Today’s Guest Post is by Tristan Barger – Enjoy!
Not properly analyzing the success of every campaign might seem like an isolated issue. What you don’t realize is this lack of knowledge instigates several unintended (and seemingly unrelated) problems.
How can small businesses track and analyze marketing tactics to determine what is successful and why some campaigns fail? Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of local small businesses. I am also the owner of a locally owned SMB and face many of the same challenges my customers struggle with. Most frustrations we discuss are the same across all industries: Local competitors with prices so low they can’t compete, or national competitors that carry brand recognition that potential clients instinctively trust, or the business owner is doing the job of the CEO, CFO, COO, CMO, etc.
All of these can be wrapped up into a single issue that impacts every dollar you spend. Most small businesses don’t have the resources to try, or haven’t found a successful method to track real conversion rates and ROI on marketing and advertising investments. You might have one preferred method of marketing (online, print mailing, partners, broadcast, seasonal promotions, etc.), but even if you only use one marketing method, you still have no way to determine how successful it is against word-of-mouth and customer referrals.
With no standard method to evaluate marketing campaigns business owners are left with no way to calculate investment costs, leads generated, appointments scheduled, deals closed or the final conversion rate of specific campaigns. You have no clue what’s working. You don’t have the resources to determine if you’re losing money every month on marketing campaigns, what campaigns are just draining your budget without generating a single lead or if you should be investing more in marketing methods that are successfully bringing in qualified leads.
What I find most interesting is that year after year the biggest frustration I hear is a problem that has thousands of solutions available. Some CRM software platforms are as cheap as $25 a month. So what is the real problem? The solutions aren’t built for 75 percent of the small businesses I work with. These businesses don’t have the resources to track the necessary information or set-up these systems to complement their business and marketing model.
But even with these often complicated software services, business owners still find that one of their major obstacles is determining what leads came from where? Most SMBs offer only a few primary products or services and users end up getting overcharged for software platforms that bill them for a long list of capabilities that they will never use.
There is no solution that will work for every small business owner. But there is a solution that will work for your business, you just have to find it. So before you put that corporate helmet on and start banging your head against the wall, start by simply identifying where most of your qualified leads are coming from. You do this by asking customers the right questions. Get as much information as possible, i.e. where they heard of your company, if they are shopping around for prices with your competition, and most important, DON’T forget to ask for all of their contact information so you can keep them in a lead database.
Once you start looking into the number of qualified leads that come in and the close rate, you will get a better idea of what kind of CRM service you need. Do you simply need call tracking? Do you need web analytics and keyword tracking? Is this something you can handle in-house or should you look into having a partner do it and just send you the reports every month telling you what investments are working and what you should stop dumping money into?
From personal experience, I will warn you that you might discover you have a bigger problem that needs to be addressed before anything else is done. If your close rate of qualified leads is at 15 percent, you need first to identify where in the process things start to “go off the rails,” and fix it. It could be an administration issue, poor communication with staff or a larger problem related to the kind of leads you are attracting.
This process allows small businesses to invest their money where it will yield the highest return. I still haven’t perfected the process myself, but every day we get closer to a system that works for our business. Another crucial thing to keep in mind is that a business cannot succeed without understanding where qualified leads are coming from and focusing their budget on those programs to grow their customer base.
Tristan Barger is President and CEO of Golden Mailer, Inc.
As the owner and CEO of Golden Mailer, Inc., Tristan wears many hats. Tristan leads his team through positive motivation and is an avid believer in marketing and advertising solutions at a local level. Every aspect of Tristan’s role is founded on a specific goal: to bring local businesses the information they need to succeed through marketing production and quality services. With an 80 percent client retention rate, he works hard to foster and build his relationships with clients through hands-on marketing tactics.