In this post, I want to try and put you in control of things a little. There are a lot of people with a vested interest in making digital marketing as complicated as possible. The more complicated the problem seems to be the more they can charge for fixing it. So, as an industry, marketing people benefit from making things complicated.

Every day I’m asked things like.

“Should I do search engine ads?”

“Should I use Linkedin?

“I’ve been told I should use Facebook ads”

“Someone said I should use mailchimp”

“I think I should rebrand, what do you think?”

“Should I use a social media manager?”

“My website isn’t generating leads, I’m building a new one.”

Those are all good question but it’s what comes next which causes business owners problems. Eventually the person asking those questions is going to end up on the phone with someone who provides those services. What do you think will happen next?

Business owner : Should I advertise? Ad manager : Hell yes.

Business owner : Should I be on Linkedin? Linkedin trainer : Duh..

Business owner : New website? Web designer : How deep are your pockets?

…I could go on but I hope you get the point.

We trust experts to help guide us but the complexity of digital marketing and the diversity of skills means that most of the time people operate in specialist silos and niche agencies. This leaves the business owner vulnerable and often exposed to very heavily biased for commercial reasons and also because of their narrow, albeit deep, range of knowledge.

There will be two kinds of people reading this. There will be ‘client side’ or business owners or those responsible for a businesses marketing and there will be ‘agency side’. So a word to the agency side.. I’m not having a pop at you. This post is for you as well. I work with a lot of agencies around the world to help them implement the crazy simple formula which I’ll go through in a moment.

What I’d like to offer is a formula so simple that anyone can understand it. It’s the formula I turn to with every client, every day. It drives every project and every conversation. It’s the compass which drives strategy and delivers reliable and predictable results.

( I do have a complicated version of this, but that’s a whole different thing ).

The stupid simple digital marketing framework.

Traffic ( Or Audience ) + Conversion ( Leading to sales ) = Money

That’s something everyone can understand, but interestingly most businesses I work with have the whole thing completely out of balance. Because they don’t know about this simple formula they try and fix every problem with more traffic. Traffic is great, but if nobody is converting then what’s the point of more traffic?

It’s a little like trying to shoot water through a keyhole and with a water gun. Not much goes through. Using a fire hose will improve things a bit, but if you really want results you need to open the door. Conversion tactics focus on improving the rate at which traffic converts.

Let’s explore some of the marketing tactics on each side of this equation.

Traffic ( Audience ).

The traffic side is the equation is actually fairly obvious. That’s why people focus on it so much. It includes things like SEO, Ads, Youtube, Blog, PR and Social networking among other things. This side of the equation is about discoverability. It’s about getting eyeballs, connections, visitors and attention.

Conversion ( A result )

If traffic is about the first encounter then conversion is about the relationship. The impulse which led to someone stepping into your world will likely not have them reaching for their wallets right away. Every website visitor or social contact will be on a sliding scale of need for the value you’re offering. The important thing to remember is that the scale slides – all the time.

Things which impact conversion are, design, brand, trust, lead magnets, relationship building, opportunity. I know that all sounds quite soft but it’s why tactics like sales funnels, email marketing, remarketing ads, email list building and marketing work so well. Using a simple blend of technology, tactics and simple psychology you can quickly bring the conversion side of the equation into balance.

Understanding this equation is important for business owners. It puts them in control and gives them a way to start weighing up where they should be investing time and money next.

If you come from a traditional advertising background then it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all that matters are eyeballs. If those eyeballs are targeted OMG mission accomplished. With digital that approach is just plain weak, but as so many traditional agencies jump on the digital bandwagon it’s also become pretty standard.

I hope this helps. If this is something which you’ve found useful then I’ve put together a simple PDF checklist of things to consider on both sides of the equation. I kind of self assessment / roadmap which you can use to work through your own situation. I hope you find it useful.

About Bob Gentle

I work with businesses of all sizes on digital marketing, host the Amplify digital marketing entrepreneur podcast and work with entrepreneurs to help them amplify their business online.