After putting together a thorough marketing plan — complete with a timeline and budget — and placing ads, blogs and comments all over the Internet, the only thing left to figure out is whether the plan worked. Sure, you created a plan based on what might work, but you won’t know for sure until you measure the results of each element of your campaign.
However, there are many different ways to market online, and the same goals or benchmarks don’t apply to every channel. One campaign might be designed for brand awareness, while another is meant to drive higher sales. Whatever marketing channel you’re using, make sure you have these key elements in place to you know how well they’re working.
Measurable Goals and Benchmarks
What’s the point of your marketing strategy? Are you just posting ads and blogs to let people know you exist, or do you have a more concrete goal in mind? Without a tangible outcome to work towards, your marketing strategies won’t have a clear direction.
Make your goal more definable than just “increase sales” – reach for a specific percentage or number. Examples of these goals might include:
- Increase revenues by 20%.
- Attract 25,000 followers on Facebook.
- Generate a return on investment (ROI) of 35% on pay-per click ads.
Your specific goals will depend on industry-specific benchmarks, the health of your business, and what kinds of goals are attainable with the resources you have. As long as you define clear, measurable goals, you’ll have a firmer grasp of how to measure the success of your marketing.
Even if you have a primary goal for your marketing plan, that shouldn’t be the only thing you measure. In fact, if you have a non-monetary goal in mind, it’s even more important to analyze things like cost versus revenue to make sure you aren’t losing money reaching your goals.
The list of possible metrics is endless, but these formulations work for most marketing analyses:
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) measures how much your business spends on sales and marketing to acquire one customer. To reach the number, add up all your costs and then divide that number by the number of new customers.
Return on Investment (ROI) measures how much revenue you generate with each marketing dollar. An ROI of 1:1, or 100%, means you broke even; an ROI of 4:1, or 400%, means you earned four dollars on each marketing dollar.
Click-Through-Rate (CTR) measures the percentage of people who clicked on a link. To measure the CTR of, for instance, an ad for your contractor program campaign, divide the number of clicks by the total number of people who saw the ad.
Again, the ideal benchmark for these and other metrics depends on your business; if you can’t yet get a handle, start by keeping your company in the black and refine your benchmarks going forward. To make sure you’re actually meeting your benchmarks, you need tools to keep an accurate account of revenues and spending.
A Reliable Analytics Tool
One of the major weaknesses of traditional advertising is the inability to determine how much it affects consumer behavior. Direct marketing was a little easier to track, thanks to keycodes. With the right analytics tool, you can measure the most effective channel, website, message, and even time of day for marketing.
Some analytics tools cost hundreds of dollars a month; put them on hold until you have the budget of a global corporation. In the meantime, these tools offer insightful – and affordable – web statistics:
Google Analytics has become the go-to program, because it offers enterprise-grade analytics for nothing. Use it to find out how many people come to your site, where they come from and what they do while visiting.
Viralheatmeasures your social media reach and level of engagement. Unlike the gauge of gas furnaces, this is not the “heating” you might expect from such as name. For only $10 a month, you can see all your traffic in one single stream. Analyze likes, shares and mention of your content, and identify the most successful keywords.
Adobe SiteCatalyst comes with a hefty price tag, but it’s worth every penny. Not only does it work with Abobe’s Online Marketing Suite, which measures mobile and social media engagement, but users have also seen checkout conversion rates jump by 70 percent.
You’ve put a lot of money into your marketing efforts; now, put enough money into your analytics strategy to get as much for your investment as possible.