When it comes to marketing, it’s easy to just throw things at the wall and see what sticks. But, when you’re strapped for cash like most small businesses are, then trial and error marketing is a lot like flushing cash down the toilet. This is why it’s important to evaluate your marketing efforts to make sure the moves you make are bringing you the return you’re looking for and need.


What kind of marketing return are you looking for?

The first thing you want to do when evaluating your marketing efforts is to determine what you’re looking for in terms of return. Not all marketing campaigns are measured in the same way, so identifying your goals and targets is the first step to determining if a campaign is successful.

This can be measured in multiple ways.

  • Sales will increase;
  • Social media followers will increase;
  • Gaining subscribers to your email list;
  • Expansion into new markets;
  • Traffic to your website increases.

Once you’ve determined what you’re trying to do with your marketing campaign, you can work to determine if your campaign is successful or not.


Evaluate the Return on Investment (ROI)

If your goal is financial gain then examining the return on investment (ROI) is one of the easiest ways to determine if a marketing campaign is successful or not. ROI is the percentage increase in sales after you spend on marketing.

Investopedia explains how to calculate two different types of ROI, but we’ll go with a simple calculation.

Simply take the growth in sales for a month subtract the marketing cost, and then divide by the marketing cost. For example, if you spent $100 on marketing last month and sales grew by $1,000 in that same month, then your calculation would be:

$1,000-$100/$100 = 900% ROI

That’s not a realistic ROI, but it is easy to calculate.

Webstrategies believes an ROI of 5:1 or 500% is a good goal to shoot for because it will also cover the cost of goods sold and still leave a profit for most businesses.


Compare sales numbers year to year

Another easy way to determine if your marketing efforts have worked from a financial standpoint is to compare sales over a specific period to that same period the year before. For example, compare your February 2020 sales to your February 2019 sales. If the sales numbers are better in February 2020, then your marketing efforts have worked.

Word of warning. This is a simple way to compare, but it can also be dangerous. It’s assuming that there are no other outside factors affecting your sales numbers or that nothing has changed year to year. Both of those assumptions can be dangerous.


Customer response

Check your Facebook page and Instagram. Did your number of followers increase? Has there been a large increase in social media interaction?

Look at your sales funnel. Are you getting more reviews? Have you seen more traffic to your sales funnel or website?

An increase in any or all of these avenues can indicate that your marketing efforts are working, especially if you’re looking to increase traffic or grow a following on the internet or social media.


Customer reach

You also want to look at where the response is coming from. Maybe your goal is to expand your company’s customer base or start reaching out to customers on the West Coast. If you’re suddenly getting responses or followers in California, Oregon, and Washington, then you can conclude that your marketing efforts are successful.

As we said before, there are many ways to measure a campaign’s success.


Check-in with your sales team

And possibly the easiest way to figure out if your marketing efforts have been successful is to check in with your sales team. Your team, after all, has their finger on the pulse of your customer. They talk to customers every day, see the new sales leads as they come in, and touch base with those sales leads. Plus, they know where those leads came from and why.

Talk to them. Find out if they’ve seen an increase in sales leads since your latest marketing campaign launched. Has your team seen an increase in actual sales? Is there a general feeling within your team that this latest marketing campaign has been successful?

Remember, no matter what kind of success you’re looking for, whether it’s an increase in sales, an increase in social media followers or something else, it’s important that you evaluate and re-evaluate your marketing campaigns frequently to make sure that you are getting the best return possible for the money you spend.

Do have your target audience nailed down? Check out this previous post on how to market to different generations.


Written by Erika Towne