Many small business owners still equate “better sales” with gaining more customers and revenue. At the face of it, it seems like an easy equation, right? However, when it comes to marketing, they find it difficult to attach a significant ROI to their marketing efforts. Result? They ask, “Did we spend those marketing dollars wisely?

The problem is, most small businesses don’t use data for their marketing activities and even when they do, they don’t use the right data. Many reports and surveys show that SMBs are adopting new marketing strategies, but if you put these numbers aside and look around, you’ll find data-driven marketing remains a key challenge for SMBs.

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Some SMBs try to engage in low-cost (read: subpar) marketing efforts. They either hire an intern or pick someone with some basic knowledge of digital marketing from their employee pool and set them to the task of taking care of their social-media channels or digital-marketing campaigns. Can such slip-shod digital-marketing efforts produce the desired results? Often, the answer is no. For marketing to be effective, businesses need to befriend data and ensure they are measuring the right metrics for their business. But first, they need to set clear goals for their marketing conversions.

To land a "marketing conversion," you need to employ the right tactics to persuade your prospects to respond to your call to action. To begin with, it’s important for businesses to understand what type of conversion they want to achieve through each marketing action. Are they looking to gain visibility, bring in new leads, create end-to-end customer experiences or is there something else? The biggest problem for most entrepreneurs and small-business leaders is they don’t know what a conversion means to them or their business.

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For instance, if getting people to your site is your goal, then your efforts should be towards getting that done. If it’s getting people to download a white paper, then you should focus on crafting a call to action that encourages a prospect to do just that. If you are more focused on customer service, then your marketing efforts should be crafted around creating better content and helpful videos, as well as more responsive social-media actions.

In order to succeed at conversion-oriented digital marketing, you must follow these steps:

  • Understand your audience.
  • Identify your goal.
  • Assess the most suitable channels - where is your audience hanging out?
  • Set the right metrics.
  • Collect and measure relevant data against the set metrics.
  • Strategize marketing activities around the data insights and key business objectives.
  • Measure the efficacy of specific marketing actions.
  • Repeat or tweak as necessary.

Marketing involves a lot of actions. If don’t have a clear, strategic approach and aren’t 100 percent clear on your goals, you will likely end up disappointed. After all, at the end of the day, the conversions you end up getting are only as good as the effort you put into targeting them.

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