Tracking your marketing campaigns while they run is always a good idea. Tracking campaigns allows you to make changes midstream, especially for social media and other digital campaigns. It is also a good idea to compare all of your campaigns at the end of the year to measure the results against one another and determine what you want to run again v. what was not beneficial. December is a great time to review what worked and didn’t work in your marketing for the current year and to create a plan for the year ahead. If you do the comparison review first, you can use the things you learned this year to make next year even better for your business.
Create a spreadsheet or other tracking method to list all of your campaigns for the year. Indicate where and how you promoted your business. Separate your campaigns by promotion location (e.g. Facebook, Pinterest, Email, etc.), by type of promotion (e.g Newsletter Lead Page, 25% Discount, etc.), and by message (i.e. Save 15% on all baby items, image of baby smiling). Once you have listed all of your campaigns together, you will be able to spot trends and results more easily.
Look into the details of each campaign and compare them to one another. The best comparisons should be found where you only changed one or two elements of a campaign. For example, if you promoted the same image and message on three different platforms and only one of them generated sales, that is probably your best platform. If your discount offers outperformed every other promotion, regardless of the location and message, that is an indication that your customers are really looking for a deal.
On the other hand, if you compare the different campaigns with multiple elements that were different, the results are more difficult to attribute to a single element of your marketing. If your Pinterest ads outperformed Facebook by 20:1, but they were run at different times of the year and with different images and messages, that might mean that your customers are not on Facebook as much as they are on Pinterest, it might have been the time of year, or it might be related to the imagery you used. The information that Pinterest is a good marketing tool is still valuable in this scenario, though.
When you begin planning your marketing for next year, use the information you've learned to decide the best times of year to promote your business, the best platforms to use, and the kind of messages to which your customers respond best. Create a marketing plan that leverages this information. Your marketing plan can be as simple as a spreadsheet or as elaborate as a Microsoft Project plan. Use the tools that you feel comfortable with so that you are more likely to implement the marketing plan as you work through 2016.