I had an interesting talk with a client this week who said that he didn’t think his Internet marketing strategy was working. I asked him why he thought that and he said no one had come in from XYZ service. So I replied “I have been to your store 4 times in the last month and no one ever asked me where I came from. How would you know?”

This highlights an important part of local business and any other type of marketing. You have to measure it. You have to ask your customers where they come from. You should occasionally offer coupons on your Facebook, Twitter page or NearSay presence. The money spent is worth it just in the measurement of who is looking at it on a regular basis, let alone who shows up at the door.

I sympathize with local business owners who just want to run their restaurant, shop, etc. and not have to worry about the ten different services calling them every month and whether their Google Place page has been optimized. It’s a pain and it requires effort and thought and a trusted advisor, which may be hard to find.

But whatever you choose to do, you have to find ways to measure the program. That’s why we provide deals on NearSay’s Vivial platform, create email captures on the Facebook pages of businesses we manage and use tracking on listings we develop, as well as provide metrics of every article, announcement and deal published.

Local businesses have to market themselves online. But sending out the blast or setting up the service is only the first part of the equation. Measure, iterate and refine your way to success. Without measurement, it’s just guesswork.