What are the five essential marketing metrics small businesses must monitor? It all comes down to customers. Attract customers. Retain customers. This is solved using marketing math to align results and revenue, entirely focused on the customer journey.
Marketing has changed drastically over the last decade. In 2011, there were just 150 marketing tech tools. It now exceeds over 8,000! It is overwhelming in choices and often underwhelming in value.
For marketers, this resource investment comes with substantial performance expectations. Marketing must not only test, integrate, and train on these technologies, but also become power users, while connecting results to sales. Small businesses don’t have the time and resources to keep up. You need to drive sales, not learn another tool. Yes, there are fantastic tools out there – just choose wisely.
What your company focuses on is the same as everyone else – getting customers and keeping them happy.
The first important marketing metric to track is the number of people that are viewing your business online. Prospects need to see your business seven times before they can remember you. For parents with young kids, consider how many times you ask, cajole, demand, and bribe them to clean their rooms! The same applies here. The easiest way to achieve 7X is to keep track of your impressions (aka imps), or digital eyeballs, as I refer to them.
Add up all of your organic impressions from Google Search Console – a free tool – and any impressions from paid advertising. To determine if you’re achieving a 7X success rate, divide total impressions by your target audience size.
Tip: Determining your total accessible market (TAM)
How do you figure out the 7x number? First, you must calculate the size of your target audience. There is no way to get 100% of your target market. Instead, identify your total accessible market,or TAM. A formula to determine the “right size” of your TAM considers your market position, the competition, and market conditions. For example, let's assume market demand is 75,000 units annually. You have a low market share, there are multiple competitors, but your industry is growing. Your total accessible market (TAM) number would be calculated at 10,000 units. Multiplying this by 7 will give you a monthly goal of 70,000 organic and advertising impressions. 70,000 impressions is your 7x target! Record and track your results in Excel to compare with the previous month, quarter, and year, including seasonality.
Why are impressions so important? If prospects don’t see and recognize your business, it will never lead to sales. There are many other numbers to measure awareness, such as searches, users, leads, conversions, likes, follows, cost per acquisition (CPA), goal completions, etc. But people’s eyes glaze over when you explain these terms to your board, your customer service staff, or your sales team. People understand “digital eyeballs” and you’ll know quickly if you’re on the right path. If you’re off track, then fix it quickly.
Leads are the second most vital marketing number you should track. How often have you said, “If we only had more leads!” Every business needs more leads. But how do you decide how many leads you need, and what is a good lead?
Usually marketing hands over leads to sales. Marketing gets upset when sales doesn’t follow up with the leads. The sales team is unhappy that marketing gives them crap leads. It results in zero conversions, no increased pipeline, and no new revenue. This conflict doesn’t bring people together and is a common problem. Many companies spend too much time defining and measuring the process. This includes lead definitions, lead scoring, demand generation templates, and predictive investment attribution.
What’s missing? What’s the one thing that we haven’t covered yet? Customers!
This is the person who has seen your marketing seven times or more (the previously mentioned marketing metric). If your messaging resonates with them, they will raise their hand and say, “tell me more!”
It will take effort to identify what a good lead is for you. A lead could be clicks on your website for a flagship product. It could be people calling your business, or free trials. It could also be the number of online appointments set, possibly an eBook download. Or referral leads, or even existing customers purchasing a new product.
The metric that matters is to aim for 10x leads. Let’s assume you want 10 new retainer clients this year. You’ll need 100 leads (10 multiplied by 10). Not every lead will result in a sale. If you do this consistently, some leads will eventually convert to revenue.
Are you on track to get 100 leads this month? If not, gather your teams and start working together to improve it.
People associate the two previous customer acquisition metrics, generating awareness and leads, with what a marketer does. Customer retention is even more important to monitor as a key marketing indicator!
Double-down on customer satisfaction. Do not give them any reason to switch to a competitor. As we all know, keeping customers happy is vital. However, satisfaction is the most at risk after a sale. Why? Because you have YET to deliver anything to your client.
It is essential to plan how you’re going to measure, monitor, and improve customer satisfaction. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the easiest way to get started. NPS is a proven method to predict customer loyalty and future buyer behavior. NPS emails are something we’ve all seen. “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to family or friends?” The “Nine” ratings are the happiest. These are the “promoters” of your business.
We recommend sending a three-question survey to your customers:
This should be done right away with new customers – when you are at the greatest risk of losing them. Do the survey at least once per year, and as often as is necessary for your business. You’ll soon have quantitative data to show your performance over time versus “gee, I think we’re doing okay.”
The NPS scores range from a - 100 to a + 100. Typically, B2B businesses are in the 50-60s range.
Pay close attention to your detractors. These customers are your 0-6 scores, unhappy customers that can damage your brand and impede growth via negative word-of-mouth. Find the root cause and fix it immediately. It is equally important to keep your promoters happy. They should be protected and nurtured.
Your repeat purchase rate is the fourth critical marketing metric to track. This number, of course, will vary for every business. Repeat purchases directly correlate to the previously mentioned customer satisfaction measurement. If customers aren’t satisfied the first time and you don’t know why, or didn’t ask, repeat purchases will decrease. This is easy to overlook, especially if you just received another big order or signed a new client agreement.
It is crucial to analyze purchase data for all customers. If you have a high-volume business, you may not notice the declines until it’s too late. Have your biggest customers ordered significantly less in the past three to six months, than they did a year ago? The decreases may not be obvious, particularly if you successfully launched a new product, but your flagship product sales were flat. If you take a closer look, you may find that repeat purchases have fallen considerably. If you are a single transaction business, then assess your repeat referrals. Is their trust in you still strong? Referrals are the cornerstone for many businesses. Make sure to show them some TLC, and not only during the holiday season.
Last by not least, the quantity and quality of customer reviews you receive is the last important marketing metric. Google considers reviews a major factor in your online rankings. Therefore, you should be focused on obtaining more reviews from customers. Why? Because people read reviews and make purchasing decisions based upon them. Bad reviews happen, but don’t be overly concerned. Be sure to respond quickly and courteously because Google also judges you on this.
Your review process should be simple and easy with multiple options for customers to complete reviews.
One proven tip is to use and generate a dynamic QR code for the back of business cards, thank you emails, retail counter placards, and on your website. However, this is not an easy task for some businesses, especially for clients that don’t want others to know that they used your services (e.g., lawyers or fractional marketing services like my company). Instead, concentrate efforts on securing testimonials. You can even write a testimonial for them. “I took the liberty of drafting a testimonial for you. Will you approve it?” Then post it on your website, collateral, retail store signage, and social media. Another tip: include a line item in your master services agreements asking them for testimonials, success stories, or case studies.
Marketing is essential to any business, but particularly for small businesses that don’t have the financial resources of Fortune 500 companies. Marketing is often viewed as an art form or a creative flair. However, marketing can be more complex than simply updating your website, creating new content, or choosing the right stock art photos. When you look at marketing through the lens of measurements and analytics instead of intuition, you’re looking at your marketing efforts through the eyes of your customers. This gives you the opportunity to see what is most important and how satisfied they truly are with your product or service. If there is a gap between what you think your customers want and what they actually want, this will allow you to create more effective marketing that speaks to your customers. By tracking the above marketing metrics, you will be able to gain a better understanding of your business, which can help you improve sales and increase customer satisfaction.
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