I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for those infographics that summarize data from a survey or study. All those little pictures and graphics next to colorful numbers… just heaven.
Something I noticed lately is that there seems to be a lot of conflicting data floating around about online marketing efforts. For example:
- eConsultancy stated in their Marketing Budgets for 2014 report that 38% of surveyed companies plan on spending money online.
- Moz found that 54% had a budget for online marketing over $500/month, while 24% spent more than $3K/month, and more than 10% spent more than $10K/mo.
- Content Marketing Institute found that B2B companies allocated 33% of their budget to content marketing efforts, the majority of which happened online (social media, website content, eNewsletters, and blogs being the most popular).
- Marketing Profs found that 98% of marketers surveyed planned on increasing their digital spending this year.
- Marketing Sherpa found that the top five digital marketing types will see increased spending from 2013 to 2014.
- Webmarketing123 found that only 25% of surveyed companies’ budgets are spent online. That means they’re still spending a whopping 75% offline.
All this data makes it seem like companies are taking two steps forward and one step back when it comes to their online efforts. Perhaps we should simply focus on the journey, and not the destination for our marketing instead. That way we won’t get so confused (or depressed) when we see all these conflicting numbers.
Better yet, let’s stop worrying about what other brands are doing. Forge your own path and choose a strategy that’s uniquely suited to your business goals. Sound good?
It seems less certain, sure—but if you think of it as an adventure, it’s almost exciting. Here’s how you can create your own online marketing adventure.
Choose Your Path
This is where you decide on the path you’re going to take in your online marketing journey. Do you want to:
- generate leads from your website or social media campaigns?
- convert the leads that you’re getting from your online inbound efforts?
- measure the ROI of your online campaigns?
- integrate content across all your online channels?
- produce more online content?
Choosing the path is usually the easy part—choosing the vehicle isn’t. That’s because there are many vehicles you can choose on any one journey. A bike and car will both work on a highway or back-country road, but they’re not appropriate for mountain climbing or space travel.
Pick a Vehicle (or Two)
You still with me in this analogy? Hopefully yes.
Now that you know the path you want to take with your online marketing, it’s time to choose the vehicle(s) for it. As I mentioned, there are many different vehicles that will travel down the path you’ve chosen, so you can pick one or as many as you like. For example:
- Landing pages or updated website content
- Corporate blogs and guest blog posts on relevant external blogs
- Social media messages that point back to your website
- Special reports used to gather email addresses for your newsletter mailing list
- Monthly newsletters sent out to your mailing list
- Infographics to explain information and be seen as the expert in the subject
Moderation is the key here. Pick just the right number of vehicles you can produce regularly, efficiently, and at a high level of quality.
If you can’t maintain all the vehicles you’ve chosen, drop one at a time until you find your own production sweet spot.
You don’t want to be publishing and releasing low-quality content, as that’ll affect how you’re seen by prospects, leads, and existing customers. One of the main reasons you’re embarking on this adventure is to be seen as the expert, the go-to company for your special “thing.” So keep the quality of all your online marketing high, and you’ll reap the rewards.
Analyze Your Route
Next up in your adventure is to analyze your route. That includes everything from the path itself to the vehicles you’ve chosen, as well as the results of your work.
This is usually where upper management talks about the ROI of online marketing, and how it affects the company’s bottom line. But that’s just one aspect of online marketing ROI that’s important. It shouldn’t be the only thing that you measure. You should also be looking at:
- solid objectives for the campaign
- the entire consumer decision journey for your products, and how your online marketing campaigns support them
- short- and long-term impact of the campaign on your prospects and leads, as well as your internal staff
- traffic to your site or content
- and more
Check Out the Drivers Too
That’s right, you can’t forget about the drivers of your online marketing vehicles. They are the staff involved in the marketing work. Give them an assessment as well and ensure that they’re the right people for the job.
It’s a business fact that hiring new staff is expensive, so while you may want to save that money by using internal resources, make sure they’re right for the job. In the end, you may find that a new hire will save you money in the long run.
Admire the View When You Get There
At the end of your online marketing adventure, it’s important that you also admire the view when you get finally reach your destination. (You probably thought I was going to ignore the destination completely, right?)
The destination is an important part of the adventure, as it gives you perspective on the entire journey. It allows for a more robust reflection and analysis of the entire online marketing experience, and gives you inspiration for future adventures.
The reason I told you to ignore the destination at the start is that most of the online marketing statistics found out there only look at the destination. And since everyone’s journey to that destination is different, it makes sense that the destination numbers would be different too.
Have you been ignoring all the online marketing statistics that are out there? What do you think it says about online marketing as a whole that there’s so much conflict?
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Julia Borgini.