Here’s how you can avoid wasting time and money on strategies that just won’t work
It almost goes without saying that marketers today need to prove exactly what their activities bring to the bottom line to justify their budgets – even their jobs, in some cases.
But in their haste to attract new leads, marketers can end up wasting a lot of time, money and effort, whether through effectiveness or lack of focus.
Here are eight common ways in which marketers waste their budgets and how they can better use their resources.
Going it alone
It’s easy for marketers to feel that the entire marketing process falls on their shoulders alone.
But not asking your sales team for their input when you create your marketing plan, for example, results in them sifting through unqualified leads and wasting their own time as well as yours.
From crafting buyer personas to content ideas your budget should be spent on attracting qualified leads and enabling your sales team to convert those leads as quickly and painlessly as possible – who better to help you achieve that than reps themselves?
Frontloading the year
The New Year might feel like the perfect time for a full-on rebrand, website redesign and attending every trade show on the calendar – but overcommitting in the first two quarters will prematurely run you down and blow your budget.
And no, all that coverage you secured before the summer won’t keep sales ticking over until Christmas.
Focus on planning smaller, more consistent activities throughout the entire year with realistic goals; this will give you a more stable monthly budget to work with as well as pacing your energy.
With less going on all at once you’ll also find it easier to measure each activity every month and make adjustments where something isn’t working.
Constantly cranking out deals and blogs
Competitions, discounts and blogs are all fantastic ways of generating interest and engagement with your brand – but is your content actually helping to drive sales?
The internet is becoming an increasingly crowded place while attention spans continue to plummet, so offering run-of-the-mill deals or wishy-washy content simply isn’t going to draw people in.
Go for quality over quantity; launch just a few offers that are 100% custom-made for your audience, or write fewer but truly compelling blog posts that educate your visitors and make them actually want to share your content with their networks.
Making one-time use content
There is no sense in generating engaging, insightful content and only posting it to your company blog.
People access information on different platforms and want to consume content in different ways, so make sure you’re repurposing your most popular content in as many ways as possible, whether it’s pitching your content to journalists or turning it into podcasts, infographics, webinars and videos.
Attributing your leads using top level data
It’s your job to tell your boss where your leads are coming from, but if all you’re looking at is click-through rate you’re missing a trick.
You can properly attribute value to your leads who both spend money right away and complete non-ecommerce micro conversions by setting up and properly implementing things like Goals, Ecommerce Tracking and Funnels for Destination Goals in data analytics software like Google Analytics.
It’s all too easy to miss the chance to take the credit for a sale, especially when the leads come in offline, so make sure you also track your telephone call data using software from providers like Mediahawk.
Focusing most heavily on finding new customers
Marketers are often under pressure to continue growing a business’ client base, usually at the expense of keeping current customers happy.
But it costs more to gain a new customer than keep an existing one; not to mention that existing customers are easier to upsell extra products and services to.
Make 2016 the year you stop wasting your budget by ignoring customer satisfaction and retention levels and watch your average order value and referral rates soar.
Always moving onto the next big thing
With viral content and outlandish PR stunts seemingly taking over the internet, it’s all too tempting to experiment with new tactics year after year.
However, by not optimising your current marketing activities you never fully benefit from their true potential and will always feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Companies who spend more than a quarter of their marketing budgets on optimisation are twice as likely to enjoy high conversion rates – so take a closer look at improving your current tactics before you try to create the next Ice Bucket Challenge.
Doing PPC campaigns on obvious keywords
In PPC, short tail keywords are phrases up to three words; for example, “small business marketing”. Long tail keywords have three or more words, like “small business social media marketing tips for 2016”.
All too often businesses jump into PPC, bidding on the same short tail keywords that all of their competitors are trying to rank for.
Appearing for these keywords brings you more traffic, however this strategy dilutes the pool of PPC campaigns along with your chances of doing well with obvious search terms.
Despite long tail keywords generating less traffic, they are often less competitive and more relevant to your prospects, meaning fewer but cheaper and more valuable clicks.
Stop trying to reinvent the wheel – take it slow, measure your results each month and make gradual adjustments until you figure out what works best for your business.
Not only will you contribute more to the bottom line, but you’ll feel more in control and less like a headless chicken.