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The Essential Assessment

It is impossible to tell which marketing is good marketing, and which marketing is ineffective for your business without regular assessment and adjustment.

You can make intelligent judgments ahead of time, about whether or not a marketing tactic is LIKELY to work, based on the criteria that it has to send an effective message to people who want that message, but you cannot know for certain which messages are effective, or which messages are MOST effective, or sometimes even where the highest concentrations of interested people are, without some means of measuring results.

Let me make it very clear, that most good marketing takes time to see solid results. For some kinds of free (and some kinds of paid) marketing, it can take 3-4 months to get an initial response. With other kinds, it can take that long to spot a trend, and with others, it takes that long to fine tune a campaign enough to know whether it CAN ever yield the results you want.

Assessment has two parts:

1. Measuring results. You do this by tracking responses, measuring financial returns, and by seeing where your customers are coming from with whatever degree of accuracy you can afford. Sometimes we cannot afford the most accurate methods, so we make educated guesses based on the available information, and then we see if a change gives us the result we’d expect if our conclusion is right.

2. By making choices for changes, based on our interpretation of the results. Sometimes we hold firm, sometimes we fine tune, sometimes we dump it entirely and go in another direction.

It can get complicated when we are running several marketing methods at a time. How can we know if increased traffic comes from article marketing, or from SEO? We can’t really, because article marketing produces increased pagerank, which results in indirect increases in search engine traffic, and SEO also produces increases in search engine traffic. But we can make educated guesses.

The whole point though, is that we pay attention, as much as we can, to what our marketing gets us. I have enough sites, I can test marketing methods one at a time. I can use just cross linking with site A, just article marketing with site B, and just forum posts with site C. Most people cannot do that, but they CAN watch for gradual improvements in numbers, about two to eight weeks after article marketing, about two to four weeks after cross linking, and within a day of forum postings (there will be a second response if the forum links are counted by the search engines, but it will be minor, and it will follow several weeks later)..

With any of these though, ONE article will bring only small results. Cross linking with ONE site won’t make a huge difference. Forum posts will give just trickles unless you do a lot.

The real power ISN’T from one of them. It is from doing that method repeatedly. After about six article posts (if they are good articles), you’ll definitely see something within a couple of months. The other methods are the same – slow, and building rather than sudden and unmistakable.

Once you are certain what does work, then follow the old business rule:

Do more of what works, less of what doesn’t.

In order to follow it though, you have to first accurately pinpoint what IS working.

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