simply cannot be measures. Social has a huge human factor, and you can’t calculate that – not unless you’re Big Data and even then it can only calculate the likelihood of a future event, not certainties. Return on Experience Carrying on with the theme that you’re actually human and so are your customers, Social Media Today writer David Johnson recommends “enchanting” your customers. This comes down to thinking about your clients as more than just transactions, but as people. If you know a client as a special need or a consideration, work to meet that need. Brian gives the example of an expectant customer dropping in the car for service or even an oil change. Surprise that customer with something you might know they need, like a car seat or stroller. At the least, you can leave a baby gift in the car when they come to pick it up. The same goes for any other case – maybe flowers for a death in the family or even coupon or a year’s worth of free oil change if a loyal customer is suffering financial hardship. The same goes for digital shops; if you know your customer is ordering a product for their upcoming wedding, then take a moment to throw in a special little “freebie” product as a “wedding gift”. It doesn’t take a lot but it guarantees not only loyalty and enchantment, but gleaming word of mouth first-hand accounts of you and your company – again and again.


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