The start of any new month is an important time for small business owners and marketers alike to evaluate where you are, and how you’re doing against your plans for the year. At the end of every month, I look back on a whole slew of things to track my progress and set forth the next month’s key strategic goals.
Things marketers should pay attention to and evaluate on a monthly basis:
Budget. When evaluating your marketing budget at the end of a month, it’s important to have something to base it on. Hopefully you’ve laid out a yearlong marketing budget that has spend amounts categorized by where you want to spend that money. If you’re using a budget, this review should be something you use to make sure you stuck to it. Did you spend too much? Too little?
ROI. The natural follow up to a spend analysis is an analysis of what that money got you in return. Your ROI (return on investment) is an important calculation that will show you what is working, what’s not, and where to spend your money more wisely. It’s important to set up some way of tracking where your sales are coming from so that you can trace your success (or failure) back to specific campaigns and marketing channels. As a marketer, part of our job is to eliminate or cut back on those things that are not working and find the most efficient way to spend our money that will bring big results.
Analytics. Every business has some key metrics that you can look at and get an understanding of how the business is doing. Usually it’s a combination of sales, profits, and web analytics. Pay attention to key trends that might signal a new opportunity or threat worthy of investigation. Keep track of these items in a monthly report so that you can refer back to it in the future. Use it to set goals for the next month and beyond.
In many businesses you’ll be looking at these numbers on a more frequent basis. But a monthly checkup is a must for any business. Use it as an opportunity to take a look at your marketing initiatives at a high level and evaluate where they’re taking you.