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Online Marketing For Startups: How to Measure Success

Posted by Early Growth

July 1, 2014    |     4-minute read (619 words)

This guest post was contributed by Brett Farmiloe, founder of Markitors.

Figuring out to gain traction is one of the biggest challenges for any startup. Let's say you're the person responsible for getting "X" number of users within "Y" months of your launch. Instead of just giving it your best shot and praying for success, how can you quantify the effectiveness of your online marketing strategy?

Here's the framework we utilize for clients at Markitors:

  • Figure out the target goal and timeframe
  • Identify marketing assets
  • Develop and execute the strategy

Figure out the target.

As an example: We recently launched an iPhone app for light rail riders in Phoenix. We determined there were about 50,000 regular riders. Of that 50,000, we estimated 25% had iPhones. Our goal for the app was to get a 10% adoption rate within 3 months, which led to a target of 1,250 users.

You can develop a reasonable target and timeline using similar marketing math. Figure out the total potential user base for your product or service. Estimate how many of those users are likely to adopt your product. Then, set a goal for yourself and a timeframe for achieving that goal.

Identify the power of your marketing assets.

Good marketing is more or less a straightforward breakdown of numbers. This step is where you'll analyze the individual contribution of each your marketing assets and determine how you'll reach your target.

Step 1. Copy this spreadsheet.

Step 2. Fill in Column B with your own numbers (I've already filled in the click-through rate and conversion rate information for you in Column C and D based on Markitors' previous experiences. You should adjust these percentages as necessary to reflect your business' specific characteristics.)

Step 3. Add additional marketing assets to Column A until your target is reached. Note: Column F is your frequency, or how many times you'll use your marketing asset per month. You can also add resources here to help reach your target.

Examples of good additional assets to add to Column A include sponsorships of relevant websites in your target segment, guest posts on niche websites, and coupon websites offering incentives for first time customers.

As you’ll see in the spreadsheet, the most valuable marketing assets are emails and organic search. This is true for our client base and holds across most industries. So growing your email list and increasing the amount of traffic generated by organic search are two crucial areas to focus on in order to grow users and revenue.

Execute your strategy.

Now that your marketing strategy spreadsheet shows how you'll achieve your target, it's time for you to put the strategy into motion. Keep track of what you've done by filling out columns J, K, and L. Fill in your confirmed users as they come. Adjusting your spreadsheet on a monthly basis to reflect the most current numbers will help increase the accuracy of your projections.

The result? Your spreadsheet will be a tool to measure your online marketing efforts, allowing you to focus on which assets are producing the best results. This is really just a start. Though I've focused on a simple spreadsheet here, as you gain traction with users, you should integrate it into a CRM system to enable more sophisticated tracking, measuring, and reporting capabilities.

Brett Farmiloe, Founder of online marketing company Markitors, combines marketing with systematic financial analysis to assist ecommerce companies in driving business growth. Brett is also the author of Pursue the Passion, a career resource guidebook. For more on combining marketing, social media management, and auditing contact him at BRETT@MARKITORS.COM.

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