You understand that it’s important to maintain regular communication with your chosen network(s). Whether it’s online or in-person, it’s a no-brainer that you should never lose touch with your customers, target market, or referral partners. But to what end? How do you know that all the time and effort you are putting into updating your networks is of benefit to your business?

In sales talk, there are only 2 types of time in a person’s work day: paid time and unpaid time. Cold-calling, going door-to-door, sales meetings, sales presentations, processing payments, and sales emails are all classified under paid time. Unpaid time is, you guessed it, everything else that you are doing at work. Depending on your workload, unpaid time is often allocated the most attention by people. Call it instinctual.

This is not to say that unpaid time is a waste of time. There are some areas within unpaid time that, when undertaken, can lead to paid time – often with fantastic results. Social Media can be, and is, one such undertaking. Which begs the question once again: what’s the ROI in doing Social Media for my business?

OpenSource specializes in working with retailers and merchants. As such, there can be some pretty straightforward ways in which statistics can be tracked. Coupon codes, direct mail pieces, website traffic, pay per clicks, etc. In the most basic of statistics, one can simply track on paper the number of coupons that get distributed in relation to the amount that get used (with an expiry date). Or perhaps a merchant publishes an ad campaign in the local paper, providing a coupon code in the published piece – with each incoming phonecall, prospects are asked if they have coupon code to use before purchasing.

Similar things can be done with online promotions/marketing, and there are a number of web-based tools which can be utilized, some of them are free. The most common ones are Google Analytics and Feedburner, which measures your web traffic and blog traffic, respectively. It’s important to implement these tools because you want to know if your web visitors are responsive to the content that you put out.

If you have a fantastic promotion to market, you’re always hoping that the information you’re putting out is going to encourage a call to action. By setting your website up on tools like Analytics, you can get a clear picture of how responsive your market is, if at all. Without getting into too much detail, you will be able to see such things as how they got to your site (Google search, address bar, linked from another site, etc.), and what part of your site are people spending a lot of time on (store location, map, #1 selling product, etc.). By knowing such information, you can make more informed decisions about where to drive more traffic to, what affiliate partners are helping you the most, when would be the best time to put out a new promo, how to get foot traffic inside your shop, when to stop doing something that’s useless, etc.

Entrepreneur.com published an article with a list of useful tools to help you better organize and manage your Social Media and online efforts. If your website has been in operation for some time, it would be good to see it’s effectiveness on the world wide web. It’s important to share your statistics from these tools with others, especially with those who have a solid grasp on Internet marketing. After all, the data will be just as useless as if you were to not track any metrics at all – which brings you back to square one.

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