As a small or even mid-size business owner, it's not uncommon to excel in one or two areas of running a business while lagging in others. This can often create a very challenging situation as the business struggles to grow and adapt over time. As we all know, running a business is full of decisions and many of them are fairly important to the success (or lack there of) for a business. Wouldn't it be nice if there were tools to help you make better business decisions that didn't involve huge investments or an expertise in a specific field? The fact is, no matter where you're lacking, there are often options for improving your decision making ability in your current situation. Below, I take a look at a couple of specific examples for those working on making important marketing decisions.

Call Tracking

Example question(s): What benefits am I getting from my offline advertising?

When making decisions on marketing - especially early on in the life of a business, it's important to understand where your money is going and your ROI as much as possible. Now, truth be told, it's extremely rare to have enough of the puzzle to understand your exact ROI from an acitivity. We are forced to live in a world of inexact numbers and estimates, but an educated decision is far better than a shot in the dark. 

Some of the hardest marketing activities to understand are those that take place solely offline - such as TV ads, print magazine or newspaper ads, etc. Traditionally, businesses have just spent the budget on those activities based on some marketing mix breakout and some level of customer persona development. Enter call tracking. Call tracking allows businesses to utlize custom numbers for handling calls without the hassle of extra lines, etc. Instead, you work out where your number is being shown (medium, campaign, etc.) and call tracking companies provide you with numbers to use and some analytics data on how successful each campaign has been at driving calls. 

While there are certainly loop holes here as always, it's a great way to start understanding the value of those radio ads you've been running compared to the direct mail you sent out.

Custom URLs

Example question(s): What benefits am I getting from my offline advertising? Which social channel is driving the most ROI?

Custom URLs are powerful tools for helping you understand the influence of your marketing across multiple channels and mediums. There are a few ways to utilize custom URLs:

  1. The easiest way is to simply create a custom  landing page for a marketing campaign and develop a unique URL for it. Many organizations have started utilizing this method for tracking the effect of TV ads as well as other online efforts. 
    1. Example:
  2. The second common way of utilizing custom URLs is to build tracking parameters into your URLs with a tool such as Google's URL builder. This allows the unique link to be well accounted for in Google Analytics and can help you understand a wide range of date from high-level advertisement success to individual messaging comparisons on social channels. Utilizing these can be very dynamic and powerful for understanding your marketing.


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