Cost of resultsIf you’re running a business you almost certainly have an eye on the results you get – that’s what puts the money in the bank.  But how often do you do things that don’t actually impact on your results?

If we’re going to be pedantic then everything that you do should have an impact on the results you get, but it’s easy to take your eye off the ball.

Marketing is often one area where business owners fail to measure the results their marketing efforts achieve.  There is a famous quote “I know that 20% of my marketing activity works – but I don’t know which 20%.”  What about you?  If you picked up a pen and scribbled a list of your marketing activities could you easily identify what is working?  Do you know if each of those activities generates income – and, more to the point, more income than the cost of carrying it out.

In my business people pay for having their web copy written, so if they never get business from their websites, it’s not money well spent.  If I write blogs for a client and nobody ever sees them then that’s wasted effort and money.    This is why I recommend that my clients post links to their blogs on their social media accounts, not just once, but at regular intervals.

I do quite a lot of networking, both online and offline and I do track the cost of my networking and the income it generates.  I’ve got into the habit of asking people where they heard about me and the diversity of connections is fascinating – some go back years to something I took part in in 2005, some are more recent and relate to regular attendance at a networking group.

Some of my clients have met me once a long time ago and would probably have forgotten I existed if they hadn’t seen me regularly on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.  So one of the lessons I’ve learned is that nothing is a quick fix – it takes time to generate a profile both online and offline; people like to get to ‘know’ you and feel that they know enough about your expertise to recommend you to others as well as use your services themselves.

If you’re out of the office at a networking meeting, what does that cost you in meeting fees, travel expenses, time spent being away from your office, membership fees, marketing materials to distribute?  When you add all this up over a period of time have you got enough business from this to at least break even?

What are the results that you get from your marketing activities?  How much has it cost you to get them?  Are you focused on results – and on the return on investment?