Knowing how and when to focus or ditch particular marketing channels is critical in making the most of your marketing budget, but it isn’t easy. Figuring out what gets you the best return on investment is all about comparing the channels available and taking a good look at what suits you and your needs.
So when it comes to comparing marketing channels…
What should you be considering?
We have broken down this question into four categories. You’ll see these four categories assessed across all the main media channels:
Effectiveness: How effective it is in reaching common marketing goals
Ease of Use: How easy it is to use and manage
Goal Tracking: How easy it is to actually track and measure ROI
Visibility: How much it costs to reach a good amount of people
Best For: What target audiences/industries it best suits
You need a clear, no-BS plan – let’s go through each channel and see what you and your business should be using.
Those flyers, commercials on TV and radio, magazine/newspaper print ads and billboards – that’s the traditional media we’ve been consuming for decades. Should you still be using it? Or is it time to go digital? Let’s look at two of the most popular traditional mediums.
- Effectiveness: Telly is great at fulfilling set goals – a recent study found that increased television ads improve brand awareness and brand loyalty.
- Ease of Use: Often very expensive and difficult to manage as it can’t be edited once aired.
- Goal Tracking: A report found that advertisers generally manage and track ROI for TV on brand awareness and increased sales – this can be unsuccessful when other marketing tactics are employed.
Are newer digital channels the best way to get more bang for your buck? Or are these confusing and ever-changing platforms too much for some small businesses and individuals? Let’s go through all the big guns in digital marketing and see.
- Effectiveness: Facebook/Instagram are great for building brand awareness and loyalty as well as pinpointing potential customers with targeted advertising. This makes it easy to generate interest and then convert customers that are already interested as opposed to marketing to uninterested consumers.
- Ease of Use: While the platforms themselves are fairly simple to use, for the average business owner/individual, social media marketing can be hard to master. It’s always changing and success depends on a well thought out and well executed strategy. Outsourcing to experienced social media marketers can help relieve some of these challenges but even with an expert on board, it will still require ongoing input.
- Goal Tracking: Surprisingly, social media’s ROI isn’t as easy to track as you might expect. Sure you can track what’s happening on your page, and on your ads, but with conversations about your brand happening in private messages, in private groups and across private profiles, you can’t always see the true impact social media is having. Tools such as the Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics and Google URL builder are making it easier to track ROI but there’s still some way to go.
- Bang for Buck: This is where social media really stands out. It’s one of the only media types that can reach over 1000 targeted people, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee!
- Best For: Social Media is great for most B2C (Business to Consumer) businesses as this is where consumers are spending most of their time these days. With a bit of ad spend, you can find your niche on Facebook/Instagram fairly easily thanks to advanced targeting options – meaning you can find and engage with the people that are actually interested in what you have to say.
“When it comes to social, learn the platforms. Find the perfect combination of creative, copy, and strategy. Understand the insights, iterate and execute against them. Only when you’ve reached that point, my friends, can we start to have a real conversation about social media ROI.”
Image credit: eConsultancy
- Effectiveness: Email marketing, as seen in the above chart, is a well-celebrated format for its effectiveness. It’s a real all-rounder, being used for down-to-earth sales goals and branding to customer retention and loyalty.
- Ease to Manage: With a well-suited email platform you can easily manage the basics of email marketing, with programs such as ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft, and Mail Chimp some of the most popular. However, when you get into email automation and more advanced email marketing setups, you may need help from an expert.
- Goal Tracking: Email is often said to be the easiest channel to track ROI thanks to data and feedback it can provide.
- Bang for Buck: Email CPM’s are hard to track because the price often decreases depending on how many emails you’re sending, a survey found that the average price for a typical self-service email deployment was $4.80 per 1000.
- Best For: Email works well for most businesses, as it provides a direct line to people that have already expressed an interest in what you have to offer. It’s particularly powerful for eCommerce and retail brands.
SEO (Organic Search)
- Effectiveness: SEO is best used as part of a wider marketing strategy to help increase the return of offline and online marketing efforts by making your site more visible within search engines.
- Ease to Manage: SEO can be complex to master, but most people can get the basics. If your website/concept is intricate you might need to enlist the help of an expert.
- Goal Tracking: Tracking SEO ROI is hard because it’s often hard to attribute success to SEO – but it has become slightly easier with the help of Google Analytics.
- Bang for Buck: Organic search results are free – but depending how competitive your space is you may need to hire someone to help get onto the first page.
- Best For: SEO marketing campaigns are highly effective in reaching target audiences, as It focuses on promoting a business’s unique characteristics to people searching for what you provide.
