Is This Working at All?? (4 Simple Steps for Tracking Marketing Efforts)

It’s pretty easy to tell if networking is doing you any good. Did you get leads from people you met at that luncheon or social club meeting or chamber event that turned into sales … or not?

But what about all your OTHER marketing activities? This is where many small business owners sigh, throw up their hands and say it’s impossible to know what’s working.

Impossible to know every little detail of each customer’s thought process, sure. But here’s a four-step process to getting a better handle on how you’re influencing them.

  1. Make an appointment with yourself to list your campaigns.

What have you been up to? Admit it, you get so busy you don’t even remember all the advertising you’re doing, all the events you’ve sponsored, all the groups you’re a member of, all the free websites you’ve listed your business on (like Manta, etc.), all the social media accounts you’ve set up.

It’s okay. It happens. But now is the time to simply list them. For example:

  1. Direct mail piece – December 2016
  2. MITS bus signage – January-June 2017
  3. Newspaper – January-December 2016
  4. Facebooks ads – January-March 2017
  5. Little League sponsor – April-August 2017
  1. Search for any evidence of effectiveness.

We’re not getting scientific here. This is just a matter of searching your client list, your receipts, your social media accounts, your emails, your memory of what customers have said to you, for anything you can attribute to your marketing activities.

If you’re like LOTS of small business people, you haven’t had a tracking system in place. That makes this step hard, and again, that’s okay. You might come up with nothing. No idea whatsoever why you’ve got new customers. At least now you know there’s a blind spot between marketing efforts and results.

  1. Create a (simple!) tracking procedure for each campaign.

Consider each item on that list of marketing activities a “campaign.” Ask yourself, how am I going to have any idea, from here on out, whether it worked?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Different phone numbers. Get free Google Voice numbers and use a different number on each campaign, all connecting to your primary. Direct mail, newspaper ad, signage, etc. It’s old school, but if you know new customers tend to call your business, it could work well, and Google will track which number was called for you.
  • Unique landing pages. Let’s say you own dannysplumbing.com. If they saw your ad on the bus in Muncie and they want a special offer, they have to go to dannysplumbing.com/mits. If they saw the ad in the Indy Star, they go to dannysplumbing.com/indystar, and so on. Google Analytics will track that for you. (A basic account is pretty easy to set up.)
  • Coupons. Marking coupons with a code or note about where it was published may be obvious, but what about the ones you give away at special events? Door prizes at a chamber event? Silent auction donations? The rule here is simple: just don’t ever let coupons go out into the world without something printed on them telling you how your customer got their hands on it!
  1. Schedule your next marketing assessment appointment.

In three months, six months, or maybe even next month, do this again. It should get easier every time, because tracking will become a habit. You won’t have to search your memory as much because you’ll have Facebook clicks, website visits, Google Voice calls and returned coupons to count, or whatever else you’ve decided to document as you go.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

DIY for small business owners is a matter of degrees. It’s never 100% DIY or 100% expensive marketing consultancy. You need help somewhere in between, and that’s where Farmhouse Creative can help. You’re probably asking, “Okay, HOW do I set up multiple landing pages? And HOW am I supposed to find time to design all these unique coupons?”

Asked, and answered. Here.

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