This is a transcript of episode 5 of the OMGrowth podcast, published on December 16, 2020

We all want a return-on-investment – or what the cool kids call an ROI – on our marketing campaigns and promotional efforts. Because if you’re putting yourself out there, you are making investments, boss! Whether it’s time, money, or (my personal favorite!) energy, you want to start seeing some dividends, amirite?!

“I want to IMPROVE MY MARKETING CAMPAIGNS and increase my ROI… where do I start?”

When it comes to improving your marketing campaigns and seeing an increase in your ROI, the first thing you need to know is what are you trying to improve and increase? What are we looking to see dividends from?

Because that’s your starting point and any time you’re trying to grow anything, you need to know what that starting point is. From the little pencil marks on the door frame of your childhood home to your fitness journey to your investment portfolio…

Growth is a measure and to measure anything, you need some clarity as to what that beginning point is.

And like any type of growth, your experience and your starting point is going to be different from the next person. There’s no blanket answer here so this is what you’re going to have to do:

  • Grab that cute notepad you bought and you never used (I know you have them because I have a stack of them, too!)
  • Make a list of all the things you market and promote
  • This could be paid offers, these could be free offers that you use to grow your list, this could be your blog posts and podcasts, this could be affiliates you get commissions for – list anything and everything you invest time, money or energy into in the hopes of seeing a return on, and that you would want to improve
  • Pick one item from that list which you want to improve on and map out the ways in which you promote it

Now, should you map out how you promote all of your offers? Yeah, sure, eventually. Whether we’re talking about your offers or your numbers or your campaigns or anything, really – I’m a huge believer in “what are you going to do about it?”. Information that’s “interesting” or “good to know” – that’s fine and all – but information you can DO something about and SEE results from is way more my speed so I don’t suggest you map out #allthethings.

Yes, list out everything you spend time on so that you’re aware that these are your investments, but in my camp, we tackle – and improve! – each of those investments one at a time so pick one and map out how you’re promoting it.

—> I love an example so let’s roll one out here: let’s say you sell a course. How are you selling that course? Let’s say…

  • You talk about your course on your social media;
  • You offer free webinars or workshops where you pitch your course; and
  • When someone signs up to your email list, you send out a series of emails introducing and enticing these new subscribers to your course (or what the cool kids call an “evergreen sequence.”)

These methods of promoting our offers are what we call “campaigns” and if you want better results, the best approach is to hone in on one of these campaigns and make it your job to improve one of them… because as the boss, that IS your job!

Let’s say you want to improve your sales coming from social media. You could then create a “retargeting campaign” which would allow you put social media ads in front of all the people who were interested enough in your offer to click through and visit your sales page. That’s one potential campaign.

For your webinars or workshops, you could set it up so that your attendees receive a series of emails promoting your course after the event is over. This follow-up on interested leads is another potential campaign.
And your evergreen sequence, this already is a campaign that you have in place, where you’re letting people know who you are and what you can offer them.

Marketing campaigns are the intentional, strategic ways in which you promote yourself, and THIS is where you’re going to target your next growth spurt.

P.S. There are so! many! ways! in which you can improve your campaigns and I’ll definitely be dedicating podcast episodes to each and every one of them – from paid retargeting options, to platform-specific Pinterest campaigns, to understanding what happens after the click-through of your email marketing performance – so be sure to subscribe for when those drop.

But let’s get back to campaigns because… how are you going to know the changes and improvements you make to your marketing campaigns are working?

Because here’s the thing: “change” and “improvement” aren’t interchangeable. Just because you make a change doesn’t mean you’re improving anything. In fact, oftentimes, the things you change can lead to poorer results.

And that’s important, too! You WANT to know what doesn’t work for you, your audience and your offers. Having clarity as to what doesn’t work is just as valuable for you to know as understanding what DOES work. It’s exactly the opposite of “the spaghetti against the wall” approach where you’re just throwing things out there trying to see if it sticks.

