It’s the beginning of a new month, which means I am busy analyzing our monthly reports. What worked, what didn’t work, and where’s the best place to focus in May? Every month I ask the same questions, but the answers keep changing.
Does that sound familiar? Most business owners I talk to have some sort of reporting built into their business, but often I find it’s not sufficient to make informed marketing decisions.
For example, do you know exactly where you should focus your marketing dollars to get the highest return on investment in May? That’s not an easy question to answer and it all hinges on the quality and frequency of your reporting.
Show Me The Money
One of the more famous quotes about marketing and advertising comes from John Wanamaker, who said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
Mr. Wanamaker was born in 1838, so he simply didn’t have the tools we have today. If you find yourself agreeing with this quote, wondering which half of your marketing budget is working, then that’s a clear sign that you need to improve your tracking and reporting.
So you may be wondering, what should you be tracking each month? Here are a few metrics you could (and should) track so you can better manage your marketing dollars:
- monthly cost per marketing channel (examples include: SEO, Google AdWords, referral partners, social media, direct mail, etc.)
- revenue per marketing channel
- revenue per product/service per marketing channel
- cost to fulfill on the product/service
- profit per product/service per marketing channel
If you could see how profitable each marketing channel is for your business, then it wouldn’t be too difficult to decide where to focus your budget in May, right?
Where Is This Data?
This all sounds good in theory, but how exactly do you find this data in your business? And even if you do know where to look, is it centralized in an easy to read report each month?
A typical situation looks like this… Marketing costs are sprinkled on your credit card statement, revenue is stored in the shopping cart program, and cost of goods sold (COGS) are saved in an Excel file on your computer. That’s what makes it so hard to calculate your profit per product per marketing channel.
How to Centralize Your Key Marketing Data
There are two solutions to our problem. The first is what we use at Main Street ROI. It’s pretty technical so bear with me here. It’s called a Google Spreadsheet. If you’ve never heard of Google Spreadsheets, then picture a web-based MS Excel.
Of course, I was joking when I said it’s technical. This is about as basic as it gets. We update a centralized Google Spreadsheet and track all the key metrics in one place. Simple, but it does require some manual labor to grab all the data from each of the various programs we use like Google Analytics, AdWords, Infusionsoft, etc.
The second solution is much more elegant. It’s called a business intelligence dashboard. With a dashboard solution, all of your key metrics are automatically pulled into a centralized report. In other words, no manual labor. :)
If you’re interested in learning more about how a dashboard could help your business, then click here to register for our upcoming webinar next Thursday.