Because things happen quickly in social marketing, it’s easy to believe that marketing results should also be fast — but the pros say it simply isn’t so . . . How to measure results without abandoning the plan is a learned skill.
The concept is simple: You develop a marketing plan to generate sales. You put your message out there. You track clicks, views, shares and sales. But it isn’t happening quite the way you thought it would. So you pay for more: More content, a bigger “splash,” boosted posts, additional advertising. But your sales don’t grow in proportion to the dollars spent. ROI is still disappointing. In the past, a bigger advertising budget resulted in more sales.
Today not so much, if at all.
First, marketing is not advertising. And, second, it takes time to develop a following. The way consumers search online, make decisions and buy has changed forever. Google calls it the ZMOT Moment — the Zero Moment of Truth. It’s the instant that a shopper becomes a buyer, the moment of decision. Today, there are more of those moments; but consumers reach those moments on their own terms.
When so much of life is instant, it’s only natural to expect instant results. But here’s the rub. It’s not necessarily money that makes the difference any more.
Overnight success takes time
Seth Godin says: “The brand of the future . . . is patient, consistent, connected and trusted.” He was actually talking about political candidates, and his message is that throwing money out there does not necessarily equate to winning. Nor does it establish brand loyalty. “Word of mouth,” according to Godin, is more effective than “shouting.” The takeaway? Work to inspire confidence and get people talking about you.
Ask Jimmy Buffett. For that matter, ask Warren Buffett. Take a lesson from . . . well, take a lesson from those companies that are doing it well. Consumer search habits have changed. So has decision-making. A winning marketing strategy has to be adaptable; it also has to be mobile. Zero in on search habits; be visible online. Make your website attractive, informative, interesting and mobile. Tell a story, but don’t demand attention. Be personal and interactive on social media. Be involved with your customers and your communities. Be responsive.
Track your efforts, but concentrate on what’s important
Track the four metrics that count: consumption (or clicks,) sharing, leads (or inquiries) and sales. But don’t be “overeager to generate results,” says marketing coach Jay Baer. He notes that marketing is a continuum, and you need to figure out how to “connect with your audience.” Facebook tells you (and the rest of the world) who likes you, and how much; Google Analytics will tell you almost everything else you need to know.
Baer is an advocate of keeping it simple and of “letting it play out over time.” The message is that patience is a virtue.
That message is vital for small businesses.
Writer Bio: Adrienne C is a seasoned writer who spices up content for a diverse list of clients who are seeking audience connections.