£908 budget generates £334,000 in sales - here's how...
When budgets are limited and the pressure is on to generate real return on investment - how should you invest your marketing budget?
It's a common question today.
£1,000 might secure you one advert in a relevant publication, or a single direct mail package to 1000 names on a rented mailing list.
But in both cases, the chances of instant success are small.
Don't get me wrong, both could pay off handsomely but reality shows that you need to run, test and measure a series of ads and direct mail letters before you 'crack the code' and get them working.
It's risky marketing splashing your message out once, and hoping that the people who need your products and services happen to a) see it, b) require your solution right there and then and c) be compelled by your ad or letter to take action with you.
One of our clients, who operate in the security sector, faced exactly this dilemma, compounded by the fact that they provided services and products across a wide range of applications and markets.
These range from building anti-terrorist bomb-proof safe rooms for embassies, to fitting security shutters in retail outlets and access control systems in office blocks and other "security sensitive" buildings.
Their £1,000 was going to have to be spread pretty thin.
After discussion and much thought, their Business Builder Programme advisor recommended that the fastest way for the client to reach multiple target audiences, at a time when they actually had a need for the solutions on offer, was to implement an online marketing strategy.
This would combine some new web pages, with compelling copy and Google AdWords.
We started by adding new product specific pages to the website.
Then we created compelling copy and content to each new product page to ensure that each page delivered genuinely valuable information, spelt out the specific benefits of their products, and contained multiple 'calls to action'.
Then, we set about creating a carefully targeted Pay-Per-Click advertising system using Google's AdWords programme.
The Pay-Per-Click advertising was divided into Campaigns on specific areas such as 'blast proofing', 'security shutters' and 'access control', and further sub-divided into Ad Groups that allowed us to finely target specific ads at particular searchers by keyword groups.
By doing this, we knew that we could have the client's online ads appear in front of people who were looking to buy what they were selling, right there and then.
And they could do this on a very small daily budget spreading the £1,000 over many months which allowed plenty of opportunity for testing, analysis and fine tuning.
After 6 months (during which we carefully monitored and updated the AdWords campaigns) the client reported the following results...
Total Spend on Pay-Per-Click - £908
Access Control Contracts Won - £120,000
Security Shutters Contracts Won - £34,000
Blast Protection Contracts Won - £180,000
Total Return on Pay-Per-Click Spend £334,000 at 23% margin.
And remember, that's not total business: that's contracts specifically attributed to enquiries generated by the Pay-Per-Click ads!
That £908 might have secured them one inside front-cover ad in a prestigious magazine; or a single letter to 1000 "cold" leads.
But the chances of it generating that kind of return on investment through any other medium are tiny.
Especially as they would have been denied the opportunity to test, measure and refine - vital to getting great results.
And best of all, the results were completely measurable.
In tough times - this approach has proven time and time again to be one of the most effective, especially when the budget is small.
While there are no guarantees, if you're trying to get better results on a small budget and you haven't tested an online strategy incorporating great web pages backed up with Google AdWords - it might be time to get on with it.
The chances are that at least one of your competitors will - then you really will find out what it's like to be in recession.
More articles on Online Marketing to get you started...