Working in marketing for 26 years, I’ve seen lots of data and lots of reports that look great yet are full of stuff that tell you nothing. I’d be sat there asking myself “so what”, constantly. If there’s no reason for needing the information, don’t bother with it, you’ll just weigh yourself right down.
To warn you, I say “so” a lot, just so you know before we move on.
Loads of small businesses get overwhelmed and worried about their marketing. Even those that work in marketing funnily enough. It’s tricky finding that starting point to get the basics in place. Business owners normally set up to do what they LOVE, their WHY, they don’t want to be all departments in a business, so it’s a right juggle isn’t it. That’s where I come in. If I can help with one thing, it’s making marketing simple.
So (there we go again), you’re not sure what data you need, where to get it from, how to pull it together, and then, what to do with it – Jesus!!! I hear you say. Lets go a step at a time, it all adds up. If you’re getting started with marketing, or are already doing regular activities, you’ll want to know what’s working, you’ll want to refine things as you go along to have that marketing machine that just runs. This blog will help guide you through all those questions and challenges you have around your data, your monthly insights, reviews, reports – whatever you want to call them. It’s about what’s right for your business and means something because top and bottom of it is we all want to reach goals and succeed.
What are marketing insights?
Marketing insights and data are critical to your business success, even more so for small business owners looking to grow and scaleup. Getting the right data can drive action when it’s needed. It helps you continuously learn from your marketing activities to refine and support growth. That’s what marketing is all about, supporting the goals of the business year on year.
Why do I need this stuff, I hate marketing?
Streamlined marketing data and monthly reports help get and keep your marketing moving towards your business goals. Simple data and monthly reporting gives you an understanding on what’s actually useful to you when reaching for those goals, so that you know where your time and effort is best spent.
By now you’re probably asking yourself, “what data and information do I need to help my business reach its goals and succeed?” So here goes…
Simple contact data
You only want the information that you need. You don’t want the GDPR Police on your case. Simple contact data on your customers and prospects – name, email, telephone number, address. If you wanted to add to this it’s also useful to have a quick overview on each of your customers (a side of A4 is great), that way everyone in the business, or those you work with externally, can get a quick feel for who the customer is, what’s important to them, how they like things done, dislikes etc – just the stand out nice to knows can be a great help in managing your customers really well, no matter who’s dealing with them.
A monthly marketing report
A monthly marketing report can be many things, from a basic overview of your company’s progress to detailed information about every single customer who has visited your site. What I would say is keep it simple to make sure action happens off the back of the report every month. A straightforward report can be a massive help in measuring your marketing effectiveness. Start by listing all the marketing activities that you do, then for each of these you want to know the following every single month:
- what worked well – do more of it
- what didn’t work so well – drop it or make it better
- what might need the odd tweak here and there because you know it works
Doing things in 3s really helps here. Using a STOP, START, CONTINUE approach helps pull your thoughts together very quickly and easily to save loads of faffing around. This also gives you the headspace to get more creative with planning future marketing activities, to make more of what’s genuinely unique about you, and how you help your customers.
There’s no escaping marketing, it’s an ongoing process
Marketing always needs to be on, how’s anyone going to know about your business otherwise? Always on marketing keeps you out there and provides you with the opportunity to turn up those activities that work well for you when you need to bring in more business from new and current customers. With data you will know how to reach your customers and prospects, and what they need you for.
Marketing is an ongoing process, always gathering data inputs every month to make informed decisions for your small business. Continuously refining and improving your marketing activities is key to creating the marketing machine that’s right for your business.
Finally, here’s how you can get started for free…
There’s lots of free marketing resources out there and apps within software that you already have through the likes of Google and Office 365, but a good start would be:
1. make sure Google Analytics is linked to your website, that way you can see how people are finding your site (where your efforts are best placed – social media or search engines for example?), what they search for via search engines, what they’re interested in, where they are, age, gender etc. I particularly love seeing the stages that a web visitor goes through when they’re on your site – gives you fab insights on the entry page, how they move around, act, and leave the site.
Knowing where your website traffic comes from is really useful for understanding where your efforts are best placed.
2. social media channels – every channel will give you insights, make sure you review them each month to understand what works with your target audiences on which channels. Again, you can get a feel for what your audience looks like – age, gender, location to help you home in on them, and give them more of what they want and need.
When you know which channels are most effective for your business you can direct your resource accordingly to make them work harder in maximising the opportunities.
3. customer feedback – all feedback is good, so get it coming in. A Google or Office365 Form is a really easy way to do this. You can just send the link to people in an email for example.
4. email reports – who’s opening, clicking, and taking action. Is there anyone you could be putting a quick telephone call into to nudge them along?
5. leads/Enquiries/Proposals/Downloads – how many? Have they all been followed up? What resulted in a sale?
6. sales – how many? What service/product type? Profit margin? This information helps us sell more of what sells profitably. It also helps us know what we should be promoting through our marketing activities.
7. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tools like semrush can be gold when it comes to understanding what works best for your site by way of links and keywords. It can also flag up where improvements are needed on your site. There’s always room for improvement with your website, treat it like you would your business premises.
8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools – HubSpot, Pipedrive or Zoho are great examples of free/low-cost solutions for small businesses. Even if it’s just to get all your contacts into one place with automated notifications for follow-ups, beats spreadsheets any day.
The list goes on, so (that’s my final ‘so’ 😊 promise) I’ll stop there because anyone that knows me knows I can talk. I’d encourage you to look at what you already have access to at no cost. At a minimum, you will have Google Analytics, social media insights, email reports, and will know how many enquiries and sales you’ve got coming in each month.
Just get your starting point and go from there, this way you will begin to identify the most useful information on what marketing works well to help you focus, make better decisions, and reach your business goals.
A bit about me – Anna Short of Boo! Marketing
Well, if you haven’t guessed already, I love marketing, it’s all I’ve ever done for 26 years. I especially love creating simple strategies and doable monthly action plans that work towards business goals – vitals that are so often missing or over complicated. I believe every business deserves to have solid marketing foundations in place that work toward their business goals and make marketing flow with ease.
I now support business owners in the industries that I’ve enjoyed working in over the years – wellbeing, learning and development, professional services, and technology. Naturally, I also work with other marketers and creatives to help them with their businesses and clients too. Straight-talking, no jargon and a sense of humour come as standard.