Today, it’s such common knowledge that content marketing is an important part of any marketing mix that I don’t need to provide any stats to support the statement, because you already know it’s true. The understanding of the role and importance content has in creating demand and educating buyers has also increased the marketers’ understanding of the web channel.
Marketers see their website as a main point of interaction between prospects and content, but they are often unsure how to strategically invest their resources. This often stems from the uncertainty they have about how to predict their web investment’s impact on their marketing objectives.
So, let’s solve that problem—this blog will walk you through how to think about your website as a strategic channel and invest for success.
The Web as a Strategic Channel
In my previous post, I discussed why website engagement is the new marketing “must-have”. The fact that 83% of decision makers stated their company websites are the most popular channel for online research, coupled with the fact that more then 70% of today’s sales processes are done before ever contacting a sales rep explains why there are tens of thousands of monthly visitors to company websites. Therefore, it is essential to engage your visitors with relevant and personalized content.
Folks, personalized web engagement—delivering relevant content based on the visitor’s stage in the customer journey, their product interest, geo-location, or company/industry/size—is becoming strategic.
How to Allocate Resources for Website Engagement
As marketers start to realize the inherent value and importance of personalized web engagement, the one question they continue to ask is:
How should I allocate demand generation resources to web engagement?
My previous post established the role of website personalization in lead generation–now it’s time to take a look at how we can estimate its ROI impact, based on a simple formula. As with any other marketing strategy, how you calculate a budget typically depends on the extent of the potential reach and derived impact.
For example, if you’re launching a PPC campaign, the first step is to check Adwords for monthly searches using your chosen keyword. In the same vein, with email marketing or even an industry conference, your potential engagement reach is derived from the number of leads in your database or the number of people attending the conference.
If you have 10K leads—or even 50K, it’s relatively easy to understand the potential impact of your email campaigns. In turn, this helps you decide exactly how to allocate the resources necessary to create email campaigns, landing pages, nurturing programs, etc. In other words, based on the potential reach, you can estimate how much time and money to invest in each channel.
Using this same logic, we can determine how much to invest in website engagement. Basically, we need to figure out the ratio of website reach in comparison to that of other channels, such as email, ads, and conferences, and then estimate the resources based on that ratio.
A Closer Look at the Numbers…
In the spirit of marketing mathematics, let’s take a look at the following example, which reinforces the importance of investing substantial resources in personalized web engagement in tandem with your other marketing strategies.
Let’s say you’re an SMB marketer and you need to determine your goals and which channels you will utilize to achieve them. Reaching your goals involves a mix of marketing strategies such as paid media, social, email, content creation, SEO, events, and more. So, should you include web engagement? And, how much should you invest?
Here’s the information you have:
- One team member is dedicated to PPC, SEO, and the website, while another is focused on lead nurturing, email and content. You also have several other external resources.
- As a typical SMB, you probably have between 20K-50K contacts in your database. For this example, let’s use 25K leads in your database.
- On average, SMBs drive anywhere between 10K-50K visitors to their site each month. For this example, let’s assume your have 20K monthly website visitors.
Based on this data, in 2015, you have 25K leads to engage from your database, and chances are this will grow throughout the year, possibly reaching 30K. While many of your resources are invested in email nurturing and retention campaigns to engage these 25K contacts, you also want to market to the 20K visitors reaching your website on a monthly basis.
If you take those 20K monthly visitors, and consider them annually, you’ll reach 240K potential engagements a year! This doesn’t even account for potential growth that might occur. Email marketing, paid media campaigns, and conferences have marketing value. And so does the web channel—especially considering the volume of potential prospects flowing through it and the fact that when on your site, visitors are paying attention to what you have to say. Your web channels’ prospect volume emphasizes the importance of strategically utilizing it and making sure your prospects are engaged with personalized, relevant content.
The Missing Piece of Your 2015 Marketing Budget
Chances are that you’ve already determined your marketing spend for the various channels for the coming year—email marketing, PPC, and social media among others. I hope that from the example above, you can see that website personalization is another critical component of your lead generation efforts, and is key to nurturing your prospects and maximizing ROI from your budget.
Regardless of how much you invest in website personalization, always keep your end goal in mind. Website personalization is designed to help you educate your visitors and generate more qualified leads by targeting prospects with content that matches their company, industry, persona—and their stage in the buyer’s journey.
How do you prioritize your resources for web engagement? I’d love to know what you’re doing. Please share in the comments below.