How do you measure your marketing success (or failures)? How do you know if your marketing efforts worked?
What’s nice about today’s digital marketing is we have access to a lot of data – free. It’s imperative that you track your marketing efforts and review your data monthly. Don’t get nervous. You don’t need a degree in calculus or statistics to understand analytics and insights. I’ll explain everything step-by-step…
ROI vs KPI
What is ROI?
ROI: Return on Investment – traditional marketers know this term. You place an ad in the newspaper with a coupon. You track how many customers used it and how much in sales it brought in. If the ad cost $100, and it brought in $500 worth in sales, your ROI is $400. That’s simple math. However, with today’s social media marketing, ROI is more difficult to determine.
Besides monetary investment, you have the investment of time and skill – either yours or a staff member to create social media posts, graphics, strategies, etc. Then, you don’t how many people saw the post and later will remember your brand and search for it. If you ask them how they heard about you, they’ll reply, “Online.” They won’t remember exactly where they saw it. But it helped with brand recognition. How much is that worth?
How Does Social Media Help?
Believe it or not, social media helps drive traffic to your website as well as with SEO. How do you know which network is performing better for you? Or for that matter, which posts did better than others?
Then, when they got to the website, did they convert – downloaded a freebie, contacted you or bought something? If not, where did they go? What was your conversion rate? That’s the amount of converts divided by the number of visitors.
ROI is easier to measure if you do paid digital advertising — which is basically old fashioned advertising, but it’s online. You can lead a potential customer to a sale by tracking how many clicks the ad got and on the website, the advertiser will give you a “key” — a strip of code — to add to your website that will track people from the ad.
Conversely, if you don’t do paid advertising, you have to work with your own goals and metrics — those are KPIs.
What are KPIs?
KPI: Key Performance Indicators – these are anything that really matters to you and your business.
- Sales — obviously!
- Unique visitors – how many people visited your site – not counting multiple or subsequent visits.
- New visitors vs returning – new folks are great, but returning visitors are better.
- Conversions – downloaded a freebie in return for leaving their name and email address. If you had 100 visitors and 10 downloaded the offer, you have a 10% click-through rate. Average click-through rates are 1-3%. That means you need to attract A LOT of traffic and have a great offer of interest to your target audience.
- Page views – how many pages did each visitor view while they were on your site.
- Time spent – how long did they stay on the site? The longer people stay, the better the chances of them doing something.
- Bounce rate – what if they didn’t find what they were looking for and left right away? That will give you a high bounce rate. A slow-loading site will also do that. You want a bounce rate under 50%.
- Click-through rate – this measures how many people clicked on a link. If you had 100 visitors and 10 clicked on a link, you have a 10% click-through rate.
Ways to Keep Track of Your Marketing Efforts – Website Visitors
- Set up Google Analytics (GA) – GA is a power tool and can give you very deep analytics when set up properly. But it needs to be setup and the code added to each page of your website.
- On a WordPress site, there are free plugins like SEO by Yoast and Google Analytics’ SiteKit.
- On other sites like e-commerce or other platforms, they should have somewhere where you can add the GA code in the setup.
- GA won’t track anything if the code is not in your pages.
- Tracking codes – measuring with UTM links. Google offers a free tool to track where a visitor came from. It requires Google Analytics. Use consistently in your promotional posts on social media and in your email marketing campaigns.
- Capture leads and grow your email list with intriguing calls–to-action (CTA) – the job of good, quality content is to attract the visitor. The job of a good CTA is to convert the visitor into a lead. And these leads are warm, if not hot. They’re interested.
- First your intake form should get a little more information than just name and email. You can ask them 2 or 3 questions to segment your list. For instance, if you offer parenting classes, you’ll want to the ages of the children to more personally promote the classes. You’re not going to promote a class for teens to parents of toddlers. That’s a sure way to get people to unsubscribe from your list quickly.
- Once they downloaded your offer, in 2 days, based on their answers to the questions, send them an email with a video or a link to a pertinent blog article on your site. If they watch the video or go to the link, then they get another email in a day with a special offer. If they don’t click on anything, then send them a different email with another video or relevant article. This is Marketing Automation and all this is tracked by the email program you use – like MailChimp – which is free to use up to 2000 contacts.
