In my experience working with small businesses, I've noticed that many business leaders have a skewed idea of how the sales and marketing relationship works, or worse yet, they don't even consider marketing an important part of business strategy.
With so many free marketing tools at our disposal today, there is no reason small businsses shouldn't be taking advantage of these tools and the analytics they offer. Here are the analytics that small businesses should be monitoring and how:
1. Email Marketing Campaign Statistics
Using email marketing software is a great way to get your company's name on the radar of your target market. Many small business owners are afraid to send email marketing campaigns for they fear it comes across as "too commercial". Small businesses can still use mass communication to reach customers in a personal way.
Decide what kind of communication you want to send and how often: monthly mailings with specific articles, quarterly newsletters, weekly CEO communications, daily discounts.
Once you have a campaign in place, use the analytics. I have found open rates and click rates to be important in order to improve future mailing campaigns. Look at who opened the email, how many times and where they clicked. Use these statistics to create a "Lead Generation" sheet for your salespeople. They will have a particular reason to follow up rather than a cold call.
Keep in mind that in most cases a 15% open rate is considered successful.
2. Website Analytics
Using Google Analytics, small business owners can easily track the statistics of website demographics. Tracking unique visitors, average time on site, pages per visit and geographic locations is a good indication of the effectiveness of your site.
Find out if visitors are navigating past your homepage, and build "Call to Action" buttons on your homepage to get them to explore the rest of the site.
Monitor the geographic location of your site vistors. After months of building a new site with increased web traffic, my company noticed most of the increased traffic was coming from vendors in India, and our actual target market numbers had declined. Find out if your website is targeting the right market!
3. Google AdWords
Have you ever created a Google AdWords campaign and then gradually stopped monitoring the results?
A Google AdWord campaign can be a great promotional tool for small businesses as they can target specific geographic areas, keywords and design an ad that reflects their business. Google AdWords can also be effective for short periods of time, and may need an upgrade and re-evaluation.
My company ran an ad for 2 months with high click activity at the beginning which casually died down. A simple change in ad text and an adjustment to the geographic reach, and we were back up and running!
4. Social Media Statistics
Doing a daily analysis of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook followers can give you an idea of the brand influence your company has. If your social media following has reached a stalmate, it may be time to change your approach. Analyze the content you are publishing and whether it is indeed interesting to your target market and if there are any Call to Action points that would entice them to click on the link.
Small businesses may have difficulty gathering many followers on social media sites, but the followers they do have are probably loyal to your brand and potential customers on some level (or your company employees), therefore they probably pay attention to the content posted. Take a look at the feedback from each post to see if you are engaging your audience on some level.
If you are in charge of marketing for your small business, set yourself monthly KPIs (key performance indicators) and keep track of them each month. Did you reach your target number of website visitors or the target open rate? If not, it's time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy and plan. Fortunately, marketing is a field constantly evolving and change is always welcome!