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Marketing KPI Examples suitable for a Small Business

Marketing KPI examples that we see are often based on what a larger business would use. Instead for small business, spending time compiling a complex report of measurement isn't nearly as useful as taking action on useful insights.

So what marketing KPI examples are best for a small business?

Why bother with Marketing KPI's?

Most marketing KPI examples that you see are based on what a big company uses. Nothing wrong with this but they're not always suitable for how a small business operates. Traditionally, these marketing KPI examples are will track all of your marketing activity in detail to see the effectiveness of each channel or activity.

Below is a marketing KPI example.

Traditional KPI marketing examples

What we love about this traditional approach is the detail and how it directly aligns back to objectives and KPI's set in your business plan.

It also typically tracks everything – social, email, website, affiliates etc. But there is a problem with this approach for small business.

This traditional approach takes a lot of time to capture and compile regularly before you start to analyse and optimise your marketing based on the insights you glean from it.

But is it suitable for a small business? 

For a small business, time is finite. While this approach does work for a small business, we need to question whether it's the best use of your time, particularly when time and resources are usually limited resource. Yet, measuring and having KPIs is important if you want to grow. We run lean operations, and everything we do needs to matter!

Better Marketing KPI Examples for small business

Say hello to the marketing measurement plan that is designed for a small business so that you can:

  1. Identify what's working and what's not with your marketing activities, and troubleshoot your way to increased sales.

  2. Understand where to focus your finite budget and resources for improved conversion rates across your marketing program.

  3. Help you work out the most effective strategy and tactics to meet your marketing objectives and business goals and create a marketing flywheel that will compound your marketing efforts as you go forward.

Rather than tracking everything, small business needs a measurement plan that focuses on the key metrics that determine the success (or not) of your marketing.

The need for macro and micro conversions when look at marketing KPI examples

A measurement plan suitable for a small business should identify the macro conversion points and the micro-goals that help drive the success of that macro goal.

First, what's the difference between a macro and micro conversion? A macro conversion or goal is the 'end game,' i.e. the KPI! These are leads and sales generated, turnover etc. These macro goals tell you how you're doing, e.g. did you increase sales? However, they won't necessarily give you the information you need to identify how to improve or fix failure points in your marketing activities.

Enter the mighty micro goal or conversions. These are the steps your potential customer takes along the way towards a 'lead' or 'sale'. They are measurements that indicate behavior taken (or not) by your potential customer or client.  Micro conversions might be a click-through from a post on your socials or a paid promotion ad, or it might be improving your shopping cart effectiveness by reducing cart abandonment. These are examples of steps along the way to make a sale and represent a point to optimise your overall conversion rate.

Use behaviour to determine your marketing KPI's

These macro and micro-steps represent your customer behaviour and their journey as part of a sale and can provide great marketing KPI examples. For example, how do they 'find you', and then what information or questions do they have at as part of 'considering' your offer, and what finally convinces them to register or buy from you?

This behaviour can become a simple measurement plan based on the key actions they need to take as part of their purchase journey with your business.

We think of these stages as discovery, wooing, converting, and adding a final stage focused on the post-sales experience to understand how to help people either refer or buy again from a business.

What impact would it have if you improved the conversion rate across each of these stages on your total sales?

This approach is a bonus because you also see how your marketing fits together, how to design marketing campaigns best, and ensure that you think about your customer and what they need to commit to you as a customer or client.

(Note: another way to think of the customer journey is a sales funnel. I prefer the customer journey as it is more about understanding your customers behaviour rather than squashing them into an arbitrary process to make a sale.)

The Customer Journey Map

How to create a measurement plan for a small business - step by step

  1. Start by identifying your macro conversions, i.e. sales, registrations, leads. These are often the 'ultimate' goals that you track in a business plan, aligned to your business goals.
  2. Plot out the steps your clients take before buying from you. For example, they might engage or follow you on your socials, see an ad or search for a 'service' you offer, click through to your website, visit a target sales page, download a lead magnet or make an appointment. These are all examples of possible steps (and micro-goals) that are relevant to your business.
  3. Map each of these activities onto a table that reflects how close they are to the 'sale', i.e. the customer journey. Generally, the stages are discovery, consideration and conversion. (We start with the customer journey and plot out all of the touchpoints in the first layout and then put detail into the second template, which also forms a wonderful tactical view of your marketing plan.

