Case Study: How Does Digital Marketing Increase Sales?

Social Media Results, Digital Marketing Results

Situation – Client Has Experienced Negative Digital Marketing Examples

A local non-profit needed SEO-driven website content and social media help. They’d been unimpressed with their previous ad agency, which didn’t produce any ROI. One particular St. Louis digital marketing firm had charged them several thousands of dollars per month, yet yearly sales dropped. Swearing off large and impersonal agencies, they trusted Buddy Gardner to turn sales around.

Task – Do More for Less

The client asked for what everyone really wants: better results for a lower price. This non-profit organization only has one event per year, which is the source of all their funding, so the stakes are high.  They couldn’t afford to keep paying a premium for digital marketing services, especially when their sales were decreasing instead of increasing.

The best digital marketing agencies will function like an extension of your team, aligning behind your vision, and deliver measurable results against key goals.

Action – Good Digital Marketing Works Smarter

We established a budget first– starting small to build confidence after their previous bad experiences. With much less money in the budget, the message had to be more effective. A thorough planning phase helped define the digital marketing strategy, so work could begin with the end in mind.

  • The onboarding process is critical. The right questions reveal who the client is, who their audience is, and their vision for the future.
  • Use the budget wisely. This particular organization had experienced a few bad years, so there wasn’t enough money for a large, year-long campaign. The bulk of our efforts were focused on the months immediately before the event.
  • Define desired results– what are the client's long-term digital marketing goals, and how do we get there? The whole point of this project to get people to the client's event. That had to be prioritized over other "nice to have" victories like getting more followers on Instagram.
  • Use A/B testing to see how you can get the best results for your social media ad budget. Do small buys to try different audience targeting and types of posts. Once you see what's getting the best results, you know where to put your budget.
  • Take a data-driven approach. Do the research, and use past data to shape the future. Hands-on attention is key here. Large agencies may just follow the same formula every time, which doesn’t account for the nuances of a unique brand. Look at past social metrics before rethinking the strategy, and conduct deep keyword research before refreshing website content for SEO purposes.
  • Especially with a target audience that’s mostly over 35, Facebook was the best social platform. Since the goal is to get people to the event, an event page was an obvious to get RSVPs and get on people’s calendars.
  • Be proactive. Monitor all strategies in real time to make sure things are moving in the right direction. Testing different ideas early on can prevent wasted effort down the line.
  • Follow industry trends. In the months leading up to the client’s big event, Facebook announced that it was giving brands less preference in timelines. To address this added challenge, the sponsored post bidding strategy had to be adjusted.

Result – Does Digital Marketing Really Work?

Yes, digital marketing really works if you do it correctly. Of course, everyone thinks their way is the right way, so here’s some empirical evidence.

Digital marketing doesn't always work, but it works when you do it like this.

Buddy Gardner categorically outperformed the previous agency despite Facebook algorithm changes aimed to decrease businesses' reach, and did so at a dramatically smaller cost to the client. In addition to reducing expenses, this client experienced the following improvements year over year:

  • 39% increase in followers gained on the main Facebook page
  • 78% increase in Facebook event reach
  • 208% increase in Facebook event responses
  • 27% increase in sales

For businesses and nonprofits alike, it's the last of those numbers that matters the most. Can digital marketing increase sales enough to make the expense worth it? In this case, the answer seems to be yes. It wouldn't be fair to take 100% of the credit for an increase in sales, but it's absolutely reasonable to assume causality. This client had seen their sales decline in multiple consecutive years before changing their digital marketing agency.

Every organization has a different path to success, and the same steps won't yield these same results in every situation. With Buddy Gardner, though, you can expect a digital marketing approach that's customized to serve your own business goals. Contact us today to for an introductory conversation, and let's discuss desired results.

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