In 1986, while negotiating the nuclear arms proliferation agreement with Russia, Ronald Reagan famously quoted an oft used (translated) Russian proverb “Trust but verify”. The meaning behind this quote was to not just sit back and “hope” that things worked out as they said they would. In the agreements, independent teams would verify the reduction in each side’s nuclear arms to keep everyone honest. When we advertise our businesses, the marketing that is most effective is the marketing we have to pay for. It is necessary that we trust what these sources claim on their metrics of how many wedding couples they get in front of , but it matters more that we verify or measure it ourselves.
When we measure, we manage. Failure to measure will leave us not able to manage. When we do not measure we are left to our feelings, nuance and mutual mystification (mutual = between us and those supplying the advertisements). If your results are great and you are booking more business than you thought you would- keep doing what you are doing. If you’re not happy with the results of your marketing, when you measure on your end, you can then figure out whether the problem is the medium or the message. 80% of those I encounter feel they do not get the result from the advertising they pay for that they expect, but cannot put their finger on exactly where the problem lies.
Homework assignments #1- find an accurate method to measure your mediums. Simply asking the wedding couple, “how did you hear about us?” is better than nothing…but not much better. In finding an accurate method of measuring your marketing, you should agree with the idea that the responsibility of determining the source of advertising which brought the couple in is fully yours and not theirs (the wedding couple). She will not ( and many times cannot) keep track of how she found you. There are multiple ways of measuring your marketing these days with separate web addresses, phone numbers (many use Google voice options) and special offers which are separate yet equal (if you use the same offer on every ad, that shoots your measuring in the foot) which help greatly to get more accurate read on traffic.
When there are so many methods to measure what your results are, it is unsafe for your business to assume the quoted numbers given you. While most of the advertising sources you pay for are reliable and do what they say they do, there are some who are not so on board with giving you accuracy as they are gaining a customer. This article is not to give you a finger to point or someone to blame, because if anything, you need to point that finger at yourself for not measuring well. Simple resources such as Google Analytics are an absolute no-brainer (I mean really- it takes literally $5 for this free resource to be put on your site if you cannot do it yourself and 15 minutes per week for you to measure the traffic sources, keywords and what those who come there do when they are there).
One further note; I recommend Bridal shows, face to face networking and internet (50% of your budget and energy should be on the internet, your site, SEO and referring sites) because they are so easy to measure and give you direct results. The couples you see at a Wedding show, you see- hard to inflate that number (so it will either work or it will not). Face to face with other wedding professionals is again easy to measure as you take the referrals they send (or don’t) . Your web traffic- again analytics will measure that for you.
Getting traffic is your goal- converting that traffic to face to face appointments is what will help your business to grow. Hoping that you are getting good traffic for what you are paying for is no longer a strategy that is adequate in today’s marketing world. In fact….Hope is lousy strategy.