Admittedly, this title is a bit harsh. I blame my husband for this. But even in its semi-extreme “crassness” – it is 100% accurate.
I am referring to your marketing. I know a lot of people tend to groan when I even bring up this word. It is a rather large, all encompassing task. Marketing can mean a million different things and it can be done a million different ways. There are also a million different books, blogs, newsletters, and magazines all about it. But no matter how you slice it, it really all comes back to one thing:
Are you tracking where people are coming from?
If the answer is no, then you are wasting your time and money on all your efforts. You may as well take some scissors to your money.
I wanted to write about this topic specifically this time because I have seen a consistent pattern with my new and prospective clients as of late. None of them are tracking where their new people are coming from. This is imperative to your marketing plan. If you don’t track, you have no idea which method is working. You have no clue where to keep spending your marketing dollars. So I have come up with a short “best practices” list for tracking your efforts.
1. Front Line Personnel
They represent your company. They are your first line of offense when new people walk in and/or call. I have spent countless hours training my own staff as well. Your front line must understand it is IMPERATIVE to their job that they ask, “How did you find us?” Unfortunately, this is often overlooked or simply not done. We all know there are forms to fill out when we go somewhere new. There is always a line on that form asking “How did you find us?” Quite often it is not filled in. Then it becomes your front line person’s responsibility to ASK. Their job is to make sure all the information on the form is filled out. ESPECIALLY THIS LINE. Make sure your staff knows it is a priority. If new people stop coming, so does their paycheck.
2. Keep Detailed Records
You have to keep the information about who they are and where they came from in ONE PLACE. This can be done a multitude of different ways, but the important thing is to keep up with it and stay current. In the beginnings of my business, I used a simple spreadsheet on Excel. I made tabs at the bottom, one for each month of the year, and typed the person’s name in the first column and then where they came from in the next column. At the bottom, I would list the totals. Over time, I began to see a pattern of where they were coming from. This information was invaluable! I knew exactly what types of marketing were working for me and where to keep spending my time and money. Obviously, this is pretty basic. You can use various CRM softwares like zoho.com or highrisehq.com that also have other features that will help. But once again – you have to keep up with it. It will pay off, trust me.
3. Code All Your Materials
My husband and I love QR codes. They are easy to make and easy to link to wherever you need them to go. Just make sure you make one for each type of marketing material you are creating. For example, put a separate code on your brochures, on every ad you send to a newspaper, every direct mail piece or flyer, coupons and so on. If you are using email, Constant Contact is what I recommend and they will track how many people are opening your eblast and where they are clicking if links are included. If you are setting up a web based promotion, set up a specific landing page on your website and then use Google Analytics to track who is visiting that page. Need help with that – I know a guy.
4. Measure Your Mentions
There are free tools on the web that will make you aware of when you or your service are being mentioned. Track your company’s name, your product, your promotion, your service, whatever it is and set up a Google Alert or at TweetBeep. Then any time someone is searching for what you are selling on Google or Twitter, you will know about it.
5. Cost of Conversion
How much did it cost to run that campaign? How many people came from it? How much money are they spending with you? If they are not spending enough to cover the cost of the marketing campaign and turn a profit – then you need to re-examine that method. You have to track not only the amount you spent, but the time, and other ancillary costs like website fees and labor involved.
Bottom line is – you cannot manage what you cannot measure. If you are not doing something to try to keep track of where your new clients are coming from, then all of your efforts are a waste of time and money. Find a system that works for you, and be diligent on keeping up with it.