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Avoiding The Digital Jibberish

One of the biggest barriers to growth and online success is the theory and jargon that goes along with it. It doesnt have to be complicated.
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Overview

One of the biggest barriers to growth and online success (get our whitepaper here) is the theory and jargon that goes along with it.

Yes, online works.

Yes, online can generate more leads than any other channel.

No, it doesn’t have to be complicated – for you.

Beware the jargon junkies

The more jargon you’re hearing from your digital agency, the more your radar should be up.

Unless they’re coming to you with new tech, new tools or an entirely new approach and are explaining the minutiae of the process, if they’re not talking English, chances are their goals and your goals are not entirely aligned.

Simple goals don’t need complicated language

Start with understanding what you want your overall effort to produce.

And make sure every partner you bring on understands this as well – and frames their responses to this. 

Then what you need each step to do to get you to your goals.

Whether or not you’re talking about a sales funnel, or a sales engine, or a sales cycle, the principles behind each of them is the same.

Everything you do should lead your customer closer to a sale.

The important thing to note is, you don’t have to do it all.

But, the better you do what you do, the more likely you are to get more customers.

Start with a plan

Before you do anything, understand why you’re doing it, what specific things you’ll do and how you plan to do them.

Understand how these actions fit your overall marketing plan and how the overall plan supports your broader business goals?

Are you chasing aggressive growth targets? Are you looking to improve your customer experience? Open up new markets? Launch new products? Make sure you are aligning your digital strategy to support these goals. 

A simple example

For example, at a like-for-like ecommerce business, social might be used to drive engagement and overall awareness. Traditionally, this gets clicks to the site but doesn’t drive conversions. Social will probably also have a customer service role. Email might be driving clicks and some conversions, this should be used to drive lifetime sales value from existing customers – customised to them based on what they have previously purchased. Paid search and google shopping may be used to drive customers who have already reached a decision on the product they want, they are just looking for the right retailer and price. This is all propped up by SEO making sure your site is easy to find for anyone at any stage in the purchase funnel. 

If you’re getting active online, have an idea of what you think success will look like. When you’ve made 100 sales. 1000 sales. 100,000 sales.

Then think about what you need to do at each stage in order to get to that goal.

How many interested visitors do you need to make one sale?

How many visitors do you need to find an interested visitor?

How many people do you need to talk to, to get a visitor?

It’s as complicated as you need it to be.

Tackle one channel at a time, confirm it works for you, then look at the next one e.g. paid social, Adwords, google shopping, blogging, video conference

If you have the money, and the energy, and it fits your plan, the world’s your oyster. We would warn against doing personalised email, instagram and setting up product feeds to multiple marketplaces all at the same time – unless you’ve got a big enough team to manage it. Determine which channel looks like it will best support your overall strategy, try that one, test, refine, then move on quickly. If something doesn’t immediately work, don’t discount it – make sure you’ve tried all the angles. 

Makes you want to Shout, doesn’t it?

Or you can get a proven, professional performer to do it for you.

Someone who’ll explain what they’re doing in plain English.

In simple, uncomplicated terms. Who’ll provide reports that are easy to understand. And recommendations that are easy to action.

Someone who can let you get on with the business of running the business.

The last step isn’t the entire journey.

Remember attribution

Just because your channel report in google analytics doesn’t show any sales coming from social networks and a good ROI, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a role to play in the overall buyer funnel. Look at how you are attributing sales, and work with your agency to develop attribution models. 

The need for attribution starts with your advertising platforms. Everyone wants credit for any sale or any visit your receive. Most platforms you use will apply a conversion window to the ad, monitored through a pixel code they embed into your site, which essentially means if a customer buys from you within a set time after seeing the ad – anywhere between 48 hours and 30 days – the platform takes full credit for the sale.

So, if you’re running a campaign using facebook campaign and google adwords, and the same happens with 30 days of the customer seeing the ad, and the customer sees both the facebook and google components of the sale, facebook and google will both take 100% of the credit for the same sale.

This is why you need to attribute different percentages of the sale to the different platforms.

Find an attribution model that works for you.

We’ll go into the more common ones shortly.

