This article originally appeared in Water Quality Products magazine February 2020 issue as "Digital Marketing Unlocked"
A little over a year ago, the Lamplight Digital Media team partnered with a client who owns a water treatment dealership in California. They had a problem. When they totaled up their marketing spend for the past quarter and divided it by every lead that came through their website, the investment per lead was nearly $400.
To make it worse, just one sale was costing them $1,000 in advertising. They were upset and wary of working with yet another internet marketer promising to change things. However, with a bit of persuasion, they agreed to give us a few months to turn things around.
Within three months, our new client went from hemorrhaging money on their marketing to seeing a moderate five times return on their investment. This means for every dollar they spent on their web presence, including our fees and their paid ads on Google and Facebook, they earned $5 back in sales. In that data, they found hope enough to continue. After six months, they saw a 10 times return on their investment. In the following months, they enjoyed continued improvement.
Far be it from us to say that this success was squarely on our shoulders. The improvement was largely a team effort; we worked with a dedicated sales representative who helped us track data, gave us invaluable insights for improvement and whose office staff was incredible at quickly responding to leads and setting appointments.
Most of all, they have a culture focused on service, which is the primary reason I know they will continue to succeed and see improvements, regardless of market variables.
The greatest lesson to be learned here is this: with the right strategy, digital marketing will work for you.
Let’s talk about that strategy.
It is a simple three-step process that is repeatable and works for all dealerships regardless of size, water quality or market share. This process uses proven principles that are universal, yet highly underutilized and has been adopted from Perry Marshall, a leading expert on digital marketing.
Step 1: Generate Quality Traffic
You can have the most amazing, well-designed website in the world, however, if no one is visiting it, it is worthless. Generating traffic is the process of getting people to your website, Google business listing or any web property. Sending traffic to your website is not that hard, but what you need is quality traffic.
Quality traffic is people who are interested in your solutions and looking for more information. Channels we have seen to work for many water treatment companies include paid advertisements on Google or Bing through search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO) for ranking well on search engines, and lead generation-focused social ads.
Step 2: Convert the Traffic Into Leads
Driving quality traffic is an investment, and if people are not converting when they get to your website, that is an issue.
The goal with step two is to better understand the psychology of the people visiting your site and then reflect to them what they want to know and inspire them to contact you.
You want to convert them into a lead that will ultimately turn into a sale. The book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini is a great place to start both for outbound marketing and for your sales teams.
Step 3: Economics
If the effort to drive quality traffic and convert the traffic into leads through your web presence fails to deliver new paying customers, you have now wasted money and time. It is imperative the leads are handled in a way that maximizes your appointment-setting and sales ratios.
Also of significant importance is communicating with your marketing team about your experience with the prospect after the lead comes in. Did that lead turn into an appointment? Did you make a sale or did they even answer the phone when you called them?
You see, your marketing company can only control the traffic and conversion steps. The economics is something only you have the ability to share.
Sharing this data allows for a few important things to happen:
- Your dealership and your marketing team can see the full picture of your marketing funnel and identify the biggest areas for improvement.
- Your marketing team can track which marketing traffic source (Google Ads, Social, SEO, online directories, or referrals) is generating the highest quality leads that are ending up in appointments and sales. Maybe, more importantly, you can identify what is not working.
- Your marketing team will have the ability to better optimize your web presence and maximize your investment online.
You may be thinking to yourself, “If it is this simple, why isn’t every dealership going gangbusters with leads?”
Well, there is a secret ingredient most people—including marketing gurus—do not know about. Really, it is not their fault.
Our culture has taught us for generations that failure is unacceptable; that admitting you do not know the answer is shameful, and bravado will win over humility in a cut-throat money-hungry world.
Honestly, I was one of those people. Though well-intentioned, my parents expected perfection, and I was so afraid of messing up, I rarely stepped outside the box.
Then, a friend and mentor showed me how failure is not a failure at all. It is just feedback. It is data. From that data, we see a story of what did not work, what did, and how we can improve. In fact, without failure, there is no improvement.
So if failure equals feedback, then feedback is how we improve. How then do you obtain feedback to improve marketing?
Test audiences on Facebook, advertisements on Google, the headline on your website, contact forms, images, and even new ideas that have never been proven before. The key is to do so by following the scientific method.
How do you know what to test?
Ask people visiting your website why they are there and if they found what they need. This can be done through free survey software like www.hotjar.com or live chat agents who proactively engage website visitors. Based on their feedback, test new ideas and then adopt what works, discarding what does not,
thereby creating a feedback loop of constant improvement.
Traffic, conversion, economics.
Track, test, improve.
This is the three-by-three method to exponentially improve your marketing.
The most important thing I hope you take away from this article is that developing a culture of testing in every facet of your dealership can help you make micro-changes that result in macro improvements.
Imagine testing different scripts for setting appointments, different strategies for closing in the home and even testing ways to improve your team’s culture. Is it possible that not settling for the status quo can help your entire team get better?
You do not need to know everything about digital marketing. That is what a marketing agency is there for. However, if you can help your team, marketing company included, by modeling a mindset and culture of humility, trying new things, asking for feedback and creating systems to learn and adapt through that process, this strategy will work for you 100% of the time.