Measuring your Marketing Success with Social Media Insights and Analytics
Each social media network has insights or analytics – it’s the same thing depending on the network’s use of the metrics terms. Even if you’re not doing paid advertising on the networks, these tools are available for you free. On Twitter, they need to be turned on so they’ll start measuring.
- Follower demographics and statistics – once you have 100 followers, the networks will provide user stats like age, gender, likes, geographic area, etc. It’s important that the demographics of your followers match your target market. If you’re a local business, serving a local area, and only 7% of your 1000 followers are local, that’s not enough. Sure it will help with SEO and brand recognition for future travel, but is someone in London regularly going to visit your shop?
- Reach – this can mean different things on different networks. Basically, it’s how many people viewed your post. That means they were logged in and your post passed in their newsfeed. Good reach helps with brand recognition.
- Engagement – this is what’s important. The more an audience engages with your posts, the more visibility the networks will give you.Did they…
- Like or react
- Share or retweet
- Click on a link
- Watch the video – the whole thing or just a few seconds?
- Free tools:
- Audiense – for Twitter – Gives you the best time to tweet to schedule your posts wisely.
- HootSuite – Not only helps you monitor 3 networks for free, and schedule out posts, but also provides reports.
- Buffer– my favorite tool for posting content to several networks at once. Also tracks results on clicks and engagement.
- JetPack for WordPress – not only has an easy-to-understand site stats, but has Publicize which will share your posts to Facebook business page, Twitter and your personal LinkedIn as soon as you publish a new article.
What to do with all this Information…
Don’t get caught up in all the data. It’s people first. You’re doing all this to build relationships that build trust and credibility. Furthermore, the data will tell you what’s working and not working.
First set goals with what you want to accomplish in the next 30 days. Go one month at a time. It’s easier to digest. Moreover, it helps you to be flexible and pivot quickly depending on economic and industry trends. Believe me, every business had to stop and pivot their marketing (even their businesses) in March of 2020.
Review and analyze the data
Then at the end of the month (beginning of the next), review your analytics and insights.
- How many people visited your website? If you didn’t have Google Analytics set up before, you don’t have anything to compare it too and that’s true for a brand new website. Is the number substantial? Are you happy with it? No, then you need to blog more and post more. Make sure ALL your pages are optimized.
- How long did they stay and how many pages did they view? Obviously, as you put more content on your site, visitors will stay longer. Don’t be surprised if your bounce rate is higher in the beginning. The goal is to get it under 50%. However, don’t freak out if you have a high bounce rate. That just means that you provided the visitor with the information they needed and they were not interested in anything else.
- How did the UTM codes do? Which promotions garnered the most clicks? Repeat the ones that worked.
- How many shares did your posts gets? This gives you social amplification or increasing your reach. A follower has to really like your post to share it with their friends and followers.
- What types of posts did better? Videos, links or graphics?
- How many new followers did you get? Here are some ways to grow your following.
- Which social networks drove the most traffic to your site? In your analytics, the search engines usually are first. It may take a while for Google to notice you, so keep blogging several times a week. Next in line will be the social networks. Focus your time and efforts on the ones that brought you the most traffic.
- Which of your blog articles were most popular? Write more of these.
You then take all this information and use it to adjust your strategic and tactical marketing plans for the next month. Then you repeat.
Finally, don’t freak out if one metric is down! It’s just one metric. You have to look at ALL your marketing efforts — especially your website traffic and conversion rates.
When you have Marketing Failures rather than Marketing Success
Problem 1: No traffic to your website.
If not enough people went to your website this could be that your message is wrong or it’s reaching the wrong audience. In other words, you don’t know your target market. Consequently, you’re not showing them how you can help them with their problems or pain points.
Problem 2: No Conversions
You are getting people to your website, but they are not converting. This could be that your…
- Call-to-Action isn’t clear or enticing enough
- Website content isn’t selling your product or service
- You’re not attracting the right target for your product or service or there’s no interest.
Successful marketing involves creativity as well as research for knowing your target, your industry’s market and how best to reach the target(s). If you try and fail, then you need to analyze where you’re going wrong.
If it’s working, keep at it! It’s a marathon, not a sprint! If you stop marketing, people will think you fell off the face of the earth!
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