Publicity does not equal immediate gratification.
There’s no doubt AmEx Open’s Facebook Big Break for Small Business gave finalist (and winner 🙂 Distinctive Gardens gobs of publicity. And it was a ball (and a ton of work.) The nuts & bolts and bean-counter question is — did it grow the business. Let’s take a look.
Lisa’s main goal was to use Big Break to drive brand awareness and measure results with some key metrics (read more about that here.)
More of the nitty-gritty is below, but first the big picture observations.
3 things the metrics taught us:
- Watch for changes in untargeted categories
- Metrics don’t measure psychological highs
- Small business is a marathon
OK, numbers chicks
Here are the results. She compared year-to-date numbers during the pre-Big Break period to the 2 weeks of Big Break voting (July 5-19, 2011) in these categories:
- Foot traffic – up 4.2%, and 20 people specifically mentioned Facebook
- Retail Sales (all numbers are year-to-date)
- Nursery +3%
- Annuals +.4%
- Perennials +2.5%
- Facebook Fan count – + 2027
- Website traffic – hits were way up
- Design Inquiry count – 3
- Newsletter email count – not much change, only a couple new names
A couple notes:
- Foot traffic up 4% doesn’t sound like much. Until you mash-up foot traffic with weather. Dixon was in the midst of that brutal heat wave that crushed most of the country. In fact, July was the 6th warmest month on record for Illinois. Not many people wanted to be outside, let alone plant anything.
- Overall for 2011, Distinctive Gardens has had a challenging year. On average they’ve been down double digits year-to-date. So the upticks while small, were welcome.
- Website traffic was not just up, it went global. Typically their site gets hits from IL and the 4 surrounding states. With Big Break hits came from everywhere, including New Zealand. The map up top tells the tale (it’s from July 10.)
In crunching the numbers Lisa found another interesting up-tick — pavilion rentals. At the beginning of July their pavilion rentals had equaled all bookings for 2010. In the hot, hot month of July they have never booked a pavilion rental.
That changed this year. During Big Break they booked 6 pavilion dates. (Revenue gets hit w/ deposit money) So not only are they ahead of last year, they’ve already knocked last year out of the park. It’s not their core business, but it’s a solid revenue stream that’s growing.
What’s all this mean long-term? No one knows. But common sense tells me this – when guests come to an event at Distinctive Gardens pavilion, it’s like advertising for the rest of the business. It’s more eyeballs exposed to what they love – artful plantings.
What, dear reader, do you take away from these numbers?