This appeared in print as part of the story “Best Laid Plans” In 2007, the City of Columbia’s visioning document suggested that council...
So many small businesses monitor by hours in the day and live by the clock. If you have a full day of work five days a week, you’re doing great, and your bank account will reward you for your labors.
Then suddenly your business requires more hours than you have to give in a day. And you start wondering: When do I know when I need to hire a new person? How many leads do I actually have to generate to afford my new person? Is my marketing working? What’s my return on investment? And that’s when things get tricky.
With all the data available now, it’s hard to know what numbers mean what: what to pay attention to and what to ignore. Ultimately, you can gather all the numbers you want, but if you don’t review them, they are actually less valuable than living entirely by the clock.
The numbers can be overwhelming at first, so get started by defining a goal for what you want your marketing to do. Then decide what metrics will help you determine if it’s working. To keep it simple, think of your measurement metrics in three buckets.
These activities are a mix of sales and marketing actions taken to generate leads for the company: number of phone calls made, ads run, blogs published, videos produced, social media posts, networking events attended, emails sent. Measure the actual activities completed each month.
Activities are planned to engage with others on one level or another; track the engagement from each. Measurement data for activities may include number of conversations; website page visits; email list growth; social media likes and shares; or, for a networking event, business cards distributed.
Determine how to measure the results of your engagement. Three must-measure items are: leads generated, sales meetings held and closed business. Ultimately, you want to know: Did you make money on the activities you completed and engagement you generated?
After tracking your bucket numbers for a period of time, the game of marketing becomes a bit less overwhelming. Eventually you’ll know which activities yield the most closed business and can calculate the return on your investment.
Here are commonly used metrics to consider when measuring the success of your sales and marketing activities.
Online metrics are easy to track. For this reason, if you’re engaging in harder-to-track marketing activities such as print advertisements, networking events, direct mail, radio or TV campaigns, you may consider using unique URLs called subdomains like radio.yourwebsite.com or creating a specific landing page like yourwebsite.com/radio to track activity engagement from non-online sources. You can also narrow down online data to windows of time in an effort to correlate with publication and event dates to see if they boosted engagement online.
Traffic sources are the ways people find your site. They may find you by typing in your website domain (direct visitors), searching for your services (search visitors), via social media (social) or clicking on another website linking to yours (referral visitors).
Bounce rate is determined by the number of visitors who enter your site and immediately leave without taking action. A lower bounce rate is better, though the rate can be impacted by many factors in your marketing actions, so if yours is higher than you’d like, take a look at the big picture before freaking out.
Sessions and percentage of new sessions indicate how many times your site was visited and how many of those visitors are new.
Landing pages, page views and exit pages help you understand how people enter your site, the most-viewed content and where they choose to leave your site. Popular pages with low session durations and high exit rates are key areas for improvement.