Computer science legend and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (1906 – 1992) is quoted as saying,
“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions.”
It does seem that with all things marketing, like politics, everyone has an opinion. But very few people are true experts, much less have accurate measurements to back up their opinions. Here are a few ways you start using metrics to power your small business marketing and PR, so you can not only have accurate measurements, but also sound like an expert.
Start simple with web traffic.
One of the most basic, top-of-the funnel ways to measure your progress is to track web traffic as a result of your efforts. Use a simple and free tool like Google Analytics to see how your efforts are driving visitors to your website.
Through some simple Google Analytics tracking and URL builders, you can track how many web visitors are coming to your site from social media campaigns, earned media placements, and email marketing.
Even when you can’t draw a direct, digital path to a site visitor from your marketing, you can correlate spikes in traffic to your small business marketing and PR activities. For example, while many online publications will include a link to your site or media page, some still don’t.
It is perfectly acceptable to attribute a significant spike in web traffic (often from organic searching) to a big media placement in a publication that did not link to your site. This is not a perfect science without the linkback, but it’s a better measurement than anyone else will have.
Email signups are the small business marketing and PR currency.
While social networks may get all the headlines, research indicates that the most effective marketing happens through email. This is also the next step in the sales funnel for most organizations. Checking out your website is easy. Giving you an email address takes a bit more commitment.
There are several ways to include email signups in your small business marketing and PR. All of these are measurable so you also track total signups, but also where you are getting the most bang for your email-signup-bucks:
- Basic email sign-up or subscription box on website.
- Sign-up links at the end of blog posts or other content.
- Call-to-action buttons on social media platforms, such as Facebook.
- Forward to a friend or similar tracking tools within email marketing.
From email signups you can also extrapolate a significant ROI calculation. If you close 1 sale for every 10 emails you collect, and each sale is worth $200, then you can value each email at $20 each. Pretty strong measurement there, huh?
Track content downloads in your small business marketing and PR.
Another great metric to track is the number of times a particular piece of content is downloaded. This is separate from web traffic, because actually capturing and saving a piece of your content means the reader values it enough to save it or pass it along.
Content downloads can be either gated, where the user gives an email or some other contact information to access the download, or non-gated, where the user simply downloads the content directly. There are good reasons for both approaches, but for our purposes the important thing to consider is how you can create and integrate downloadable content for your audience.
Some easy ways to include downloadable content can be a simple checklist of how-to’s, an extended version of a blog post turned into a white paper or case study, a more in-depth article that explains your product or service, or a simple sales sheet with your service offerings.
Score key media placements in your small business marketing and PR.
While many will argue how to measure media placements (and we are not advocating for Ad Value metrics), there are some innovative ways to create your own scorecard for earned media / press coverage.
We like the format that Shift Communications lays out in this post, by assigning a point score for various media outlets and types of coverage. This allows you to create your own dashboard for media coverage based on what is most important to your organization.
A simple example would be three points for a full-feature in a trade publication, two points for a broader regional interview, and one point for an executive quote or mention in a story.
Remember, build your small business marketing and PR with measurable goals, and trackable metrics, so you can not only be the expert in the room, but also have unassailable results to brag about.