How SMEs can use data from their digital marketing to triple their ROI in less than 90 days

If done properly, SMEs can get valuable data through their digital marketing efforts. These data can be used to make informed decisions that will remarkably increase a company’s ROI over the long term

Data you can get include:

  • What USPs to communicate to your prospective customers
  • What marketing collaterals to develop
  • Which of your services are most appealing
  • What new services should you explore / what new products should you develop
  • Which part of the consumer journey requires improvements
  • What is the ROI of your advertising dollars?
  • What is your performance benchmark, and how do you improve from there?

In order to obtain such data, you will need to understand and have a strong digital marketing process in place.


So how exactly does this work?

The consumer journey

Let’s take an example of an interior design company, their objective is to get people to attend consultation appointments and ultimately signs up as a client

(This is applicable to any other type of businesses as well, though there might be more or lesser steps



They spent RM3,000 on ads and achieved RM30,000 worth of sales, that’s a 10X return

What can you do with this data?

  • Do I want to be more aggressive with my advertising budget?
  • How much further can I increase my budget and still stay in profitability?


The Conversion Benchmarks

In simple speak, the conversion rate is the % of people moving from one step to another step further down the consumer journey

By knowing the typical conversion for each step of the consumer journey, you can hold the necessary teams or personnel accountable, and think of ways to decrease cost and increase conversions

For example, let’s say, typically from 1,000 people who viewed our ads, we get a 10% conversion, which equals to 100 messages. If the conversion drops to 5%, we can hold the marketer accountable and he/she should provide a rectification plan to increase conversions again

What can you do with this data?

You can identify where is the breakdown or hold up in each of the stages of your consumer journey and take the appropriate action to improve or rectify things. For example:

People viewing our ads (Step 1) -> People who messaged us (Step 2)

  • How can I decrease the cost of my advertisement and improve the number of people who click and interact with my ads?
  • Do I produce better marketing messages? Better product offerings? Feature a new product or a new service?

People who messaged us (Step 2) -> People who booked a consultation appointment (Step 3)

  • How can I increase the conversion rate here?
  • Better FAQs so that more questions are answered?
  • Better response time from customer service?
  • Better automation tools so that customers can get what they want?

People who booked a consultation appointment (Step 3) -> Confirmed client (Step 4)

  • How do I decrease my cost and increase my sales value here?
  • Better sales processes and training for my customer service?
  • Products or services that are well thought through so that it can be bundled and upsold?
  • Collaboration with other complimentary providers to provide more value and encourage repeat sales?


But here’s the secret ingredient

We need to have a constant feedback loop in between the different departments (specifically, the department who closes the sale and the department who runs the marketing efforts) so that we can improve our digital marketing efforts based on actual data and customer response

This is why we tend to see some ‘one-man-show’ SMEs – where one person is in charge of creating the ads up till closing the sale – do well because they are able to implement feedback quickly


What kinds of feedback are we talking about? Here are some examples

From sales team to marketing team

  • A lot of customers are asking about a particular color, design, series – do you want to try to advertise with these?
  • The quality of people who booked appointments recently are not who we want to target, can you make changes to your ads?

From marketing team to sales team

  • We realize that there are a lot of demand for service A, is there any way we can expand this service offering? Or run a special promo for it?
  • We receive a lot of enquiries asking about product A that we don’t currently have, should we explore stocking up this product?

The faster and more efficiently this feedback loops is, the better our digital marketing results will be


Case studies of how we used actionable data to improve our ROI

*Exact visuals and details are changed to protect client privacy. ROI numbers are accurate

Case study 1

Clients objective is to get quality leads for their service offering

We first featured a visual with 2 chairs talking to each other, the contents of the chat bubble featured what their services entailed. We received a lot of enquiries about people interested to buy the chair. We tweaked the visual to include the chair in an actual client project. Quality of leads improved and we got more enquiries about client’s service offering

After testing out a few visuals, we realised that consumers respond well to visuals with a big variety of products. We combined this knowledge to display a whole series of trending products within the client’s service offering

Results: Decreased lead cost by 40%, gotten a 35.6x return on investment within 60 days


Case study 2

Client objective is to get leads to sign up to their platform

After 60 days of running ads with proper processes and inter-departmental alignment, we managed to get a very good understanding of our benchmark numbers (i.e. how many people who viewed ads turned into enquires, how many enquiries turned into appointments, and how many appointments turned into sales)

With this knowledge we realised that we could go more aggresively and did 2 things:

  1. We realised that we were weak in the appointment -> sales portion. We improved the collaterals and sales process and also added more marketing support (lead filtering, marketing collaterals) to the salesperson
  2. Client decided to double up ad spend while understanding that ROI would drop (and we could afford that drop in ROI)

Results: Leads increased by 50%, gotten a near 17x return on investment in the next 2 months


Case study 3

Client objective is to sell their high ticket product (the value of each sale averages between RM8,000 – RM15,000)

We realised that a lot of customers were asking about price, but we were unable to give an accurate price estimate because all our products were tailore made

We tweaked our FAQ to include a ‘price range starting from’ information to further qualify potential enquiries, then asked customers to provide their phone numbers for a professional consultant to call them to provide a proper quote as well as some advise

Results: 1.7% conversion and an ROI of 35x


How to get started and keep the action going

IMHO, digital marketing is a top down approach

Digital marketing needs to be driven at the management level with commitment and dedication to ensure accountability and proper implementation

At the same time, we will also need a strong feedback loop to constantly improve our marketing efforts and be in touch with what our customers want

When we have the basics in place, we can then continuously implement our learnings and trends that we discovered to level up our digital marketing efforts and ROI



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