Being a business owner has many challenges, rewards and responsibilities. Many of the challenges a small business faces are either directly or indirectly related to the bottom line trifecta of sales, marketing and revenue. These three business components are frequently the drivers that steer, help or hurt all other areas of a small business. Not unlike most other business challenges, knowing what you don’t know or at least being able to gather information is what enables you to make better decisions and improve your small business.

Where Do Your Customers Come From?

Do you know where your small business customers come from?

On the surface, many small business owners have some kind of gut level answer to this question, but very few have actually taken the steps to collect the information and data to support it. As a small business, it is imperative that you are able to know exactly where your new customers are coming from and have the proof to back it up.

Tracking New Customer Acquisition Is Important

In today’s complicated business, marketing and customer relationship world, there are literally hundreds of ways that people can find out about your business. But without clearly and definitively understanding where customers are actually coming from, it becomes extremely difficult to leverage what is working and fix what isn’t working. Furthermore, without the factual data to support your decision-making, you are likely spending money, time and resources on marketing activities that are not producing any or a good enough return. Return on investment for marketing dollars can either make or break your business.

Marketing Channel Attribution

Attribution of marketing channels is something that too few small businesses do. Most that are not doing it are struggling with not only their small business marketing, but usually in other areas of their business as well. On the contrary, of small businesses that do attribute every customer, sale and inquiry to a specific marketing channel, most are succeeding well.

Attribution of customers, revenue, traffic and inquiries is the strategic, documented and prioritized process of assigning information to every single action within your business that is customer related. Meaning, that every visitor to your website, every walk in customer, every telephone call and any other customer touch point is assigned a origination source and tracked. Your small business needs to understand how every single customer interaction originated and this is done by assigning attribution to each contact.

Digital Marketing Attribution:

Digital marketing is the most complex segment of marketing that any small business will encounter. Part of the complexity is the sheer number of channels that make up digital marketing. For example: Not only is there the social media marketing channel, but there are from three to upwards of ten social networks that even the smallest business has to address today. On top of that, there are several other digital marketing components, platforms or mediums that can also provide marketing exposure and therefore must be measured and tracked.

One of the advantages of digital marketing over other types of marketing mediums is that by default it can be tracked electronically. There are numerous tools, applications and website plugins that can automatically keep track of the number of visitors to your website and where those customers came from that landed them there. And as a small business, keeping track of website visitors and attributing their traffic is crucial for understanding what’s working and what needs to be improved.

Any integrated digital marketing program should be tracking visitors from online ads, organic search and the terms used to find your business, social media and the specific platform they clicked from, email marketing, digital referrals, review sites and the list goes on. If you don’t know how customers are finding you, then you certainly don’t know how they are NOT finding you. Measuring and tracking all aspects of your digital marketing presence is a must!

Walk In & Phone Call Attribution:

Walk in and phone call customer attribution are often the most overlooked and under tracked components of a small business marketing program. Whether it is due to never thinking about tracking it or management not putting processes in place for employees to following, walk in and phone call customer traffic are important marketing attribution elements for every small business.

Under these two categories of marketing attribution should be things such as drive-by, referred by a friend, yellow pages, previous customer and newspaper ad. Regardless of how a customer heard of your business or what got them to come in, you need to be tracking it and attributing it to source and revenue!

Small Business Marketing ROI

We have all heard the phrase knowledge is power, haven’t we? Well we believe that power isn’t derived from knowledge, but rather using the knowledge you gain is where power comes from. It is no different with small business marketing. Obtaining the data and information on where your small business customers come from is just half of the equation. Being able to effectively use that information to improve your marketing, sales and revenue turns the knowledge into power.

Though tracking and measuring where your customers come from is a crucial first step for any small business, there needs to be more. ROI or return on investment should become the mantra and focus of every small business owner. Being able to make intelligent and educated business and marketing decisions based on facts puts your business well on the path of sales and revenue growth.

How do you track where your small business customers come from?