Traditional and digital marketing go together like vintage and modern.
I’ve never felt the need to put myself in a box. My home decor and clothing styles both reflect an amalgamation of influences from vintage trends (which apparently now include the 80’s—what?), minimalist Scandinavian modernism (also known as “Pinterest”), and whatever I see that I happen to like in the moment. Only one thing remains consistent: I love to squeeze every bit of value from the almighty dollar that I can.
I also love “getting a lot of bang for my buck” on behalf of Engenius clients. As a manager of various social media and search engine advertising campaigns, I set clients up to get immense value from each dollar they spend on ads—in no small part because of the tracking data offered by almost all digital platforms. How much my clients spend can be correlated directly to what they sell, or at the very least, how many leads come across their mats.
A simple, clever, humorous—and expensive—billboard ad.
While digital marketing is what I do for our clients, I can understand and appreciate the power of traditional forms of marketing, even when they present my clients with some difficulty when it comes to calculating ROI (Return on Investment). I believe that our clients should maintain whichever marketing channels work best at the lowest cost. Do you know what those channels are for your company, in your unique situation?
In Part I of this two part series, we’ll discuss 4 steps to help you initiate a wiser strategy for divvying up your marketing budget between traditional and digital. (Or, you can skip this process entirely and talk to us about your goals!)
1. Keep your current marketing budget in mind, but don’t cling to it.
Sure, you know that not all marketing channels are created equal in cost and effectiveness. But if you’re like me, picking a monthly budget and finding a way to stay within it is comforting. Unfortunately, a simple reallocation of funds from traditional to digital marketing within your current budget may mean missed opportunities.
So keep an open mind as you go through the following steps. It’ll help you choose an overall marketing budget that makes sense for your wallet while also accomplishing your goals. (Plus, don’t tell our marketing team I said this, but your overall budget has just as good a chance of decreasing as increasing.)
2. Audit your monthly marketing practices.
What marketing practices does your business currently implement each month? Be sure to investigate and document each avenue you’re currently using to get the word out about your business. For each, investigate and document (an excel spreadsheet should do fine) the cost, the characteristics and number of people you intend to reach, and the amount of time spent managing (if you’re managing it in-house). Here are some additional methods and tools used to perform a marketing audit.
If you feel some things are missing after you’ve made a cursory list, ask everyone else in your company about marketing activities. How many hours per week does your admin assistant really spend promoting your business on Facebook? How many networking events are your staff members attending each month?
Once you’ve mapped out your State of Marketing, try to determine how many leads each channel has produced for your company. Leads do not necessarily mean sales, of course. (We’ll get to that in the next step.) Leads are people who have intentionally (inbound leads) or unintentionally (outbound leads) been exposed to your marketing materials.
A note about websites: while a website is definitely a marketing tool, for our purposes, think of your website as a second lobby; i.e. a place your leads go once you’ve piqued their interest! If you’ve set up Google Analytics for your website, you can use it to help you determine the amount of leads you’re getting through your marketing efforts. (If you’re an Engenius Client, this info is included on your monthly report!)
Here is a kitten in a bed of marshmallows, in case you need a breather between Steps 3 & 4
3. Calculate your lead to conversion rate (as much as you can).
For this step, take note of how many conversions (sales) your company has had each month and compare that to the number of leads you believe you generated with your marketing activities. This will give you a rough idea of your lead to conversion rate.
The tough thing about traditional marketing has historically been determining ROI. How many people really read that ad in the free magazine? Of that number, how many people heavily considered choosing your services but never made a purchase?
Even if your traditional marketing efforts are giving you a return on your investment, the ROI of digital advertising (paid) and organic digital marketing (free) is much easier to assess (thus their exploding popularity). Because of this, you can rest assured that however much you wind up investing in digital marketing, subsequent audits should give you enough information to refine your digital efforts even further.
Be sure to check out average conversion rates for your industry, so that you can compare and keep it in mind moving forward:
4. Think about leads.
As I mentioned above, in today’s marketing world there are generally two kinds of leads: Those that are seeking you out (inbound) and those you accost—okay, okay, politely interrupt—as they listen to the radio or watch TV (outbound). Learn more about inbound vs. outbound here.
Leads you attract are worth more than leads you “talk at”.
As you might expect, inbound leads are way more likely to buy than outbound leads. Yet traditional methods of marketing are often (though not always) outbound in nature—and very expensive. Which kinds of leads are you spending your marketing budget on?
Digital marketing has opened up a new channel for outbound marketing here and there, but it is especially conducive to inbound marketing! The core to inbound marketing is being where a potential customer might be looking for something related to what your company can offer. In the digital era, those places overwhelmingly include:
- Internet Searches (1st Page of Results)
- Social Media
- Your Website and Blog
- Email Subscriptions
If the conversion rate you calculated in Step 3 is very low, changing your budget in favor of digital marketing—with an emphasis on attracting those inbound leads—could do your business a world of good.
Learn more by scheduling a free consultation with our marketing director, Rachel Testa, or stay tuned for Part II (Steps 4 – 8) of this series, in which we will discuss calculating the monthly cost of your traditional and digital marketing budgets in greater detail.