There are few things more satisfying for an internet marketer than being able to quantitatively measure the success of a campaign and therefore earn a client’s recurring business. The fact of the matter is that all of this is possible because today’s digital marketing campaigns are tracked in analytics, which can make them more efficient, productive and affordable than traditional, shot-in-the-dark advertising.
It may or may not surprise you to know there are a significant number of businesses that still rely heavily on traditional marketing strategies, such as magazine, newspaper and local television ads. Don’t get me wrong; I’m definitely not disparaging these forms of advertising. There is surely a place for traditional marketing and it works well for certain verticals. A company’s prime clientele may mostly consume traditional media, in which case conventional advertising strategies would continue to yield positive results. However, this doesn’t change the fact that even something as tried-and-true, yet minimally digital, as business flyers can be improved by incorporating analytics. For example, a dedicated tracking number could show us the percentage of recipients that actually called the business.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone’s marketing needs, but nonetheless, too many established organizations maintain a rigid mentality toward how they choose to promote themselves.
Old-school advertising often worked by casting a wide net with the hope that a company’s message would somehow land on its intended target. This type of “buckshot” approach to marketing dominated because there were few alternatives at the time. The lack of options was especially true for small to medium-sized businesses with limited resources. For many years, only large firms could afford the marketing agencies that were big enough and smart enough to deliver the complex, data-driven and sniper-precision advertising that every company longs for (whether they realize it or not). Truth be told, even if a business were to have all the money in the world, the limits of technology made high-precision marketing nearly impossible. It might shock seasoned business owners to know that the promise of digital advertising today is that virtually any size organization now has reasonable access to affordable, targeted and custom marketing campaigns designed to maximize targeted customer outreach. The internet, along with breakthroughs in analytics, has finally leveled the playing field.
Today, digital advertising agencies can monitor the effectiveness of any company’s website with impressive detail and insight. They not only can tell how many new potential customers visit a client’s website but they can also see exactly how these visitors found the site online, how much time they spent on it, which pages they viewed during their visit and so much more. Marketers can also track online trends in any given industry as they change daily, weekly and monthly, as well as monitor what drives traffic to and from websites, social networks, internet forums, and so on. The digital domain provides an unprecedented amount of data that is just waiting to get mined.
Data is only half of the equation, of course. The true genius and utility of analytics exist when digital marketers apply this data to make campaigns truly effective. A great example of the power of analytics-driven marketing strategies is A/B testing. With this process, digital marketers can test different versions of a client’s website to determine which layout produces the best conversion rate. This technique can yield information so detailed as to pinpoint which font is unequivocally most effective at driving sales. Effective internet marketing campaigns regularly use the data they collect to adjust their strategies – sometimes in real time – to ensure clients are getting the most bang for their buck. Even pay-per-click campaigns need regular adjustment and updating because keywords can change in significance every month. Those of us in the industry know it’s all about return on investment for our clients. Well, nothing delivers a higher ROI than marketing strategies that are developed and guided by analytics data.
This is just scratching the surface of what is possible in the realm of digital marketing. Traditional marketing, while sometimes appropriate, can fundamentally lack the efficiency, responsiveness and even affordability by comparison. It pains me to think of the number of businesses out there that are simply missing the boat. How many great (and even legendary) companies will sink simply because their leadership has decided to neglect the digital sphere? How many prospective customers will go unreached because of the reliance on indirect, traditional advertising models? At this point in time, it’s clear that the benefits of empirically-based internet marketing solutions are too great to ignore, and I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that companies reject this fact at their own detriment.