Every business should aspire to tie its work back to revenue influenced by marketing activities. This can be easier to do for some activities as opposed to others. In this session, you will learn how to associate most of your marketing efforts with revenue. For businesses with limited resources, directly measuring the success of marketing campaigns is critical. Heather Harmon will teach you to view success through two primary lenses: what is the ROI of your marketing efforts, and how are your strategies and tactics performing?

About Heather Harmon, Director of Marketing and Community Outreach, Rev1 Ventures

Heather Harmon leads corporate marketing and communications initiatives. Her responsibilities range from creating and producing Rev1 messaging and collateral to managing multiple communications channels, including national online and print publications, rev1ventures.com, and social media. Heather and the Rev1 marketing team produce monthly networking and speaker events, as well as Rev1’s annual Innovation Hop, and its annually produced Impact Report. With Heather’s leadership, this team also works shoulder-to-shoulder with Rev1 portfolio companies on messaging, presentations, and PR initiatives. Heather earned her BA degree from Otterbein University, majoring in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communications.

This event was held at Cultivate in October 2020.




Today, we’re going to be talking about marketing. So, our agenda is to talk about how to make goals that matter for marketing. There are so many things that you can be tracking, so we want to make sure that you’re tracking the right things. We want to make sure that you’re reaching the right people. Who is your audience and how do you know what their pain points are? We’ll talk through that. And then choosing your channel, there are hundreds and hundreds of mediums for getting your marketing to your audience, so which one should you choose. Then measurement, and I think this is probably one of the most important pieces of it. How do you measure your efforts and make sure that you’re getting the ROI that matters? And then, I just have an extra slide at the end for additional resources if you’ve got questions and want to do more research on your own. I’m gonna send this presentation to Matt so that he can send it out to everyone that registered. 


So, let’s start with the SMART Goals. What are smart goals? They’re Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. So an example of that is, I made up this Barry’s Bakery– It’s not a real company, I just made it up. What they need to be specific about for their goal is they want to generate a greater number of qualified leads from their blog for their sales team. 

They’ve got a really great blog on baking sourdough bread and the people that go to the blog  want to learn more about Barry’s Bakery and get a follow-up from people wanting to get some fresh bread. So, we want to make this measurable. They want to grow the number of leads generated per month from the blog by 20%. 

You can see how these build on each other. So by the time we get to the T in SMART, it’s going to be a fully baked SMART goal. We’ve been specific. We want leads. We’ve been measurable, and we want to increase them by 20%. They’re attainable because a 20% increase means that if they have a hundred leads now, they can grow that to a hundred and twenty. And then relevant, this means that does it matter? Why would this be helpful to you? Because your sales team finds that blog leads convert better than any of your other leads. You want to make sure that that’s the one that you’re focusing on.

And then time-bound. So you can’t just set this goal for all-time, you want to make sure that you’re saying something like in the next 6 months or the, you know, in 3 weeks or whatever- whatever goal that you’ve got. Maybe there’s an upcoming event that you need to hit this time, maybe the close of the quarter you need to hit this by, things like that. So, if by putting all of these together, our SMART goal then for Barry’s Bakery is, they want to grow the number of leads generated per month from their blog to a hundred-twenty per month because their sales team finds that blog leads convert at three times the rate of their PPC ads and that means that they’ll try to reach a hundred and twenty blog leads generated per month in six months from today. So that last sentence, you’ve got all your backup on Y and now- now this is what the goal is.

Understand Your Audience

How do we get there? You have to understand your audience in order to reach your goals and I’m a big advocate of personas. a persona is a figurative audience segment. It is building out those different customers that you may get coming through the door. You got somebody that may be a one-time buyer, or you may have your loyal customers that come back again, and they may be different personas that you create for each of those. I would recommend having two to three, to begin with.

Having too many kinds of gets cloudy on where you can focus your time and energy and having too little means that you’re missing out on maybe a larger segment of your audience, So I would say, aim for two to three and really identify each of those characteristics of those people in those personas and that will help you understand how to reach out to them. We’re gonna do an example here. So Brandi Tyler is the persona for this shoe company. She has very narrow feet and because of that, she finds shoe shopping very difficult and so this company knows that somebody like Brandi is perfect for them because they make custom shoes or they make custom sizes and so she’s able to find beautiful shoes for herself by searching for this company. So where does she come? She came through Google search because she’s finding shoes that are really difficult to pit for her.

