Measuring ROI (return on investment) for your small business can be a big challenge, but it’s critically important when evaluating the success of your marketing efforts. You want a deep understanding of what is working and what is falling short to get the plenty of bang for your buck.
Here are tips for measuring the success of a marketing strategy:
Define what “success” means for your business.
What’s the goal of your next marketing campaign? Acquiring more customers? Gaining more sales leads? Boosting awareness of your brand? Knowing your key objectives helps define your key performance indicators (KPIs), allowing you to effectively track your marketing efforts and properly align your brand strategy for success.
Start with the source — your customers.
Since your marketing campaign is likely aimed at your target market, why not integrate different ways they can learn more about your brand and your product?
“Whenever someone interacts with your business – whether it is in-person or over the phone/web – ask them how they found you,” advises Mark Britton, founder and CEO of the social media platform Avvo.com. “The trick is thinking through your primary customer entry points and making sure you ask at those points.”
Entry points range from a receptionist at your company headquarters to the checkbox selected on your website. Where can your audience engage with your brand? Select an appropriate way to query your customers and continue to do so on a consistent basis.
Track customer interest with unique URLs.
Creating unique URLs is an effective method of gauging customer responses to a marketing campaign. By pointing each URL to a different landing page, you can determine the marketing channels that generated the greatest customer activity. You can also gain a better understanding of the audience behaviors and incorporate those specific sites of interest, or related resources, in future campaigns. This will ensure you deliver meaningful value to your audience, while obtaining meaningful insight to leverage down the road.
Another option: Create a unique promotional code for each marketing channel used in your campaign. Customers interested in a special offer or subscribing to your email newsletter are prompted to add those codes in their responses — thus providing an easy-to-track method for evaluating which channels generated the most activity.
Align social media marketing activities with your business goals.
Social media is a powerful marketing resource to connect with your target audience, but shouldn’t be approached haphazardly. Decide what social media success means for your business — increasing brand awareness, building a growing community of followers, encouraging customer engagement through feedback and comments, etc.
“Make sure that you’re aligning with specific business goals and choose to establish a presence on the channels with the best chance of achieving those goals,” says Lauren Harper on Oracle Marketing Cloud. “Simply put, don’t create a Facebook page just to say you’re on Facebook, but go where your audience is.”
Use Google Analytics and Google Alerts to monitor traffic and mentions.
Free online tools like Google Analytics enable you to track such KPIs as page views, repeat traffic and unique visitors to your website. Information gained this way can directly influence the strategy of your next campaign, as well as identifying who is best to target.
You also want to know if your marketing campaign is producing mentions of your business in blogs, articles and elsewhere on social media. Google Alerts, as a well as numerous other free online tools, notifies you whenever your brand, product or service is mentioned—shedding a light on the good and the bad so your brand can properly address it all.
If, for example, your business is named as part of an online news story, you need to be able to respond promptly, either to rebut any negative reporting or, on a more positive note, share a favorable story with your social media networks.
Invest in CRM software.
Many businesses track their contact with customers — both existing and prospective — through use of an automated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. This software utilizes a dashboard, analytics and reporting tools to get a broad view of the level of customer engagement in your marketing campaigns. A variety of CRM platforms are available for small business needs, but always do research before investing in this tool. It can be a big investment but the payoff is well worth it.
Measuring ROI on your marketing activities takes time and effort, but the knowledge you gain will lead you to more profitable marketing strategies in the future.
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