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Small business marketing and measurement a tool not to be missed

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 25, 2012 11:10PM



Marketing is all about attracting attention and building relationships. So how do you measure how much attraction small business generates and how many relationships you build?

From my observations most marketing behaviors remind me of the “Captain Wing It” role where small business owners to sales professionals spray their marketing actions all over the place and then pray something will stick.

With the Internet, the ability to measure your marketing efforts is far easier now than ever before. Websites can include Google Analytics or their own customized statistics dashboard. Then others sites and tools provide additional metrics to measure current marketing campaigns. Even WordPress has a plug by Yoast to measure Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is a great tool for measuring the SEO effectiveness of your blog posts. I know because I have been using it for the last three years.

Inbound Marketing Measurements

Each morning, the first action I take beyond deleting all the SPAM from my email accounts is to measure my inbound marketing through more than 20 metrics. Some of these measurements include:

• Unique Visitors to my website

• RSS feed from my website

• Twitter followers

• LinkedIn

• Alexa Ranking

Additionally, I also have another 10 weekly metrics plus another 15 monthly metrics.

I am currently expanding into delivering some webinars and Eventbrite provides additional statistics as does Cintrix Go to Webinar. All of this data is crucial if I wish to use my limited resources of time, energy, money and emotions to increase sales.

What these numbers allow for me is to see trends, what is working as far as marketing and what is not working. The time investment averages around 10 minutes each day with another 10 minutes for the weekly data capture. At the end of the month, this adds another 20-30 minutes for updating and analysis.

Outbound Marketing Measurements

During the course of the last 10 years, I have identified some key benchmarks for the more traditional marketing efforts. For example, when I speak, I usually receive a client from that presentation within six months. Lately, that statistic has changed with two to four months being the average. What has also changed due to the economy is the average sales value of that client has dropped.

Another marketing effort was something I gleaned from Robert Middleton specific to sending pertinent articles to potential customers. When I employ this marketing campaign, my first time appointment rate is around 50 percent compared to the usual cold calling rate of 25 percent. As I am selective when I do engage in cold calling, my success rate is probably higher than most.

Yet from working with small business owners to entrepreneurs, most cannot tell me the results from their marketing. And what is even worse those who profess to be experts in marketing cannot share the specific results from their solutions.

One simple action is to always ask how a potential customer discovered you. Sometimes these prospects will tell you without asking. Just this past month, I earned my first client from a YouTube video.

Efficient and effective marketing is hard work. To not measure the efforts of all those actions is not probably the smartest course of action.

The role for small business owners have expanded to include measuring marketing efforts. Without knowing the results from all marketing efforts both inbound and outbound, the small business owners to even crazy busy sales professionals are missing significant opportunities to maximize their profits, reduce costs and increase sales.

As this is the holiday season, December’s columns will discuss the gifts of assessments and how these gifts can improve your small business human capital talent (employees) and increase sales.

P.S. Shout Out: I love Pikk’s Tavern (near the square in Valparaiso) fall squash soup. Over at Cooper’s Hawk in Westfield Southlake Mall, the Lobster/Crab Bisque Soup is beyond delicious.

Robert Middleton – www.actionplan.com

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