Measuring what matters for your small business

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 10:10 AM

Editor's Note: The SMB Blog team wants to wish everyone a Happy National Small Business Week! To kick off the week, we're continuing a new series we're calling Measurement Mondays. Stay tuned to the hashtag #MeasurementMondays on Google+ for ongoing tips and thoughts to help businesses measure the things that matter.

As a business owner, there are many different metrics that are important to you - like what were my sales this month, and how many new employees can I hire this year? Similarly, there are important things that you should be measuring for your online marketing efforts which can help you improve your customer experience and potentially drive more sales.

Here are five things that every business should consider:

  • Start by identifying the right goals for you: Think about the business objectives of your website and marketing efforts, and identify specific customer actions that represent success. For instance, maybe your goal is to drive foot traffic to your store or to boost requests for an online quote. Other goals like signing up for a newsletter, viewing an important page on your site, or filling out an inquiry form can also be important indicators. Just as every business is unique, the metrics that signal success will vary. But it’s crucial for every business to know what matters to you so that you can make the most of your marketing efforts.
  • Understand how to measure ad effectiveness: Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to create ads that drive people to your store or site to achieve those goals. The most basic measure of your online ad effectiveness is your clickthrough rate (or CTR) which is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown (called impressions). CTR shows you how often the people who see your ad end up clicking on it, and a high CTR signals that users find your ads helpful and relevant.
  • See whether clicks are leading to conversions: It can also be important to see whether those ad clicks actually led someone to buy from you. To do this, you can use tools like AdWords Conversion Tracking, which is a free tool in AdWords that shows you what happens after a customer clicks on your ad. Did they ultimately buy something from your site or sign up for an email newsletter? By looking at how your ads impact conversions on your site, you’ll learn which keywords and ads are effective at bringing valuable customers which can help you invest more wisely.
  • Examine how online efforts are driving offline customers: For some businesses, driving traffic or calls to your brick and mortar store can be more valuable than a website visit. When people search for local products and services on their mobile phones, like a nearby hardware store or a local restaurant, they often prefer to call the business directly. With click-to-call ads, mobile shoppers can easily call your business directly from an ad that they see. Within your ad reports you can see the number of calls that were driven by your ad campaigns. Asking your customers at checkout how they heard about your company can also be an easy way to keep track of what is really bringing them through your door.
  • Keep measuring, keep experimenting: Businesses these days have no shortage of data available to them, and I know that it can sometimes feel overwhelming. The important thing about measurement for every business is to just get started and keep experimenting. Your customers and your business are constantly evolving, so remember not to set it and forget it. There often isn’t a right or wrong answer, but the data can reveal insights that help you win the moments that matter with your customers.
I hope these tips have given you some food for thought about how measurement can help you reach more customers and drive more sales. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on how you can take your website measurement to the next level. Happy measuring!

Posted by Francoise Brougher, Vice President of SMB Sales and Operations