Data is not in short supply. No matter where you look, it seems like everyone has applications and advice for analytics, data insights, and collecting information about your business to help you make better decisions. That can be helpful, but it can also make things a bit daunting to those who are just getting started.
With so many tools and purported “best practices,” how can you possibly know what is going to be most effective? For starters, a little research goes a long way. Understanding which metrics are unquestionable and which you might be able to tweak here and there is the first step in your success with data and analytics.
ROI, or return on investment, is one of the biggest KPIs for any business, and it’s probably even more valuable for small businesses who are just getting their feet wet. Analytics is less about the data and more about how to make decisions based on the data, which is the case with ROI. If you want to improve your marketing investment, here’s what you need to do.
You can’t do anything with metrics until you have a plan for how to approach them. And no, “monitor and improve marketing ROI” is not a plan. That’s a thing you need to do, yes, but it requires a much more detailed strategy if it is going to be an actionable plan that you can put to task.
82% of marketing professionals surveyed said that while executives want all campaigns measured, less than one-third of them are capable of effectively evaluating ROI based on channels. And that same study showed that only 48% of marketers are currently using analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
There are two major issues that you can address right now. Creating a plan for measuring and monitoring your ROI is essential. That should include the frequency of checking the metrics, comparing the return to what you’ve done on the front end, and ensuring that you have tools in place to handle marketing metrics.
You should also train all of your leaders and sales reps on how to look at KPIs and other analytics. Too often, sales reps lose their appreciation for these details because they’re not being included in the process. Instead, they’re just being told that their numbers “aren’t good enough” and expected to improve.
Get everyone on board here and get a good plan in place for all of your analytics, including teaching everyone how and why to measure certain aspects of your marketing efforts.
The available web analytics tools make it easy for businesses to gather any number of insights and metrics about their online operations. That’s helpful, but it can also be a distraction if you’re not careful. Vanity metrics refer to things like:
Sure, these are great numbers, but they don’t really “do” much for your marketing team. They make your brand look good, but that’s not nearly enough.
Instead, focus on engagement metrics, or metrics that actually equate to ROI in the end. Engagement metrics show you how people are getting involved with your content and what users are doing that might actually lead them to a sale, or give you a reason to market to them more directly:
For example, if you’ve launched a great social media marketing campaign, you’re not going to care how many of your fans view the story you’ve shared so much as you’ll want to monitor those who actually clicked the link in the story, shared the post to their own social media, etc.
Engagement is proof that your marketing efforts are working. It’s also a great way to find blind spots or holes in your strategy that might need to be addressed.
The big question is whether your marketing efforts are making an impact on your sales numbers. Figure out which marketing strategies are most successful, which ones need work, and where you can make improvements. You’ll also want to take advantage of data here to create a strategy based on analytics and understand the decision journey that each customer takes.
One of the biggest misses for small businesses that are trying to improve things like ROI is not involving all the right people. You might think that sales and marketing teams are the only ones that need to focus on marketing ROI—you are incorrect. Sure, they should be the ones with the primary focus, but you’ll also want to make sure that the entire organization understands return on investment and how to maximize it most effectively.
One of the best things that you can do to optimize your marketing efforts is to be willing to experiment and try different things. Sure, the marketing strategy that you have may be good enough, but “good enough” isn’t going to cut it. Ask yourself how you’re setting your team up to explore new opportunities and growth potential, and then make sure that you’ve got a budget to accommodate that.
The same old ways aren’t always going to work. It’s time to explore new avenues of marketing that can help boost your ROI. Try different strategies. Pick an omnichannel approach. Whatever you do, do it with the goal of helping to increase the return on your marketing spend. If it doesn’t work, make a note and take it off the list.
At Smith.ai, our virtual receptionists offer another great way to improve your ROI with an outsourced partnership. We can provide support as your 24/7 answering service so that you never miss a lead. Plus, our receptionists can also assist with lead intake and appointment scheduling to free up your time. Ask about our support for outreach campaigns, as well, when you schedule a consultation or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.