Until this global recession goes away, we’ll all be forgiven for wanting huge bang for buck in our marketing efforts. For folks with a lot of experience, I thought I’d put the question to them: what have they stumbled on in their career that provided a lot more mileage in terms of ROI than they would have expected going in?
My inbox was flooded responses and I also got a few answers on LinkedIn. I decided to pick two winners, one from LinkedIn, one from personal responses, and add my 2c as well.
The question posed was put exactly this way:
“In the past five years, name the single thing you did for your own business or a client business that did the most to explode bottom line business results on the least money. (It could be a relatively costly tactic if you still think the ROI or total ongoing profit were incredible, or ideally it would be something totally free or just a bit of sweat equity that really caught you off guard with its effectiveness.)”
For my friends who replied, I also hoped they wouldn’t just be promoting a technique or service that is their “hallmark” or “trademark,” but rather something offbeat that they may not be known for.
Grand prize winning answer: Matt Bailey, Principal, SiteLogic
I can trace 80% of all of my current success, business, clients and engagements back to two specific people in my industry. The single thing that I have done that has contributed the most to my business was to cultivate friendships in the business and remember the referrals, recommendations and references that friends and associates have made. To me, there is no better business strategy than to develop and cultivate long-term friendships within your industry. And, of course, remember those that have been instrumental in helping you and thank them constantly for their influence.
And your prize, Matt, is…: Potent potable, TBD. Given your love of fine Scotch, Traffick is not sure we can afford your tastes, but maybe a nice wine or bottle of Canadian Club (it’s so Mad Men).
Honorable mention: Dirk Van Slyke, Co-Founder, Swagger Promotional Marketing:
I believe the single best investment, and creator of long-term ROI, is to first ensure you have a phenomenal product or service and you put your customers (and employees) first. In this era of transparency, putting marketing before product, or “lipstick on a pig”, is a surefire way to waste every dime you spend.
Dirk, all we have for you is a mention. But it is honorable!
Traffick’s take: Information architecture has a powerful multiplier in SEO
We’re blown away by the power of one particular component in the SEO mix: for large sites or ecommerce sites especially, professional, meticulous, and appropriate information architecture and website architecture. We’ve had success with this technique in the past, but recently it really hit home again. Without doing anything else with the SEO (which is to come), being involved in a complete site redesign, with professional information architecture input, increased year-over-year, same-period search referrals by 40%, for a mature company that was already doing pretty well. The ROI on setting a solid *foundation* for long term SEO success is incredible. Or, put another way, there is huge opportunity cost in *not* doing it right. Done properly, sound architecture across the board sets the stage for years of unpaid search referral love.
It’s not free. Certainly, for very large sites, you’ll be budgeting a significant chunk of change. Depending on your company, it may simply be hidden as an “infrastructure” cost — but the real danger is not knowing whether your team has full coverage of the requisite professional competencies to nail the whole job. Likely, they don’t.
If you don’t have the capability in-house and you’re getting ready for a major site relaunch, should you invest in highly qualified outside help? Absolutely. It’s cheap compared with the risk of getting it wrong, and with the opportunity to reap six or seven figures worth of additional revenue annually from better search rankings.