Written by: Johnny Sanquist
Inaccurate or flat-out incorrect expectations can bring down even the most anticipated, exciting events. Do you remember how you felt about the latest total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017? I was excited for the eclipse and bought into all the hype. It was going to be a cosmic event for the ages, and if it wouldn’t bring me total consciousness before I got to my deathbed, at least it would be a cool visual I’d always remember. So I’d have that going for me, which is nice.
I pictured a clear-blue sky, temperatures in the mid-70s, and all my co-workers as excited as I was. Except none of that really happened. Here in Omaha, skies were overcast, temperatures approached 90 degrees, and the general reception to the eclipse at Team Mineral was lukewarm at best. Regardless of how amazing the event actually was, it never could have lived up to the hype I had created around it.
While digital marketing can do a lot to help your firm grow, it’s important to begin your marketing efforts with realistic expectations. In today’s post, we’ll talk about what you can expect from marketing and how you can set realistic goals.
Step One: What’s Everyone Else Doing?
Digital marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor, but before you jump in, you still want to take stock of the overall landscape of your competitors so you can begin with a good barometer of where your own goals should align.
You can start by looking up your competition’s strategy for paid search ads. Paid search is an important piece of a complete digital marketing strategy, and one method to increasing traffic to your website. For today’s post, I’ll only focus on one option: Using iSpionage.com to assess paid keyword advertising and search engine optimization results.
The premise is simple: Input your competitor’s website URL and iSpionage will do the research for you. You’ll learn which (if any) keywords your selected competitor is purchasing advertising for, and how those keywords perform. From this analysis, you can benchmark yourself to gauge how well you’ll gain ground when you set up your own paid advertising.
Step Two: Set Realistic Goals for Your Advisory Firm
Once you’ve taken stock of what similar-sized firms in your niche are accomplishing, it’s time for you to set your own goals. Keep in mind, each firm is unique. Your goals may not need to match or exceed the analysis you’ve done.
Start off with a couple quick questions:
- How much do you want to grow over the next year?
- What’s the workload like on your current staff?
- Are you planning to hire any new staff?
- How much are you comfortable spending on digital marketing per month?
These questions, and your overall business plan, will contribute to the expectations you have for what digital marketing success looks like for your firm. If you want to run a lifestyle business and keep your employee headcount the same, you probably don’t want to reel in fifty new leads a month; maybe five leads a month is more than enough for you.
On the other hand, if you’re focused on fast growth then realistic goals can mean something else entirely. Keep in mind that if you want one hundred leads a month, though, you have to put in the effort to get there. You’ll need to craft a complete digital strategy that includes paid advertising, regular and recurring webinars, consistent content creation, and a solid outreach plan to guide new leads through your sales process. Digital marketing is no more a “set it and forget it” strategy than any other growth plan.
Step Three: Regularly Reassess the Plan
Once you’ve assessed the competition and established your strategy and goals, it’s time to get to work. No digial marketing strategy is complete without consistent and ongoing monitoring.
If you play fantasy football, you wouldn’t dream of going weeks without setting your starting lineup. If you’ve got kids in school, you don’t want to miss a parent-teacher meeting. Being involved is important in all aspects of life and that’s also important in your digital marketing.
One month is a decent amount of time to allow an online strategy time to gather enough data for analysis. This timeframe is especially good for reviewing any paid advertising you’ve set up.
Reassessing your digital strategy does not mean implementing wholesale changes. Sometimes it means no changes, and sometimes it means minimal tweaks. At (hopefully rare) points, it does mean stopping the campaign you’ve started to create a new vision.
Each campaign you create will have its own set of critical criteria, depending on your goals. If your goal is to build awareness, you’ll want a decent amount of clicks and web page visits. If you want to generate leads, you need to make sure that your campaign is converting visitors into contacts at an appropriate ratio.
Related: Rethinking Your Inbox
Step Four: Keep Industry Standards in Mind
Before declaring your campaign a roaring success or a devastating failure, it’s important to look at engagement rates for the financial industry. Our friends over at Wordstream did some great research on benchmark performance for ads in Facebook and Google broken down by industry.
They found the following averages for the financial industry.
|Click-through Rate||Cost Per Click||Conversion Rate||Cost Per Action|
Facebook Ads are pretty self explanatory – they’re those posts that show up in your timeline with the word “Sponsored” next to them – but here’s a quick explainer of what the other terms in the table mean.
Google Search: These are the ads that run at the top of Google’s search results.
Google Display: Ads in the form of images on a variety of websites.
Click-through Rate: The percent of people who clicked on your ad out of the number of people who saw it.
Cost Per Click: The total amount you spent on the campaign divided by the number of clicks.
Conversion Rate: The number of people who performed the desired action (typically filling out a form of some sort) divided by the number of people who clicked.
Cost Per Action: The total amount you spent on the campaign divided by the number of people who performed the desired action.
For the most part, the financial industry has lower numbers than other industries, but their conversion rate isn’t too shabby. All this is important to keep in mind so that when your campaign comes back to you with 10,000 impressions and 700 clicks, you can remind yourself that you’re actually a little better than average.
So much of advertising is trial and error, so if your results are below-average, it’s no reason to get down. Just adjust and move on.
Step Five: Adjust and Keep Plugging Away
Once you’ve made your changes, keep running the campaign. Remember, content marketing and digital marketing is a long-term game. We recommend that the firms we work with run a campaign with a singular focus for up to three months to best gauge its effectiveness.
But you don’t want to sit and wait until the campaign has run its course to check again; check in after another month to review statistics, test your variables, and do what’s necessary to create a digital strategy that will help your firm grow and reach new goals.
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