This post is the last installment of seven-part series called “The Fundamentals of Internet Marketing.” To read earlier posts, visit Part 1: Introduction, Part 2: Definitions, Part 3: Strategy, Part 4: The Tools, Part 5: The Skills or Part 6: Communicate!
At the end of the day marketing is about making sales.
In the words of advertising genius David Ogilvy, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”
Marketing is about leads. It’s about sales. It’s about closing.
To get serious about marketing, you have to get serious about making money. We’ve discussed various nuances of marketing and different ways to do it. But, it all comes down to the essence of what marketing is: creating want for your products or services so that people buy them.
What defines successful marketing? How do you know if it’s “good” or “bad”? How do you measure it? How do you judge it?
It’s so easy to get swept away in “awesome” ideas that aren’t actually producing any leads or sales. It’s so easy to tell yourself a fairy tale about how well things are going which has no basis in objective fact.
Too often people judge the validity of marketing ideas based on what’s hot or trendy rather than what produces actual sales for their company (“Skip the postcards, bro—so last century—we need sweet INFOGRAPHICS ON PINTEREST!”). Marketing can become the “art of making yourself look cool” with no bearing on sales.
Cold, Hard Numbers
In marketing, the compass guiding the way is statistical analysis. Did your numbers go up? Good. It was effective. No? They didn’t? Then it wasn’t.
Any marketing can only be judged against a company’s statistics, or metrics. Good marketing makes those numbers go up. Bad marketing doesn’t. And that’s it. There are no other important factors.
How do you know if your marketing is working? Your numbers are going up. How do you know if it isn’t? The numbers are staying the same are getting worse.
This totally thrusts aside all theories, fads and unworkable ideas. The numbers don’t lie. All marketing has to be judged against statistics. They either went up or they didn’t. And it was either successful or it wasn’t.
Given the above information, it should be obvious that a key part of any marketing is the follow-up analysis. In other words, what happened? What was the result?
You did the marketing. You communicated. You were a ninja out there—standing on the Empire State Building with a megaphone and a billboard, shouting your message to the world and slinging fliers like throwing stars.
You worked like a madman, put your all into it and really whipped up a storm. Now the campaign is over, at least for a moment. It’s time to do an analysis: What happened? Did you get any response? Did anyone write in? How many calls? What happened to your sales? What were the results of all this? This is all the subject of your follow-up analysis.
It’s the moment of truth which will define your marketing. It tells you whether it was effective or not. It tells you whether you need to tweak it, scrap it or ramp it up.
In reality, you’re constantly analyzing statistics in marketing—it isn’t just something you do once at the end of the campaign. Every time you do something, you want to look at the results so you can refine it and make it more effective. It’s a continual process.
Testing, Testing, Testing
With this in mind, let’s briefly talk about testing.
Because marketing is completely judged on statistics, you see that you can make an objective evaluation of it. No hard feelings—it either worked or it didn’t, right? It could actually be considered scientific in this respect. You’re constantly observing the numbers to determine the results of your actions.
Testing is a huge part of effective marketing. It’s really how it’s done by all the big boys. You’ve got to break it down and get mathematical. You need to keep records of what you did and the results you got: How many emails out vs. responses in? Advertising dollars spent per sale made? Website visitors per blog post?
Marketing should be tested like crazy. It should be tested against itself and tested against other marketing. After any change, you should look and see what the results were in terms of real statistical change.
Constant testing and constant refinement is a hallmark of professional marketing.
Ok, But What Should I Measure?
The most important thing to measure in marketing is gross revenue. This is the most direct way to figure out whether or not it’s making sales. Did you make money? Did people pay you? Good. You’re doing something right!
However, often that’s not enough. You also have to measure each of the steps that lead up to the sale. Tracking the number of leads you generate from your marketing is huge. So is the number of people on your mailing list. Recording the number of emails, letters or direct mail pieces you send out is, likewise, a big deal.
The exact statistics you should keep are determined by what type of business you’re in and what your goals are. Just remember that you need to track things which actually have a real effect on the company rather than arbitrary metrics which don’t mean anything in the real world. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t track likes, tweets or shares on social media. But you can’t take a tweet to the bank and it doesn’t matter how many people “like” you if they don’t pay.
At the end of the day, any marketing you do exists to forward one purpose: the growth and survival of your company. Marketing has to create leads and sales. Marketing has to grow your company.
Marketing must be done with the end goal in mind: Expansion!
Thanks for reading.
As we wrap up this series on internet marketing, I want to thank you for sticking with me. I know it was a lot. I hope you learned some things which were useful to you. It was a beast, but I had a great time writing it.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to comment below or just shoot me a message.
Lastly, thank you for being the kind of person that wants to create a better life for yourself and others. We need more of you. What you’re doing is valuable.
Your success is important.
For more information on marketing, see “Making Awesome Marketing: My Advice to Business Owners.”