May 6, 2024 | Zenagos® Expert Tips

Zenagos Expert Marketing Tip: Track Results Monthly

Dear Zenagos,
What is a simple thing I can do to improve my business marketing results?
–Lacy

One simple thing you can do to improve your small business marketing results is to spend just a few minutes once a month tracking your marketing. The key is to set up a simple routine and commit to it: Create a monthly appointment with yourself to track your marketing performance. Treat this appointment as an essential business meeting – not to be missed under any circumstances. If you find that you have difficulty prioritizing your marketing tracking, schedule it at a time when work activities aren’t usually frantic and you have a lot of energy, such as first thing in the morning on a Friday.

When the time comes, sit down and document your spending and results from each marketing channel. For example, start with “Networking.” Most entrepreneurs don’t think of networking as a marketing channel, but it is one of the most important marketing methods for small business owners. For each channel, document three things:

1. Marketing Spend for that Channel
How much did you spend last month on that marketing channel? For example, for Networking, did you pay for any networking events? Did you drive to those events? Add up any event fees, parking fees, and an estimate for the cost of travel and write them down. For driving your own car, you can use the IRS standard mileage rate. (In 2024, it’s 67 cents per mile.) If you can’t think of any money you spent last month on the channel (for example, your networking events were free, and they were over Zoom), then just put one dollar. (We choose one dollar because some marketing statistics you might want to calculate later won’t calculate if your marketing spend is zero.)
2. New Leads from that Channel
A “lead” is a prospective customer for whom you have a name and contact information. If you met someone and chatted for a while, but you don’t know their name and don’t have any way of contacting them, that’s not a lead. If you swapped information, then it is a lead. Count how many new leads you got from that channel and record the number. For example, if you collected 20 new business cards from prospective customers at your networking events last month, write “20 leads.”
3. New Customers from that Channel
A “customer” is someone who has paid you for your product or service. If you collected money or a firm promise of money (like a signed contract) from someone for the first time last month, then you can call that person a new customer. For example, if two of the contacts you met from networking this month or in previous months bought your offering this month, record “2 new customers.”

If you are using digital marketing channels (such as an email program like Constant Contact or MailChimp; search engine ads like Google Ads or Microsoft (“Bing”) Advertising; or social media advertising like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram), you may want to also track the number of clicks for those channels, since that number is usually easy to get from the ad site’s analytics reports.

Record your marketing results in any way that works for you. It doesn’t matter if you use a fancy CRM like Hubspot, MailChimp, or Monday; or if you keep a note on your smartphone; or if you write in a paper notebook or planner. What matters is that you spend a few minutes once a month checking the results of each marketing channel. If you want to use the tracker shown in the video, you can download a copy of it to your Google account free if you click here.

If you are mathematically inclined, you may realize that the new customers that you write down this month may have come from marketing efforts that occurred several months ago. Our clients often ask how important it is to match the new customers to the original marketing event or campaign that generated the lead. If you have an easy way of linking customers to the original marketing event or campaign, that can be helpful, but it’s not critical. You need to give a new marketing channel at least 3 to 6 months to warm up. After that, the numbers you get from a given marketing channel in a given month are reasonably representative of that channel’s behavior, so you don’t need to drive yourself nuts figuring out where each new customer first heard about your business. Just write them down in the month when they first paid for your offering.

Once you have the routine down, try adding up the numbers for a given channel for a few months. See if you can calculate a Cost per Lead (CPL):

Cost per Lead = Marketing Spend ÷ New Leads

Make sure that the time periods match up. For example, use the Marketing Spend for Jan-Mar and the number of New Leads for Jan-Mar.

Then, see if you can calculate a Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC):

Customer Acquisition Cost = Marketing Spend ÷ New Customers

Again, make sure that the time periods match up, so you will have viable numbers. When you have been recording your marketing results for a few months, you will be able to compare your marketing channels. In general, it’s better to have a lower Cost per Lead. So, you may choose to spend more money in channels where leads are less expensive. However, the most important statistic is the Customer Acquisition Cost. If you can acquire customers at a lower price, you will be able to make your marketing dollars go farther.

Consistency is essential. By making and keeping that monthly appointment, and diligently tracking spending and results, you will begin to learn what marketing methods are more important for your business, and you will make better decisions.

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