In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective classic A Scandal in Bohemia (1892), Sherlock Holmes says, "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."
Although most things have changed since the data-science-lover Mr. Holmes said this, his statement still holds true, especially when it comes to digital marketing. Data-driven decision making is key to success in online marketing.
What happens if you don’t measure your marketing efforts?
Angie Yarbrough, principal and co-founder of Stratistry, shares an example of a customer who needed to use data in his marketing:
"As the CEO of a mid-sized engineering firm, he had been trying to run his own Google Ads campaigns, spending a substantial amount of money every month.
However, he wasn't sure how to track the effectiveness of the ads, and hadn’t had the time to update his company website in more than five years.
He hired us to help refine his brand positioning, update his website, implement tracking for his GoogleAds campaigns, and improve his marketing ROI."
If you aren’t properly measuring your digital marketing budget, basically, you are wasting time and money. You may be getting results, i.e. customers or sales, but you could still be wasting money.
Yarbrough concludes, "At the end of the day, I believe that's the ultimate benefit of hiring a digital marketing firm — they have the expertise and ability to drive measurable and profitable results."
Apply method to the madness
Hannah Dixon, Marketing Director of Davines North America suggests, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you're just boosting adverts and seeing what happens or if you have an e-commerce channel in your business, and you don't see a positive ROI on your ad spend."
Just seeing what happens is using guesswork instead of data.
"[I]f you are looking to properly measure your marketing efforts and ROI," says Furqan Tafseer, CMO of Stratigia, it might be time for some help. "It is often a big challenge for many companies to properly gauge the results of their marketing efforts and ROI. The best approach for this is to identify the right marketing attribution model.
Many of the decent marketing agencies understand this well and have experience in working with various attribution models. I think this should be one of the most important reasons why you should hire a decent digital marketing agency."
Set measurable goals
If you are having trouble figuring out how you would measure your marketing success, you aren’t alone. Yarbrough advises, "First, your strategy should be firmly rooted in the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you are hoping to measure."
After setting KPIs, she says, "Then, that strategy should be continually put to the test and evaluated on a monthly basis. A monthly review of those KPIs should be provided through the tracking and reporting of the right metrics and data."
Nikki Bisel, owner and founder of Seafoam Media, "[I]if you're having trouble setting meaningful goals and KPIs, a digital marketing agency can help you tie goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics together. This ensures that work done on marketing is making meaningful change to your top and bottom lines."
Yarbrough says, "A good digital marketing agency helps you test, learn, and refine your marketing plan based on the results it garners."
Measure and maximize returns
"The online ecosystem is constantly evolving and new platforms or avenues for digital marketing emerge daily," says Devon McCrossin, Director of Marketing at Boomtown Internet Group. "This can make it challenging for a company to decide where and how to spend their digital marketing dollars to receive the highest return on investment."
"When your business decides to turn toward digital marketing agencies, you are able to see your ROI in real-time," explains Lauren Reed, Marketer, Sixth City Marketing. With an agency helping to make clear where your money is going, when, and why, opportunities for improvement are clear.
"You want to maximize your return on investment," explains digital marketer David Kranker. "When you pay month to month for your digital marketing services, the agency is held accountable for consistently delivering results. Because agencies are held responsible for maximizing ROI, they dedicate time and resources to streamlining and improving processes, figuring out where costs can be cut, and exploring new technologies and strategies that could increase conversions."
While internal marketing teams "may not have the same incentive or know-how to improve processes," says Kranker, "Improving ROI is an agency's bread and butter."
Improve paid advertising
One thing you are likely already measuring is how much money you are spending on your marketing budget, including staff and paid advertisements, pay-per-click advertising (PPC), which includes the cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA) and many more statistics. If you don’t keep track of your cost per click and cost per acquisition, how can you improve them?
"You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you don't know what your actual cost-per-acquisition is," says Chris Barr, Director of Marketing for Taradel. "This is particularly true with paid search and social media ads. I see it all the time. Business owners think they're making money because they're seeing engagement through clicks, likes, shares, and even leads that come through the door. But in reality, they're losing money on each and every sale they make."
"[If] you need to drive down your CPC (Cost Per Click) and quickly identify qualified leads," says Bethany Spence, CM Specialist at Exposure Ninja, it might be time for help. "Digital marketing agencies often have in-house experts that specialize in areas such as PPC. These teams are able to craft engaging ads and deliver them to the right audience."
Stop wasting money
"An agency will often discuss with you a concrete strategy for ad campaigns so that you never have to waste money on ineffective online ads again," says Spence. Yarbrough adds, "The best agencies will partner with their clients to build strategies that are both measurable and allow for this continued refinement and collaboration."
As an illustration of just what an agency can do, Kranker shares this example:
"I once took on a PPC account from an internal marketing team in a competitive market. Their cost per acquisition coming in was $1,500–$2,000 per month on average. By utilizing proven strategies I learned from testing in other markets, I was able to reduce their CPA down to $400–$500 on average. That's a reduction of over 50 percent in costs for them!"
Is it time that you started measuring your marketing efforts to end wasteful, ineffectual spending? Check out our best-rated digital marketing agencies.