There’s always something we’re doing that’s working better than everything else. If we’re unsure what that is, it’s usually only because we’re not tracking. Easy fix.
Another reason is because improvements might be too small to seem significant “to the naked eye.”
For example, let’s say we’re using two marketing strategies, A and B.
Marketing A generates 6 clients in 3 months.
Marketing B generates 13 clients in 3 months.
So which one works better than the other?
Many entrepreneurs would say B.
But we don’t have all the data to make a sound decision. Particularly: How many leads did A generate vs. B to draw in those clients?
Let’s factor that in:
Marketing A generated 300 leads in 3 months.
Marketing B generated 1,200 leads in 3 months.
If Marketing B attracted 4x as many leads… should it only have attracted 2x as many clients?
Let’s go one more step… by calculating the conversion rates:
Marketing A: 6 clients / 300 leads * 100 = 2% lead-to-client conversion rate
Marketing B: 13 clients / 1,200 leads * 100 = 1.08% lead-to-client conversion rate
NOW we can truly see which marketing strategy worked better: Marketing A. It converted nearly double the amount of clients as Marketing B. If it converted them with less resources (time, energy, money) spent, then we know we’ve got a winner.
Please pardon all these maths; I hope I didn’t lose you.
The point is, tracking our company’s marketing helps us make growth-focused decisions clearly, easily, and fairly quickly… without a lot of costly guess work.
We could get a lot crazier than this, like tracking where incoming calls come from. But let’s keep it simple.
Pro Tip: No one to actually review data from these tools yet? Still implement them ASAP. That ensures your marketing strategist will have data to read once you find one!
Here’s the minimum you need to gauge the value of your marketing efforts:
Get your website person to install Matomo Analytics. (It’s free.)
This will help you see what page people enter on, page they leave on, how long they stay (on-site, and on-page), what path they take, when/whether they opt in, how many times they’ve visited, and exactly where in the %*&($ they came from.
All vital info, so you know if your site needs fixing and how your lead gen efforts are working (or not). (Note, if you want Matomo to report search terms people use to find you, that requires a paid extension. Thanks, Google.)
Get your website person to activate Google Search Console. (It’s free.)
This will help you see what pages rank in Google (if any), whether your site’s even in Google, and how many people click on your listing vs. pass it by in search results… as a start.
All vital info, so you know if your Google optimization is trash and you need to rework what people see in search results. You can also find terms you’re ranking for that you didn’t expect — again, to capitalize on easy wins. And more things.
Use unique links for every offline marketing campaign, when possible. (It’s free.)
How can you tell if all those bookings came from that workshop you ran, the business cards you left at the cafe, or the speech you gave for that local nonprofit? Well, you won’t unless you drive people to your site using unique links for each mention.
If you’re on WordPress, you can get your website person to install Pretty Links plugin. I don’t recommend bitly. (What if they disappear one day… then what happens to all your links/marketing?
If hosted on your own server, you can be your own Bitly! Have your website person install something like YOURLs to create your own URL shortener service just for your company’s links.
No matter where you’re hosted, you can use “UTM parameters” — different codes you place at the end of your website link to track where traffic comes from. Personally, I find creating, using, and keeping track of UTM links too fiddly and annoying… though it probably produces the most useful data. See A Beginners Guide to UTM Parameters (And How to Use Them), if that’s the option you choose.
If you’re just starting out with tracking, I recommend keeping it simplest. This might mean choosing YOURLs or Pretty Links, depending on your setup. “Simple” is still informative enough for most purposes.
Get your website person to install a mailing list script like Sendy, or use a service with at least basic analytics.
You should be tracking email open rate and click through rate at the very least. Sendy isn’t free, but very low-cost (under $100) and it’s a one-time fee. You can mail to as many subscribers as your server allows. (Actually, we recommend using something like Amazon SES or MailGun to improve email delivery rates and mail to a lot of people for a very low cost.)
Another option I just found is Mailbluster. Ah-mazing! Excellent reviews. You can mail to 65,000 subscribers completely free, with branding. Mailbluster requires an Amazon SES account. Amazon SES may be free (mailing up to a few thousand messages monthly), OR charge a few cents per 1,000 messages sent. It depends on the size of your list: check here.
Bonus if the mailing list service lets you use UTM links.
And not only that, but how much better something is working than other options. High-performance entrepreneurs run businesses based on data and intuition. Relying on one or the other is way too risky.
I won’t go so far as to say entrepreneurs who don’t track have “hobbies, not businesses.”
But how can we build sustainable, consistently growing companies without data showing us what efforts to ditch?
After setting up tracking, check out your next high-impact growth steps in An Action Plan to Improve Sales Performance (When “No Marketing Seems to Be Working”). Happy nerding!