6 ways entrepreneurs are stifling their marketing ROI without realizing it

Most businesses are limiting the potential ROI their marketing could be achieving and don’t even realize it.

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In the marketing world, your return on investment (ROI) is the single most important metric to monitor. It’s a reflection of how much revenue you’ve earned in direct comparison to how much money you’ve spent earning it. This provides an at-a-glance evaluation of your strategy, revealing exactly how much you’ve gained through your efforts. Obviously, the higher this number is, the better for your company.

Unfortunately, most businesses are artificially limiting the potential ROI they could be achieving — and they don’t even realize they’re doing it.

ROI sabotage

How are these businesses putting a cap on their overall ROI?

  1. Not doing research in advance. Research is the foundation of any good marketing campaign, but too many marketers plunge into a given direction based on what they’ve heard, or what they instinctually believe to be true. For example, you might assume that a specific demographic is the best target audience and that they have a certain need that your product fulfills. However, if you don’t back up this information with solid, objective evidence, you could be missing out on a different, better demographic, or a more effective angle with which to market your product.

  2. Failing to track results. As noted by System ID, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are becoming more commonplace, with 61 percent of companies allowing workers to use personal laptops and smartphones to do work-related tasks. We’re more connected and technologically advanced than ever before, so there’s no excuse not to be tracking your results. Measuring your results will tell you which of your strategies are working, which ones aren’t, and can teach you lessons about individual elements of your campaign. You need to run regular analyses and take a scrutinizing look at how your campaigns are performing at all times. If you don’t regularly evaluate this information, you’ll be flying blind.

  3. Picking a strategy and sticking to it forever. “If something’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.” This is the conventional advice that leads people to stick with an “effective” marketing strategy forever, never changing their approach. If you’re seeing a 20 percent ROI, you might be satisfied with that, never adding new strategies or questioning your original one. But what if you could see 30 percent ROI with a different strategy? What if you could double your ROI by adding in a complementary strategy? Always be open to new opportunities; you never know what’s out there.

  4. Never changing your approach. You should also be open to experimentation, such as with AB tests that tweak one element of an advertisement to monitor how it affects your overall results. Sometimes, a simple change in coloration or font differentiation is all it takes to see forward progress in your campaign’s development. If you never attempt these experiments, you’ll never know what parts of your campaign could see a higher ROI.

  5. Investing too little. Many marketers, especially inexperienced ones, are hesitant to invest too much in a strategy that they’re unfamiliar with. In theory, this is a wise move; hedging your bets and investing conservatively at the outset can help you mitigate your potential losses. However, many strategies like SEO and content marketing offer compounding returns and lasting results based on how much you initially invest. If you aren’t putting enough effort or money into your strategy, you could end up seeing only a fraction of what your campaign could eventually accomplish.

  6. Focusing on only one stage of the process. Online marketing unfolds in many different stages. You could work on building brand awareness and trust. You could work on getting more traffic to your site. You could work on getting your traffic to convert more frequently and in more profitable ways. But the best approach is to focus on all these stages at the same time; looking at only one stage will limit your eventual return.

Overcoming your limitations

If you notice your business is following one or more of these limiting procedures, don’t worry — there’s no business on the planet that’s achieved a “maximum” ROI because there’s no such thing as a “perfect” marketing strategy. You’ll always have room for improvement, whether that’s in how you research your target audience before making a plan or tweaking your word and design choices once your campaign is already launched. The best assumption you can make is that there’s always a way to improve — never stop reaching for the next step of improvement.  

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