Marketing is both a science and an art.

It takes creativity but also looking and observing statistics to make rational predictions and indications.

Taking a risk on a marketing strategy is a bold move that every marketer should be given the luxury of exploring at some point in order to create revolutions. But what happens when your campaign doesn’t seem to be hitting the right notes?

Learning the perfect time to pull a campaign can be tricky, especially when you have a lot invested, but sometimes it is necessary to quit and cut your losses.

Much like a gambler knowing the perfect time to end a winning or loosing streak on a roulette table, marketers also need to keep an open mind as to when their campaigns are on a downward spiral or not making a strong enough ROI to warrant continuing them.

Here are a 4 signs that you can use to judge whether or not it’s time to call it quits on your marketing campaign:

1. Time has passed

Sometimes online marketing strategies need time to really know if they are going to be effective or not. For example, with SEO driven campaigns it can take months before you even start to see any results however, usually down the track you will receive a constant flow of visitors that help you to know that your campaign was a success.

Similarly, content marketing strategies also require you to build up a name and a presence before your articles can really be delivered to a wider audience. Like SEO, it takes time before your name and brand can really start to get out there and people start to take interest in what you have to say.

While time frames may vary depending on your business, about 6 months for each of these campaign styles is definitely enough time to know whether you are heading in the right direction.

Comparatively, when you are running a PPC (pay per click) campaign or a Facebook or Twitter Boost, you should know within 5-7 days whether your campaign is going to be successful or not. This is because you should be able to instantly see how your text and links are effecting your chosen audience.

If you are not seeing instant results, it doesn’t mean you have to pull your campaign altogether, but it may definitely be time to tweak your ads.

As you can see, timing for certain online marketing strategies will depend, but a good way to think of it is this- for longer term results such as SEO campaigns it is going to take time, for shorter turn results, like getting customers to sign up for your weekly discount coupon, you should know within a few days or so whether or not you are running something effective.

2. Negative ROI

Yes, it is necessary to spend money in order to make money, but if your Return on Investment (ROI) is constantly negative then you definitely need to step back and assess your game plan.

Measuring your ROI for each campaign can be done by looking at your total gains for the campaign next to your total expenditures. If your expenditures are outweighing your gains to the point where you are losing money you need to keep a close eye on the campaign and monitor it for the next few months.

If by the second or third month there has been no upswing or improvement to your gains, then chances are it is time to pull the plug.

Remember, just because your campaign isn’t yielding an instant ROI doesn’t mean it’s a failed mission. As we discussed earlier, some strategies like SEO do take time.

However, if after a couple of months you are failing to see any results it may be time to readjust or pull the plug until you can come up with a better solution.

If you don’t have the luxury to run a negative ROI campaign for a few months, think about other types of free marketing that you can utilise such as social media promotions, hashtags and reaching out to other popular sites to exchange a review or blog post.

3. Experimenting

It is unlikely that your campaign is going to be red hot the minute you launch it. Sometimes it takes months of research and tweaking to get it perfect.

Having said that, if you haven’t spent the time tweaking, researching and optimising your campaign based on the current statistics you are receiving, then you are doing yourself a huge disservice.

Chances are you have worked super hard on crafting the perfect campaign, but remember it is what happens after you launch that counts.

Perhaps you notice a new trend or perhaps you notice consumers are responding differently than you imagined. Learning how to hone in on the data you are receiving and tweak it to your advantage is not only the work of a good marketer, it also helps to drive and get the most out of your campaign.

If your campaign is not working and you haven’t spent the time to experiment or tweak it, don’t give up just yet. However, if you have been tweaking it for weeks and still not seeing results, sometimes it is better to call it quits and start from scratch again.

4. Weakest Link

Most companies have multiple marketing campaigns running at once. If you notice a black sheep in your marketing family- ie. a campaign that is not doing as well, it may be a sign that it is time to let it go.

The reason behind this is that if you are able to run other successful campaigns, there is no reason why you should have this poorly performing campaign holding the rest of the team back.

It may also be a clear indication for you to stick with what is working instead of trying to fight an uphill battle of getting something that is not working to work.

In marketing there are no guarantees, however there are plenty of opportunities to take statistics and creativity and turn them into something that will help boost your website, sales and overall ROI.

Are you looking to find new inspiration for your marketing campaigns? Chat with us.