Resources: Campaigns, Conversions and Reporting
As a marketer, your job is to find creative ways to reach out to your target audience, grab their attention, and turn them into tangible leads which you can then pass off to your sales team to close the deal. A job that can be summed up in one straightforward sentence is actually a complex series of actions, planning and measurements. This work can take countless hours, with the risk of these efforts becoming short-sighted without proper summation that measures performance and delivers insights to be used for future successful marketing campaigns. This is where a Managed Web Services provider can help. Their sole purpose is to focus on making your job as a marketer easier. Let’s look at how this is possible.
Consider the following scenario:
Julia, a potential buyer, starts her research by entering a few keywords into a search engine. Her search brings her to your Facebook page, where she is engaged by your rich and exciting content. She clicks a link to a blog post, which takes her to your company’s website and she decides to sign up for your monthly email newsletter. A few months pass and she receives an invitation to an event you’re hosting in her area. She RSVPs online, attends the event and purchases your product or service.
This is an example of a successful marketing journey, but can you use the insights from this success story to really make all your marketing efforts and time count? Firstly, how effective is your SEO (search engine optimization) in generating leads from search engine results? Could you share your content on social networks more effectively and drive more business to your website? How do you measure the success of engagement and communication with your potential clients? For example, what are the open rates of your email campaigns? A successful journey like Julia’s starts with a focused question: What are the end goals of your marketing efforts?
Setting Goals and Targets
The first step is always starting with the last goal. What will success look like for your marketing project?
In November of every year, your company and its entire sales team attend a huge conference. Traditionally, the interaction at your company’s booth results in big business. As a marketer, you have been tasked with getting prospective clients, like Julia, to participate in this conference, so there’s the ultimate goal. Now everything you do as a marketer for the next several months should focus on driving people to your company’s booth at this event.
After you set an ultimate goal, you will need to determine a few targets to meet along the journey to overall success. Here are some examples of key targets you could consider:
You get the idea. There are a multitude of key targets and each of them should be measured, so you can identify when you have achieved them.
This process is about much more than just setting goals and targets. It should also encourage you to think very carefully about why you’re making these efforts in the first place. After all, if you don’t know why you’re running these campaigns, the chances of your audience caring about them are very poor indeed. For example, did you know that marketers who emphasize blogging are 13 times more likely to have increased ROI year over the year? (Hubspot – State of Inbound)
More time was focused on developing blog content to reach your company’s target of 20% more blog traffic. Compelling blog content and posting about it on Facebook resulted in Julia and hundreds of other potential clients visiting the company’s blog and website.
Planning is Essential
Give yourself time to thoroughly plan both the steps of your marketing campaign and how you will measure performance. Let’s deal with the campaign first.
Your ultimate goal is to get potential clients to the company’s booth at November’s conference. You decide to focus on inbound marketing strategies. Give yourself enough time to plan out everything you’re going to do to reach your target audience and inform them about the event. Part of this plan involves sharing details about the event on your social channels. You will also want to send out timely email campaigns and reminders, write a few targeted blog posts, and generate quality news releases. You may even run a few paid ads on search engines and industry-related websites. You identify that what’s most important is that these tasks be planned out well in advance of the event and be bundled together as one cohesive inbound marketing campaign.
All of the most successful inbound marketing campaigns have one thing in common – they are fully cohesive and coordinated efforts, from initial advertisement to conversion.
Once you have your end goal and one or more targets in place, and have taken the time to plan your cohesive marketing campaign, you’ll need another plan to measure performance. What tools or processes will be used to determine if the targets are met? These might include insights from your social networks, reports from your email marketing service, analytics data from your website, or sales figures from a certain department within your company.
The truth of the matter is that it’s really difficult to capture a person’s complete marketing journey from first engagement to an actual sale.
Julia’s journey from a simple search to Facebook and then blog, to email subscription and ultimately to attendance at a conference, is a typical, but especially difficult marketing journey to track as it included both online and in-person interactions. In fact, it may not be possible to track this lead throughout the whole process. The ability to track her and others is directly related to how much time you put into planning before their journey even starts. As a small part of your plan in this scenario, you may choose to track email open rates – the number of recipients of a message that actually open it. This number is calculated by monitoring how many times tracking images contained within each email are downloaded or viewed. Many email clients do not download images by default and some will only show plaintext versions of received messages, so not every open will be recorded. You may also plan to record email click rates – the percentage of people who open your message and also click on a link contained within it. Typically, email marketing services redirect each link through their own tracking service to record those clicks. There are numerous ways to measure performance of marketing strategies in this scenario and others like it.
Figures you can expect to be able to track from the customer’s online portion of their journey include:
- Keyword Impressions
- The number of times any URL from your site appears in the results of a user’s keyword search. These impressions do not include paid search impressions such as sponsored results.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- A way of measuring the efficacy of your website’s targeted search keywords. It represents the ratio of clicks to impressions. Generally speaking, the higher the CTR, the more effective the marketing campaign has been at bringing people to your website.
- The places that users were before they saw your content, such as a search engine or another website. Sources and mediums help describe where your traffic comes from and how.
- Network Referrals
- The networks and communities where people have engaged with your content. This information allows you to learn about each community and identify your best-performing content on each network.
- Conversion rate
- The number of people who clicked through your email message and went on to actually buy a product, download a trial, or perform another desired action. Software such as Google Analytics can be used to record these actions and associate them with particular sources, including your email campaigns.
There are a host of other figures that you can track from online activity. Some email marketing services track email forwards and unsubscribes, prompting users to provide a reason for revoking their subscription, which you can then use to improve your campaigns in future. Specific to Facebook, the total reach and post reach can be tracked. These figures respectively represent the number of unique individuals who have seen any content associated with your Facebook Page, including ads, and the number of individuals who have seen your Page’s posts. People engaged is a number of unique people who have clicked, liked, commented or shared your posts on Facebook.
Further, goals can be tracked, which is important to the success of your business. Goals represent conversion targets, or the completion of an activity on your website such as a registration or a download. As you can see, methods of web analytics are vast. Keep in mind that single metrics are meaningless on their own. The targets you set should measure trends over time, not individual numbers. Imagine having a plan in place to record any or all of this data and more, and to have the ability to put it into context to measure the performance of your marketing efforts.
We’ve reached the point where we have targets for the project, and we know how to tell if we’ve reached those targets. But how do we seamlessly tie all of this information together to determine if our project was an overall success?
Developing Useful Insight
Remember earlier when we told you that a Managed Web Services provider focuses on making your job as a marketer easier? This fact becomes very clear with the presentation of a final report – the summation of all expert tracking. In the past, if you wanted to know how a marketing campaign performed, you may have turned to someone on your operations team to generate a report for you, but that could have taken days or weeks. Even then, the results would have been limited to small details like your website’s total visits and page views, a report nowhere near as comprehensive as the metrics we identified earlier. Alternatively, you could have logged in to each individual service and compiled a report of the statistics yourself, but such a task is very time consuming and keeps you from the hundreds of other tasks you have to deal with as a marketer.