Sometimes, the best-laid plans simply go awry.
This phenomenon is fairly common in the sometimes unpredictable world of marketing. Although businesses can measure most of their marketing efforts like never before, part of the process remains artful, especially in the planning stages.
Every marketing campaign comes with some degree of a chance for failure. Sometimes, the reasons why they failed are obvious. In other cases, the reasons are hard to pinpoint. The answer could be the campaign simply didn’t get a foothold in the public’s consciousness, whether due to timing or other external circumstances.
If your team is currently putting forth an online marketing campaign — such as pay-per-click, email or search engine optimization — here are five signs that it may be time to pull in the reins on the project, or at least hand over the responsibilities to an experienced marketing firm.
1. When You’ve Given it Sufficient Time
It takes a certain amount of patience with online marketing campaigns. Rarely are they fruitful right off the bat. You’ve got to give every piece of the campaign time to coalesce. In the case of SEO campaigns, for example, you may have to wait at least sixth months before you start seeing results.
Before you launch any online campaign, have a time-frame in mind for when you’ll draw down if the effort isn’t paying off. Once you hit that deadline, you should know if it’s worth letting the campaign play out for a little longer or if that’s when it’s time to call the troops home. Just be sure not to abort the mission before you’ve really given it enough time to show signs of success. By the same token, don’t be too proud to call a campaign off if it’s readily apparent that it’s just not going to provide the returns necessary to sustain itself.
2. When Your Adjustments Aren’t Moving the Needle
Even for campaigns that take longer to pay off, you should know fairly soon after launch if the effort is receiving some degree of reception and if it’s on track to succeed. You should know this because of the abundance of digital tools at your disposal to evaluate various aspects of the online campaign.
So, before giving up on the effort, try to make any necessary tweaks to the approach. For example, this could mean using different imagery or a different tone in the copy. Or, maybe you’re targeting the wrong keyword. Also, you can try doing A/B testing to see which variation is getting more traction. If you’ve made adjustments to the best of your ability but the campaign still isn’t significantly getting off the ground, that’s when there would be little shame in calling an end to the whole effort.
Before the campaign reaches the breaking point, you may want to give serious consideration to contacting a business-to-business marketing agency. Yes, it will be more money poured into the project, but the experts you hire should be able to turn the tide on the campaign, as they’ll likely have resources and expertise that goes beyond what you have internally. If you go this route, give the agency your full confidence and ask for frequent updates and key performance indicators.
3. When Your Execution Can’t Get any Better
Similar to making adjustments, if you and your team have all put forth their best efforts and the campaign is still floundering, then it may be time to throw up your hands and move on to the next project. Just make sure you’ve allowed sufficient time for each employee involved in the campaign to perform his or her relevant duties. You may even have to hire new talent internally for this initiative or delegate additional tasks to current employees after launch. If you’ve done all this and the online campaign is still in neutral, then there’s simply a problem with the campaign, and not necessarily with you or your staff. If you identified the issues early on but you and your team still can’t seem to get the campaign to break even, despite everybody’s best effort, this might be the point where you seek help from an outside marketing firm.
4. When You’re Consistently Seeing Negative ROI
One of the areas you want to keep your eye on throughout the campaign is the return on investment. Basically, is the amount of money you’re putting into the campaign equal to or less than what you’re seeing in sales and new customers?
It’s not uncommon to be in the red the first few weeks after launch. After all, investments are often expensive and are rarely recovered quickly. However, if the campaign has been active for several months and is consistently yielding negative ROI on measured intervals of your choosing, you should put a stop to it before it drains your business irreparably.
What if the campaign is in the black but falling well short of expectations? Keep it going, period. It may hugely pay off down the road. Even if it doesn’t, at least it’s eliciting a positive net ROI for your business. If this is happening with your online campaign and you’re still thinking about getting help from a marketing firm, a well-qualified team should be able to take what you have and provide a major boost, reaping sizable rewards for everyone involved.
5. When Other Strategies Are Succeeding
If you have other campaigns and business strategies in place that are succeeding, then it makes sense to ditch the one lagging behind. After all, why keep throwing good money after bad? Something to keep your head up about is if you have several other strategies that are “winning,” then it means your business model is solid. Unless you’ve created a PR nightmare for your company with an unsuccessful online campaign, then have no remorse about calling for an end to an initiative that isn’t working out. It happens to the best of companies.
Just because one campaign falls short of the mark doesn’t mean your entire business is doomed. Maybe you patterned the online marketing campaign after what you saw another company do. However, what works for one business isn’t guaranteed for the next.
Don’t beat yourself up for one failed campaign. Collect yourself, get back to what you know your company does well, and build upon those strengths.
A Different Direction
If you have an online marketing campaign that is struggling but that you still think has a chance to thrive, you can turn to Eminent SEO for direction or to hand over the duties involved in the project. Our talented team has powered hundreds of successful online marketing campaigns (SEO, PPC, social media, link acquisition, and more) for clients all over the U.S., starting either from scratch or mid-campaign. We know how to address areas of need, plus we always provide full KPI (key performance indicators) reports to keep you in the loop on the latest results of the campaign. If you’re ready for help or you just want to learn more, call Eminent SEO today: 1-800-871-4130.