So you've decided to invest in your business by increasing your marketing budget. You've come up with the funds, ran the sum by the finance department, and you're ready to invest.

But before you spend another dollar on marketing, make sure you, your marketing team, and your businesses decision makers are on the same page and have a solid understanding of your existing marketing resources and performance. Make sure the marketing plan reflects the organization's top overarching business goals and make sure your marketing goals are attainable.

It's critical to have the elements in place that will enable your team to reach its goals. By the time you're done the assessment, you should know the strength of your existing website, brand, business model, marketing technology, team, and processes. You should also have an idea how much work needs to be done to enable the type of results you're aiming for.

You should aim to find out how extensive your reach is and the extent of your influence among key audiences, such as customers, leads, partners, peers, media, and employees. You should know your top performing campaigns, and what kind of results have they historically generated.

Once that is established, you're probably eager to get started. Keep in mind that you can put money into advertising, hire a social media specialist and get a communications strategist, but you should never sit back and assume that your efforts are increasing sales for your business.

First, you should establish what your current efforts are doing. Here are four ways to measure your marketing efforts:

1. Chart your newsletter statistics

The best place to start is your own inbox, and with the people you already know and who already know you. You probably send out marketing emails to your customer base and prospective customers, but did you know that your email system will track your open rates and click rates. Once you have the numbers, try to raise them.

2. Optimize your marketing techniques

Even a seemingly simple tactic like segmentation of your email newsletters can have a great positive impact, because people like to think their emails are personalized to them. It makes them feel like you know them.

Optimized marketing and sending fewer irrelevant emails will help your customers pay more attention when you do have something important to communicate. Your emails should include offers, deals, information, or a call to action. If not, ask yourself why you are sending the email. Include a call to action!

3. Understand your website analytics

Next, look at your web analytics on your website. Your website can generate statistics showing how visitors behave and which pages are encouraging purchases, donations, or clicks.

4. Accept that marketing research is a good investment

Marketing research like this can not only help you to identify what is working, it shows you what isn't, and what isn't worth the monetary investment. Benchmarking can also help you identify where your competitive edge lies and how you can capitalize on it.

By evaluating your current business and marketing performance, you can devise the right marketing strategies and allocate time, money and resources to the right places. Figuring this out at a bootstrapped company took me forever, honestly.

We were sitting on all of this customer data and not utilizing it to our best ability for years. I kept hearing about all the wonderful things you could do simply by using the information being given to you, but didn't know exactly what to do with it. The funny thing is, there are hundreds of articles online waiting for you to read them, and you can teach yourself just about anything in 2018.

So, it's time for you to figure out all the ways you could be bettering your business by understanding your data metrics, and start utilizing them in your benefit. Trust me, your bottom line will thank you.

Published on: Jul 30, 2018
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