I’ve been bombarding you with tips, from Pricing for Profit to Driving Traffic to Your Shop to Keeping Your Customers and Getting New Ones; but there’s two questions that keep coming up – How do you make it all work? and How the heck do you know what’s working?
Here are 5 simple tips to help you:
#1. Budget, Budget, Budget
Yes I said thrice – budget. You need to figure out a monthly or yearly marketing budget. Setting a budget doesn’t mean that you have to have all the money on hand right now; it just means that you are setting a dollar amount that you are willing to spend each month or yearly on marketing your shop.
You don’t have to spend 100’s of dollars each month, work within your own means – no one is going to come audit you and reprimand you for only being able to afford a tiny budget. Your budget can be as small or as large as you can afford (notice I avoided saying “want”, because we all would like to have more money to grow our businesses).
The key is to spend smart, make your dollars work hard for you and not the other way around.
#2. Start a Marketing Calendar
In my opinion, a marketing calendar is an essential tool. It helps you schedule your marketing and promotion activities, stay on budget and make sure you don’t sit there scratching your head in October trying to remember that “killer marketing stunt” you pulled in February. Your marketing calendar can be something as simple as a printed calendar page where you write down, the activity name including any sites or apps you used, cost, how long did you run it and your comments.
Think K.I.S.S (keep it simple sista) when deciding on marketing campaigns you will test. Remember your friend called, “Ms. Budget“, she wants you to stick to your agreed upon monthly spend amount – so make every dollar count. You don’t want to run 10 marketing campaigns at once because they may: #1 put you way over budget, #2 be hard to track (yes, you must track), and #3 take up all your time managing them.
Work smart. Schedule 1-3 activities for the month and stick to them. You need to be able to measure the impact each campaign has on your overall goal. For example, for the month of March you set a budget of $100 so, you plan to run a Project Wonderful ad campaign spending $2 a day for a total of $64. You may also host a giveaway using the Facebook Promotion app running it for 3 days starting the 2nd weekend in March for a total of $8. You also decide to place a button ad on Craftopolis for two weeks running the 3rd and 4th week of the month for a total of $28. Your total spending $100 right on budget.
#3. Run Your Campaign
With your marketing calendar handy, it’s time to run your “scheduled” marketing campaign. Keep a journal for your campaigns, write down: What did you do? How did you do it? How much time did it take you to setup? Include any collateral materials. The more detail the better, it will help you duplicate or reuse successful campaigns in the future.
I personally use http://www.dropbox.com to store all my marketing campaign journals and collateral. I have one main folder labeled, Marketing 2011 in that folder I have sub-folders for each month – Jan 2011, Feb 2011, etc. I store campaign info in the corresponding month folder, this way, if my computer decides to kick the bucket I won’t lose any of my information.
#4. View Your Results
There are lots of tools to help, but you need to understand what you are looking at and what you need to understand. Google Analytics is a great free tool, not only should you use it to install your Etsy Web Analytics, it should be used to track your marketing campaigns. (To better understand Google Analytics, Check out this short video by Google)
Since we are interested in tracking our marketing campaigns, you will want to check out your “Traffic Sources” in Google Analytics (it’s a link in your dashboard). There you will be able to see where are your visitors coming from – are they finding you as a result of a normal Google search or are they being referred by an ad from one of your campaigns?
Google Analytics has a neat feature called, URL Builder. You can create a custom URL that you can then attach to any banner or button ads you use in your campaign. You can also add it to your Facebook Fan Page. By creating a custom url using Google Analytics’ URL Builder you can get a better track your marketing campaigns.
Here’s a short video to help you get started with URL Builder:
#5. Weed Out the Riff Raff
Now that you have followed Steps #1 – #3, it’s time to do some housekeeping. This whole exercise would be pointless if you are going to continue running the same campaigns even-though they were a waste of time and/or money.
The object of the game is to figure out what works well and what doesn’t, then weeding out the riffraff – the campaigns that bombed and produced no real traffic.
HOWEVER, before you put a campaign in the bomb file, try to figure out it bombed. Was it due to poor placement, or it didn’t run long enough, or was it just a ‘sucky’ campaign.
If you find yourself searching for a positive justification for why a campaign went bad because you are just so proud of the ingenuity of your campaign – suck it up and put it in the bomb file.
We’d love to here your comments. How do you figure out your budget? Do you use a marketing calendar? How do you track the effectiveness of your ads?
Just for fun, here are some examples of bad ad placement:
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