I talk to a lot of business owners, and many of them seem to resent their marketing spend. They feel like they have to put money into marketing, but they don’t like it. And this seems to be especially true of digital marketing.
“I just built a new website 3 years ago – what do you mean I need a new one?”
“Do I have to spend money on social media?”
I hear variations of this time and time again, so I’m going to make a radical recommendation. Stop any marketing efforts you can’t justify with an increase in conversions. If it’s not moving the dial on your key performance indicators, don’t do it! Stop spending more money on marketing than will ever be returned to you.
Now, in order to know what to stop, you’re going to need to do a few things.
One, you’re going to actually need to know what your key performance indicators are. I think this is where business owners get frustrated with marketers sometimes. Don’t settle for a brand sentiment KPI, unless you know how it’s affecting the KPIs that matter to all business owners: the ones related to making or keeping more money. Brand sentiment may be the best KPI for you, but how are you measuring it and how is it impacting your bottom line?
You can keep this simple. It is perfectly okay to say you want more phone calls. Or more inquiries filled out on your website. If you have the ability to purchase something on your site, more sales is probably a no brainer.
Where do things stand?
Two, you need to determine the current state of things. You need to know where you’re currently spending marketing dollars, and you need to find out what you’re currently measuring, if anything. If you’re working with a marketing agency or have a marketing department, they should be able to provide you this information. If not, check with your accountant about any money you spent in the last year that was marked as a marketing expense. Do you know how you measured the success of whatever that money was spent on?
Analytics, Conversions, and Lead Scoring, oh my!
Once you’ve determined your KPIs and have figured out what, if anything, you’re already measuring, you’re ready to tie it together. In an ideal world that means, you will have:
- Analytics – at it’s most basic, this tells you what is happening on your website or other platforms you might be using.
- Conversion Tracking – this is next level analytics and KEY to ending your resentment. You need to tie marketing activities to key actions on your website that you’ve determined support your KPIs. This might mean enabling call tracking or tracking which marketing activities lead to the most quality forms filled out.
- Lead Scoring – if you want to take things a step beyond just tracking your basic conversions, you can tie into a system that actually allows you to score the leads that come in so that you can tell not only which activities led to the MOST leads but which led to the BEST leads.
There are many other steps you may want to take, but these are a good start. At the very least, install analytics and set up conversion tracking and either monitor those yourself or insist that your marketing reports include information on which marketing efforts are really supporting your bottom line. Once you can connect the money you’re spending on marketing to the money you’re making from marketing, your attitude regarding marketing spend will move from resentment to rejoicing.
PS – analytics and conversion tracking are not limited to marketing activities that occur online. Make sure your offline marketing efforts are being measured as well