Assessing the effectiveness of your marketing activities is essential. Every business owner knows that. So, when it comes to it, why are many small business owners struggling to accurately measure how well their marketing is performing?

I believe it’s partly because, when you really know your business, your ‘gut’ feeling about the performance of a particular campaign is often right. If your shop is busier the week you’re running an advertisement in your local paper, it’s probably no coincidence. But, what if, that same week you launched your new website and you sent an email out to previous customers telling them about the new site, and you may have just mentioned it on your Facebook, which is linked through to your Twitter account. It starts to get tricky to work out which of those methods had the most impact upon customers, and which actually increased sales. Next time the local paper rings with a special offer on some ad space, do you take it? Was it worth the money last time?

Here are some simple ways to measure your marketing success:

Press, Public and Media Relations1. Ask your customers

The most basic way to start measuring the effectiveness of your marketing methods is to ask your customers. The ‘How did you hear about us?’ question is on practically every sign up form for a reason. But, if you don’t have a sign up form, simply keep a tally on a clipboard on your desk or behind the till and ask each customer.

Asking your customers about their preferences – for example which local paper they read, do they use social media, would they like to receive an email newsletter? – is also a great way to work out what marketing works for your business.


marketing plan review2. Set measurable objectives for each campaign

Evaluating your marketing activities obviously depends on the aim and objectives of your business and marketing plans. Set measurable objectives at the beginning and give them timescales, and you’ll be on course to measure the return on investment of your time and money.

Measuring success also comes down to what methods you use to promote your business. Some typical marketing measures include use of resources, customer satisfaction, turnover and profit, return on investment (ROI).


fixed price competitor analysis3. Use metrics tools

If you’re running online and email marketing campaigns, the chances are you’re already using some of the great free tools available to measure marketing success. The mistake many people make, though, it to not set objectives for a campaign first. If you don’t, you’ll know a particular campaign has some success, but not whether it achieved what it was meant to achieve. Set your objectives around these tools and start measuring!

a) Website metrics

Google analytics gives you great insight into your website visitors. Use it to measure everything from the number of hits, down to how they found your site.

For example, if your marketing methods are SEO and pay-per-click, your objectives might be:
* A 20% increase in related keywords through organic search
* Increase total website traffic by 25% through Adwords and increase conversion rate by 10%
* Increase referral traffic to 20%
* Improved engagement such as time on site (increase of 0.4 minutes) or repeat visits (30%)

b) Social media metrics

Facebook has some good insight tools built in to your business page. Use these to help measure the success of a Facebook campaign.

For example, your objectives could be to increase of 100 likes per months on Facebook from 16 and 17 year olds and/or those whose profile shows them as attending certain schools and increased interaction and engagement (10% more shares, comments, likes etc)

c) Email marketing metrics

Use your email provider software to measure your objectives. I use Campaign Monitor because their reporting tools are excellent.

Examples of email marketing objectives include:
* Open rate (number of people who open the email) vs unopened & deleted emails
* Click through rate (number of people who click on the link)
* Website analytics tracking for page views/time on page/time on site on the website as a result of the email
* Increased number of customers in shop
* Increased sales of promoted products (vs previous day/week/month/year)
* Increased sales overall (vs previous day/week/month/year)
* Increased turnover (vs previous day/week/month/year)


Marketing plan review4. Measure return on investment (ROI) for each marketing method alone

If you’re spending £X on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and getting £Y back as a direct result, is Y greater than X? If not, you’re spending too much, your PPC campaign is ineffective, or PPC isn’t right for your target audience. This may seem obvious, but without measuring your ROI for each marketing method individually, you won’t know if it’s effective.