So now this persona, that person that you know, you can see, you’ve got your profile pieces, you’ve got gender, age, location, how much money do they make? What- Where would they be going through in their life?  You know she’s a receptionist, she must be on her feet a lot. So what does that mean? Does she need more comfortable shoes? Or if she works in finances, maybe she needs high heels because that’s the status symbol for that business. Those are the kinds of things that you need to understand about your typical customer.


How do we get this information? First, you’re gonna gather your data and you can do that in a number of ways. You can do that through your google analytics, you can do that through seeing the customers everyday that walks through the door and tracking that. If you’re not a brick-and-mortar, if you are an online business, you’ll definitely want to be pulling in information from your website. And ask your team, you know, your salespeople are the ones on the front line. Who are they encountering everyday? Going back to that Barry’s Bakery example, their sales team knew that lead from the blog converted three times as much. So understanding that information from your team is really important.

And then study that behaviour. So as I said, if you’ve got people walking in, if you’ve got people clicking in certain areas of your website, using that information and if you have a CRM system, even better you can pull out of data reports from there from your customers to get a good idea of the buckets of people that you’ve got. And then ask your customers. Yes, you will actually have to talk to them. Spending some time with them where you are understanding their pain points, understanding their needs, understanding their frustrations and goals is really important. So when you are talking to them, there are few things that you’ll need to be asking because this isn’t about you, believe it or not, you’re selling to people and people believe it’s all about them. And so as you’re selling to them, you need to understand how you are helping them?

Because to them, they’re only going to be giving you money in exchange for your services if they find value in it. So in the example that we have of Brandi, the value to her is finding shoes that fit her feet specific to the width of her feet. So it is a big frustration for her and this company has the ability to market that they have speciality sizes. So, they know that their target market is women who want to wear shoes that are of speciality sizes and so understanding that the frustrations of somebody like Brandi would be that it how painful it is to wear shoes that don’t fit or how difficult it is to find custom shoe sizes or having to go the shoe store and try on a hundred different pairs just find one that fits. Heading on those pain points in your advertising or in your marketing materials, that’s- that’s the key. You have to find their key. What is that pain point that’s going to turn them into a customer?


So, now that we know what our customers want, we understand our goals, now we have to choose our channel. So there- as I said, there are hundreds of marketing channels and these are just mediums for getting your message across. 

So, you have to choose the one that makes the most sense for your business in the most sense for reaching your audience. For example, here we have what I call the PESO model, it’s not what I called a PESO model, it’s called a PESO model. So you have your paid media, your earned media, your shared media, and your owned media. So in each of these areas, you’ve got things like your media relations, you’ve got social media, you’ve got blogs and advertisements, and sponsored social media posts. So this is a lot to digest, all of these different areas you can go down, but if you got really- if you got a really smart goal and a really strong persona, you can start to narrow down the areas in which your audience will be and the audience in the areas in which you can reach them cost-effectively. 

Now, if you’re coming to cultivate, I’m assuming that you are a small business or startup, so you have to manage your money wisely. This isn’t something that you can just throw money at to see if it works or not, but you have to do it very smartly. 

Cost-Effective Channels

So, I want to go over a couple of four channels that you can cost-effectively test your marketing in. So that’s content marketing, email marketing, social media, and public relations. I didn’t include advertisements or some of the other, I didn’t include influencer marketing, things like that on here, I just wanted to focus on these four areas because I know how cost-effective they can be to a small business owner. Now, if your audience reacts better to other mediums, please go down that route again. This is all about the customer and how you reach them but if you are looking for cost-effective outlets, we’re gonna start here. 

So, content marketing, I like to use pillar content where I know that, say I’m a marketer for Anytime Fitness and they’re just up the street from me so that I just yanked their logo and they know that the people coming in are looking for workout routines, so they have pillar content meaning they’ve got a one really long article about workout routines and this, I mean, this to be a 2,000-word article but they break that out into different section.

