Now in our 10th year, eVision has been helping organizations improve results from search marketing and related areas of online promotion while helping our clients improve the conversion rates of their websites.
Working with large and small companies in the U.S. and abroad over the past decade, I’ve seen a lot of what it takes to be successful in online marketing. I’ve also seen the pitfalls. Here are some of the critical “initial” keys to online marketing success:
Your Web site is an important source of business
One of these two statements is true:
(1) Your Web site already is an important part of your business, or
(2) Your Web site needs to become an important part of your business.
Converting your Web site into a source of business is what online marketing is all about.
Here are four keys to making that happen:
+ Estimating ROI before you start
+ Top level commitment and involvement
+ Implementing a tracking system
+ Coordinating Web changes and testing
Estimate potential ROI from online marketing campaigns before beginning
It’s imperative to estimate the potential Return on Investment from online marketing projects and campaigns as early as possible, ideally before starting. Without doing this, projects typically fail or stall.
Sometimes we find that the potential ROI just isn’t high enough to justify the initial projected costs of the campaign. This can happen for a number of reasons, including low margins, limited territory, the amount and level of competition, etc. When this becomes clear, it makes sense to lower the scope of the project to ensure an early profitable return.
However, when the estimated potential ROI is significant, it helps drive the project. For example, when you see that spending a $100,000 on an online marketing project could lead to an additional $1-million-plus in yearly gross profit, it helps keep management’s eye on the ball.
(See below links to articles to help you estimate potential ROI from online marketing campaigns)
Top level commitment and involvement in essential
Online marketing projects usually require the involvement and cooperation of multiple departments. For example, we might work on changes to product messages or suggestions to optimize pages with the folks in marketing, but then the techs in IT must implement the changes to the site.
Because of the cross-functional nature of most online marketing campaigns, it’s critical that top management be committed to oversee these projects as well as to drive them.
Implementation of a tracking system
As the saying goes, “If we can’t measure it, we won’t know if it’s working”. If we can’t measure results reasonably accurately as the project progresses, we won’t know if the project is paying off. That’s why it is important to set-up a process to measure the results of any online marketing project.
Just as important, as the project is under way we’ll need the tracking system so that we can see the results of changes we make to improve conversion rates or to compare items we are testing such as multiple ads in a PPC campaign or variations of headlines, copy, images, “calls to action”, etc
Making changes to your Web site in a timely manner
Crucial to online marketing success is the ability to make changes to your Web site in a timely and efficient manner. At the very least, there will analytics or conversion tracking code to insert in the web pages. Periodically, this code may need to be moved and/or modified.
In addition, we’ll likely need to test variations of landing pages and modifications to web pages to improve conversion rates.
Sometimes more extensive changes need to be made to the web site to improve conversion rates. And sometimes, a complete website redesign is necessary.
Our most successful clients are those that can implement changes to their Web sites within days, so that we can continuously test changes to the site, make adjustments, and systematically improve results.
They say a bricks & mortar business needs 3 to 5 years to be successful. On the Internet, it can happen faster, but plan on between 2 and 3 years.
Becoming successful in online marketing is staying with it, monitoring the results, making adjustments, and continuing to test and tweak. With timing and a high-degree of cooperation and flexibility, we have seen online companies take off within a year.
However, new online marketing ventures and sites that have never been tested before can take longer as you may need to change and test your messages and your offers, fix conversion bottlenecks, or even redesign the site, etc.
For More Information
Here are a few blog posts that can help you estimate the potential ROI from marketing campaigns:
- ROI Calculator Download: Calculate the potential return on investment from improvements in web site conversion rates.
- Increased Conversion Rate 300% by redesigning web site using Conversion Point Architecture: Scroll down to the section, ”Estimate the potential ROI from improved conversion rates on your site.”
- Cost Justifying Using a Search Engine Marketing Agency to Run a PPC Campaign: This post was specific to a PPC campaign but there’s a technique that can be adapted to most situations.