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How to Tell if Your Marketing is Working

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Awareness vs. Conversion-Based Techniques

One of the most common questions we hear is, “Is my marketing working? And how can I tell?” Not to fear. We’re here to provide insights into the best kind of marketing strategy for your business, regardless of product or service.

Every marketing strategy needs two components: awareness and conversion. Without building awareness, your conversion-focused marketing won’t work. Without making conversions, your business may have awareness but no sales. The most effective marketing strategies blend these two functions, dividing the resources into each.

We’re going to start by reviewing how to allocate your marketing resources between awareness and conversion marketing, and then get into the fun piece: which marketing components fall into each category.

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How Do I Allocate My Marketing Resources?

While businesses vary by size and goal, there is a general guideline to follow when determining how to dedicated your marketing resources. (This includes both time and money!) For a business that has already been following a consistent marketing strategy for at least three months, we recommend 20 to 30% of resources goes towards awareness.

The remaining 70 to 80%, then, will go to conversion. This split pours most of the time and financial resources into what will bring new business while still focusing on raising awareness among new potential customers.

For companies that are just beginning a marketing strategy, we recommend dedicating 40% towards awareness and 60% towards conversions because the brand awareness likely needs some work. Ultimately, though, this should be a customized split based on your unique needs. A marketing agency can help you determine how to best allocate your resources.

Now that we’ve covered the recommended allocations, it’s time to dig into what counts as awareness and what is considered conversions.

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Awareness-Based Marketing

Any marketing focused on awareness should be launched with the knowledge that there may be fewer clicks to your website and little to no conversions. These techniques include:

  • Mobile display advertising
  • Organic social media
  • Social media ads (awareness or reach objectives)

Mobile Display Advertising

You may not buy Geico insurance after seeing one ad at a baseball field, but after seeing six more ads and needing new insurance, you finally decide to buy. This is called the rule of sevens, and while it’s a traditional marketing term, the idea still applies.

Mobile display advertising is one way to utilize this rule. This advertising method includes banner ads displayed on a website like Buzzfeed, The Atlantic, or CNBC. Most clicks from these ads are an accident, which is why it is typically an awareness tactic.

Even still, it’s a good way to increase brand awareness if you have a strong advertising budget and are patient while your audience sees the ad seven or more times before they convert. These will typically come through a remarketing social ad or by a search engine ad.

Organic Social Media

Now. Social media can lead to conversions, but with the current state of Facebook Business Pages, Instagram Business Profiles, and other social platforms, we consider organic social media to be a type of awareness marketing.

This is where you bring in potential customers with thought leadership and product information, and by nurturing those relationships. Focus on a strong hashtag strategy, post frequently, and customize your content to the platform. (No posting directly to Twitter from Instagram!)

Social Media Ads

Social media ads are considered a part of awareness if the campaigns use the awareness or reach objective. These ads are designed to reach the maximum number of users possible on the platform, rather than being optimized to drive website traffic and sales.

And while these serve their place, we’re really going to dig into social media advertising in the next section on conversion-based marketing, because that’s where they really thrive.

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Conversion-Based Marketing

Conversion-based marketing is focused on driving high-quality website traffic to your website in order to increase sales for products or services. There are four core types of marketing within this category:

  • Search ads
  • Social media ads (traffic, conversions, or leads)
  • SEO
  • Email marketing

Paid Search Ads

Paid search is our primary way of appearing when customers are most ready to purchase a product. It’s also helpful when an SEO strategy is just beginning, because it places you at the top of your desired keywords. (Albeit artificially and not consistently, depending on bids from other advertisers.)

Paid search ads typically include topic, competitor, and branded keywords, though a marketing agency can help you find the exact strategy that would be beneficial for your specific needs.

Social Media Ads

Over 700 million people use Facebook every day, and that’s just on their phones. Your audience is on social, and it’s time to grab it. Social media ads are ideal for this type of marketing, as long as you choose either the traffic, conversions, or lead objectives. This tells the advertiser (e.g., Facebook) to deliver the ad to those most likely to make a purchase.

These ads drive website traffic to your website, which should then, if your website is properly designed and maintained and you’re targeting well, result in purchases.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a long-term strategy, but one that is definitely focused on conversions. At its core, SEO builds your website’s ranking by publishing high quality content. When people search for your niche and product when they’re ready to purchase, you’ll appear and get that conversion.

A thorough SEO strategy requires a minimum of six months to begin seeing results, and ideally it would be an ongoing investment into your company’s online presence.

Email Marketing

Did you know that email marketing generates, on average, $38 for every $1 spent? This makes it one of the best conversion-based marketing techniques available. This includes building your list with free guides, then building out additional email content to nurture those new email subscribers from prospects into customers.

Email newsletters to existing customers are also a guaranteed way to improve conversions. An ideal way to do this is to set a frequency that encourages new purchases. For example, if your product lasts 30 days, test sending reminder emails that go out at 28 days and 35 days. This reminds people to purchase and provides a direct link to purchase to make the experience as smooth as possible.

The email marketing possibilities are just about endless, and it’s one of the best ways to use your time when marketing your company.

When considering how to improve your company’s marketing, be sure to break it down by awareness and conversions. This lays the foundation of a strategy where you can always tell if a strategy is working, because each has its place.

If you’d like to talk with an agency focused on building a long-term growth strategy that delivers results, give us a call at (415) 640-8009 or send us a message by clicking the Let’s Talk button. We’d be happy to review your strategy and see how we can accelerate your growth.

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By Marc Apple

Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.

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