As a small business owner does it make sense to hire an employee, agree to pay a salary, give him/her a desk and computer, and then walk away?  Would you be happy with that person’s performance a few months later?   Maybe if you hired a really exceptional individual, but in most cases you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

To get the most from the investment you are making in a new staff member, it is very helpful to have a well defined job description and clearly outlined goals.  Then your staff member knows on what to focus, and you have a way of measuring if you are achieving the result you want.

The same holds true when you make an investment in marketing! Spending money, without a clearly defined plan on how to support the marketing with your operation, or measure it’s effectiveness overall is like hiring an employee, and simply pointing him/her to a desk.

Integration – Pulling the Pieces Together.

For example, a client came to us to with a request to build a website in two weeks. She had committed to her first direct mail campaign and it was going to drop in two weeks and she wanted a website.   Now we didn’t have a lot of time for planning or discussion on why this wasn’t a great idea.  It was too late, she was committed and we got the job, because we could design the website in two weeks.

However, her company phone rings to her cell, and she was out of town for 10 days when the campaign dropped.  So even though the pieces were in place for her success, she probably didn’t get the results she wanted, because she wasn’t prepared to support her campaign.

Measuring Results – Show Me the Money!

You invest in marketing to drive sales. Now sometimes it is a long process, as marketing drives leads, interest and inquiries which ultimately drive sales.  But good marketing drives something.  And you can measure if you decide what you want on the front end.  Whether it is number of phone calls, traffic to your website, requests for quotations, you need to know on the front end how you will define success.

Recently, I printed 250 postcards promoting our web design services to new business owners in our community.   We will be mailing these to a very well targeted list over a 30 day period. I was expecting 3 – 5 inquires as a result, and one sale.

So far we have mailed 150 cards, and received 2 inquiries, so we are on the right track.  We will probably do another mailing to a larger list, promoting our PR services before the end of the year. I can make the decision with confidence based on the results I have seen so far.

On-Line Marketing Should be Accountable As Well

With all the behind the scenes measurement capability, there is no excuse for skipping this important step with your on-line marketing. Jason Falls wrote a great post on Web Analytics Basics for Bloggers.  He outlines the basic questions you should ask:

  • How many people have visited my site this month?
  • How many of them stayed long enough to read anything?
  • What do they do when they get here?
  • How are they finding my site?
  • What are my most popular posts?

As well as some great tools to help answer these questions.

Remember if you are going to ” hire” marketing, do a performance appraisal as a regular part of your process.