I've had hundreds of conversation with small and medium business owners about tracking results from marketing spend. Like Sabri Suby the founder of the fastest growing agency in Australia, I know that marketing dollars spent right deliver results that are exponentially bigger than you would think. Marketing dollars spent right deliver conversions/sales and ROI(return on investment). With marketing platforms like Facebook (facebook & instagram) and Google (PPC, YouTube) you can target customers with surgical precision like never before.
If you aren't seeing a return on your marketing spend, give me a call and I'll do a free analysis of your efforts and give you some actionable changes to deliver results.
Where should I spend marketing dollars? Spend them where your target audience is already. Know who purchases your products/services. Do some analysis of your existing customers and really understand who they are, where are they geographically, and what interests they have. Really get to know them, then give them what they want.
How much should I spend? This is specific to each business, your marketing spend should have a clear goals (product or services sales, telephone calls, email list signups, surveys completed, etc.) Depending on what the value of a conversion is for you, your marketing budget should be structured accordingly. If you could spend $1000 in ads and get $5,000 back in 30 days that's clearly good math. Can you scale that to $10,000 and get $50,000 back?
How do you track results? Define clearly what a "positive result" is. There are tools that can be used to determine where leads/conversions originated from. Use UTM links to track online actions, calls to action for offline things like coupon codes, unique tracking phone numbers.
What is success? Success generating more revenue than you spend, growing your list of email subscribers, video views, social followers, leads and prospects, increasing brand retention and loyalty.