Modern Marketing Is A Process
Most people try some digital marketing, and then stop because it doesn’t work. When disccusing strategies, I often hear the exact phrase, “oh, we tried that, it didn’t work.” And I always have to respond that, you only tried once?
The magic of digital marketing is that it has to work- if and only if you don’t stop trying. Think about it this way, if you keeping pitching a product, one of two things is bound to happen, 1) eventually you’ll have to find someone who buys it, or b) you’ll not sell a single one, but you’ll here what people would buy if only you had that.
That’s what digital marketing has to offer, the opportunity to get in front of as many prospects as you could ever imagine. It’s like knocking on every door in the world and reading a simple script. This is, I think, the core tenant of digital marketing. And it’s what makes it so powerful that we’ll spend a whole chapter on it later.
What you have to understand now is that digital marketing is a process. It’s not a goal. You don’t need to even plan your campaigns. You just have to both start, and commit to a long term schedule. We work on 3 month timetables, which is a very ambitious pace to guarantee results, but if you dedicate at least 6 months of ad spend and attention, you will see enough results to draw one of those two conclusions above: a) this is what kind of audience is willing to buy our product/service, or b) this is what we’d have to change about our product to sell it. And you don’t need a giant advertising budget to get results. As little as $150 a month can get you 30 experiments. If you view every dollar spent on your ad budget as a market research fee, then you might start the see the real opportunity in digital marketing.
If you are serious, then you should commit to 12 months and run 2 campaigns at all times. And if you simply keep going, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. Now, measuring what you’re doing is key. By simply understanding what the average “click-thru-rate” is for your industry, you’ll have a bench mark to know when a result is good or bad (if it’s above or below benchmark). Now, click-thru-rate means the number of people who clicked on your ad and are taken to its destination, versus the number of people who saw it over all. To find the benchmark ctr’s just search “(social media platform of your choice) + ctr benchmark per industry” or “ctr benchmark report”.
You want to know the ctr (click-thru-rate) because it’s all that counts in the end; you need to know how many people who see ads in your industry end up clicking on them. This is because you are always testing the content and offer in an ad’s copy (headline, subheader, supporting text, and image/video) to understand what resonates with your target audience. Does changing the image make more of this audience click the ad when all else is the same? Or, most importantly, if all else is the same, which headline gets the highest ctr?
This is how you can systematically test different value propositions, offers, and benefits of a given product/service against one another to find which one has the maximal resonance (highest ctr). And that’s a really big deal. Because if you’re targeting the same audience with your travel agency ads (for example), and 3 of your 10 ads have above industry average ctr’s, you should take notice.
In that example, if the average travel digital marketing ad gets a 2.45% click thru rate in your industry and your 3 “winningest” ads get 2.5%, 3.5% and 4.5%, respectively you’re getting valuable feedback. If the ad that got 4.5% ctr was “vip concierge travel agency” and the second highest was “full service travel agency” and the least winning ad was “full service travel firm,” you can glean a lot of insight from the results.
A good marketer will see that your audience wants to be treated like a vip far more than be “fully serviced” and that people like the term “agency” over a “firm”. An actionable insight here would be to not use the term “firm” to describe your company, wherever that might come up, and to further explore what your audience expects of a “VIP” experience in the travel industry.
If you keep this going you can find out the purchasing drivers that make your audience take action. In essence, you can find out why they buy. And when you know that, you can scale your digital marketing efforts and optimize your offline marketing collateral too- as this knowledge is very indicative of the customer psychology of your given market segment. Obviously, the more data the better, but trust me, if you have 3 data points that say the same thing, you have enough data to act on (until proven wrong, it’s probably going to be better than what you’ve been doing, though maybe not the best possible solution).
This fundamental process of iterative testing is what guarantees that digital marketing will work if given enough time.