If you’re like most online retailers, you’ve probably found yourself wondering, “Why should I even bother with marketing when it costs so much and isn’t returning any value?” Well, it depends on what you want from marketing and how you’re measuring its effectiveness, but there’s a reason why even expensive marketing campaigns generate billions in sales.
Marketing spend can help businesses of all sizes attract online buyers. But it takes planning and focusing on the right metrics to know if your efforts are paying off.
Why Online Buyers Are More Important Than Ever
If you’re reading this, you probably know that the way we buy and sell has shifted. For one thing, we’re always connected to social media, so it’s easier for us to seek out information and product reviews. For another, the internet provides a global reach, allowing businesses to connect with consumers in ways that were never possible before.
But as much as the platforms and the reach have changed, the need for business to attract online buyers hasn’t diminished. In fact, the opposite is true and remains a critical strategy for any business.
Here are some stats to confirm this fact:
- 77% of consumers say they’ve researched purchases online before buying in a real store
- 63% of consumers plan to make purchases online in the next six months
- 78% of millennials say shopping online is more fun
- 80% of Gen Z and millennials prefer shopping online
- 62% of consumers feel inspired to buy something new after reading an online review
If you’re in retail, it’s imperative to understand the importance of attracting and engaging online buyers. However, knowing this fact doesn’t mean you have to fall into the trap of wasting valuable resources on social media or email campaigns that don’t convert. Instead, you can use various metrics and analysis to determine whether or not your marketing efforts are paying off.
What Is a Clickstream And Why Should You Care?
Every time a consumer clicks on a business’ digital ad or link, they’re engaging with that product or service and potentially becoming a lead or a customer. That’s all marketing and sales, in a nutshell.
When we talk about digital marketing, we’re usually referring to ads on social media networks such as Facebook or Instagram. However, those ads don’t always result in a sale. To get the most out of your ad spending, you need to look at the entire clickstream, or the traffic that comes from a specific link or ad. This is where a lot of strategy goes into play. You need to figure out which links and ads lead to sales and which ones simply result in clicks. This is also where your analytics person and your social media person come in handy. They can help you figure out what types of content generates the most leads and sales.
How To Determine Whether Or Not Your Social Media Campaigns Are Resulting In Sales
To determine whether or not your social media campaigns are paying off, you need to look at a variety of metrics. Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled a list of the most important metrics to track.
Here’s a brief overview of each metric and why you should care.
This refers to the number of leads or potential customers who’ve interacted with your business in some way (i.e., visited your website, filled out a form, connected on social media, etc.). For example, if you have a paywall to enter your website, you can track the number of people who’ve completed the process of paying for access.
These are the individuals you’ll want to follow up with, whether or not they’ve made a purchase. At this point, you can also begin to measure the extent to which your marketing efforts are driving business growth.
2. Brand Awareness
This refers to the extent to which your target audience knows or recognizes your brand. Again, looking at conversions is a great place to start, but you can also test the strength of your brand’s identity and whether or not your marketing activities are bringing more awareness to it. To do this, apply the Brand Awareness tool from HubSpot. With this tool, you can enter your brand name and get a clear picture of where you stand.
For example, if you work for Apple and your marketing efforts bring more awareness to the brand, you can rest assured that your investment is paying off.
This refers to the number of people who’ve visited your website but haven’t converted. The key takeaway from this is that you can target your efforts towards driving more organic traffic to your site. You can also look at this as a sign of how effective your marketing is at driving awareness.
However, the fact that someone has visited your website but didn’t convert indicates that there’s still something missing. To find out what that is, you can look at your analytics and see what draws those individuals to your site rather than another competing business.
4. Website Traffic
This refers to the total number of times your website (or web property, if you run multiple sites) has been accessed. There are several different ways to measure this including visits, pageviews, and even bounce rate (the percentage of people who visit your site but then leave immediately).
When you have a clear picture of how many visitors you have, you can begin to plan your next steps. For example, if you notice that your bounce rate is high, you might want to consider shifting to a host that provides better performance.
5. Email Open Rates & Views
Depending on the size of your email list, you can measure the number of times people have opened your email or the number of times people have viewed your email. If you notice that your email is not performing as well as you’d like it to in terms of open rates and/or views, it might be a good idea to consider whether or not you need to make any changes. For example, you could increase the frequency of your emails or you could consider offering a free trial or a discount coupon.
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is all about getting the most out of your website’s content by creating quality content that will attract potential customers. For this reason, it’s important to have a sound knowledge of how search engines work and how you can improve your websites’ search rankings in order to attract more visitors.
Depending on your niche, you might want to consider hiring an SEO expert or company to help you create an optimized marketing plan. Doing so can greatly improve your website’s ranking and make a measurable difference in terms of conversions.
The above metrics are all you need to track in order to determine whether or not your social media marketing campaigns are performing as expected.
If you’d like, you can take this further by looking at conversion rates for different platforms and devices. You can also look at the geographic area your target audience comes from and how effective your marketing is doing in bringing traffic to your website.
Why Now Is the Right Time to Market Your Business Online
If you’re already selling in retail or if you’ll be applying for a merchant account in the near future, there’s no question that now is the right time to market your business online.
Even prior to taking this step, you can begin to strategize your online presence. The reason is that now is the right time to begin marketing your business online because consumers have more experience with online shopping than they do with brick-and-mortar stores. This means that they’re more likely to be able to find what they want if you’re marketing online. Also, with more people being displaced by automation and AI, customer service via live chat or phone has become commonplace, further strengthening the case for targeting online marketing efforts towards millennials and Gen Z.
Marketing Your Business Online: 5 Tips
For decades, traditional marketing tactics (i.e., billboards, radio advertisements, etc.) have yielded incredible results. However, with the advent of the digital age and the growth of social media, the landscape of marketing has changed. For one thing, social media platforms allow businesses to target the right audience with the right message, while blogs and article directories provide an opportunity to build trust and credibility.