Return on Investment in Online Marketing – Is it different when measurinig ROI Online?

I’ve recently started a “Lunch & Learn” series to connect with marketing department heads and decision makers at larger companies who may wish to learn more about online marketing and social media marketing. The thought process being “if the mountain won’t come to Mohammad….”. We’ve already done two such Lunch & Learn sessions thus far and have another one scheduled for this week.

Ok, so that means that there’s interest, right? It’s not the pizza that I treat them to that’s making them invite me; they appear to be genuinely interested in learning about Social Media Marketing.

But as much as I love to talk about how to use social media websites and why content continues to be “King” when it comes to search engines, one concept that I attempt to drive home is figuring out ROI in marketing, especially online marketing. If a company cannot get more traffic, build or create a brand, convert some of the traffic/leads, or benefit in any measurable way, then there is no point in implementing an online marketing campaign. They might as well advertise in the physical yellow pages and use them as door stoppers. Ok, I’m joking about the yellow pages directories being door stoppers but you get my point?

Return on Investment (RO) can be measured when marketing online, even for service based companies. The measurement may be different than when measuring ROI in the form of walk-in traffic or when someone makes an online purchase through an ecommerce site, but it is feasible.

So here’s the bottom line for all those out there who are hungry to learn more about and implement online marketing. Make sure that when it comes to implementing online marketing campaigns for your business, you also set up some key measurement goals to evaluate success or lack there of, of your marketing campaign.

Because if you can’t measure it or don’t know how to, why bother! There are other ways to burn money, lol!

Social Media Marketing and your business!

So we’re all talking about Social Media Marketing! It has become such a buzz word! Obama’s social media strategy is mentioned with reverence by every marketing expert out there. Business owners are fascinated and want to learn more about how they can benefit from Social Media Marketing.” (And I find myself more and more sought after to speak about Social Media Marketing.)

But the bottom-line question asked by businesses is “will I be able to create new business by marketing on social media websites?”.

My answer is very simple; Yes!

Here’s why I believe it does.” In my humble opinion, marketing as a strategy doesn’t really produce any Return on Investment (ROI).” There are no real statistics available on whether the super bowl advertisement for Audi (or any other automaker) generated enough sales to make the advertisement worthwhile.” However, and inspite of the economic downturn, companies like Audi, Budweiser, and many others still went ahead and spent “marketing” dollars to showcase their company in front of millions of super bowl viewers.” Why? I mean why would companies spend millions on a super bowl ad if there is no direct ROI to be computed?

They do so because it allows them to continue with their branding & positioning in the market-place which leads to a “buzz” about them. This branding, positioning, and buzz, leads to new traffic to their website which in turn leads to conversion. (Didn’t you Google the Audi ad immediately after viewing it during super bowl? Or didn’t you Google to see which ads were the most popular during super bowl?)

A similar strategy of branding and positioning is required when marketing a product or service through social media websites.” Additionally, through discussions and conversations, a “buzz” has to be created which in turn will either enhance or create brand identity and eventually create new business opportunities.

This buzz is so much easier to create through social media websites because they are frequented by millions and provide real time interactions.” Companies can stay in touch, be visible to customers and prospects, proactively manage or change perceptions, and receive real-time feedback to gauge reactions towards new products and services.

Social media marketing is new age marketing and it is powerful.” If done properly, it can lead to new business opportunities at a much lower cost (than say placing an ad during the super bowl).

So the question shouldn’t be “will social media marketing generate new business”; the question should be “can you afford to not use social media websites to generate new business”?