When it comes to marketing, it’s easy to focus on activity. Simply create a list of tasks, and check them off as you complete them:

  • Write five blog posts
  • Send an e-newsletter 
  • Post status updates on Facebook and LinkedIn 
  • Schedule ads
  • Create a landing page
  • Send postcards
  • Make phone calls

You feel good about all you have accomplished as you check off each item. But the truth is, when you focus exclusively on the activities of marketing, you’re missing half the equation. It doesn’t really matter how much  marketing you do if you’re not getting results. Whether you are doing your own marketing or you have hired a company to do these tasks for you, don’t settle for a list of activities. You need to hold your marketing accountable for results. You need to focus on the productivity of your marketing, and that’s harder to do.

Productivity measures might include:

  • Traffic or Interest: Did the actions drive traffic to your website or your storefront?
  • Leads: Did people fill out a form, download information or call a specific phone number ?
  • Conversion: Did any of those people who came by or called become customers?

If you don”t know the answers to these questions, stop wasting money on marketing. Put systems in place, sign up for Google Analytics, track your phones calls, ask people how they heard about you or why the called, and study your closing rate. Once you have the numbers, now you have a sense of what’s working and where you need to be spending more time.

For example:

  • Don’t look at the numbers individually, because they work together. StumbleUpon will drive a lot of traffic to your website, but these people rarely stay, download information or call, so spending any money on StumbleUpon for most businesses is a waste of time.
  • Lots of fans on Facebook may make you feel good, but do any of them take advantage of your fan only offers? If not, you might be offering the wrong thing, or you might not have great fans after all.
  • Google AdWords may be an expensive way to drive traffic, but if you have a great landing page with a specific offer, a larger percentage of the visitors will become leads.

The bottom line: Anyone can look busy. As a business owner, you need to be sure that when you and your team spend time, it isn’t just activity, but productive activity.

photo credit: eccampbell via photopin cc