How Does a Small Business Track the Effectiveness of Multiple Forms of Marketing?

Q: My small business has some advertising on Facebook, other ads running in industry publications, one affiliate, and I have a sales person who manages direct sales. How do I track all these different marketing pieces? I don’t know which ads are working better than others.

A: Let’s tackle tracking for each piece of your marketing puzzle.

1. Facebook – Google analytics should help you decipher how much business is coming to your website from your Facebook presence. It really depends on what you’re selling at the time. For example, let’s say you’re Acme Tour Company and you’re selling multiple tours to different destinations with individual departure dates.

A.You could set up a Facebook event for each of the different tours. On the pro side this would allow you to customize the photos, video and descriptions and drive traffic to custom landing pages on your company website. You could set up custom ad sets and target them to the appropriate audience. On the con side having multiple event pages requires someone to babysit each individual event page. These event pages aren’t quite as easy to manage as your company Facebook page. You can have customers asking questions and participating in conversation on an event page and have challenges answering questions and comments on a mobile device for these event pages. When it comes to event pages it’s easier to respond to your fans on a laptop than it is on mobile for some reason. Trust me. I know what I’m talking about. The notification process is a bit clunky. If you’re in an office most of the time in front of a computer you’ll be fine as long as you remember to pull up each individual event page. If you’re on the go and rarely in front of your computer you might be frustrated trying to manage the responses on your phone.

B.You could use a promo code exclusively for Facebook giving your fans special treatment. For example, “Facebook fans save big by using the code Facebook16 when booking to get 50% off your companion fare. Hurry because this special offer expires on___.” Don’t like the idea of a discount? Try adding merchandise instead. “Facebook fans use the code Facebook16 and get a free Acme Tour Company travel bag as our gift to you but hurry because this special offer expires on____”

I wrote more about one method of calculating ROI from Facebook ROI in a previous blog article here

2. Industry publications – I’m assuming this means print publications. Here too it’ll be helpful to employ the secret landing page trick. Hide the page from your page menu so your regular web visitors don’t stumble on it. Use a specific URL in the call to action on each ad to track each publication. For example; Acme Tour Company places an ad in the National Tour Association magazine. In this case your ad would drive traffic to your custom landing page. You want to use a simple URL something like Let’s say the tour company is also placing an ad in the American Bus Association magazine so for their second landing page you use the URL in this ad It’s ok to use the same design on each landing page – just welcome your web visitors with a custom greeting. Maybe you put a button on each landing page that says “Proud member of NTA since 1981” for example. Using Google analytics, you’ll be able to track how much traffic came to each custom landing page. Now depending on how you actually process each order (shopping cart or telephone operator) your internal processes should tell you how each order found you.

3. Affiliates – In a perfect world your affiliate has a promotional code they are sharing with their referrals that makes tracking easier. The company Audible is a great example of affiliate tracking. They are a huge sponsor in the podcasting space. Frequently on podcasts you’ll hear the host saying “This episode is sponsored by Audible. For a free trial and to listen to complimentary book of your choice visit” These individual custom promotional codes allows Audible to determine which podcast audiences convert the highest and which shows underperform.

4.Direct sales person – This should be the easiest of all to track. Your sales person should be submitting a sales report (weekly or monthly) to get paid commission. As a small business owner or manager, you need a way to confirm the accuracy. Depending on how your company actually processes each order you should have some type of booking report to pull that will verify the sales report. When tracking ROI on a sales person, take the revenue generated and divide it by the amount paid to the sales person.

Let’s say the sales person at Acme Tour Company is paid a base salary of $40,000 and earned $35,000 extra in commission. They generated $195,000 in revenue last year.

$195,000 divided by $75,000 = 260% return on your investment. To put it another way for every $1.00 you spent on that salesperson they brought back $2.60. You more than doubled your money plus, a good salesperson has irons in the fire. They should have leads out there working for you that will convert in the future.

Now if you really want to get into the weeds take the cost of employee benefits, cost of business cards and equipment (cell phone/laptop etc.) and factor that into your ROI calculation as well. BEFORE you judge the ROI on a sales person too quickly remember it takes time for a sales person to hit the ground running. Take a long-term approach and evaluate the pieces of business that person has in the pipeline. Some bigger ticket items have a longer sales process.

Though it wasn’t mentioned in this reader question let’s cover broadcast media like radio and TV. These are tougher to track. You can try using custom 800 numbers to track the volume generated. You can use a prompt in your online order process like an optional field that asks “How did you hear about us?” and give the buyer an option to select radio or TV.  You can also use the custom landing page method and include the unique URL in the copy on the spot. “Visit of station) for reservations or more information.”

And for direct mail pieces, I suggest using both a promo code for a special offer AND the custom landing page. Don’t advertise your special offer anywhere else. For example, let’s say Acme Tour Company did a direct mail to tour operators they’ve worked with in the past. Let’s say the postcard was designed to encourage early bookings for the following year. In this example the postcard is mailed out in October and the call to action is “Book your next group outing and use the promo code “GREET” to get a free welcome reception for your group including wine and cheese tasting but hurry, because this special offer expires December 1, 2016. Visit for more information or to place your reservation.” You want to make sure the landing page mirrors the same look and feel as the postcard.

If you found this article helpful or have any additional questions please feel free to leave a comment below, reach out to us via social media or send us an email. Feedback and suggestions for future articles are always welcome. Stay tuned, in an upcoming article we’re going to cover low cost ways to reach out to your community to build relationships and business.

PS: thanks for reading all the way to the end of this article. Here’s a PRO TIP: it’s more advanced and requires some degree of being tech savvy but if you really want to drill down on tracking social media effectiveness check out this article by Social Media Examiner on taking your Google analytics to the next level.