How Do You Know If Your Marketing Is Working?

The age of digital marketing has afforded us a huge novelty – the ability to track data that tells a clear story over time of what works for your brand and what doesn’t. The only problem is that now we have so much data and it can be in multiple sources, so it’s hard to know what to focus on and what data really matters.


For some businesses, conversion rate doesn’t matter much because the product you sell is high ticket. For others, they need to convert a large number of customers quickly in order to work within slim profit margins so conversions are critical. This illustrates that the most important factor when determining if your marketing is working is to analyze if the data shows that you are moving towards your goals.


So when we start talking about defining if your marketing is working, it’s imperative to know in advance what your goals are. If you don’t know what your goals are, you’ll always think your marketing isn’t working and be disappointed or frustrated. This seems really obvious, but it genuinely isn’t. We work with many small businesses that do not have their goals fully mapped out, or will tell us they just want to attract as much business as possible. But what is the true market potential of your business? What will it take for you to reach that next milestone? Or launch a new line of products? Or hire another salesperson or pay off your small business loan? Are you looking to grow, sustain or develop in new directions?


A well defined goal will set up a path for how you help a customer move through the journey to ultimately making a purchase with you. So if you are a business who needs to convert customers quickly and often, your touchpoints along the way will look one way (and so will the data you assess), but if you’re in it to convert only a few high value customers, those touchpoints, thus the data points you consider, will look different.


Once you know what the end goal is and what the indicators are along the way, you can start to determine what data to review. When it comes to this, it’s important to remember that you want to track data over a minimum period of time before deciding if a certain tactic, or your overall strategy, is working. Knee jerk reactions will only lead to confusion and wasted resources!


So in the example of a high turnover business model, you likely need to review how many engage with your lead capture tools, where they go on your site and how quickly they convert to a purchase. If you’re looking to convert high ticket customers, you may need to look at what information they are accessing and how they behave after consuming it. You’ll also want to assess microconversions more closely such as signing up for a newsletter or following you on social media. The easiest way to sum this up is that each step of your customer’s journey provides a data touchpoint for you to review and decide what’s working. For some businesses, if you’re converting a lot of visitors to subscribers, you’ve created a marketing funnel that will convert enough customers to call it a success. For others, the only metric that will truly matter is purchases, or if customer lifetime value is important, how many are repeat customers. If you use loss leaders to bring in new customers, or giveaways, promos or free tools, you may not make money the first time a customer purchases and the most important data point for you is reconversion.


It also matters a lot what the tactic is. You want your expectations to be in line with what you are doing. For example, if you are assessing if your SEO efforts are working, you’ll look at traffic converted organically from your listing or keywords to your website. If the volume is high for the correct keywords, it’s successful. But then you have to look at the next stage in the funnel. Did they convert from there to a subscriber? Did they read information on your website/ How long did they remain before leaving? Did they call, book or purchase from there?


Regardless of your business model and goals, there are some universal factors that most businesses can look at to determine if their digital marketing is doing well though. Here are some basics to look out for:


●  Sales revenue – This is a no brainer. If your ales are growing and you can contribute it to leads coming from your marketing channels, content, SEO, social media or any other effort, your marketing is working.


● Customer retention – For many business types, you need a customer to keep coming back to be profitable, especially if acquisition costs are high. In this case, you’ll be highly focused on retaining the customers you have so you’ll want to dig down into the factors that retain a customers and intervene in any data area that is lacking to improve the issue. If your retention is high, you’re definitely doing something right.


● Website traffic – Even if you’re not seeing it in your bottomline, your marketing efforts are doing something right for you if your website is getting a lot of traffic. The important thing to sift through here is if it’s the right type of traffic, especially if you aren’t seeing it in your bottom line. You can backtrack into your Google Analytics to find out where site visitors are coming from, what they searched for to get to you (so you know if the intent was wrong and they got to you in error) and to figure out what led them to leave your site without converting in any way. This isn’t foolproof, but if your bounce rate is quick and high, you might be getting users who aren’t right for you, or your content might not match what you are attracting them for. This is something you may want to dig deeper in to with a marketing expert if you’re experiencing this type of issue.


If your web traffic is high and sales are converting, you’ll likely collect the data to start to narrow in on what is attract people and what is persuading them you are the right fit so you can do more of that!


● ROI – No matter what tactics you are using to find new customers or bring make existing/previous customers, you want to get something back for the time, money and resources spent. This can be complex because there are many ways to slice and dice this one, but if you have a clear goal from the outset, the marketing tactics you use should return the expected results or something is going wrong. You can self-diagnose these issues but again, we would recommend discussing them with a professional marketer. If you make some adjustments and use your data touchpoints to find out where things are going sideways, you should be able to get a good return on your investment. If not, it may be time to try something new.


It can be really easy to fall into the trap of taking anecdotal information as data so beware of this when you consider how things are going to. Qualitative data is helpful, but it doesn’t tell a full picture – you definitely need to have the hard numbers as well.


Even if you’re fully engrossed in numerous marketing campaigns and tactics, you can always take a step outside, grab your data and decide what is really working. Actually, we highly recommend you do a full deep dive into your goals at least once per year and adjust your tactics accordingly. Check your data regularly against the progress towards your goal and work backwards to find the bottleneck if you’re not on track.


If you need help setting goals for your business, creating strategies to meet them or sift through the data mountain, we’ve got you! Give us a call or drop us an email to chat about how we can support you.

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