When you work on optimizing one campaign, that super-valuable information – that is unique to your business, your audience, and your offers! – makes your next campaign that much easier to optimize. Because you already have data supporting what you could double-down on and what you can ditch.

And this brings us back to the question that started this whole discussion: “Lanie, I want to IMPROVE MY MARKETING CAMPAIGNS and increase my ROI… where do I start?”

So we start by identifying and defining what marketing campaign we want to improve. But then, we need the numbers.

When you’re focused on growth, you need a baseline – that starting point – from which you are going to grow.

—> The first number you want to get clarity around are the “how much” numbers. How many purchases? How many sign-ups? How many click-throughs?
—> Then you want to be very clear about the “when” numbers: which time frame do all these numbers reflect?

Let’s go back to our example and say we want to improve the results we’re seeing from our evergreen sequence: we want more of our new subscribers to purchase our course through that initial series of emails that we send out.
Cool beans, and great executive decision-making, boss!

As a baseline, you’ll need to establish a time frame you want to use as your baseline and then look into:

  • How many courses were sold directly through that evergreen sequence?
  • How many people entered the evergreen sequence?

This will give you the conversion rate of your evergreen sequence and that is a solid baseline for what you’re looking to improve.

But in this case, because each email you send in that sequence is an indicator of interest. If you improve the performance of just one email, it will improve your overall baseline.

This means we also want to know information like:

  • What was the open-rate – meaning, the percentage representing the numbers of emails sent versus the number of emails that were actually opened – for EACH of the emails sent throughout the sequence?
  • What was the click-through rate – meaning, the percentage representing the numbers of emails sent versus the numbers of people that actually clicked-through to your sales page – for EACH of the emails sent throughout the sequence?
  • How many sales can you attribute to each email?

I’m not going to get too in-depth with specifics around improving your email marketing – that’s a whole episode of its own – but this is a great example to show you how simple – and really, how gameified! – it can be to improve your marketing campaigns.

Because if you see that email #4 is the one that people are most likely to buy from, then you need to make it your mission to increase how many people are opening that email! I keep referencing the “double-down on what works” method and this is exactly what I mean – you KNOW email #4 is your big seller so try testing different subject lines to see if maybe you can increase the number of people who are opening that email and, by proxy, increasing your bottom line and improving your ROI with that one small but impactful change.

Maybe you see that a much lower percentage of people are clicking through on your email #3 than all of your other emails. It has a similar open rate but a much lower rate of people who click-through to your sales page. You want to see what it is about that specific email that is less interesting and enticing to your audience because this is the “ditch what isn’t working” method I talk about: your audience isn’t picking up what you’re throwing down here and knowing that information is more valuable than any blanket recommendations a business coach will ever be able to give you.

And full disclosure: I love these examples of optimizing your operations because you’re not comparing yourself to industry standards or random advice or some pulled-out-the-sky number here; you’re comparing your results to your own dang self and making improvements with what YOU are working with!

And I love that and want that for you! Because optimizing your results and seeing improvements and increasing your ROI isn’t some huge, glamorous pursuit. It’s not an overnight thing, it’s not a one-and-done thing – this is THE on-going, boss level work.

I see this as the fun part – when you have all your offers and marketing strategies mapped out – and now you get to see if you can best yourself. It’s like, where’s the Mario Bros Magic Mushroom in this campaign?

People often thing a new campaign is the answer to better results – and yeah, sometimes it is! – but sometimes you can just zshush-up what you’re already working with. Because you’ll never be done improving. You’ll never be, like, “yeah, I’m done with seeing a return on the work I’ve already done”. You work hard enough as it is and it’s totally within your grasp to see better results from the work you’ve already done, boss!

You’re the shot-caller. You’re the one who has the last top score in your business. And improving that top score comes down to the improvements you’re making on the numbers you can report on your marketing campaigns.