- Effectiveness: Paid search, like AdWords, can be highly effective for people wanting to generate leads online as it allows businesses to be at the top of search engine results when people are searching (for the right price, of course).
- Ease to Manage: Paid search is a labour-intensive process to set up and run. Stiff competition from bigger companies also makes it expensive for smaller businesses to be seen and get results.
- Goal Tracking: With AdWords conversion tracking syncing up to Google Analytics nicely, tracking ROI on paid search is actually fairly straightforward. However, on average only 50% of accounts have tracking set up for their sites and campaigns. (Credit: Kissmetrics, Google Analytics)
“Without good analytics, 97% of AdWords campaigns fail.” Jacob Baadsgaard
- Bang for Buck: Paid search functions on a CPC (cost per click) basis – meaning you only pay for when someone clicks on your ad. For this reason it can be and has proven fairly cost-effective for some businesses in the past. However, increased competition over the years has seen the average CPC continue to rise – especially in more competitive niches.
- Best For: Paid search allows you to add audiences to help reach targeted people based on their interests and they way they browse pages, apps, channels, videos and content.
Display Ads (Banners)
- Effectiveness: Successful display ads can help raise brand awareness, and increase website traffic, sales and conversions. However, in recent years, display ads have been taken over by search, social and video. People generally don’t click on or trust display ads and many people actively block them – so in terms of effectiveness, they’re not the greatest.
- Ease to Manage: It seems pretty simple but display ads can be complicated to set up and optimise. Firstly, you’ll need to create the animated banners (a challenge in itself), then manage ad placements and targeting to try and ensure the right people are seeing the ads.
- Goal Tracking: You can track things at a simple level fairly easily through Google Analytics but to get a true view of what’s working is difficult unless you have a sophisticated attribution model built out.
- Bang for Buck: Display ads also work on a CPC basis and are way cheaper than paid search ads. However, conversion rates tend to be a lot lower as people have just clicked on a banner that caught their attention, so don’t necessarily have the same intent as someone searching specifically for the particular product or service. This means while it’s cheap for achieving a high number of clicks and awareness, it’s not always cost effective for meeting conversion goals.
- Best For: Display ads work well for branding campaigns or as part of a larger marketing campaign across multiple channels.
- Effectiveness: Content marketing can help increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your site, improve retention and drive upselling. It also improves your site’s SEO and customer experience – resulting in more leads and enquiries. When it’s done right, it’s highly effective.
- Ease to Manage: Content marketing needs to connect on a deeper level to your audience’s needs and interests which can be really challenging for some businesses. Content Marketing can also be very time intensive to plan, manage, create, and execute without a firm structure in place.
- Goal Tracking: Content marketing produces great results, but it is hard to measure direct ROI. Your analytics account will provide details on page views, time on site, goals, conversions etc. – allowing you to see what’s working. The problem is in measuring the real cost, from how many people, and how much time and resource goes into the entire process.
- Bang for Buck: Content marketing can be a time heavy endeavour, especially for small teams. If you have access to the right resources and know what you want, the cost of creating a blog or video doesn’t have to blow the budget. But for most, there’s a lot of experimentation that goes into creating good content, and for some the time to play around is too costly.
- Best For: Content Marketing can work for any business. It’s really just a matter of finding out what information your buyers are looking for and interested by, then setting up an effective strategy to create and distribute it.
“You need to start thinking about your buyers as people – alive and different and separated by their behaviours — rather than identifying them by their demographics.” – The Content Marketing Institute
Which Channels are Likely to Succeed?
Should you stick to traditional or develop with digital?
Over the last half a decade, investments in old school advertising have returned consistent drops in effectiveness. Meanwhile, digital marketing expenditure has grown in double-digit percentages year after year. There are some businesses that will still benefit from utilising traditional mediums, but naturally, businesses are shifting their market spending online.
In the digital realm, the best performers for the average business are –
- Social media
- Content Marketing
Interestingly, these four all feed into each other. Content marketing (blogs, articles, videos, images, etc.) drives SEO, and can be leveraged through Email marketing and Social Media to amplify returns.
At Visible we’ve recognised how effectively these activities work together. Placing focus on creating quality content and growing our social presence allows us to easily reap the rewards of SEO and email with minimal additional effort – delivering more bang for your buck! And with a bulletproof structure in place that helps tie them all together, the cost to manage and execute all these activities is fair less than if they were tackled one-by-one.
If you want to find out how you can use digital channels to grow your business and get a better return on your marketing budget, just reach out 🙂