Six Key Aspects to Inbound Marketing ROI: Part 2 Revenue Generation
The further you venture down the social media or inbound marketing path with your boss, your colleagues or stakeholders the more likely you are to be asked to demonstrate the ROI of your activities as a marketer. Whilst some like to feel that ROI should mean return on influence and linked to soft KPIs like brand mentions and presence of an online community, expect to eventually here those four precious words “Show me the money!”
When I hear a company say they can’t articulate how their online and social marketing is delivering an increase in revenue, I have to ask why not and encourage a review of the process. Social channel conversations, Facebook pages and Instagram posts should be purposefully created by marketers who clearly understand whom they are trying to influence from vacuum cleaners for housewives or condoms for college coeds.
The have been many disputes and discussions flying across business blogs and websites arguing the ability to track online social activities to revenue generation. Whilst we can argue about click paths and debate that conversations lead to commerce, we can’t ignore a simple human principle: We buy from whom we LIKE. A web visitor researching a vacuum cleaner is likely to ask their friends for a recommendation on Facebook, or ask Twitter as well as search Google. They’d pick up a brand name and begin to scour the Internet as well as check on Facebook.
According to Edison Research in a study called The Social Habit, two thirds of 18-44 year olds who use social media follow brands and 72% of 25-34s do as well. The study also highlighted that the first place for brand research was on Facebook for product information and not the company’s boring website that is probably not responsively designed or optimized for mobile navigation. The research further indicated that the main reason for following a brand was for deals, offers and discounts (66%), followed by genuine affinity (56%) and for product information and education (55%).
In order to demonstrate clear ROI, marketers need to create a click path and firstly sales enable their websites and social assets to capture leads or ‘ask for the sale’. Where the sales process isn’t quite so straightforward, other key metrics around this would be the number of leads by channel and statements of intention such as requesting a test drive. If a post about your Acme widget on Facebook had a link that was created in such tools as Shoutlet or bit.ly, you would be able to measure the click through rate of that post, and gauge the level of your audience or online community’s engagement. Further, if that click through led to a landing page, wherein the visitor could take a second step, such as purchase the product they viewed, or request more information or download the product specification, then this would be a “stated expression of interest” and a certain conversion.
If then this visitor becomes a lead for longer tail sales processes, or indeed a customer by making an instant purchase, this is a direct way to measure the efficacy of social media and online marketing and make a direct correlation to revenue generation. Offering your customers instant coupons or daily deal codes exclusively on Twitter that were tallied as part of a social marketing scorecard could also attribute to revenue generation and be successfully measured. Counting the number of increased views of a product explainer video linked to a call to action for a test drive or demonstration webinar are other supplemental next steps to implement enabling interested parties become customers and increase revenue from social channels.
At a deeper level, social media and inbound marketing allows for companies to establish more intricate message segmentation, and deliver the messaging to reach the right person at the right time (when and where they want it). Content interaction and social activities can be weighted by audience, respondents and conversions and should be actively monitored for insight and opportunities, where to stoke the fires of conversation, and which influencers to somehow incentive for the amplification effect of word of mouth. These activities over time will give marketers a more concise vantage point of where to invest and which are their most engaged audiences by channel, product and marketing message.
Dell is one of many companies with a clear strategy that delivers increased revenue from social marketing with millions of dollars in product sales exclusively from Twitter. Dell invested in time, resources and technology to leverage the vast number of Twitter users who were talking about their computers and Dell products. By becoming a helpful brand and taking people from Twitter back to their sales enabled website, they were able to clearly show conversion but they first had to invest and get align their business goals and their processes and people.
This was the second part of our 6 part series in the Six Key Aspects to Inbound Marketing ROI. The next instalment, Part 3 – Marketing Optimisation is only a click away.
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About the Author
Stephenie Rodriguez founded Mighty Media Group, a leading data-driven digital, mobile and social marketing strategy and solutions firm, in 2004 and is currently the company’s Chief Executive Officer. She is also the former publisher of Ocean Drive Magazine (Australia), a speaker and futurist on all aspects of social technology, an evangelist of engagement, and has advised companies including SSP – The Food Travel Experts, Austereo, JR/DutyFree, Radar Group of Companies, Transfield, Allied Mills, Lincoln Indicators, Income Solutions, and Bayer (Berocca), Toyota, Mercedes Benz, and the UN FAO. You’re likely to find her Tweeting here @digitalgodess or present at events such as #SXSWi, #TFWA, #Tedx and #SocialBiz.