Try Things. Track Things.

Marketing to consumers in the digital age is an ever-changing, evolving practice with very few tried and true solutions.  And to last in this world, a marketer or a company must be willing to live by a mantra that came to me in my sleep:

Try Things. Track Things.

Knowing that marketing budgets tend to be tight with small and medium sized companies, unless of course you have some investor capital to burn through, it’s important to find marketing channels that work.  But how do we know what will work?

The truth is, there is no guarantee that what works for others will work for you. You can learn from the efforts of others, research all of your options to no end, and guess and second guess yourself all day, but in the end you just need to start trying things.

The analogy of throwing a bunch of spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks is most appropriate here.  Take small amounts of money here and there and try as much as you can think of.  Some will work, others won’t.  The trick is to continue to spend money where it’s working and cut your losses as quickly as possible when something is not working.

Which brings us to part 2 of the mantra, track things.

The digital age of marketing has brought with it an expanding array of tools you can use to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Use free tools like Google Analytics to track where on your website people are going and where they’re coming from. Use unique URL’s on different ads and in for different sources to show you where sales are coming from and where they’re falling short.

The risk of wasting a lot of money on an ad campaign that does not work for you does not have to exist anymore.  Decide how much you are willing to spend on something to test it out, track it diligently, and find out if it’s working or not.  By the time you get through that initial test budget, be ready to make a decision moving forward.

Don’t get sucked in to fear, experimenting can be fun, and profitable.  You never know what might be a homerun for you.

Personal Example: Before testing, I was nervous about the potential of Facebook Advertising. As a Facebook user I had seen ads on the right side of the screen but never clicked on one.  They never seemed to grab my attention. So when the idea came up to start advertising there at my company, I was initially against it. Now, 2 years and thousands of dollars in revenue later, I’m glad I tried it out.