There’s an old saying where I grew up: “If you want to a catch fish, don’t sit in the corn field.” This seemed like a silly saying when I was young, but as I’ve grown older (and hopefully wiser) and have gained more experience in the marketing space, this saying has actually started to resonate with me more and more. It might seem obvious, but in order to maximise the return on your marketing investments, you need to focus advertising on platforms with the highest concentration of your prospects. That is to say – if you want to catch a fish, go to where the fish are. The problem many businesses face however, is knowing which platform has the highest concentration of prospects. In this article we’ll explore some simple techniques to find out.
Your first port of call if you have an established website is to analyse the traffic. Find out where visitors are coming from – and more importantly, where are those that are converting from leads to sales coming from. A word of warning though: data is only useful if it’s accurate so if the wrong people are coming to your site and you begin promoting your business based on the referring traffic, then you will only get more of the wrong people.
Once you’ve identified the refers of quality prospects, a fairly inexpensive technique is to start retargeting your website traffic. Technologies like AdRoll and Google Retargeting will place your ads on third party websites that your visitors go to using a bidding system (known as programmatic advertising). For some businesses, a daily budget of just $20 will result in a significant influx of website visitors and you will be able to see which sites they are clicking through from. It should be noted that the click-through rates for retargeting aren’t very high because statistically, a number of those who view your ad and act upon it will choose to go directly to your website rather than clicking through the ad out of fear of being tracked. You may therefore see an increase in direct and organic traffic that can be correlated to the use of retargeting. Some people do click on the ads though, so analyse both referring and direct traffic sources to gather deeper insights.
Where you aren’t sure about the quality of the data, or if you don’t have any data because you’re a new business or because you haven’t been tracking website data historically, online surveys and focus groups are a great way to gather data. Online surveys offer valuable quantitative data and are inexpensive, however you need to ensure that you’re asking the right questions in order ensure that you gather valuable output information. Focus groups provide both quantitative and qualitative data but are more expensive and are on a smaller scale. We recommend starting with a focus group to gather qualitative data which will inform your quantitative online surveys.
Test and Learn
An approach that is higher risk in the short term but extremely effective if persevered with, is the “test and learn” or lean approach. It is effectively dipping a toe in the water to see if a certain targeting approach works which can mean spreading your budget thinly and getting a lower ROI in the short-term. It does also mean though that once you know for sure which platforms are your highest converter, you can focus your efforts and budget and get maximum ROI in the long-term.