So it’s not just workout routines, it’s workout routines for strength, workout routines for abs, workout routines to lose fat. They know that these are different areas that their audience is looking for information and they will build out that content. Now you’ve got a one really large article on lots of workout routines but now you’ve broken it out into abs. So, here are all your ab workout routines, now they can take just one of those and maybe make a video on a, on a single ab routine or maybe they can do some social media posts, just around following the hashtag abs – I can’t imagine without look like but – bringing in their different content mediums, again, using this pillar content and that’s a really cost-effective way to reuse that information that you’ve already written and repurpose it to reach your audience in the ways that they want. 

Content Scheduling

So, if you are going to go down the road of content, you need to have a schedule. This is important because you can look like you’re out of business if the last time you posted on your blog in 2015 and people come to your website. They don’t even know if you’re still working. It may just have been left up after business shuttered its door. So you have to use content wisely where you’re creating a schedule, you’re posting on a regular basis, and I’ve put together here just a quick guide. This is at least, this is the at least amount of time you should be posting to each of these channels. Now, infographics, and video, and ebooks, are things that are nice to have. They take a lot more effort and you may need to hire someone to help you create these so if you’re going to do them know that you need to do them on a schedule. If you don’t have the time or resources to devote to these then don’t start it. It looks worse to start it and never come back to it than not to do it at all. 


So measurement, you have to measure whether or not this is working for you. Different ways to measure if your content is working for you are conversions. So, starting at the top of the funnel is traffic to subscribers to your blog. Are those subscribers to leads that you can send to your sales team? How much does it cost to bring in the people to your blog and then follow up with them for a sale? So take how much it cost you to create this material? And how much it cost, how much you earned from the cup from the customer coming in – and going back to Barry’s Bakery example – they know that those leads have our 3x what leads are from others sources, so how are you following that? 

So, then engagement is another way. Are they spending more time on that blog, did they read that entire, you know 5,000-word article. Well, they’re engaged then. Did they stay on your website for a long time? Do they visit two or three different pages? Those are engaged audiences and you want to capture that because those are people that you can market to. They- there are people that are open to being sold to.


So now I’m gonna hop into the email. Here is my golden rule for email marketing: do not buy email addresses, those are crap. They’re not going to be somebody who you can sell to because it’s coldly outreached. There are spam laws that say that you can’t do that, and they don’t know you. So why would they care? You’re actually going to hurt yourself by doing this. Don’t do it. But you can do things like, re-engage inactive contacts. So people that may have signed up for your grand opening event but really haven’t heard from them since, how do you get them back? Great, catchy subject lines like you know: ‘We miss you. Did we do something wrong?’ Or something funny, and this is where that art vs science comes in. We got the medium, we’re tracking, we were measuring, we got all of our numbers and our analytics, but now you have to get creative with the how? How do you reach them? All right, so opt-ins and sign up. This is where you need to be sitting next to your cash register, a way for them to sign up for your email list or they have to come to your website, a pop up for your email list. So make sure that you’re reaching out to them, giving them an opportunity to sign up.

What to Email

So what to email? I get this question a lot so I wanted to address it here. What you need to be emailing relevant things. This is really important and so it needs to be relevant to your audience, it needs to be newsworthy, it means to be timely. So don’t just email to email, you need to be emailing where it matters. So that those are things like events, when you been covered in the news, new product launches, content that will be really relevant to your audience like a shopping guide or if you’ve got a really great blog post that’s been killing, it send a round up of your top three blog posts that your audience has found the most helpful. Those are the kinds of things that matter to your audience and again, it’s not about you, it’s about them and is this going to be relevant and helpful to them?

When to Email

So, going back to when. If you’re going- just like your content schedule, if you’re gonna start this, you need to have a schedule. Do it on a regular basis. So I would say at least one time per month and if you’ve got a way to automate emails like MailChimp or another vendor that you use – they have oftentimes our automated email – so somebody, purchases something, they’ll get an email from you saying, thank you for your purchase here are the details and your receipt etc. So making sure that you’re following up in a way that is relevant to the customer when they interact with you and then also making sure that you’re sending out content that they care about.

