One of the biggest roadblocks we see when it comes to digital marketing relates to measuring its success. Often business owners don’t know how to gauge the effects of their digital marketing, or they use the wrong metrics, causing them to believe that it’s just wasted time and effort. Or, conversely, they continue with tools and techniques that they believe are effective when in reality their time and resources would be better spent elsewhere. Either way, to truly make the most of your digital marketing, whether you are handling it in-house or outsourcing to an external agency, you need to know what metrics you should be looking at and you need to know that they are accurate!
Let’s discuss some of these metrics and where you can find them.
Metrics for: Your Website
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard owners say, “I’m not getting any business from the web,” only to later learn that they were getting an average of two or three web leads per week. These business owners just didn’t know where to look! In order to track your web leads, ensure that you are copied on all of the forms on your website. This ensures that you will receive an email each time a form is completed containing all of the information provided in that form. As a best practice, you should review these leads as they are received and save the quality leads (i.e. spam free) in a separate folder in your email. Not only does this help you identify which inquiries you should respond to, it provides as a record to refer to in the future. Create an Excel file to track the total number of web forms completed each month and break that out in to spam and quality leads.
If you’re considering hiring a digital marketing agency, you should begin this process as soon as possible, preferably at least two months before launching a new campaign. Though web leads are something that they will monitor once hired, it’s important to establish a baseline to help both you and your digital marketing company know where you are starting and allow you to measure your growth.
The Analytics tool within the Google platform is one of the most powerful assets you have on your side. It allows you to view your web traffic at a glance to quickly identify growth or trends. For instance, say you see a spike in your traffic at the beginning of each month and then you remember that you send a regular newsletter on the first Sunday of the month. Then you know that the newsletter is effective; it is driving traffic to your website. You may also compare your data month-over-month or year-over-year to see if your marketing efforts have been paying off long-term. This is a great tool to prove the value of your marketing to any office naysayers.
Web leads can also be tracked in Analytics by setting up a goal indicating that a user has gone to a specific thank you page. You can review the details of the results and determine where a lead was generated from so you can verify which tactics are working; direct, search or social.
Metrics for: Social Media
Social Analytics Tools:
Specific platforms such as Sprout Social and HootSuite that are designed to allow you to monitor and manage your social media all in one platform. These applications will give you detail analytics on the reach, audience, and engagement on your social posts. If you are not using one of these tools, most social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, have integrated analytics directly into their platforms. However, the reports from the social monitoring applications are much more comprehensive.
Again our friend Google Analytics makes an appearance! Along with cultivating customer relationships, one of the main purposes of social media is to drive traffic to your website. Google Analytics will break out the individuals who visited your website by traffic source. Thus, you will be able to see exactly how many individual came to your site from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and so on.
Don’t Forget the Human Aspect
As advanced as technology has become, there are just some tasks that you’ll need to entrust to your staff. There is no getting around the fact that some people prefer a plain old fashioned phone call over filling out an online form, especially if they have specific or complex questions or requests. Request that your staff ask, “Where did you hear about us?” at the end of every call and keep a log in an Excel file, denoting whether they learned about your business via your website, Google, social media, a friend, etc. Without this buy-in from your team members you are losing valuable metrics to help measure the success of your marketing.
Additionally, all of the tools and applications above are great, but they are only valuable if you check them often! Make monitoring your Analytics, web leads and social tools part of your weekly routine, checking each platform and comparing it to the last week as a benchmark. Have you shown growth? You’re new strategy is working! Are you dropping off? Maybe ceasing to post on social media wasn’t such a great idea. Either way, you’ll never know where you stand – and therefore where you need to go from here – unless you regularly use the tools at your disposal!