Digital marketing is one of the most powerful tools for growing businesses. Targeting new customers through a clever, coordinated campaign across multiple online channels is key to building a truly global brand. But even if you know exactly who your target audience is, what your competitors are doing and where you want to position your business, things can still go wrong.
So what are the most common mistakes scaling businesses make using online marketing?
1. Your Approach Isn’t Data Driven
The first step is identifying your audience and their habits and testing what works so you can make sure your spend goes towards the most effective online channel for your offering. By understanding where you need to scale and who you want to target, you can ensure that your campaigns are directly feeding into your business aims.
In terms of cost, you must first decide how much CPA you can afford and how much you are prepared to spend on marketing for each new client on-boarded. Once you have decided on this benchmark you can easily work out what your target close rate needs to be and set achievable ROI objectives.
2. You Don't Have a Sales Process That Is Standardized and Measured
Once your online marketing campaigns are beginning to work on a small scale, you need to work out a system for scaling this. In theory what works for two sales people and 200 leads per month should work with 50 sales people and 5,000 leads, but you need to identify why it is working and how you can repeat this at scale. The last thing you want is to be creating inbound sales enquiries that your sales team can’t keep up with.
The companies that are the best in the world at inbound sales measure their response time in seconds. They understand that the buyer is sat in front of their computer the moment the enquiry is submitted. You want to speak to them before they click on the next seller or get up and go for lunch. The moment each enquiry is made, you should see it as a countdown beginning, with the window of opportunity getting ever smaller.
Are you able to measure the number of contact attempts you make per lead? Does your conversion rate go up if you call each lead 6 times instead of 5 before giving up? If you don’t get through on the first call do you send an email with some basic price information? Does your contact rate increase if your outbound calls display a localized number? Each of these tweaks can improve your conversation rate and bring down your cost per sale, so it all needs to be standardized and measured.
3. Your Proposition Isn't Relevant for Your Audience
There may be 100,000 searches per month for your product or service but how many of those are relevant for your proposition? If your product or service is too niche you can’t expect to be able to sell to everyone who searches that term and this will dampen your ability to scale compared to your original projections. Internet traffic is inherently price driven and even the best marketing campaigns can’t counteract this. You may need to reposition or repackage your offering in order to appeal to a wider audience and ensure you’re only reaching the most relevant audience.
4. Your Teams Are Operating Silos
So you’ve hired an agency for your SEO and another for your branding. Your biddable media team is in-house and the conversion rate optimization is done by a consultant. Each team is competing for resource and they can’t agree on a single strategy. Last week an email send went out but nobody told the sales people and so they weren’t called in time. It costs you a fortune in management time and agency fees before you’ve even started counting the ad spend.
To avoid this and get the most out of all of your channels, you need a single strategy and multi skilled team all working towards the same goal with the performance of each channel delivered into a central CRM with appropriate tracking. This will give you a CPA by channel and allows you to optimize for overall profitability.
5. You Don't Have a Growth Mindset
Don’t get caught up focussing on the obstacles to scaling up. If the numbers stack up, don’t let anybody stop you. If you can’t scale up the team because you don’t have enough desks and the office manager says it will take six weeks, go out and buy some, build them yourself.
How many salespeople should you hire? The answer should be “as many as I need to service the amount of traffic available to me”.
How much should I spend on my campaigns? The answer should be “as much as possible as long as it converts at my target CPA”.
Ultimately, a lot of making online marketing work for you comes down to getting a really clear overview of how it will work with your sales teams, ensuring you are targeting the right customers, and having the resource to process the increased volume of sales when traffic comes in. Get prepared, get the data and get the sales to make your company grow.