Knowledge is Power
Last time I started to look at how even in the smallest business, knowing your accounts numbers can be immensely valuable in having control of your business. This time I want to continue the theme looking at how marketing data can be a valuable asset to help us run our businesses more efficiently and cost-effectively.
The Business Value of Marketing Data
In my last article, looking at the business value of accounts data, the focus was, quite naturally, on numbers. Marketing data is not quite so straightforward. Indeed, for many SME business owners, the primary measure of marketing is ‘How many leads did I get?’
This focus on leads is perhaps understandable as converting leads to paying business is the shortest route to justifying your marketing expenditure. However, as I have said many times before, there is more to marketing than lead generation. Sure, a good marketing process will generate leads and business opportunities but that process is fundamentally about something else.
The marketing process requires 3 elements:
- A clear business proposition that delivers demonstrable value
- A well-defined target market
- Effective communication of that proposition to that market
Get these 3 right and your market will see and understand how your offer is of value to them. They will be engaged with you and they will buy! Not all of them and not all of the time but when the time is right, they will buy.
In essence, marketing is about engagement. Get the right engagement and the leads and opportunities will follow. If you can measure how much engagement you are getting from your marketing, you are in a strong position to manage a flow of enquiries.
Knowing your marketing engagement
One of the features of the modern, digital business world is the availability of data. Unfortunately, all too often this data is used by specialist companies to blind you with science.
For many business owners, the words of their digital marketing supplier don’t really help,
t all sounds very plausible an d important but, to be honest, I don’t really know what you are talking about!
If you use the internet (Website or Social Media) as a key marketing tool, getting a handle on some valuable marketing data doesn’t need to be daunting. Here are my top 3 ideas that should be available to you and your business.
EVERYTHING that happens on the internet is monitored by someone! If you have a website, the lovely people at Google are monitoring your website – and they will give you access to that data for free. Google Analytics is a great tool. There are similar (though less comprehensive) analytics tools available for Social Media platforms too.
The danger with analytics is the sheer volume of data – you can get lost. To keep things simple, start by tracking some key numbers. You might need a bit of help to set things up but once you are sorted, keeping track
Visitors – how many visitors came to your site last month?
Compare this with the previous month, or the same period last year. Are the numbers going up or down? Up is good! Now you just need to try and get an idea whether your visitors are the sort of people you are looking for. This isn’t so easy but some more data can help…
Sources – Where are your visitors coming from?
If your market is the UK and lots of visitors are from other countries this isn’t so great. Analytics allows you to filter out the data you aren’t interested in so you can measure the numbers that matter.
Pages – Which pages do they visit and how long do they stay?
Visitors from your target region who spend time looking at a few pages on your site look like they are finding stuff of interest to them – sounds good!
Bounce Rate – A bit more technical but useful to understand.
If a visitor arrives at a page o your site and leaves from the same page this is a bounce. Normally a bounce rate of up to 50-60% is OK, Higher than this suggests maybe you should be looking at what you say on your website.
These are just a few of the stats delivered by analytics but I am sure you can start to see how understand some of these gives real insight and suggests areas where your website is stronger – or weaker.
2. Hard Data v Soft Data
Analytics is hard data – numbers that go up and down. Soft data is different. At BSA we send out regular e-newsletters. Sure we monitor the hard data of how many times our newsletter is opened and how many clicks we see on links. This is interesting but just as valuable is the soft data – feedback and comments we get from readers – often when we meet them through networking etc. To be told someone reads our articles and finds them useful and interesting is really valuable data.
Opportunities to gather soft data to mix with your numbers can help tell a great story.
3. Quality v Quantity
Just because you don’t have thousands of visitors to your website doesn’t mean the data isn’t valuable. Many SME businesses work with clients and customers who give a lot of repeat business. Keeping loyal customers is more important than getting lots of new customers. It may be that your business only needs a small number of new customers each year to show solid growth. In this case, even a small number of good quality website visitors might indicate a strong marketing position.
In my book, quality is ALWAYS more important than quantity.
This is perhaps the best measure of your marketing. If you are comfortable with what you are doing in your marketing and what you are seeing out of it then stick at it! If you aren’t comfortable then try to get your head around what it is you aren’t comfortable about and do something about that!
When your issue is ‘I’m not getting enough leads’ then maybe you need to figure out why not so you can do something about it. The best way to do this is to get some data that you have confidence in! You might not like what it tells you but it does signpost what you can do to get your marketing delivering.