So, how long till I know if this channel works for me?

1 year ago by in Uncategorized

Content:
Introduction
Traditional online channels (paid search – Google / Bing, display, email)
Social – established platforms (FB, Linkedin, Twitter)
Social – visual platforms (Pinterest, Instagram, Polyvore)
Advanced options – Retargeting ( FB/Display, regular and dynamic) , Shopping feeds (Google / Bing)

Introduction:

Are you getting best return on your online marketing spend? Probably not.

Why not? Because it’s very likely that you are spending too much money on a suboptimal set of channels.

Strong statement, I know. What makes me say that? Full disclosure – I sell multi-channel online marketing advice, so I may be biased. But since my advice here boils down to telling you to spend less before you spend more, I recommend that you read on.

If you are an entrepreneur trying to figure out the best channels for user acquisition, you are faced with literally dozens of options. And should you make your questions known to the world, you can easily be bombarded with hundreds of vendors and experts – all very passionate about whatever it is that they happen to be selling.

From an empirical point of view, it makes sense to attack this problem by defining a set of experiments that work within your time and budget constraints and hopefully help you identify the channels with highest potential. But that’s only half of the problem. I’ve found that without clear guidance on what effort is involved or when to expect results, most companies still end up spending too much money while trying too few channels – or just settling for the first one that sort of works.

So I decided to look back at my experience doing these experiments hundreds of times and share my best estimates of how much money and time it takes to conduct a test – one that is meaningful enough to decide if a particular channel has good potential for your business. I also thought I’d share a few other key parameters that can help you evaluate usefulness of various channels within your overall strategy.

Should you try all of these? Very unlikely. Can you get to the results even faster? Sometimes, if the channel works really well or really poorly. But by and large, this should help you optimize your efforts no matter how much or little money / time / expertise you are working with.

Here are the parameters:

Access – most platforms are accessible to anyone, but some new ones do require permission
Media Spend – the actual media budget (excluding cost of any vendors or 3rd party resources)
Time – time to see meaningful results (includes average of 2 weeks for campaign setup)
Creative – is the creative image unique for this channel or can it be reused for other channels
Copy – is the creative copy unique for this channel or can it be reused for other channels
Tech Difficulty – does the setup involved filling out an online form or programming an XML feed
Targeting Options – how granular can you get with targeting audiences by geo/demo/keyword
Best For – is this channel significantly better for particular audience / industry / function

Traditional online channels

Paid Search (Google or Bing)

Access – Everyone
Media Spend – $1,000
Time – 4 weeks
Creative – Reusable
Copy – Reusable
Tech Difficulty – Easy
Targeting Options – Extensive
Best For – All topics

Display

Access – Everyone
Media Spend – $2,500
Time – 5 weeks
Creative – Reusable
Copy – Reusable
Tech Difficulty – Easy
Targeting Options – Extensive
Best For – All topics

Email

Access – Everyone
Media Spend – $0-500 monthly vendor cost
Time – 8 weeks
Creative – Unique
Copy – Unique
Tech Difficulty – Moderate
Targeting Options – Extensive
Best For – Follow up / Loyalty

Social – established platforms

FB

Access – Everyone
Media Spend – $2,500
Time – 6 weeks
Creative – Reusable
Copy – Unique
Tech Difficulty – Moderate
Targeting Options – Extensive
Best For – All topics

Linkedin

Access – Everyone
Media Spend – $500
Time – 3 weeks
Creative – Reusable
Copy – Unique
Tech Difficulty – Easy
Targeting Options – Moderate
Best For – B2B / Content Marketing

Twitter

Access – Everyone
Media Spend – $1,000
Time – 3 weeks
Creative – Unique
Copy – Unique
Tech Difficulty – Easy
Targeting Options – Moderate
Best For – Real-time

Social – visual platforms

Pinterest

Access – By application
Media Spend – $2,500
Time – 6 weeks
Creative – Unique
Copy – Unique
Tech Difficulty – Easy
Targeting Options – Moderate
Best For – Fashion, clothing, home decor, beauty, food

Instagram

Access – Currently in beta – by invitation from your Facebook account rep
Media Spend – $2,500
Time – 6 weeks
Creative – Unique
Copy – Unique
Tech Difficulty – Moderate
Targeting Options – Moderate
Best For – Fashion, clothing, home decor, beauty, food, travel

Polyvore

Access – By application
Media Spend – $10,000 minimum (less for established brands)
Time – 8 weeks
Creative – Unique
Copy – Unique
Tech Difficulty – Hard
Targeting Options – Moderate
Best For – Fashion, clothing, home decor

Advanced options

Retargeting ( FB or Google Display Network)

Access – Everyone
Media Spend – $1,000
Time – 4 weeks
Creative – Reusable
Copy – Reusable
Tech Difficulty – Moderate
Targeting Options – Extensive
Best For – Traffic driving

Dynamic retargeting

( FB or Google Display Network)

Access – Everyone
Media Spend – $1,000
Time – 4 weeks
Creative – Reusable
Copy – N/A
Tech Difficulty – Hard
Targeting Options – Extensive
Best For – E-commerce products

Shopping feeds (Google or Bing)

Access – Everyone
Media Spend – $500
Time – 4 weeks
Creative – Unique
Copy – N/A
Tech Difficulty – Hard
Targeting Options – Moderate
Best For – E-commerce products

*Note: once you set up the XML feed for Google Shopping, it’s widely reusable for various other advanced channels

Katya Constantine is a seasoned online marketer with over 11 years of experience. She has developed a uniquely comprehensive background in email and omni-channel marketing for large online brands. Most recently, she was at Expedia and Amazon, leading projects ranging from behavior-based programs to increasing customer acquisition and conversion with great results. Katya has successfully worked to bridge mobile, email, search and social channels to increase online performance at many large web properties and ecommerce startups. Presently, Katya is the CEO of DigiShopGirl Media. She is also a marketing mentor for technology startups via Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator program and an active blogger/speaker on topics ranging from mobile email to effects of the visual web on online marketing. You can follow Katya on Twitter @digishopgirl