Email Benchmarks

So how do we measure if our email marketing is working? I got these benchmarks. Now, these are all industries. Your industry may have different benchmarks and I would encourage you to do a quick Google search to find out what those are, but if you’re getting less than any of these. If every time you send out an email, only 10% of the people that open it, we’ll then you got a subject line problem, and I would encourage you to AB test your subject line, I mean send half of your list a subject line, and half of the list, a different subject line to figure out which resonates with their audience better. So always be testing those things. 

Click rates. So say they opened your email but only 1% of people actually clicked to take the action. We’ll then that means you’re not sending relevant content to and you need to either figure out if your call to action is strong enough or if it’s even relevant to that audience and again this is going back to that persona. Continue to update, continue to understand your audience and these analytics are the way to help with that. 


All right, so the one, medium I get asked about the most is social media. Now, I’m going to these are just guidelines. The answer to all of the questions I have usually is, it depends on your business and it depends on your customer. But as a guideline, I wouldn’t say sign up for every single social media out there, you don’t need an aloha account, a peach account, and a Snapchat account if your audience isn’t there. You’re just wasting your time. So focus on two or three channels that you can do really well that you know, you’ve got a strong base there. If you’re doing B2B, you’re looking at LinkedIn. If you’re selling to gen Z, you’re looking at Snapchat. So, there is a difference in these social channels and they do cater to different audiences so know what those are. 

And then cross-promote. You’ve got your Twitter account that has your hashtag that you’re promoting that you also use on your Facebook that you have, you use that hashtag regularly, or if somebody signed up for an email, say: “Hey, follow us on social media too!” and vice-versa. Somebody follows you on social: “Hey, you like our content, head back and sign up for emails.” Finding different ways to connect with your audience is really important and cross-promotion can help you with that. 

Don’t post the same message on each channel. Sometimes, your audience will be following you on multiple channels because they love you and they want to see your content and so they’ll follow you on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook but if they see that you’ve copied and pasted the same message on all three of those and send them out at the same time, that’s a big turn-off. It means that you’re not putting in the effort to reach them in a way that they care about, so don’t do that. You don’t have to completely recreate the wheel but at least make it targeted to that specific social channel. 

And then post frequency and messaging varies per channel. Again, this is a question I do get quite a bit. How often do I need to be posting? Well, if you’re posting on Twitter, that’s 7 times a day, do you have time and commitment to do that? If the answer is yes, then by all means, have a Twitter account if that’s where your audience is. Now, Facebook once a day, Linkedin once to twice a day. I mean, these are- the reason why is that, our news feeds got really clutter and we need to be seen but certain channels have different policies on how often they will show your post and so I would encourage you to know the social channel that you’ve chosen well and that’s why it’s important to focus because then you know how this channel works, you understand this policy, understand the audience on here and how they like to be interacted with.

Goal Examples

So, what are some goal examples? Goal examples for social media are things like engagement, posting times, getting content that people care about, influencers, finding those people that are your depends on your MPS and shadowing them. So those are some goal examples for your content on social.

Social Metrics

Going back to the measurement piece, these are some benchmark metrics for social media and again, across all networks and all industries. So, do a search on your industry and the social channel that you want to focus on to get a good benchmark for you. But say, REV1 ventures as an example. We’re publishing 28 per day so that’s including the seven on our Twitter, that includes the one on LinkedIn, and a LinkedIn article, and a Facebook post, and a Facebook event, and our Instagram, some great collage of photos from recent company that we profiled. So, these are some examples of how you get to that number. Engagements per day. Engagement means did they like it? Did they hear it? Did they share it? Did they comment on it? All of those things. Anything that they do that engages with you is an engagement and that includes messages. So the engagements proposed, an engagement with you as the company, that rolls up into how many per day.


So as I’m wrapping up here, I do want to make sure we’ve got time for questions but here are some additional resources that I would encourage you to check out if you’re looking to do things like getting benchmarks then and best practices in each of these areas.