ROI. Everyone’s looking for it. It’s a short leap from being able to track engagement online to asking how it will help your business.
Through the power of the internet, the ability to monitor and analyze data from marketing efforts has never been greater. We can see with every dollar spent what kind of profit it generates. And this level of granularity can be empowering.
However, not every amount spent can be easily measured and shown to be profitable. Some efforts don’t generate a direct return the way an ad campaign might. Over time, you may be able to correlate these efforts to revenue growth or success, but they aren’t clear-cut.
These are what I like to call immeasurable values. Let me give you a few examples.
On a baseball team, you can calculate a player’s batting average. You can determine the velocity of a pitch and the angle to hit it out of the park. The time needed to run from home plate to first base without getting out can be averaged.
But what’s the measurable value of an inspiring speech? How about an athlete who’s cheerful and encourages her teammates? What’s the ROI of a coach who never gives up on you?
Or to put it differently, what’s the value of your mom? Or your dad, your brother, your sister, your grandparent? The person you care about most?
[bctt tweet=”What’s the value of your mom? “]
Can you put a number to the worth of these people? You certainly can’t put a value on the impact they made on your life.
Likewise, for your business, there are both measurable and immeasurable values. Here are our top five practices that will benefit you in difficult-to-track ways:
Maintaining an Engaging Presence
I was in dire need of sustenance that night when I remembered the taco shop I’d been passing on my drive home. I changed my route, going out of my way to get some delicious tacos, until I arrived. It was early on a week night, but the lights were off, the door was shut, and inside you could see construction in progress.
They had shut down.
Or at least that’s what I thought. In fact, they were having renovations done in the main dining area, so they were using the patio next door for impromptu seating. I ended up getting those tacos, but only by sheer luck.
Online, many businesses look like they’re out of business. Their website has dated information, they have unclaimed social media profiles, and on the ones they have claimed, they’re not posting anything. In real life, these signs would indicate that a business isn’t operating.
Why is this immeasurable? Because you don’t know who’s looking. No one could track that I drove out of my way to that taco shop, and Facebook won’t let you know who looked at your empty page.
[bctt tweet=”What’s the value of a ‘We’re Open’ sign?”]
To remedy this, have a fresh and alive presence, not a stale one. Post regular new content. Don’t let your most recent post be from 2011.
Not everyone will be ready to buy the first time they meet you. If they’re driving down the road and see a sign for a burger joint, it doesn’t mean they will pull over immediately and chow down. Most of the time, people learn about your brand several times before their pain becomes so acute that they need to make a purchase.
Think about the number of ads you see on a daily basis. While some may push a specific sale or special, others simply remind you that they exist. They try to catch your attention with something original so you keep them at the top of your mind.
You ever get one of those radio advertising jingles in your head? In LA County, singing, “Well you won’t get a lemon” will get the locals around you to reply “you wouldn’t have got a lemon!” Or the kid singing the telephone number you’ll need to “donate your kar today.”
These brands don’t know when you’ll be ready to buy a car or donate your used car, truck, boat or RV. But when you are, they want to be the first thing that comes to mind.
Being visible is a powerful, immeasurable value. Now, with some visibility methods, you can measure success (we sell more when we advertise), but on the whole it’s difficult to measure what people’s awareness of your brand and products means for your business.
Winning the Competitor Competition
It’s no surprise that you’re not alone. And both your current and potential customers will see marketing from your competitors. Your competitor’s next customer is your current one.
So when a potential customer looks for where to take their business, how does your franchise look next to others in your industry? Do they have claimed, informative pages while yours are empty? Are they responding to online comments while you’re ignoring them? Did they provide any offer next to your full-price service? How are their customer reviews and online ratings compared to yours?
You need to stand out.
In a side-by-side review, your brand has to win the competition comparison game to get business. Again, you don’t always know when people are comparing you, and it’s often not when you think. So you have to prepare your online presence for when they’ll be looking.
[bctt tweet=”Next to your competitors, you need to stand out”]
Warby Parker does this by allowing customers to try on glasses at home for five days before deciding which pair they want to buy. While other eyeglass providers require trying on eyeglasses in a store or not allowing an at-home try-on, Warby Parker makes the testing process less risky for their current and potential customers.
Create resources for your customers that are unique to your business and that no one else is making. Or if they are, make them better. Provide value to your customers before and after they become your customers.
Gaining and Keeping Trust
Not everyone’s going to buy because you provide better value than competitors. There will always be people who look at price first and go for the best bargain.
But if they don’t think you’re going to get their order correct, or if working with you causes them a headache, they’ll take their business elsewhere.
[bctt tweet=”Trust can be gained or lost incrementally”]
Trust can be lost in small and large ways. Lawsuits can be bad for business because they indicate the business can’t be trusted.
But trust could weaken if you have half a star less than a competitor on Yelp or if you respond rudely to a customer comment online.
On the other hand, trust can be gained in big and small ways, too. When a brand has a terrible snafu, how they respond can keep the trust people have for them from tanking. And when you’re ordering a burger, a friendly smile and politeness can go a long way.
Building a Recognizable Brand
All the things you do make up your brand. From the color of your logo to how you provide your customer service, the everyday actions make up the identity people see.
Want to be known for design? Give out design awards and make cutting-edge products. Want to be known as a dog-friendly ice cream franchise? Give out free doggie sundaes.
Standing for your own company values and giving people a consistently positive experience with each interaction they have with you will provide incremental advantages in the marketplace.
So what? How do you work on building up immeasurable values such as branding, engaging and trust? What areas of immeasurable value can you improve?