Why You Won’t See Marketing Results Immediately
The same marketing package will seem expensive at your quotation, too expensive after 3 months, increasingly reasonable after 4. And if you have a good marketer, by 1 year you’ll be thinking ‘this is cheap’.
My clients spend hundreds on me per month and see thousands in the return per month – even hundreds of thousands. Enough to take on new staff and grow their business. But this process is not immediate. This is why taking a new client onboard is a careful procedure for me and something I can only do roughly once every two months.
Here are three reasons why the first three months of marketing are so tough.
1. Still learning a process that works
I’m a marketer, not a property developer, or a lawyer, or a plastic surgeon, or a roofer. So if you’re paying me to market these things, I need to learn about your business and customer inside out. That takes time. If you took on a new employee, it’d take a while for them to familiarise themselves with your business. It’s no different with a freelancer.
Marketing is a science. We produce a formula and then monitor the results closely. The trial and error process helps us improve our work and find out what you, and your customer like.
2. It takes time to build brand trust
Customers may like trying new products now and again, but when it comes to services, they go for the name they recognise. Being new certainly doesn’t mean that you are untrustworthy, or unable to deliver a great service. But from the customers perspective, they don’t know who you are – you could be a cowboy. Marketing is a part of building up a brand. We generally say that it takes 5 touches with a brand before someone is ready to buy. If you’ve only started marketing this month, don’t expect clients to immediately buy from you. Even if someone has you in mind, they may need to visit your website several times before they decide to contact you.
Marketers aim to target people who will potentially buy from you when they have a need for your service. Someone may have heard of you and like your brand but not have a need for you yet. They’ll come back when they’re ready.
3. It takes time to build a following
Traffic, social media following and SEO take time to build. Writing three blogs and putting them on your website isn’t going to leap you to the top of Google. You’re going to need to be doing that long term to see great results. If your competitors have started this process years ago, don’t expect to overtake them without also investing serious time into it.
If you’re currently tweeting to 60 people, you’re going to see better results in a few months time when you’re tweeting to 1,000 people. This is why the results you’re getting at month 1 & 2 are going to vary wildly from the results you’re getting at month 10.
How do you tell if your marketing is working?
I’ve heard this a lot: ‘we tried marketing, we invested a lot of money into an agency for years and we got no business back from it, we didn’t even get new followers or new traffic – nothing’.
The quality of marketers varies, just as it does with sales staff. Trusting a big agency with a good reputation doesn’t seem to make much of a difference when it comes to the quality of the results people get. It saddens me to hear when people have lost their money after trusting an agency and seen no return.
Here’s a quick guide of what you should be looking for when you hire a marketing freelancer or agency.
- Growth month on month. Every month, your traffic, followers and impressions should be growing. There may be dips in certain months, but overall your traffic should have an upwards curve. It may peak at a certain point, in which case you should consider what other features you can add to your ‘marketing mix’. That’s a good sign to try something new.
- Engagement from the internet. Are people replying to your posts, liking them, asking questions or inboxing you on Facebook? This is a good sign that you’re getting interest. This will look different in every industry, but it should be happening even on a small scale. Is the person you’ve outsourced replying to these comments and trying to encourage more engagement, or are they going ignored?
- If there is no return at 6 months, call a meeting and ask what can be changed to ensure that this starts to happen. The person managing your account should share your concerns and be willing to discuss solutions. If there has been no extra traffic, no growth in anything, sack your marketer.
It might not necessarily be your marketer’s fault
Quite simply, the product or service on offer has to be good to generate business. Sometimes, people want to hire me when they should actually be hiring a brander or web developer. If this is the case, I redirect them.
- Is my brand strong enough, is it appealing to customers?
- Is my product or service competitively priced and good quality? Do I need to encourage a buzz around my business with some special offers?
- Is my website functional, is it working fast enough, does it work on mobile devices, or is it putting people off at the first touch?
- Are the call to actions on my website strong enough, or do my customers have to go through a frustrating process just to get my contact details?
- Do I have micro call to actions and lead magnets on my site that encourage customers to leave their details so that I can re-market to them?
- Is my sales process strong enough?
There is no point in spending thousands on marketing if you don’t have a strong website, brand and sales process. These really should be your first priorities. It’s why I connect with other digital agencies in Sheffield so that I might be able to assist my customers in getting set up with a good base to direct traffic to.