Is My Digital Marketing Working?

The answer depends upon whether or not you have some goals and expectations for what digital marketing should bring to your business’ growth.

I am surprised when I ask this of clients and many say, “I had no idea what to expect.” Really? Why on earth would you spend money on any marketing without some expectation? But in recent survey, fully 46% of small business owners said they didn’t know if their digital marketing was working.

What to expect when you’re marketing

Expectation #1 – Some clients look at all marketing tactics as if they’re fresh off receiving a business degree: Every tool should have at least a 3:2.1 return on investment (ROI) or better. That’s nice in theory but doesn’t necessarily relate to the real world.

Expectation #2 – The spray ‘n’ pray method. These business owners are in search of the magical fountain of new customers. If a marketer swears by his/her tactic that it will produce oodles of new customers, the owner throws money at it and hopes for the best. It’s hit ‘n’ miss results. More often than not, the business owner doesn’t know why a tactic is or isn’t working well. I urge you to always ask your marketing consultants to be brutally honest with you about why a tactic is or isn’t working. Learn from each success or failure and move on.

Expectation #3 – This business owner regularly reviews which tactics are performing, i.e. s/he is tracking results for each tactic employed so that s/he can fine tune the recipe for success. This owner knows that the marketing tools employed are likely all supporting each other, from direct mail letters and postcards to the billboard on the highway. These tools combined with support content on Facebook and their website all convey to prospects that this is a successful, thriving business. Measuring the ROI from the billboard directly is difficult, at best. And while this business’es Facebook ads pull in a few new eyeballs every month, no one has said new customers called them because of the great blog post they saw on the Facebook page.

Getting results from your marketing consultant

Those are three very different sets of expectations.  Which one applies to your business?

What’s most important to the business owner: Convey those objectives and expectations clearly to your marketer. That way your money isn’t going down the wrong rabbit hole. If you have expectations of gaining X number of new customers from Y tactic, but your marketer believes that won’t happen unless you combine that strategy with tactic Z, you’ll learn this up front before you’ve spent that money.

And that survey? While a large percentage of business owners had no idea if their digital marketing was working or not, 71% planned to use social media in their marketing strategy. Others planned to spend their marketing budgets on search engine optimization and online ads (30%) and analytics (24%) – clearly in the Expectations #3 camp.

Their biggest challenge: Fully one-fifth of business owners participating in the survey said their greatest challenge was in finding the time and resources to devote to marketing their businesses. Sound familiar?

The good news: It’s not unusual for small business owners to struggle to make time for marketing endeavors. You are not alone! The bad news: No attention to marketing likely means no business coming in the door. It doesn’t take care of itself.

If you are part of the one-fifth that’s finding it difficult to find time and resources to focus on marketing, then it’s highly likely you also don’t know if your digital marketing efforts are working. What’s it worth to you to find out if your digital marketing is working or not?