How to measure your marketing and social media marketing efforts
What do business, marketing and social media marketing have in common with mountain biking in Lake Tahoe?
A lot as I found out yesterday. I went for an amazing bike ride yesterday at Sawtooth Trail near Truckee, CA with my husband. He’s an excellent rider. We started off and within minutes I wasn’t able to see him anymore amongst the pine trees. When he stopped to wait for me, I asked him while trying to catch my breadth: “Why am I biking so slow?”. He responded: “You are not slow at all, you are doing really good. I’m just too fast. Remember to look ahead and prepare for what’s coming ahead of time”. It got me thinking about business in general and how some companies are doing so well yet others fail, how some businesses anticipate what’s coming ahead on the trail and prepare for it by shifting gears on time and how some companies fail to do so and end up in the back of the group.
I found a lot of similarities between business, more specifically marketing and mountain biking and I’ll try to explain my analogies here for those of you who understand one or the other or have an appreciation and interest.
1. You have to be passionate about marketing. Otherwise, it will be just a chore for you. Just like biking, if I wasn’t passionate about it and loving every minute of it I wouldn’t be doing it. If you don’t like marketing and you find yourself putting it off because you don’t believe it works or you don’t think it’s important for your business, then find some outside help and hire someone who understands it and knows how to do it well. The same applies to social media marketing. If you are not into it and don’t understand how it’s applicable to your business, you are better off finding someone who does. Your customers are talking about you online and offline. It’s the old word-of-mouth way of communicating turning into a word-of-mouse way of finding advice and referrals about your product and service. People are talking about your company. Do you know what they are saying? Do you care? Can you afford not to?
2. You always have to push the limit to get better at marketing. Just like biking, if I don’t always try a harder trail, a jump, a technical move I won’t get better. I’ll continue to enjoy it and continue to participate in it but I won’t get better at what I do. It’s the same with marketing. You have to explore things, try something new, fail every once and a while, learn from your mistakes and keep doing it. You will get better with time.
3. Measure it! How do you know what works and what doesn’t if you don’t measure it. Some people think that you can’t measure marketing or social media marketing. I disagree. You can measure a lot of things. It depends on your business strategy and marketing objectives as to what you want to measure. Establish your goals in the beginning. Adjust your goals as you go along. Once a month or more often see how you are doing against your goals. Unless you push yourself and your business to do better against your strategy you won’t have a goal. My mountain bike computer establishes some numerical measurements for me: riding time, highest speed, average speed, etc. These are quantitative measures. The same is available for your marketing efforts. With marketing you can measure customer growth rate, share of preference, share of voice, share of distribution, share of wallet, net promoter score. Online marketing is especially easy to track. You can start with something as simple as Google Analytics to see where your customers are coming from, how much traffic is your website getting, what keywords are driving traffic to your website, how long are they staying on your site (the stickiness of your website), bounce rate to determine how targeted your marketing efforts are and how effective your landing page/ home page is. With pay per search keywords on search engines, you can also measure clicks (how many people clicked on your link), cost per click (how much you are paying to bring a customer via a specific keyword), etc. Google Analytics is a free program. Other programs to help you measure your social media quantitative efforts are AideRSS, Feedburner and Xinu.
With email marketing you can measure how many people opened your email campaign, how many people clicked on a specific link or downloaded something from your website. Depending on what software you use, the tools are probably already built into the system.
With social media marketing, you can measure friends and followers, traffic to your website, direct sales revenue,search engine optimization, customer service touches and more. You can get more elaborate tools to help you track conversion of customers and leads and really dig into how successful your marketing and social media efforts are. Some of them I already listed above. Here’s a good post by Jacob Morgan in Social Media Today on how to measure your social media efforts.
There are also qualitative measures that are just as important. How much fun I had on the bike ride, spending time with friends and my husband, getting exercise, enjoying the outdoors. There are qualitative measures as well in marketing and social media marketing that are just as important as quantitative measures. In marketing you have advertising awareness, brand awareness, word of mouth. In social media, you have corporate reputation, customers engagement, customer feedback sentiment, conversations, customer relationships and more.
Go out there and explore. Practice, learn and have fun while doing it. And most of all Enjoy the Ride!