Recently, I had the privilege of helping one of the top human resources software companies in the world improve the conversion rate of one of their online lead funnels. The results of one of the tests are displayed below:
One test variation (orange line) beat the control (blue line) by a several percentage points. With traffic in the tens of thousands of visitors per day, it didn’t take much to get a big impact on the bottom line. The test lasted three weeks and required only relatively minor changes to graphic elements and sales copy.
So, the question occurred to me, “with such high-ROI returns on web marketing, why would a Chief Marketing Officer bother with telemarketing?”
Underlying the question are some assumptions about Internet marketing that need to be brought out:
- Web marketing has high ROIs
- Web marketing is always successful
- Web marketing is applicable to all situations
I’ll address these point by point below. Keep in mind the context is business-to-business lead generation and sales.
Web Marketing Has High ROIs
Yes, it can…
Under certain circumstances, such as an offer with broad appeal going viral, web marketing campaigns can have astronomical ROIs; but, this is the exception rather than the rule.
And, if you do try spice up your viral campaign with a giveaway like an iPad, you’re likely to get a lot of dead wood opting in instead of legitimate prospects.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m not dismissing Internet marketing. In fact, it’s essential.
My point is that you have to have realistic expectations. There is no magic bullet.
There’s also the old “slice of pie” factor to consider. Just because your campaign had a better ROI, doesn’t mean it was better in absolute terms. You’d still rather spend $5,000 to get $25,000 than $500 to get $5,000.
Web Marketing is Always Successful
Web marketing campaigns have high variance; meaning, you could have long strings of successive failures followed by wild successes.
Be prepared for a roller coaster ride.
Web Marketing is Always Appropriate
It really depends…
Take, for instance, social media marketing. It’s like one of those celebrities that is famous for being famous. Scratch beneath the surface, and you’ll often find there’s not very much “there” there.
There’s a reason the most popular topic in social media marketing now is how to measure social marketing ROI!
It reminds me of “The Secret.” After the initial hoopla died down, a whole new cottage industry sprung up around the idea of explaining why “The Secret” didn’t work for you- the one secret of “The Secret” that you somehow missed.
I think, rather, that social media marketing is becoming one of those things that is just expected. The lack of it may become a reason to be disqualified by your prospects. They just want to know that you have a pulse.
Now, put yourself in the shoes of a sales person with a quota to meet.
Are you really going to bank on Twitter and Facebook campaigns to get 10 more sales this quarter? Or, are you going to pick up the telephone and start calling prospects you know could use your service?
It’s a great irony, but SEO/ SEM service companies depend largely on telemarketing to get new clients. Telemarketing is working out so well for them, they sometimes have hundreds of agents in large call centers doing nothing but cold calling for business.
No Easy Answer
Whether and how to use Internet marketing, in place of or in tandem with other marketing initiatives such as telemarketing- are questions that you have to explore carefully. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Be wary of any gurus or companies that promise a free lunch. Nothing is without risks.