As small business owners work to get an online presence established and digital marketing strategies in place, they are running into a consistent issue: measuring ROI (return on investment) so they can put their money where the value is. Without ROI, there is no way to build an informed marketing strategy.
What is the Biggest Digital Marketing Problem for Small Business Owners?
For the majority of small business owners, the biggest digital marketing problems all stem from one root: there is no clear visibility into ROI.
Without understanding ROI, it is hard to truly know what works and what just isn’t that effective. While many small businesses have seen the importance of digital marketing to increase brand awareness and revenue, they aren’t sure which digital marketing tactics are working at a cost-per-lead that allows them to grow profitably, which ones are a waste of time entirely, and where they have gaps that need to be filled.
The Statistics of ROI
“We don’t know how to do this,” is the reason many small business owners give regarding their struggles with tracking ROI.
The truth is, 86% of B2B are tracking analytics, but only 43% are tracking ROI. In 2020, 71% say they are prioritizing content content and only 41% of business marketers had a documented marketing strategy.
According to MDG, 44% of small businesses are unable to measure ROI and 36% say they have a sense of impact but can’t quantify it.
Yet, the average SMB is spending hundreds every month on marketing and more than half report spending over $10,000 for the year.
That is no small chunk of spare change to throw around without knowing the impact. Digital marketing is a powerful tool, but it can be a waste of money if it isn’t wielded correctly.
What Makes ROI Hard to Calculate?
And, ROI sometimes goes beyond a clear conversion count and direct revenue amount. Sometimes, ROI includes how a campaign positions a company or cultivates a lead. Calculating ROI is a complex task and it’s understandable that SMB’s have trouble quantifying it.
Complexity alone isn’t the biggest struggle for small business owners when it comes to calculating ROI—just getting numbers into a clear report is often the biggest challenge. With so many different tools, platforms and data all in different places, there is no easy way to see patterns and connections between the numbers.
Another issue boils down to a lack of time and not having resources to “crunch the numbers” for data analysis. Small businesses often have smaller budgets and less access to the tools that enterprise can afford.
In some cases, they’ve handed their marketing over to an agency who has their own tools and only share performance reports once a month. In these situations, the small businesses don’t have access to the tools or a real way to “fact-check” the data being presented to them.
A big part of the solution is integrating your tools into a marketing platform that will clarify your picture.
How to Get a Clear Picture of ROI
It’s important that you have control and transparency over your numbers. If you are simply trusting another firm to report accurately, you could be setting yourself up for a pretty rude awakening. While it’s important for business owners to delegate and outsource work, they should always have their ear to the ground.
All the pretty reports in the world aren’t going to change reality. You need to know if your strategies are working and not just entrust the entire thing to another professional.
You should absolutely have access to the numbers at any given time.
Set Up a Strategy
Surprisingly, it’s hard to really know ROI if you don’t have goals in place. You can calculate a basic ROI that tells you how much you are spending to stay in business and how much you are making in profits, but that doesn’t tell you anything about specific campaigns or marketing efforts. It’s possible your marketing is doing nothing and you are largely making sales because of your sales team or because people are just walking in the door after seeing your sign from the street.
At the end of the day, you need marketing transparency and results-based goals defined to find out if your investment is worth it. Sometimes, your return (or benefit) is going to come in non-monetary form. While everything eventually boils down to profits and growth, there are a lot of strategies that have the long game in mind and won’t translate immediately to increased sales.
You may be focused on improving your brand reputation, for example, so social listening is going to be a more accurate measuring tool than profit. Or you might want to improve your customer retention, so calculating return buyers means more than checking to see if sales are higher. If you are focused on improving your price per acquisition (PPA)—or the amount you spend on every customer—then an overarching ROI calculation isn’t going to mean anything.
Your goals are going to greatly influence your calculation for ROI, so get those established first.
Get Things in One Place
There is a reason “get your ducks in a row” is a phrase. Imagine trying to look at all your ducks and how they compare as they waddle around and swim circles. Goofy analogy, but you get the point. When your marketing is spread across every platform, it’s impossible to see the bigger picture. In order to calculate ROI, you are going to need to pull all relevant data onto an all-in-one local marketing platform.
This platform should provide a holistic view of all your marketing in one place, including leads, reviews, website traffic, social engagement, advertising, email, Google My Business and more. Your platform should also be accessible across browsers and devices, so you can see your results at any time and don’t have to rely on someone else to provide them to you.
Improve ROI with Powerful Tools
As you are calculating your ROI, you can save time and energy with powerful tools that make your job easier. This offers a return on investment, since time is money.
Reporting Tools that Enable Action
With so many options, it’s important to use the tools that will cut down on the amount of back and forth you have to do. Surefire Local offers an all-in-one local marketing platform that is able to connect to all the tools you rely on everyday and pull data and insights from all over into one place for clarity.
But it also lets you take action within the platform itself to cut down on the hassle and wasted time of switching between platforms and apps. It lets you take action, such as replying to a review on Google, publishing a blog post, uploading a new photo to your Google My Business listing, sending out a seasonal promotion offer via email, launching new paid ads on Facebook and so much more.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
See the industry’s most powerful tool at work. We are a software company at heart, offering solutions that are different from the typical agency. We’ve built a platform that addresses the biggest digital marketing challenge for small business owners, helping you fill the gap in your reporting to improve accuracy and efficiency.
If you aren’t sure if this is the right tool for you, we would be happy to give you a demo. Our complimentary marketing analysis will help you consider how Surefire Local can support a stronger strategy and maximize ROI. Request your free demo today!