How do you know if your marketing is working for you? You need to measure, you need to see the results and more importantly you need to understand them. In this blog, we are going to examine the importance of measuring the performance of your marketing, and tools that will help you to do this.
The importance of measurement
When I started in marketing there was a culture of marketing was there to make your advert look ‘sexy’, a term I still hate to this day. Going further than this, marketing was simply there to provide the collateral and tools to support the marketing team. However, as the years have gone on the attitude to marketing has changed. Now people want to see marketing drive leads and generate its own income. While the expectation has changed, so has the way marketing work.
Digital marketing is now the key focus of many marketing campaigns. The problem is that now there are so many different digital marketing sub-niches such as SEO, PPC, Google my Business, email, social media, it can be hard to know where to put your marketing spend. The recommendation I give to clients is to use multiple strategies with small budgets and assess which ones are working the best, then drop some of the poor performing strategies and focus on the strategies that are creating success. However, you will only know which tactics are working in your strategy if you measure them.
Without measurement companies will often go with tactics that are on trend or what they think will work, alternatively they stop a successful strategy as it starts to take off because they can’t see the benefits that it is beginning to deliver.
The importance of understanding
Having good tools for measurement is step one, but the next important step is interpreting and acting on the data that you have been shown. If you don’t understand the data that you are given then the decisions you make will be made on false conclusions. Let me give an example. I was recently at a car boot sale, I bought some jeans, I had looked inside the label and the waist said 38, (please no judgements on my waist line). However, the 38 was actually the European size for a lady’s size 10 trousers. I discovered this when I tried to put the trousers on later that day. A simple misread and understanding and I had made a costly £2 mistake but in business this can be a lot more expensive, as the following more sensible example highlights.
I am a member of the Springhill Hospice Business Buddies as such I will sometimes visit the business buddies to work through their marketing and give some advice and support. On one such situation I was with a business who were going to get rid of their SEO agency because they didn’t see the value they were adding. I took a look at the data on their dashboard, which their current agency helpfully provides them, and was very quickly able to make some clear decisions based on the data shown.
- The agency was providing PPC services, not SEO services.
- The existing agency was providing excellent conversions, (phone calls, web form enquiries and web chat) for the money being provided.
Having understood the data, I was able to advise the business that not only should they not get rid of their agency but if possible then they should increase their budget to see if the number of conversions goes up in line with the extra spend. If it does and business increases then you can continue to scale your marketing until you reach the tipping point and extra spend doesn’t lead to extra leads and income. At this point you scale back to your previous point where you were making more income relative to the spend.
There are two key points to take from this example.
- Take the time to understand the data, read up on what the data means and how to analyse the data in the chosen tools that you are using. Most tools will come with blogs and help functions which will help you increase your knowledge on how to analyse the data on their particular platform.
- If you don’t know, find someone that does. If you use an agency then speak to them and get them to run through the data with them. Alternatively, if you are doing it yourself, speak to us and The Marketing Guy and we would be more than happy to talk you through what you are reading and help you maximise your marketing spend.
The importance of utilisation
Once you have started taking your measurements and have come to understand what they mean the next important step is how you apply those measurements. The results from your marketing analytics can be used in your business to guide the decision-making process. Here are some of the most important components to developing measurable outcomes.
Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
CAC is an index that reveals the average cost to gain new consumers. This information is also used to determine how much of an investment a company is making to attract customers on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis. This is important because it affects the bottom line – a company’s revenue. The lower this cost to acquire customers, the higher the revenue.
Customer life cycle
The customer life cycle is a term used to describe the progression of steps a customer goes through when considering, purchasing, using, and maintaining loyalty to a product or service. Companies must be aware of the costs associated with influencing a customer to buy their product or service and maintain that relationship. Loyal customers help sustain companies.
Return on Investment time (ROI)
The costs a company incurs to land a client, which can include anything from packaging to marketing, commercials, and web sites are just one half of the investment part of ROI. The return is when a client purchases a product or service. A productive return on investment is when a company earns more in sales than it spends on marketing.
Businesses need to know how a marketing team will measure the success of any campaign before investing in that campaign. This is sometimes referred to as a measurable outcome. Without the ability to measure, how will a company know if their money is being well spent?
To move away from the flashy names, simply put. You need to measure to see what you are getting for your money, if the money spent is generating more leads then it is worth continuing and investing in. If not, then perhaps consider stopping it.
The importance of having the right tools
We have driven home the reasons to measure, the need to understand your measurements and then how to apply those measurements. But how do you do it, what tools do you use? The answer is down to what you want to achieve and there are countless tools out there. For now I am going to briefly introduce you to the ones that I use and you can make your own conclusions from there.
Google analytics is a free tool that lets you look at what is happening on your website. Compared to some other tools it can be a bit basic but it does allow you to see what is happening on your website, how people are getting to your website and where they are leaving it.
You can read more tips on how to use Google Analytics from Word Stream here.
There are numerous social media scheduling tools, some of the more well-known ones are Hootsuite and Sprout Social. I have chosen to use Sendible. The reason I have chosen this tool is because of the reports it generates. I know the times I get best results for each client, I know which posts have performed the best and which have generated clicks through to the website. Sendible doesn’t have a free version and the free version of Hootsuite has become so limited it isn’t worth using anymore. If you want to look for free analytics then both LinkedIn and Facebook will give you some limited analytics for your social media.
Email is still one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing. This may well be down to platforms like Mailchimp that allow you to send email campaigns out to various mailing lists and gives reports on how each campaign has gone. Statistics like open rates, click maps and how many people have unsubscribed. All this allows you to tailor the performances of your campaign.
The importance of a final warning
There is a lot to digest in this blog, but there is one final thing to be aware of. We can often get caught up in vanity metrics, how many likes, how many comments, how many visits to our website. However, the most important thing to remember is that you are a business and the amount of money you make is always the most important thing. When looking at your data, always think is this creating me more revenue, is this beneficial to my business. If not then perhaps you need to re-think your strategy.
If you need to consider your marketing strategy further, call The Marketing Guy on 01706 548 220