There are a number of options available when it comes to determining who will manage your online marketing campaigns. As with many services, the choices vary in cost, and it is often hard to determine the differences that exist in quality. If you are seeking help, it is likely because you have limited understanding of the online marketing space; what makes you an appropriate customer also makes you more vulnerable to the ‘techno-speak’ of a smooth and confident salesperson. It is very easy to assume that services are similar across the various techno-babblers and make a decision primarily based on cost. Those focusing on cost, often gravitate toward one of the large volume ‘online factories’ (if they say they have ‘thousands’ of clients, you’ve probably found one), a low volume ‘freelancer’ (who’s discounting because they have to), or they potentially try to do it themselves (DIY).
One of the biggest mistakes we see people make who go down one of these low-cost paths is getting themselves into a Set-It-and-Forget-It (SIFI) campaign. SIFI campaigns are fairly prevalent both because they are much easier to run (and thus more profitable) and because they mimic the advertising process that existed for decades before the advent of online advertising; spend the bulk of your time on the creative concepts, messaging and production of your advertising campaign (e.g. the messaging, script, voice talent & recording of a radio ad) and then have it placed on the appropriate media channel (e.g. radio station WXYZ in Poughkeepsie). Aside from some decisions on frequency and timing, there is not much ‘work’ that occurs after the campaign is launched. Additionally, there is little likelihood that campaigns will significantly improve their performance over time, and in fact they often wane as the ad(s) get stale.
An online SIFI campaign can be as minimalistic as having a few ads (<5), one media network (Google), a smattering of keywords (<50), a one-bid-size fits all mentality, no (or limited) tracking and usually little thought given to the website or landing page needed to convert visitors to referrals. Simply put, an online SIFI campaign is the easiest way to say you put up an ‘online campaign’ and not be an outright lier. A professional could put one up in 15 minutes.
Online marketing should be exactly the opposite and a SIFI campaign fails to maximize its many advantages; with a campaign that is appropriately set up, monitored and optimized you can make major improvements in the performance of your online campaigns. The real work in online marketing comes AFTER the campaign has launched. With online campaigns (appropriately tracked), you can measure the efficacy of specific components of your campaign (e.g. which ads work better, which (online) media work better, which landing pages convert more efficiently, which keywords drive visitors & referrals efficiently, how does bid level affect click-through-rate, etc.) and tweak (or ‘optimize’) your campaign based on those results. Like a good investment portfolio, you can maximize returns by focusing on the proven winners.
And the results are significant….a recent case study we launched showed that cost reductions of 20 to 40% are very achievable when performing ‘active’ online campaign management & optimization. Since those savings are usually larger than the fees involves, the decision should be easy…..NOT hiring a true specialist may be your costliest move.