Thinking outside the box can be a great way for some businesses to get a leg up on their competition, but there are still some tried-and-true techniques that are essential in any marketing plan, and one of them is tracking your data – specifically, keeping tabs on the results of your campaigns. The only way to know whether a certain strategy is working (and whether it’s worth continuing in the future) is to directly know where your business is coming from. After all, you wouldn’t invest in ten different stocks and then only keep track of their total worth – you’d want to know which are helping your pocketbook and which are hurting, and marketing is an investment in the same sense. If you aren’t sure how to start or improve on your tracking, here are some tips to help:
- Use the tools at your disposal. Online advertising and results can be easily tracked using tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, the statistics from whatever email marketing site you use, etc. If you find these tools to be a bit over your head, hire a professional to help, like our experienced team at McCauley Marketing Services.
- Ask EVERY customer how they heard about you. Some companies (like healthcare facilities or many other non-retail establishments) already use intake forms for new patients or clients, so this question can be easily integrated. But as crucial as this information is, don’t get too pushy or you may push them right out the door.
- Chat with experts in your industry. The best way to learn about what’s driving your sales may vary from one field to the next, so ask friends in your industry what strategies they use, or look for a marketing company who specializes in your field.
- Keep an eye on your return on investment (ROI). It’s tempting to get excited when your data shows that a campaign brought you $20,000 worth of business, but don’t forget to take all the costs into account (including employee time in carrying out the campaign) and compare your campaigns to see which one provides the highest percentage of return. Remember, a campaign’s ROI can change constantly, so re-evaluate on a regular basis.
- Use visuals. For example, you may take out an ad in a magazine each month for a year, but you change the ad every three months. Chances are, all the customer can tell you is that they saw an ad in this magazine, so it could be helpful to chart the number of leads and sales you get over time, and mark each time the advertising changes so you can see which specific ads are the most successful.
- Look at the data consistently. So many companies will go through the effort of tracking where their sales come from, but yet they rarely take the time to sit down and look at the numbers and determine whether they need to revise their strategy.
- Take demographics into account. For instance, you may notice that a certain campaign has been successful but only with ages 35-50, so it may be best to pair it with another campaign that speaks to other age groups as well.
- Pay close attention to your special offers. Find out whether a customer came in specifically because of the special or if they were planning to come in already and just found out about the discount after the fact.
Advertising is not an exact science. While our team at McCauley Marketing Services does do extensive research into your business, your target audience, and your competitors when we design a customized marketing plan, there’s always an element of trial and error involved, and tracking your campaigns is the only way to know which “trials” are truly successful. If you’re ready to get starting, give us a call to schedule a meeting with McCauley Marketing Services. Or, for more helpful marketing tips and resources, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.