If you don’t have a way to tell exactly which leads or customers were generated from exactly which marketing sources, I would say that none of your marketing strategies are working. In order to really be able to say which marketing strategy is working best, you need to start doing direct response marketing, which means creating advertising materials that have a built-in way to track effectiveness (and that doesn’t mean your marketing methods have to be high tech).
Here’s an example: Your main strategy is putting up signs at three different busy, local intersections with your business name and phone number, and you get lots of phone calls, so you assume it’s working great. Here’s the question: how do you know that those leads got your number from the sign? Since you’ve got signs at multiple intersections, which one is getting you the most calls? How do you know they didn’t just find your phone number on Google?
The truth is that if you can’t answer these questions, you’re doing it wrong.
Let’s just say that instead of believing that your intersection signs are working great, you decide to get more scientific about it. You get new signs for each of the three intersections: one has your phone number, one has your business partner’s number, and one has your business’s front desk number. You replace your website phone number with a Google Voice number. Each of you keeps a careful record of incoming calls for several weeks, and in the end you see that 64% of calls came to the Google Voice number, 28% came to your business partner’s phone, and the remaining 8% went to you phone or your business’s front desk.
Knowing that most phone calls come from either the website or one particular intersection, you can go take up the signs from the other two intersections. Since 64% of calls come from Google, you could also experiment with buying Google AdWords and setting them up to go to a specific phone number so that you know who’s coming to your site through an ad and who’s coming there organically.
Marketing is not magic. It’s scientific, but because most people view it as magic because they don’t take a scientific approach.
Here are some tips to make your marketing more scientific, reliable and effective:
- Make a list of all of your marketing strategies, how much you spend on them each month, and how many customers each method is bringing you. If you can’t answer that last question, alter the methods so that you can track their performance, like in the example above. If you can’t answer the last two questions, you’ve got some work to do.
- Start thinking of marketing as a science experiment in which you create hypotheses and conduct experiments. Marketing should be data driven, not emotionally driven, so get excited about your experiments!
- Get back to basics. You shouldn’t have to juggle 5 different marketing strategies – instead, use the scientific method to figure out which ones are most effective and focus on those.