Marketing Planning & Reporting

How to Find Out If Your Marketing Is Working – Marketing Analytics for Small Businesses

Find Out if your Marketing is Working

Marketing your small business’s products and services is at the heart of every growth strategy. But to get the best results from your marketing efforts, you need to find out if your marketing is working.

It’s not enough to simply see the orders come in and rejoice. It’s important for sustainable growth to find out where exactly your customers are coming from and how to you can make sure they keep coming.

If you want to find out if your marketing is working and bringing in the results you need, you have to measure and analyse your marketing efforts regularly.

If this feels overwhelming, fear not! I’ve put together an overview of why you should analyse your marketing results and how you can set up your own marketing analytics.

Why should I analyse my marketing results?

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Setting up a routine to find out if your marketing is working is a vital task for every small business. Apart from being in control of your marketing and budget, analysing your campaign performance provides you with a lot of insights:

  • Evaluate – what works and what doesn’t?
  • Improve – which campaigns need tweaking and how can you get better results?
  • Adapt – are the market and/or customer responses changing?
  • Goals – am I on target for reaching my business and financial goals?

This means you can keep an eye on short-term and long-term developments in your business and react if necessary. And in the process, you’ll learn more about your target market, how well your marketing channels are performing and where to put your main focus.

Marketing analytics also provide the perfect background for your marketing tests. For example, run your print adverts quarterly and compare the results. Are your customers more likely to buy from you at a certain time of the year? Or you can split up your mailing list evenly and test different days and times for sending out your newsletter to find the best timing.

All in all, when you find out if your marketing is working, you can reach your goals faster and spend your marketing budget and time more efficiently.

Read more about setting up a marketing plan to help you reach your goals and organise your campaigns more effectively.

How do I set it up?

Monitoring your marketing will help you see the impact of each campaign in your marketing plan and subsequently helps you find out if your marketing is working.

For example, you can see how many people have signed up in response to your latest advert, PR activity or sales offer. Or you can find out how many Twitter or Facebook followers bought from you and what your social media’s ROI (return on investment) is.

Follow these three steps to find out if your marketing is working for your small business:

1. Tracking

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In order to see where your customers or clients are coming from, you need to be able to link as many purchases as possible to one of your marketing campaigns.

For example, when you send out a newsletter, use a code to track the link to your online shop or separate landing page to see how many people from your mailing list responded.

Or use a special discount code when you’re handing out leaflets at a trade show or sharing an exclusive offer on social media. And last but not least, add a drop-down menu to your contact form to ask visitors where they heard from you when they get in touch.

Now you can easily associate incoming orders with the respective marketing activities and evaluate if a campaign was successful or not.

Find out more about how to track and measure your marketing campaigns.

2. Goals

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Next, you have to define what you want to achieve with each of your campaigns. Goals are crucial both for your small business marketing activities and for measuring their success. There’s one rule: Be precise and realistic. “I want to have more clients” is nice, but it’s not measurable.

Find out what your objectives are: How many new customers do you want to generate with this campaign? By what percentage do you want to raise your social media reach? How many customers do you want to upgrade to the premium version of your product?

This way, you can compare the results of your campaigns to actual figures, rather than wishful thinking.

3. Budget

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When planning and analysing your small business marketing, it’s important to take your budget into account: How much money do you have for a campaign? What’s the total cost? How many products must you sell in order to break even? Is that figure realistic?

Being able to cover costs at the end of the campaign would be ideal. However, keep in mind that it’s not a prerequisite for a successful campaign; that depends entirely on the goal.

An advertising campaign raising the brand awareness among your audience, for example, will not directly generate any new business. But it will make your brand known, encourage people to buy your product and increase your overall marketing results going forward.

Find out more about how to effectively set a marketing budget here.

How do I find out if my marketing is working?

Regardless of the medium you use to measure your marketing success, your campaign results should ideally be part of your small business marketing plan.

It already outlines every campaign you have planned so it’s easy enough to simply add the tracking details, goals and budget you have in mind for them. And find out if your marketing is working. Here’s how:

1. Campaign

When putting together your marketing plan, collect all relevant information about your campaign:

  • Schedule: When will people receive your newsletter?
  • Reach: How many people saw your email? And how many clicked through?
  • Product: Which product are you promoting?
  • Offer: At what price? Did you offer a discount?
  • Audience: What is the target group for this campaign?
  • Goal: What is the intended result?

2. Costs

Next comes the budget:

  • Costs: Write down the cost you are budgeting for this campaign.
  • Spending: Take a note of the actual cost (and make sure to include staff costs, resources and external providers).
  • Tracking: Add the applied tracking method.

3. Results

After the campaign is over, note the response:

  • Sales: How many new clients did you generate?
  • Revenue: What is the total revenue of this campaign?

4. Analysis

Now, you can start analysing and calculate all kinds of things, to find out if your marketing is working the way it should, depending on the campaign and your goals.

Here are some common metrics:

  • Cost per client: What did each new client cost you? [cost/number of new clients]
  • Marketing percentage: What percentage of your marketing budget did you spend on this campaign? [total budget/campaign cost]
  • Conversion rate: How many of the targeted people replied? [reach/number of new clients]
  • ROI: Did you make a profit? [(profit margin*number of new clients)-campaign cost]

5. An example

Imagine an advert in your local trade magazine is read by 500 people. The cost of the advertisement, including the cost for the graphic designer, is £500 and your total marketing budget is £5.000.

You’re selling your product at £50 with a profit margin of £13. 50 people bought your product as a result of that advert. In a simplified manner, your monitoring could look like this:


What can I do with the results?

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With monitoring like this, you can see at a glance if a campaign has been a success or not, financially and/or commercially, depending on your goal.

If you monitor your marketing over a longer period of time, you can also find patterns in your customers’ buying behaviour. Additionally, you can identify optimum timing for certain offers or campaigns.

Those findings then form the basis for your future marketing efforts or tests, and of course, the budgeting and planning aspect of your marketing analytics shouldn’t be ignored.

Measuring and analysing your small business marketing helps you keep track of what you’re doing to achieve your goals and generally makes your marketing more efficient.


To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
Your Small Business Marketing Plan: What is it, Why Do You Need it & How Do You Get One?
Set Goals for Your Small Business in 4 Steps
Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses: Why You Need One & How to Define it
What Does Success Mean to You and Your Small Business?

Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.