Why you should focus on the big picture

Seriously, how many great new clients does your company expect to get on board in a month? One? Ten? A hundred? And how much is each one of these worth to you?

I ask because so many companies have unrealistic expectations of their marketing activities. A prospect who approached us recently was inspired, after reading our proposal, to sit down and work out the clickthrough rates and conversion rates which would be required to make a Google AdWords campaign profitable. The conclusion was that it almost certainly wouldn’t work for his company (which sells some low-cost components online). Far from being disappointed, we were pleased to see somebody crunch the numbers this way.

On the other hand, I also had a conversation with a client in a high-value sector who would be delighted to pick up one new client a month from an advertising campaign. He queried the high “bounce rate” shown in his Google Analytics for most advertising, including Google AdWords. I asked what proportion of new visitors to his website might be expected to be ones who would make a serious enquiry. “Most of them”, he said, “It’s a niche market as you know, and there are only two suppliers in it”.

“So 90% of the people we send from Google AdWords ‘bounce’ or don’t read the page”, I responded. “That means 25 people a month stick around on the site. Indeed, we can see from Google Analytics that 10 of these spent some time looking around at what you had to offer, and finished up on the ‘contact us’ page. You’re not able to tell where your actual enquirers came from, but you have to admit that if there are only a tiny number of potential enquirers out there each month, that’s a pretty good result”.

He agreed, of course. The lesson learned is that you have to fling a lot of stuff around to get anything to stick. Sure, it would be nice if the only clickthroughs were from those 10 people who were genuine prospects, or even the 25 who looked around a bit. That’s simply not possible. Could you look at the queue for an exhibition and spot the one visitor who’s going to become a customer? Of course not – you need to talk to dozens of people on your stand before getting a result. The key, as ever, is not getting too hung up on the numbers part-way down the routes to enquiry, but focusing on the overall return on investment.

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