Baseline ranking assessment. You need to understand where you are now in order to accurately assess your future rankings. Keep a simple Excel sheet to start the process. Check weekly to begin. As you get more comfortable, check every 30 to 45 days. You should see improvements in website traffic, a key indicator of progress for your keywords. Some optimizers will say that rankings are dead. Yes, traffic and conversions are more important, but we use rankings as an indicator.
If you’re targeting prospects and hoping to nurture them, you’re hopefully giving them a direct action to take. Measuring the ROI here means simply creating tracking links that will give you this information directly. Increases in your desired action taken should show you your exact lift in revenue. (For instance, if you count an email signup as your conversion, your lift in signups should relate directly to a lift in sales, all other things constant. Plus, you’ll have this user information on file and can then track if or when they convert.)
After that, you need to make a choice about how to construct an online presence that helps you achieve that goal. Maybe you need to set up an e-commerce site. If you’re interested in publishing content to drive awareness and subscribers, look into setting up a blog. A simple website or landing page with a lead capture form can help you start developing your brand and generating traffic. A basic analytics platform (like Google Analytics, which is free) can help you start to measure how you are tracking towards your initial goal.