It’s worth you putting time into understanding what you need from your model, and where you get the information from, because media platforms will provide a number of ways to analyse the data within their platforms – the trick is to understand the need to analyse the data from all platforms.

Google might be able to help you understand which particular keyword sparked a particular action from a user if the keyword was in a google ad. They can’t tell you what that user did within facebook or LinkedIn.

Google Analytics can help.

While the name says “google”, the analytics can be applied across numerous platforms. It provides a number of attribution models.

This is  a simple way to do broad attributional work. If you do want to find out the attribution score for single ads, you can – but be warned, it’s complicated, it requires you to restructure your UTM code and you’ll need to customize the dimensions of your ads, and it requires a huge analytics commitment because it generates massive amounts of raw data. In most instances, in Australia, (unless there is a specific reason for a specific ad) it costs more to set up than most marketers will get out of it. 

Which model adds the most value?

Like all great questions, the answer is, “It depends”.

It depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Are you looking to understand where to spend your money? Are you wanting to make your funnel more effective? 

It depends on what you’re trying to measure – are you measuring first prospects, interested visitors, ready-to-buys, are you looking to determine next behaviours, previous behaviours, propensity to accelerate the process. You need to understand this to understand which model will give you the most relevant data.

It depends on where your customer is in the sales funnel.

Their behaviour will differ the closer they get to the sale. By understanding where they are in the funnel, you get a clearer picture of what you should be looking at from an attribution standpoint. 

Different attribution models.

First-touch

This model attributes all leads or sales to the first point of contact with your client.

It’s great for identifying which or your assets or channels is working hardest at finding and generating new prospects that are most likely to buy.

Last-touch

This model attributes all leads or sales to the last point of contact your client made before they bought.

It’s great for identifying which of your assets are the best salespeople – and especially effective at identifying the channels to use if you have an immediate need to make a sale or create a seasonal boost for your bottom line.

Last non-direct touch

This model attributes all leads or sales to the last point of contact a new client made before they bought, as long as they didn’t directly type in your URL or use a bookmark (which strongly suggests they are either an existing customer or already are familiar with your business).

It’s great for identifying which is the best last-touch for new-to-you customers.

First and last

This model attributes all leads or sales to the first point and the last point of contact your client made before they bought – but disregards all the points in-between.

It’s great for determining end-to-end performance and recognises the importance of all parts of the communications chain, while giving added weight to the first and last points of contact.

Even-weighting

This model attributes all leads or sales to all points of contact your client made before they bought, and recognises them as equally important.

It’s great for determining end-to-end performance and helps you determine if you need to remove a channel – by identifying which channels are not performing.

First-middle-last

This model is great for sites with a standardised process and attributes all leads or sales to the first point and the last point of contact your client made before they bought – but recognises the click that converted the visitor to a sales lead (based on your metrics).

It’s great for determining end-to-end performance and recognises the key points in the communications trail that have specific and direct impact to your KPIs.

Time Decay

This model attributes all leads or sales to all points of contact but assumes the value of the contacts closer to the sale are greater than the original entry points.

This model helps you identify which aspects of your sales cycle are working most (or least) effectively, helping you see which aspects work best at moving clients from where they are to the next part of the chain – and, as a result, which ones need attention.

Don’t double dip.

We recommend using more than one model, but only one at a time.

If you use multiple models, and each model puts weight on a different aspect of your sales cycle – measuring paid search on one model and organic SEO on another model, you risk counting the same customer twice.

Understand why you’re using each model, what questions you’re trying to answer and what you need to measure and why.

Get a guarantee

Digital performance can be measured.

If you’re choosing a digital marketing agency, get them to commit to performance levels. And get it in writing. Make sure they set KPIs which are realistic and aligned to your overall strategic goals. If they deliver on these KPIs then invest more in them and the media for that channel. 

Then hold them to their promises.

Ask about the Shout Guarantee

If you want solutions that work, but don’t want a translator, Shout!

If you want proven, effective solutions to your challenges, delivered in simple ideas you can understand, talk to an agency that gets digital marketing, and has 10 years of industry-leading experience in the field. Call Shout today.

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As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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