Doesn’t it feel sometimes like the slowest growing fruits are those of our labor? We understandlogically (and from fortune cookies) that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and (from The Handbook of Famous Cliches) that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and yet it sure would be nice to feel that road moving beneath our feet, and see at least some scaffolding for the coliseum. When we’re at the center of it, our progress can be challenging to track, but doing so is intrinsic to our perseverance, and to seeing results. So how do we measure our progress?

So many business owners become discouraged prematurely, measuring the effectiveness of their marketing efforts based on myopic data that doesn’t show the bigger picture. A common erroneous way of measuring the success of a high volume direct mailing, is to look at the number of initial responses it receives. You might send 5,000 pieces of direct mail, and after only 10 calls come in, feel like your outreach was a bust. But this number is more than “just a number”, if you will. It’s home to a rich wealth of analytics that may just delight you!

Let’s imagine that you spent $2000 on those 5,000 pieces. From the 10 calls that immediately came in, let’s imagine you closed business on 5 or 6 of them, and made sales of $12,000. From that very conceivable scenario, you made a profit of $10,000. That’s a 500% ROI (Return On Investment.) That number 10 is looking like Bo Derek right about now.

It’s important to keep your vision broad. The eagle was never hindered by its bird’s eye view. The ROI is mountaintops above the response rate when it comes to measuring the value of a marketing investment. If you generate 5x what you spend, a marketing effort is a success. It’s your returns with which we’re concerned. The bread and butter. To open up another page from the Cliche Book, quality is better than quantity.

That said, if the quality is right, we’re all for quantity, too. Let us not eschew the virtues of “More, More, More!” When you realistically track your early progress, you will remain in the race to see additional blooms of abundance. That initial $12,000 in sales is just the beginning. Think of the future sales from those early acquired customers, their referrals, and those future customers who held onto your postcard to call when the timing was right, perhaps in 3-6 months, or a year. Your investment of $2000 might realistically become hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The true golden eggs appear when great marketing and customer service mix. After a mailing brings in responses, the value of speaking to a prospect on the phone, or in person, develops the full-color gloss of a postcard, into a 3-D fullcolor relationship. The well-targeted postcards and promotions get them interested, and the unique human element and expertise of your staff makes them loyal customers.

So, plant those seeds and keep going. Don’t forget to look at the overview. Sometimes you may need binoculars, but it’s always worth a look. Soon, the returns may be stacked right up to the edge of your eagle’s nest.