More often than not, when a company approaches us for marketing it’s not as though they’ve done nothing on their own (well, most of the time). Usually, they’ve done quite a bit on their own – some marketing efforts executed perfectly, some not so much.
However, there always seems to be one common element missing: evaluation.
Evaluation is one of the most important pieces of your marketing process – it helps keep you from making the same mistake twice and it allows you to look at what type of marketing strategies you are implementing so that you can draw conclusions as to why they did or did not work.
If you have consistently placed an advertisement in the local paper, but you never took the time to create a process to identify if that ad brought in new customers, then how do you know if you should continue to place that ad? You don’t! You are doing what I call “fly by the seat marketing” – you throw out money here and there with no actual strategy in place. Marketing doesn’t work if you don’t make informed decisions and it’s hard to make informed decisions when you aren’t basing your decisions off of research, evaluation or plain factual information.
Here are 5 tips for evaluating your marketing efforts:
- Make sure that your website has Google Analytics installed. Google Analytics allows you to analyze your website traffic and draw conclusions based on referral sites, traffic highs and lows and landing pages. Google Analytics is one of the most valuable resources that you have and you can learn a lot about your own business by diving in and looking at data.
- Try to incorporate coupon codes for tracking. If you’re running a large sale, use a different code for each medium: Facebook, email, AdWords, print marketing, etc… If you can’t incorporate a coupon code for tracking, determine the best way to track your efforts in order to identify a successful campaign. If you don’t start out with a goal, it’s impossible to know if you reached it or not after the fact.
- Keep a spreadsheet or outline of what you’re doing each month. At the end of the month identify number of leads, conversions and sales so that you can track differences based on your efforts. It’s very easy to forget about that email you sent out the second week in April – but if you see a spike in sales mid-April and you have something to reference that shows you exactly what you did, you will have better luck re-creating that spike in the future.
- Always talk about what went wrong. Forget to send out your email blast until Sunday at 10 pm the day before the sale? Place an ad in the paper without your website URL? Track everything that went wrong so that you can double check and set reminders for yourself in the future.
- Build from your evaluation. When I evaluate a specific promotion, I determine what items were worth the cost, what items weren’t and I outline new ideas based on what did work. By tracking all of this information for the entire year, you don’t have to recreate the wheel in the future, instead, you know what worked and you know what you should do and then you can spend your time and energy thinking outside of the box on new ideas.
Of course, marketing is a lot of work on top of running a business. If you need help organizing your efforts, give us a call and I will meet with you for free to talk through what you’re doing!