The verdict is in: outbound marketing has lost to digital marketing. Yes, there are still companies that use TV, radio, billboard, and print to reach their audiences, and yes, there will always be those companies whose marketing budget tilt in favor of outbound strategies. However, most companies have moved away from the strategies of the past. Instead, they’re adopting aggressive digital marketing strategies that connect with audiences in real time.
It’s not that outbound marketing is gone forever - in fact, we strongly believe especially for larger ticket items, that a combination of both has to be in your sales pipeline mix. It’s just that it can't provide the kind of granularity, data, and insight that inbound marketing does. The data you gather through your inbound marketing strategies is invaluable. More importantly, it’s never-ending. It starts from when you create interest until the customer buys. Each time you win another order, you gain greater insights into what makes your customers tick.
This isn’t a one-time marketing gimmick. There is no beginning and end. It’s a continuous process. Your digital marketing strategies produce real-time data about all things customer-related. Everything your customers do say and act upon can be captured and leveraged so that you create an interdependent buyer/seller relationship. It’s about using data to improve your customer's experience. The more engaged your audience is with your online brand – the more data you’ll gather and the more business you’ll win.
Identifying Data Sources
The first step is to gather your data. Everything that comes afterward depends upon how you leverage the intelligence your customers provide you. The obvious first place includes your website. Every landing page on your website gives insight into what customers like and don’t like about your content, whether your call-to-action (CTA) works, or doesn’t, whether that landing page gives customers the information they need, or whether they have to leave that page and navigate the rest of your website looking for answers.
Your website’s analytics provides you with an insider’s view of what your customers want. A high bounce rate implies something is wrong with a landing page. More time spent on the page is a good sign only if your conversion rates are in line with your goals. Otherwise, you’re simply giving customers a lot of information and not incentivizing them to act.
All your digital marketing strategies are data sources as well. This includes the digital advertisements you run, your content, your social media channel, intelligent chatbots, and your messaging apps. The goal is to adopt digital strategies that your customers use and prefer. If you do that, gathering and using data properly is a much simpler process.
Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPI), Metrics, and Benchmarks
Gathering data is the first hurdle. The second is measuring the data’s importance and using it properly. The goal is to establish KPI and benchmark periods of review where you can assess how your strategies are working. Have you properly identified the marketing data that leads to the kinds of insights that win business? Do you know the most relevant data points and which ones to ignore? More importantly, are you able to act upon that data and use it to capture business?
Your marketing data will help you differentiate between organic and paid traffic. It will help you understand what happens when customers arrive on your website, what landing pages they peruse, whether they’re buying into your CTA, and finally, how well your digital funnel is set up to deliver the information your customers need. Here are some payoffs of using the right data the right way and what you should track to improve your customer's experience.
Yes, your digital marketing data can help you increase customer retention. In fact, it can not only reduce your costs of sales, but it can also reduce the costs associated with retaining more customers. Each time you re-introduce a customer back into your funnel, you gain more insight into what they need and why they need it. This is the never-ending process of digital marketing; customers come in and out and every time you engage them you learn more about why they come back. Data enrichment comes with time. The more you enrich your data, the stronger your insights. Establishing KPIs tracking customer retention will help you narrow down why you keep winning repeat business.
Re-introducing customers back into the fold means having engaging content customers appreciate. The best companies use their best content after the sale as a means of incentivizing customers to return. KPIs that track click-through rates (CTR) on your content allow you to isolate the topics of interest your customers gravitate to. You can track the content on your blog, individual landing pages, your social media channels, and your entire website. You can then improve your after-sales content so that you up-sell even more complimentary products and services.
No, email marketing is not dead. In fact, it’s the ideal way to re-initiate customers back into your funnel. Email marketing is what you use after the sale. This is where you follow up on that first sale with new offers and engaging content. Establishing KPIs tracking CTR and conversion rates on email marketing campaigns allows you to identify which offers work best with specific buyer personas. Are there specific times of the year when your offers attract more clicks? Do certain combinations appeal to different customer segments? Tracking CTR and conversions by week and month will allow you to isolate emerging trends while helping you to identify any noticeable business cycles or seasonality.
Organic and Paid Traffic
Think about all the ways you drive traffic to your website. You have organic solutions like content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media. You have paid solutions like digital advertising and email marketing. Ultimately, spending less, while generating more, means you’ve identified the least expensive means of engaging your audience. That knowledge only comes from knowing which data to analyze and enrich. Your KPIs should track where traffic originates from, what the CTR and conversion rates are for those traffic generators, and what your costs are for using them.
Your customers are speaking to you right now. You can listen to what they have to say by understanding your marketing data and using that knowledge to improve the customer's experience, or, you can ignore that data and go with your assumptions.
If you need guidance on how to gather, identify, and leverage your most important data, then contact us now and request an assessment.
Written By: David Carpenter