…is to avoid paid media entirely, at least until it’s really needed.
Last night, one of my partners – torn from a client’s claim of 10:1 marketing ROI (whatever this means, in the political science of CorpSpeak) – asked me the following question:
With email going down, how do you make a 10:1 ROI, make up 400K in 3 months net revenue?
Understanding that paid media could only mean one of two digital tactics (display or PPC / SEM), my answer made for the easiest blog post I’ve ever had to write, was as follows…
SEO + Social + Blogging + Lead Gen + Automation = 3x to 7x conversion rate
This comes before a smart marketer even considers the use paid media, which if your product /service offering is even decent, means a MUCH higher ROI than 10:1, thus forcing competitors to make paid media spends…which I’ve always considered a compliment.
Banners and SEM have and always will produce horrible ROI in comparison.
Don’t get me wrong…
Paid media strategies are great for boosting an existing presence of the inbound tactics mentioned above them…but until there are investors or a board making you go this route, I’ve never seen a time where they were needed.
Banners for big brand smart display and/ or native, maybe – if you’re a travel company or sex site.
Contextual advertising (SEM) is great for boosting your brand name – but digitally speaking, this nor any other paid medium will NEVER win over a solid SEO strategy, equipped with blogging and social media for non-brand keyword awareness.
Never has, never will.
Online display and Contextual advertising models are good for online lead generation offers with authors too lazy to promote them consistently via blog, social and by doing the first two…SEO.
They’ve consistently proven to be comparatively awful for generating online revenue – be it for profit or nonprofit.
Think about how the user spends time online. Your ads may be a sound approach to getting the bottom-feeding, low-margin late adopters who spend very little to convert, but not much more.
Email is NOT going anywhere
At least not yet…it is the highest last-touch email on the digital strategist’s tactical roster. And it is proof of why your strategy is critical to online success – you need micro-conversions across every digital touchpoint.
You need traffic, clicks, leads, shares and conversions – then you get more shares from converting the social influencer, which start this process over with virality.
Paid media isn’t even close to the conversion ratio a fine-tuned and personalized lead nurturing strategy can bring to the table. And nowhere near the margin or quality of customer gained.
Google and Facebook won’t tell you this
Nor should they, because they make over 90 percent of their revenue by selling ads to the business lazy – who then fight for less than 10 percent of all clicks from search queries (probably because users know they are ads)…and these poor souls rarely win no matter how high the spend is scaled.
It’s a win, win for media companies. Create the platform, sell a dream to the suckers. It’s better than tv or print ads in terms of ROI, I guess? My 1-year old daughter clicked a mobile pop-up banner on my iPhone this morning, and I’m sure when she did – an adman got his wings. But not a cent was made in revenue.
Think about the big brand casinos…if Pay-Per-Click or display advertising were really the answer, wouldn’t there only be paid results in search or social? Why can’t you just make your own platform or network after building a targeted, thought leadership-driven media hub from the ground up?
And thus, Native ads were born…Google, well aware of this trending phenomenon, dropped prices for search engine ads. As did the social channels – with the exception being Linkedin, the most targeted and highest converting of social-search media platforms.
With ZERO monetization efforts to-date, we can auction our website URLs and sell the email + RSS lists for the unfunnel, and… 10:1 ROI, easily.
But why do this before knowing what a movement is really worth?