Marketing 101: How to Track Your Results

Talking about their marketing, a cliché that a lot of business owners repeat is that “50% of marketing and advertising works – the problem is figuring out which 50%.”

That statement may be true for many, but it doesn’t have to be. And if it is true for your business, it’s costing you money.

The easiest way to go wrong with your marketing is to stop paying attention to results. I’ve seen business owners waste small fortunes on marketing initiatives that don’t produce. The problem isn’t that they tried something and it failed. That happens to all of us, often. The problem is that, after it failed, they kept pumping money into it for months and years to come. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results!

You have to develop the discipline of results-tracking. You have to know what’s working and what’s not. That’s how you optimize your marketing and ensure that you’re investing time and resources into projects and strategies that deliver a positive return on your investment.

If you’re not tracking your results, you need to start immediately. But, it’s also important that you link each activity or project to the appropriate metrics. For example, if you’re blogging on your website, your primary objective probably shouldn’t be lead generation. Yes, ultimately, the purpose of your marketing is to generate qualified leads. But, just like on a football team, each player or project within your marketing system has a different objective in support of your overall goal.

This is one reason why I’ve identified four “main parts” of an effective marketing system, rather than just lumping it all together. Organizing it this way makes it easier to track results appropriately.

Your branding is about marketplace positioning. Who are you, what’s your message, what’s your story, what makes you different. You should assess your various branding efforts accordingly. Is your message resonating? Does your branding position you as uniquely valuable to your target market? When leads are generated, do they understand who you are and what makes you different?

Your referral generation is about, obviously, referrals. What are you doing to create more referrals? Is it working? What is your cost-per-referral? If a tactic or a campaign is focused on the goal of creating referrals, then you have to assess by its success or failure in that specific area.

Client retention can be trickier to track, as there are multiple factors at play. Obviously the quality of your products or services greatly impact retention. But still, you can test and track various campaigns. For example, at my last business, we liked to send our clients gifts periodically. When a new client signed up, we sent them a nice “Welcome Box” and a bottle of champagne. We sent holiday gifts, and we sent each client a personalized gift on their birthday. And we found that this gifting strategy helped our retention rate.

Finally, cold lead generation. Each lead-gen campaign should be measured by how many qualified leads it creates, and at what cost. If you spend $1500 on Google AdWords, how many leads does it create for you? Depending on your industry, your performance can vary greatly across each platform. Facebook Ads performs very well in my business, creating cost-per-lead that’s significantly less than any other channel. It’s easy to spend a whole lot of money on a lead-gen campaign, so it’s very important to track your results closely. And, a note from personal experience – pay particular attention to whether the leads you’re generating are qualified! We’ve had issues, particularly with Google AdWords, with phone calls or website contact requests coming from bots or spammers. It’s easy to get excited when you see a lead come in from your website, but you need to verify that it’s a qualified lead.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be investing your time, effort, or resources into marketing projects without tracking results. That includes your personal time. Many people are conscious of the dollars they spend, but don’t account for the time they’re spending. Your time is the most valuable commodity you own, and you shouldn’t be investing it into campaigns or strategies that aren’t producing!

Develop the discipline of tracking results and you can guarantee that your marketing will be successful. That doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes or invest into campaigns that fail – you will. But if you’re paying attention to the data, you’ll know when something isn’t working. At that point, you can tweak it and make it work, or you can pull the plug and move on to something new. With time, you’ll develop a “portfolio” of marketing strategies that are producing results for your business, and you can continue to add to and diversify it.

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Danny Decker

I work with business owners to create real, practical marketing plans – and create systems to make sure the plan actually gets executed. I’ll help you put a strategy in place to create predictably positive cash-flow, to generate new leads consistently, to create more referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, and much more.

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