SEO & Social Media ROI: Ye Have Not Because Ye Ask Not

Many people are predicting 2010 will be the year social media “grows up.”

A recent study reports 61% of the companies surveyed indicated they “have experimented with social media but have not done much.”  61% also indicated they are having difficulty measuring the return on investment (ROI) from social media.

Most churches, schools, and ministries are in the same boat.  Most are experimenting and having difficulty measuring the ROI.  This applies not just to social media but also to other online marketing efforts like search engine optimization, Google AdWords, and Facebook ads.

Organizations that aren’t measuring ROI effectively, are shooting in the dark.  They don’t have the information necessary to make informed decisions about which online initiatives to continue to experiment with, which to put more effort and resources into, and which to pull the plug on.

So, how does a church, school, ministry, or business measure ROI?

Ask

The challenge for most organizations is that while the social media, SEO, and ads are online, the desired results take place offline.

Sure you can track fans, followers, pageviews, and clicks.  But what ultimate matters is how many people visited your church because they heard about it on Facebook?  How many people called to tour your school because they saw it in a Google search?  How many people ate at your restaurant because they saw it on Twitter?

The only way to know is to ask.

A few weeks ago I wrote How Facebook Ads Filled My Church.  I was surprised by the ROI of the Facebook ads.   And we would never have known how effective the Facebook ads were if our communications director hadn’t made a point of asking people how they heard about the Christmas production.

Here are some ways organizations can ask how people heard about them.

  • If people can request more info or make reservations online, the form to do that should ask how they found your organization.
  • If your church has visitors fill out cards to get more info about the church, that card should ask how the person heard about your church.
  • If people call your church, school, business asking for info, the people who answer the phones should be trained to ask every caller how they heard about your organization.
  • If people stop by in person to ask for more info or to shop, the people who help them should be trained to ask how they heard about your organization.

Regardless of how or where you’re asking, there needs to be a place to log people’s responses.  Then periodically those logs need to be reviewed and statistics compiled.

Do you know the ROI your getting from your online initiatives?  Or do ye have not because ye ask not?  What are some other ways organizations can ask?  What challenges have you found in asking and getting good data?

[Image by squonk]

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

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