Why tracking your small business ROI is key to growing
Choosing the right marketing channel can be challenging!
We all want to bring in new customers with every advertising dollar spent. It’s a simple concept: You want to get the biggest bang for your buck. So, of the many marketing channels you can use to promote business, which should you choose? What kind of communication convinces the most consumers to buy from you? Where’s the best place to put your marketing money? Diving in a little deeper – Is it the channel? Or am I just not using it correctly?
Bottom line: You need to take the challenge and explore more channels.
Shrewd marketers know, to the penny, which ads, radio or TV spots, social media sites or direct mail pieces convert to enough cash to cover marketing costs – and net a profit, too. Do you track your investment? Try tracking sales to find out which promotions pay off.
Early in their boldly successful business journey, Apple’s advertisers traced their sales volume to various marketing venues selling their products. After doing their research, they put the most marketing money into TV commercials and glossy magazines. Apple’s strategy propelled their company to world domination, but it won’t work for every business.
Choosing the right marketing channels is a matter of understanding your customers and knowing where to reach them. If you have a small, neighborhood business like a beauty salon, auto repair shop or lawn mowing service, a million-dollar TV ad is not for you. Your marketing money might be better spent on church bulletins, restaurant placemats, school sponsorships, billboards or anywhere else local people look for products and services.
Find the right folks. Track their responses
Reaching customers depends on who they are . . . and where they can be found. While a pricey TV ad on Super Bowl Sunday boosts many huge corporations doing business around the world, those snazzy commercials probably wouldn’t do for you. Advertising during big games is unlikely to lure the little old lady down the street to a Saturday morning prayer service or bring in browsers to a local arts and crafts festival. If you really want your business to flourish, the best marketing strategies lie somewhere between Apple or Nike and Sam’s Snow Removal or Debra’s Dog-Walking Service.
Which marketing channels are best for you?
Which choices are likely to be your most profitable marketing channels? Consider the questions below to help you figure out how various channels affect your sales.
Any methods used to track sales back to marketing modes provide valuable insights on getting the most for your advertising money!
What about website marketing? No matter how big or small your business, it needs a website. Websites are like shingles that doctors, lawyers, and apothecaries once put on their doors. Customers want to see a visible sign that you’re in business.
Questions: Does our website track traffic? Does it urge people to sign up for email notices or sale alerts? Can customers printout coupons or codes that can be traced?
Should we try social media? Word-of-mouth, studies say, is the most effective kind of marketing. Getting people to talk is a good argument for posting business blurbs on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites. Followers may not rush in to buy – but they’re likely to mention you to friends or to re-post – especially if your blurbs are interesting, entertaining or provocative.
Questions: Do you count ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ each post gets? Do you ask satisfied customers to react to posts?
Does email advertising work? If done correctly, email advertising is an excellent marketing tactic. For starters, make your Subject line spectacular. It should tempt people to open. Make your inner message short, visual and to the point – readable in 30 seconds or less. Email current customers to stay in touch. Keep in mind that law requires you to provide ‘opt-out’ functions for randomly sent the email.
Questions: Do we use promo codes to track action? Do we ask for short replies from interested folks?
Can sales be tracked to print ads? Print ads that pay depend on placing them where customers will see them. If a whole zip code is your target market, clever direct mail pieces can be enticing. To reach students, hang catchy posters in schools or colleges. Buy a billboard ad on a busy freeway to attract drivers going to work or traveling.
Questions: What can we add to print pieces to help trace sales? Could we use easy-to-recall phone numbers or crafty catchwords to count responses?
Online pay-per-click ads? Google Adwords and other online tracing options are a boon to small businesses. Tracking features, like pay-per-click, let you learn how many viewers looked at your ads by charging you every time someone clicks on one.
Questions: Which tactics best track buyers? Coupons? Deals? Promo Codes? Special phone orders? Or links to your website shopping cart where all orders are tracked?
For electronic sales tracking, try Google, GEO Targeting, Social Media Tools Keywords in website copy causes Google to bump up your business on search pages. Google’s GEO targeting, online listings, postings, and reviews provide data on activity. Google Analytics and similar tools on other sites track consumer interests and behaviors. Facebook Auto Replies, Google Forms, and comparable options provide feedback for online action.
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