If your business experiences quieter times, a digital marketing campaign can help drive new business and maintain a steadier flow of customers. Here are some expert tips to help you get started.

While digital marketing can be a powerful strategy to reinvigorate your business and bring in new customers, there are some important things to know about it. Digital marketing might seem like an instant fix but it really takes time to have an impact. Planning ahead means you could reap the rewards for your effort during those times you would usually be quiet.

We asked SBDC business advisor and digital marketing expert Mark Kostner for his top tips. Here’s what he shared.

Start early

Mark’s advice is to start planning, and developing your online campaign months, not weeks, before you want to launch.

“Preparing and launching a winning campaign involves more than throwing some words together and choosing a stock image,” he says.

“It can take weeks or even months to test different headlines, hooks, offers, creatives and other elements to find ones that work. If you decide to launch a marketing campaign one week before Christmas, it’s unlikely you will have gone through the optimisation processes required to ensure a winning campaign until well into the new year.”

Don’t rush the process

“Effective landing pages need be developed and optimised for conversions – which means that you want to make sure your visitor is taking an action such as purchasing. Checkout processes with upsells and cross sells should be created. These are particularly important at this time of year, as the increased competition for ad space means the cost of advertising – and therefore the cost of acquiring a customer – increases.”

“You could even consider skipping the peak period as advertising prices sky rocket and conversion rates drop due to a saturation of advertisers.”

“Instead, think creatively about other times of the year when potential customers might consider your product, for example

Work out your marketing metrics

When you know what you want to achieve, you can work out the metrics involved to get there. Mark gives the following example of a digital direct response campaign for a typical business selling a product online.

According to Mark, the number of sales can be estimated using some industry average metrics, particularly:

  • Click through rate (CTR) 
  • Conversion rates (CR)

As a guide, Mark notes that the average CTR for Google Ads is around 3.5% and the average CR is around 2.4%. This means:

  • With a conversion rate of 2.4% the business would need around 42 people to visit the website to get one sale. (42 x 2.4% = 1 sale)
  •  For 42 people to visit the website, the business would need its ads to appear in front of around 1,200 people with a click through rate of 3.5%. (1,200 x 3.5% = 42 website visitors)

“So now, we would need to work out how much it will cost us to get in front of that number of people. For example, if a budget of $5 per day only gets a business in front 100 people per day, it will take 12 days to get in front of 1200 people, so around 12 days to get one sale.”

Photo of SBDC Business Adviser Mark Kostner sitting at his desk at the SBDC's office in Perth.
SBDC Business Adviser Mark Kostner.

Effective marketing takes time and effort

When measuring the impact of your campaigns, Mark says it’s important to remember that many platforms employ artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse and optimise ad campaigns.

“The learning period is usually between seven to fourteen days. It’s often a good idea to let these AI do their job without interruption. You also need to consider the figures mentioned in the example. For example, there’s no point making changes if the ad has only been displayed to 400 people when your metrics require 1200 views to get one sale.”

Marketing involves trial and error

Try not to be too discouraged if a campaign doesn’t perform as expected. Mark notes there are many lessons you can learn through the process.

“Generally, budget rather than time will have the greatest impact on sales. With this in mind, businesses should proactively work on increasing their average sale value by including upsells and cross-sells.”

“More often than not, a newly launched campaign won’t perform that well because it can be quite challenging to know the exact message, creative approaches, offers, calls to action and other factors which will grab a prospect’s attention and compel them to action. This is a process of trial and error.”

Test everything to optimise your campaigns

“Testing is the key,” says Mark. “Be prepared to run literally hundreds of variations. Try different audiences, different headlines, different hooks, different offers, different creatives. Keep a record of what works and what doesn’t work. Build on your wins one step at a time. That is the process of running successful campaigns.”

“Realistically, depending on your budget, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to months for a campaign to become profitable.”

Be inspired by your competitors

“You can use the Facebook ads library to get inspiration for your own advertising campaigns,” says Mark.

“Search for competitors that you feel do a good job of advertising. They might be running multiple ads at once with minor variations or running 10 identical ads and probably testing different audiences. When I see a competitor doing this, I can be pretty confident that they are doing lots of testing and measuring. Then I go back and look for ads that have been running for six months or more. There is a good chance these ads are performing well which is why they have kept them running.”

More information

If you’re feeling inspired to try something new with your marketing, visit the Marketing section of the SBDC Blog, learn how to refresh your digital marketing approach or book your place in one of our upcoming sales and marketing workshops.

14 February 2023