It’s no secret that digital marketing is the way of the future and here to stay. It feels like every blog you read is talking about another small business that’s investing heavily in creative digital marketing campaigns; it’s bringing them major inbound leads and success!
It’s true many small businesses are now shifting focus and marketing budget to inbound efforts. However, it’s not true that every small business is seeing success with their marketing campaigns.
Further, 62% of small businesses spend at least 4% or more of their total revenue on marketing. At my startup, GoEdison, we proudly fall victim to this statistic. We fully believe in reinvesting in your business and brand for long-term gains.
When you’re investing 4% or more of your company’s total revenue into marketing, it’s critical to track your return on investment. With lead-generation being the lifeline of most small businesses, I want to give you an inside look of the three key lessons we learned from promoting our first eBook in an attempt to gain quality online leads. Also, yes, of course, we used Beacon!
Understand Your Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA)
It’s absolutely critical you understand how much it costs for you to gain a quality lead. If your product costs $10 per signup, then having a $2.50 CPA might be a good bet for you. That means you're profiting $7.50 per customer assuming it’s a one-time purchase, which is good ROI.
The first eBook we launched through Beacon was our 5 Step Low-Budget Marketing eBook. We knew our best option to get signups from our eBook would be through a highly targeted Facebook campaign. So, to get our feet wet, we tested the waters with a $50 Facebook ad campaign.
The ad we ran was targeted at small business owners and mid-level marketing professionals. We wanted to get our eBook in the hands of marketing decision makers that could really use our low budget tips. The results were remarkable; although, the ultimate conversion of our leads were not.
Let me explain…
We spent a total of $49.79 on one Facebook campaign. We received 302 total clicks over the course of five days. Out of those 302 clicks we got 27 eBook downloads/signups! That’s a 9% conversion rate. Being a small business marketing firm, we were pretty psyched about our initial results. Not so fast. We might have attained a great result regarding our CPA, but - as far as the quality of those leads - this was a different story.
Cheap Cost-per-Acquisition = Cheap Customer
Like I said, we generated 27 new leads off $50 bucks! We were basically doing jumping jacks because we thought we ran such a killer cheap campaign. Well, the truth is we did just that. Our campaign was cheap, and - although we got sexy “lead” results - we got cheap prospects in return. Sometimes getting these cheap prospects to convert is a net loss!
You have to know who your target audience is. Like I listed above, our strategy was to target small business owners and marketing professionals looking for cost effective growth hacking tips.
The writing was on the wall. We targeted people looking for something “cheap.” Look at the headline of our eBook: “5 Step Low-Budget Marketing Guide.” See it now? We attracted cheap prospects. Now, don’t get me wrong, the people who downloaded our eBook are great people who’re trying and they’re starting to do great things in business. The bottom line is these leads didn’t have budget to support the type of marketing services we have to offer.
I had some great follow-up conversations and calls with all these leads, and the final consensus was they were just too “new” to really need marketing. They didn’t have any type of marketing budget available; that’s why they had a desire to download our eBook. Our hope was that it would give them good insight into marketing strategies where they could gain traction before hiring an agency.
Follow Up is Everything
There is a good rule of thumb in sales, and we learned this stat to be very true once we got our first 25 leads. It doesn't matter how great your inbound marketing campaign is if you’re not willing to be persistent with follow-up. These sales stats might shock you:
- 48% of sales people never follow-up with a prospect
- 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
- 12% of sales people only make 3 contacts and stop
- 10% of salespeople make more than 3 contacts
As far as conversion, these stats are even more surprising - not to mention enlightening:
- 2% of sales are made on the first contact
- 3% of sales are made on the second contact
- 5% of sales are made on the third contact
- 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
- 80% of sales are made on the fifth through twelfth contact
Even though we were fairly consistent with our inbound follow-up, you have to make it a priority. We also learned just how time-consuming it truly is. We had a total of 25 leads and got to at least the third contact with nine of them. The third contact was a phone conversation. All in all, that’s labor intensive, especially since we are still a very small team and there is only two of us taking on sales roles currently.
There are many automated tactics and creative drip campaigns we as a small team will implement in the future. Phone conversations are needed when following-up with leads, for obvious reasons, but manually sending out emails to each lead needs to be more streamlined. It’s a must that any small business whose goal is to collect a pool of new leads with aggressive follow-up has some type of automation in place. After all, time is money, and we learned that the hard way for our first ever lead-generation campaign.
Having a strategy with your team in place is key when it comes to follow-up. Mix this strategy along with some segmented automated email drip campaigns and you’ll be able to filter these leads in from being “just leads” to sales-qualified leads.
Our final lesson was simple: in the end, you’re going to get what you put in. You have to start with why. Ask yourself this: why is the content you’re creating going to add value to the person about to download it? Is it life-changing? Does it give them that awe-inspired moment? If I’m being completely honest, our very first eBook didn’t do this. It was simple, and has some decent tactics and tips, but - in the end - I’m far from happy with it; it could’ve been 1,000% better. Our next eBook will be 1,000% better.
So, if you’re not willing to make content that makes your readers think, question the status quo, and ultimately take action, then you might want to hold off. The odds are you have something special you’re ready to share with YOUR audience. If that’s the case, don’t take any shortcuts. Understand that content creation is the starting point, but understanding your audience is where you’re going to see your real return.
If you’re looking for your “Why” and need someone to support the content you deserve, setup a meeting with us. The coffee will be on us!