Seems small business owners all over the world struggle in knowing if their online marketing efforts are paying off. This recent article says it all. There are two issues here, I think.

  1. Marketing results aren’t being measured at all because small biz owners don’t know how
  2. Newer forms of marketing, like social media and blogging, are harder to measure

Let’s address the second one first. It’s true. Newer forms of marketing are harder to measure, but they are also often very low-cost or free.

Two things to keep in mind about free online marketing: it takes time to see results and those results may be a bit vague.

It’s ok. These efforts ARE worth it if you are keeping a tight hold of the reigns of the time you are spending on Facebook and blogging.

You can get an idea of the results of this type of social marketing by doing several things:

  1. Tracking the number of fans/friends you have
  2. Monitoring Google Analytics
  3. Making “how did you hear about us?” the most used phrase in your office after “how can we be of service?”
  4. Ask all new customers this question and then record it to monitor how folks are finding you

I think the first question “How do I measure marketing results?” is too frightening! People picture analytical formulas which equals MATH. I recommend a simple spreadsheet with two categories: Traditional Marketing and New Marketing. Record subcategories under these and how much you are spending and what your results are.

Traditional:

Mailings with coupon: $100. Result: 5 customers called/returned coupon
Billboard $1000: no call to action. Result: 1 customer mentioned seeing it
Radio: $500: 2Result: customers mentioned hearing ad

New:

Blog: $50 plus 3 hours per week at $25/hr=$125. Result: Google Analytics shows 50 people found corporate site via blog.
Email blast with coupon: $5 per blast plus 1 hr per blast set up at $25/hr=$30. Result: 5 people redeemed coupon.
Facebook and Twitter connecting: Free plus 3 hours per week communicating at $25/hr=$75. Result: 15 new fans/friends this month and brand/business awareness.

If you are looking at this and trying to make a determination and how to allocate your marketing dollars, what’s the first thing you might do? Ax that billboard and invest more in email blasts or Facebook and Twitter, including trying advertising.

Measuring marketing results for a small business is NOT rocket science but it IS really important. How are you measuring up?

 

by Steven Schlagel