One of the challenges that I (and any SEM consultant, for that matter) face on a daily basis is getting my clients to track lead sources and the outcomes of each enquiry. Most of the time, I deal with clients who have the best of intentions, but occasionally I get the feeling that they feel I am making them do it for my own evil ends (don’t worry, YOU aren’t one of them, you’re one of the good ones).
So what is the big deal?
I think it starts with the old school mindset of traditional marketing. The old approach is that marketing is pretty much about brand awareness. You aren’t really able to track where your customers come from and if you can, it’s not really that meaningful anyway. In the rare instances where it can be tracked meaningfully, it’s too hard for your business. Maybe a big company like Coke or E-Web Marketing can track enquiry sources, but not your unique little snowflake of a business.
Well, not anymore. Online marketing allows you to trace a line all the way from the far edges of your marketing funnel to the bottom dollar, giving you an idea of ROI that, in some E-Commerce cases, is accurate to the cent. In most industries, however, you can’t get to this level of accuracy. What you CAN do is get a ballpark figure on what return you are getting. The basic equation is this:
Return = Search visitors x Enquiry % x Conversion % x Average Revenue x Profit % x Repeats
And if Return < SEM Spend, then your online marketing is cost effective.
What can you do once you’ve found out your SEM is bringing you a return on investment? Look to improve it until you:
- have market domination
- are rich enough
- get bored
- choke on all that money
What conversion optimisation steps can you take to do so?
Improve Your Enquiry Rate
Look at the design of your site. Is everything above the fold tailored to a specific purpose? Does it have effective calls to action? Are the colours right? Is the content well written and does it avoid the critical do-not-dos? Tweaking your site can increase your enquiry rate, making the above equation all the more delectable.
Improve Your Conversion Rate
How can you make more of the enquirers into buyers? There are many ways to achieve this, such as expanding your range or getting new salespeople on board. One very simple way is to simply get more of your customers on the phone instead of emailing you. You’ll be able to deal with their objections and close the deal A LOT more effectively.
Optimise for New Keywords
Ballpark clickthroughs for organic search listings are known, as are rough keyword search volumes. Tie this into the equation:
New Keyword Revenue = Search Volume x Expected Click % Enquiry % x Conversion % x Average Revenue x Profit % x Repeats
If New Keyword Revenue < Additional Investment, then you can confidently invest more money into your SEO campaign.
Attract More PPC Visitors
If you are running a PPC campaign, you should know exactly how much each enquiry is worth. As long as your impression share is under 100%, you can invest more in the ads and get more revenue in at a cost effective rate.
What You Can Do, TODAY!
- TRACK YOUR LEADS! You can do this:
- Automatically – email enquiries from contact forms can be tracked in Analytics using tracking codes (autotagging helps too)
- Pre-sale surveys – track every enquiry into a spreadsheet
- Post-sale surveys – this lowers the overhead on asking every enquirer, but gives you less information
- Call tracking – for large, rebellious salesforces, call tracking is the only viable option
Once you get some meaningful data through, cull the Yellow Pages and other forms of marketing that don’t bring in a proven return on investment (if SEM falls into that category…cut it!). Then look to invest where you do get a solid ROI and watch the cash roll in.
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