“What are our marketing dollars buying us?”
If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve either asked this question about your own business or had an executive ask this question to you. Regardless of who asks the question, it’s definitely one of the biggest challenges that companies face. The correct insight can help you double-down on a successful campaign, while a wrong answer can cause you to waste valuable resources on tactics that give you pretty numbers but no new customers, leads or sales.
Google Analytics can provide a wealth of data on the visitors coming to your website, and it might be tempting to think that’s all the intel you need to make informed decisions, but doing so will cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture. Looking at your website and social media analytics is a good first step, but to truly understand how your marketing strategy is working you need to integrate analytics with comprehensive insight from both your sales and marketing efforts. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Combine digital marketing analytics across ALL your marketing channels
None of your marketing channels exists in a vacuum. If you really want to understand your marketing ROI, you need to tie together analytics from your website with any other channels you’re leveraging, such as social media, blogging, email marketing, and Google ad buys. Each of these channels will offer different metrics to measure performance, so make sure you select appropriate criteria for conducting cross-channel analysis. Doing an “apples to apples” comparison of your marketing efforts across different channels will help you identify the ones that are giving you the best bang for your buck. You might be surprised to find that a channel you thought was over-achieving, such as a social media campaign that brought in lots of website traffic, was actually out-performed by an email marketing campaign that didn’t generate as much traffic but attracted more quality leads that resulted in sales.
Apply digital marketing analytics over your buyers’ journey maps
Potential customers are all going to interact with the same piece of marketing in different ways and at different points in their shopping experience. Creating buyers’ journey maps to track the various phases that your customers go through before making a purchase – such as becoming aware of a need, conducting research, considering options and coming to a decision – can provide valuable insight as to what makes your customers tick. These maps are valuable in and of themselves so you can best understand how your potential customers think and behave, which in turn provides a guide for engaging and interacting with them in the most efficient, effective manner possible. With this understanding, you can go one step further and align your buyers’ journey maps with your digital marketing analytics. By correctly placing your various marketing campaigns along your buyers’ journey maps, you can identify the tactics that are doing the best job at closing the deal to convert a mildly interested website visitor into a qualified lead for your sales team. For example, if you’re worried that the webinars you’re hosting aren’t cost-effective, take a look at the conversion rate for the leads that they generate. If the webinars are generating leads that rarely convert into sales, then you might want to consider altering the content so you’re attracting viewers who are further down the path of your buyers’ journey.
Incorporate closed-loop reporting into your digital marketing analytics
If you’re unfamiliar with closed-loop reporting, the short explanation is that it combines your digital marketing analytics with the sales data you collect in your CRM (in other words, “closing the loop” between the two). Closed-loop reporting may sound difficult to conduct at first, but thankfully there are several digital marketing analytics software options available to help make the job easier. Once you have it set up, you’ll be able to identify how each of your customers found out about you. Did they discover you through organic search? A referral from another website? Perhaps they clicked on an online ad? Whatever the answer, you’ll be able to pick out where you should be investing your marketing resources and budget for the best ROI.
With a comprehensive understanding of your digital analytics, you can reinforce your digital marketing strategy to achieve your goals. If you’re looking for tips on refreshing your marketing tactics, check out our round-up of tips for using social media to drive sales, and consider subscribing to our Business Blog to get more marketing and business management tips sent directly to your inbox.
Written by Melissa R. MacCaull
Director of Marketing, Union Savings Bank