I was recently contacted by a company that needed some help fixing a problem they were having with their marketing. When I looked at their analytics, I was quite shocked. This is what I saw:
*Disclaimer:Ascend Business Growth was not involved in these results!
My contact (we’ll call her Sally) said that things were going pretty smoothly, but about a year-and-a-half ago they decided to take it up a notch. They hired a company to help them with their marketing strategies, including blogging and social media.
Sally was expecting things to increase at a faster rate, but unfortunately the scale tilted the wrong way. What the heck happened?
Truthfully, I can’t say exactly what marketing mistakes were made to cause these results because I wasn’t involved with this project during the down turn. But here are 4 things you can do to ensure this type of thing doesn’t happen to you.
1. Take Off the Blinders
Many times (quite often from my experience!) business leaders don’t really know WHAT results they’re getting from marketing. Take time to outline all of the key performance indicators you want to track, and review a monthly marketing report.
One obstacle for many companies is that they don’t know how to find the metrics they need to fully evaluate their marketing effectiveness. That’s really not an excuse. In today’s world of "Big Data", with the right tools and systems in place, you can find out everything you need to know – and a million other things you’ll never need to know.
It may take an additional investment to get a reporting system in place, but it will pay for itself in the long run. There’s nothing worse than spending money month after month on marketing that isn’t doing anything for you. I see it happen all the time. You need to KNOW!
2. Hold Marketing Accountable
If your marketing metrics are trending the opposite of what you expect – stop! What you’re doing isn’t working. Take extra time to evaluate the situation and map out a new course of action.
It’s important to remember that marketing is an experiment in human behavior. Some things you try will fail, and that’s OK. You might not necessarily see increases every single month. But if the trend is negative month after month, you know it’s time for a change.
If you change your strategies and it’s still trending the wrong way – stop again!
3. Call in Special Operations
It may be necessary to call in "special operations". It could be that your marketing team just doesn’t have the right skill set to get you the results you need. This stuff can get quite complex and requires specific skill sets. One person can’t know it all!
For example, you’ll notice on the graphic above that Sally’s website traffic plummeted in February and March of 2014. Obviously, there was some kind of huge mistake. Our analysis indicates that Sally’s previous marketing firm made some changes to the website at that time, but they didn’t have the skills necessary to avoid losing virtually all of her online authority (search rankings). It was a marketing mistake that could have been avoided if the right skill sets had been leveraged.
4. Invest in Your Marketing Strategies
I’m just going to say it: don’t be cheap. Good marketing takes time and smart people. Time and again I see companies that try to hire interns and virtual assistants to do their marketing. If I had a dollar for every time someone said "My brother’s friend did our website as a side project..."
I’m not saying that these people aren’t smart or can’t be leveraged as part of a marketing team. I’m just saying that they aren’t marketing experts and shouldn’t be leading your marketing efforts. If you hire novices at a low cost, don’t be surprised if you get a negative return on investment.
So how do you choose marketing folks that can get you positive results? Here’s an ebook that may help: