Wednesday June 24, 2015
You’re putting valuable resources into marketing your small business, but do you ever feel uncertain about what that time and money is getting you? Many business owners struggle along using a marketing strategy that could be hugely improved with more insight and some simple tools.
Last week, our founder Dave Kramer shared some important benefits of an all-in-one toolkit for small business marketing. One of the biggest benefits he pointed out is the ability to compare the performance of your different channels.
If your core marketing channels (website, email marketing, search engine marketing, and other marketing campaigns) share data, you get much more detailed, accurate, and actionable reports.
Don’t settle for less than your full potential! Here’s how to evaluate your major marketing channels, in the context of your marketing strategy as a whole.
Decide How to Measure Marketing Success
The first step on the path to marketing success is deciding what success looks like. It’s hard to measure broad, overarching goals like, “I want to grow my business,” or “I want to make my business more profitable.”
That’s why most marketing experts look at marketing success in terms of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). KPIs are very specific, measurable goals that contribute to your larger ambitions.
Examples of Common KPIs:
- Increased website traffic
- Improved search engine ranking
- Increased engagement with your site
- More inbound leads
- Close higher percentage of leads
- Decrease cost of making a sale
- Greater number of sales
- Increased order size
- More repeat business
These goals are very specific (although many could be narrowed down even further). They contribute to your larger goals. Most importantly, all of them can be measured with numbers and percentages. They can be graphed over time.
A big part of marketing evaluation is choosing which KPIs to focus on.
Set Your Priorities
Take a hard look at your current marketing strategy and sales process. Where are the big gaps?
- Having trouble getting people into your funnel? You want more traffic, more leads, and higher search engine ranking.
- Spending too much time and money to close a sale? You need to decrease your costs, increase order size, and find ways to get more repeat business.
- Are leads dropping out of your funnel? Then you want increased engagement, a higher number of sales, and a way to convert a greater percentage of leads.
Decide where improvements to your process will make the most difference, and choose KPIs that help you measure those priorities.
Pair KPIs with Existing and New Marketing Channels
Each KPI is likely to involve multiple marketing channels. For example, if you’re trying to increase your average order size, all of the following might contribute:
- Coupon codes
- Email advertising quantity discount
- Upsell campaign on your website (cart autofill, complementary items)
- Blog post talking about how to combine items from your store to get more value
- PPC campaign offering free shipping with a certain order size
These channels aren’t performing equally. So how do you figure out which ones are increasing order size?
Invest in Tools to Measure Your Success
Here’s where an all-in-one toolkit becomes really beneficial. When you can measure all your campaigns from the same dashboard, it’s a lot easier to compare them.
Here are some tools that will help you:
This is a must for side-by-side comparison of multiple channels for the same KPI. A campaign manager shows you different metrics for each channel, including:
- Site visits generated
- Lead boxes filled
- Carts filled
- Purchases made
- Sales in dollars
Each of those metrics is a possible KPI for your business. If your highest priority is simply getting more people to your site, for example, that’s the metric to compare across all your channels.
Some campaign managers pull data from a number of different software solutions so you can compare them. The problem is, all those integrations leave a lot of gaps, and you have find apps that communicate with each other and your campaign manager.
The other option is to get a campaign manager as part of an all-in-one solution. All the tools you need are pre-integrated, so they share data effortlessly. This is what we offer at AllProWebTools, and our users love being able to get everything in the same place.
The idea of marketing campaigns is to drive lasting change over time. For this reason, many of your marketing analytics will come in the form of a line graph, hopefully trending upwards.
Here are just a few examples of graphable KPIs:
- Number of site visits
- Total monthly revenue
- Lead boxes filled
- Keyword ranking
- Blog subscribers/readers
These graphs show you in general how you’re doing at achieving your KPIs.
But when you look at that graph, it can be hard to correlate it change over time in your marketing campaigns. You can see what day the graph starts going up at a higher rate, or when there was an unexpected dip. But you may not always know exactly why.
An event tracker can help with this problem. Event trackers are basically timelines of your strategic marketing changes, which you can then lay over the graphs of your KPIs.
You simply record the date and “event” every time you make a strategic change, and then the software maps each of your events onto your graphs. This helps attribute any rises and falls to the actions that caused them.
Put Your Money Where the Money Is
Now that you have the ability to compare your marketing campaigns based on how well they’re helping you achieve your KPIs, it’s time to use that information.
Resources are simply too tight for you to continue spending time and money on campaigns that aren’t contributing to your most important KPIs. The first ones to go should be campaigns and channels that don’t have a big impact on your KPIs, and which take the most time and money.
Now look at the channels that are performing well. These are ready to become part of a scalable strategy. You can feel good about putting more money, time, and resources into them, because you know they’re giving you the kind of returns that matter.
Marketing evaluation is all about knowing where to put your money. Marketing is an investment. Any smart investor knows what they want in return, which is why it’s so important to think in terms of KPIs.
Good investors also keep track of how each investment is performing. You owe it to your business to get smarter about evaluating your marketing investments. It doesn’t have to be complicated. With an all-in-one dashboard, it can be as simple as side-by-side.