How do people discover you? Examples

  • View Profile (LI Instagram)
  • Like a post  make a comment
  • View a video
  • Click through to website

How will you woo people? Examples

  • Browses pages on website
  • Revisit site
  • Sign up for download
  • Contact form submitted

How will you convert them? Examples

  • Meeting booked
  • Signed agreement
  • Shopping cart and check out

How will you get some post-sales love? Examples

  • Review
  • Referral

This completed plan identifies the key activities that move a potential client or customer from each stage to the next. For example, a click-through to your website may indicate the visitor is now considering your product. These key actions are the micro-actions that form your measurement plan.

The final step is putting in place tracking for each of the items you've identified, and then let the fun part begin by asking questions about what is working, what's not so that you can then start to deep dive into the problem areas, analyse and optimise.

This approach cuts down on time spent compiling and gathering your stats and focuses on quickly identifying the problem and then diving in for further analysis. It's an iterative approach so that you can be responsive. Your focus from month to month will shift based on the results you see as you steadily improve your marketing with your optimising activity. Tracking is easy on your website using Google Analytics and putting goals in place to monitor. You may have to put additional tracking in place if you have an activity that is taking place in other channels.

Now what?

Once you're tracking, analysing, and asking questions, the next step is to improve the area you've identified. You may need to dive deeper into a particular channel to understand its performance and determine the required changes. The point here is that you only focus on capturing additional data that you will immediately put into action to help improve your results.

For example, suppose you've identified that your social media is not driving traffic to your website – and, ergo, not helping generate leads and sales. In that case, you need to understand more about this channel and what needs to change to improve.

As a small business, it's a delicate balance between tracking what will help you 'triage' and understand success versus points for improvement and then taking action.

A small business marketing measurement plan example

Let's take an example of a business consultant. The consultant:

  • Posts on LinkedIn value add content that drives comments and conversation
  • A potential client checks out the company profile and clicks through to the website
  • On the website, the possible client looks at their 'projects' page, downloads an ebook
  • Following the ebook, there is an email sent
  • The potential client gets busy, but they keep an eye on the odd email from the business consultant until finally, the time is right to take action on this 'issue'.
  • The potential client makes a booking for a discovery call via the website but also browse for competitors to see who else compares
  • They revisit the site but on the way, notice how many Google Review the consultants have
  • After a conversation, a proposal and a few more emails, the deal is done.

You can see there is a progression here. Not all of your customers or clients will do precisely the same, but we could identify a few key activities that should be measured as micro-goals.

Discovery (micro) = Website visit Download ebook

Consideration (micro) = Email follow-ups, Repeat website visit Quote

Conversion (macro) = Contract signed

Note how we are not tracking everything! The aim here is not to overwhelm yourself by tracking everything; instead, just tracking critical points to know how overall performance is going and where to focus our troubleshooting spots, so you can zoom in and focus on that specific point.

Tips for the small business

  • Don't go crazy with so many metrics that you get lost in them. Focus on the key metrics and identify your first area that needs improvement. Move onto the next area once you can see improved results.
  • Use the simple layouts in the Companion Planner for a logical framework to organise your 'customer' activities.
  • Measurement is only as good as the questions and actions you take in response to the answer. So learn to hypothesise and test to improve the results.
  • Expect to evolve your measurement plan as you learn more and improve your results.

Download our Digital Marketing & Action Plan Templates to help you develop your customer journey and develop your own KPI's.

Google Analytics – free and, when set up correctly, provides many insights on where traffic is coming from and what people do on the website

Google Tag Manager for more advanced event tracking on your website

Hotjar for recording individual sessions on your site to optimise and improve your website's effectiveness

Crazy egg or Hotjar for heatmaps to see what content is getting attention for more optimisation of your website.


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