Achieving Marketing ROI in Three Simple Steps

Here are some steps to boost the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns

Marketing is not just about telling interesting stories or winning creative awards. As a business owner, I am more interested in effectiveness.

Savvy business executives view marketing monies as an investment. For every dollar spent, the business aims to make double or more. This makes the concept of cutting marketing budgets during tough times an absurd idea. After all, when you have a marketing return-on-investment (ROI), would you not want to spend as much as possible?

The next question you may ask – how does a business achieve marketing ROI?

Of course, the subjective craft of copy, art and such is important. However, the fundamental structure of accountability must first be put in place. Thereafter, you can increase sales by maximising the lifetime value of each customer and trim the fat by lowering costs. Here is what each step entails:

Step #1. Create accountability

During the “Mad Men” days of brand advertising on television, radio and newspapers, there was a common adage – half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I do not know which half.

Well, not anymore. With pixels and cookies, it is possible to know exactly which half is working – at least in the online world. This means you can shut down the other half that is not working and focus on the working half.

Brand campaigns do not need to stand on their own. They can serve as the front end of a sales funnel which is designed to nurture and convert leads. After all, it has been estimated that a customer only makes a purchase after seven experiences with the brand. By doing this, you totally change the branding game. It no longer has to be a long-term investment with no clear outcome. Instead, it becomes the crucial first point of entry into a sales funnel.

Step #2. Do not leave money on the table

Is it easier to find a new customer and try to close a deal? Or to ask an existing customer for a repeat purchase?

The answer is obvious – it’s the latter. In fact, it is not just easier; it is a lot cheaper too – with no media money or other cost of acquisition needed! So, it totally makes sense to offer your existing customers a mix of bundling, cross-selling and upselling. These are proven sales strategies that even Amazon has been using to become the giant they are today.

A. Bundling
Offer more units of the same product for a better price

B. Cross-sell
Offer a complimentary or similar product

C. Upsell
Offer upgrades or a more expensive model

By using these three sales strategies, you can potentially boost your average cart value, maximise the lifetime customer value, and even increase customer satisfaction. After all, who wouldn’t love discounts (by bundling), upgrades (through upsells) and curated products (through cross-sells)?

Step #3. Trim the fat

To further increase your ROI, you might want to consider lowering your marketing costs. There are two broad areas you can look at:

A. Production for Less

The current boom in the freelance economy means you have an extraordinary pool of global talent available on a project basis, who are just a click away on platforms like and Proven freelancers can transition to become part-timers or full-timers. And because your freelancer could be working in a different time zone, it is possible to put in a job request at the end of the day, go to bed and wake up knowing the job is done!

For more repetitive work like weekly social media posts, there are simple drag-and-drop templates that even non-designers can learn to use. For quick Facebook Live sessions, learn to use your smartphone. Here’s a quick tip – invest in an external microphone for crisp audio.

There are also plenty of automated software available. For instance, there is a transcription software that helps marketers repurpose audio or video content to written formats, like blogposts, in mere minutes.

Interestingly, I have helped a Singapore company to set up and train an entire marketing department of about 30 people in Manila, Philippines, for a fraction of the cost here.

B. Organic Growth Hacking

If you do not wish to pay for ads, how do you generate traffic?

The truth is you do not need to generate traffic. It is already out there, especially online. Think of the internet as a place where groups with similar interests congregate. All you need to do is to put up your products or services in front of them, in a way that does not violate the group rules.

Let’s say you are selling hypoallergenic pet food. Your target audience is made up of dog or cat owners who may have a pet suffering from allergies. Put yourself in their shoes. Where would you go on the internet? You might go to the relevant forums, Q&A sites or Facebook groups. Join in, answer questions and share your knowledge without overtly pushing your product to stay within the group rules. Ensure you have an optimised profile with a link back to your business page. You could also offer value in the form of free samples or downloadable guides and build your email list from there.

Do note that organic growth hacking may not cost money, but you do “pay” with time and effort. Fortunately, when you do eventually pitch an offer, the audience would be warm – resulting in higher conversion. And because you did not pay for traffic, your marketing ROI would naturally increase.

To discover more, you can download Serene’s e-book ‘Big Brand Hack, worth $9.90, for free here. Only available for a limited time.

The writer is Serene Loong, Founder and Creative Director at Big Brand Hack, a marketing training provider that guides businesses on growing their revenue more effectively.