For the last two weeks I’ve been talking about the importance of tracking leads and providing some inexpensive ways of doing that.
This week I want to focus on a free tracking tool – Google Analytics. Google provides free web tracking software that provides you good information regarding your web site activity. It tracks many statistics including:
- unique visitors
- repeat visitors
- time on your site
- referral sources
- key words
- navigation summary (how people navigate your site)
Using Google AdWords? Google Analytics will track their success by ad and by where your ad shows up in the sponsored search (rank).
If you have ecommerce on your site, you can track a visitor through to the sale along the same statistics.
Want to measure how certain online and even offline activities are working? Add Google Analytics to your site- if you already have tracking software beyond what your host may use to measure bandwidth, that will work as well – and benchmark your web activity.
All online activity will be easily tracked through the referral sources and offline activities can be monitored by any increases in activity measured against a television spot airing or a newspaper ad running.
Using tracking software is going to make you smarter on who you target, which media is working hardest for you and even what creative performs better.
For example, after two months of using paid search for a client, one version of creative was generating 75% of our web traffic yet getting only 50% of our budget. Needless to say we increased the budget for that ad to 100% and saw the click-through rate double.
Right now, you are hearing a lot of people telling you that the companies that continue to market will succeed when the market rebounds. I agree, but don’t just keep marketing. Make sure you market smarter.
This is not some college cheer, Woopra.com is a new web site analytics program still in its beta stage. I’ve enrolled to have it track some of my sites and when I am approved, I’ll let you know what it can do.
From its web site it looks very promising, but so do a lot of things. Stay tuned.
Are your Yellow Page ads working as well as they used to? Did your newspaper ad generate enough leads to justify the expense?
Last week I talked about the importance of tracking leads as integral to knowing if your marketing efforts are working. While there are many complex ways to track leads, I want to expand on two free, yet effective, ways using your call center or web site.
Whether you have a call center or one person answering your phone have them ask a simple question, “How did you hear about us?” By keeping a record of this data on a sheet of paper or simple spreadsheet you can begin to see which marketing tactics are working hardest for you.
Just like the call center, you can track your tactics by adding a question to your website when people request more information or purchase a product on your site.
I recently worked with a company that has been tracking its leads for over five years. After a quick analysis we were able to identify some tactics that were high price, but not providing the return on investment. In fact the return had been declining for two years while the prices had increased.
Canceling those tactics and reallocating dollars allowed this company to save 20% of their marketing budget while actually generating more leads.
Don’t wait to implement a tracking program. Doing so will help you market smarter.
It’s official. The Fed is finally uttering the “R” word. So let’s stop marketing or even doing business altogether. If people had that same attitude during the 1970s recession we’d be missing out on a lot.
I was reading in AdAge this week that three very well know companies were started in the last “deep recession”; Federal Express, Microsoft and Creative Artists Agency.
Time Inc. introduced People magazine. (It is also noteworthy they started Fortune during the Great Depression).
Price Club – the precursor to Sam’s Club, Costco and BJ’s was started.
Procter & Gamble introduced Pringles and ERA detergent.
So as the title of this blog says, don’t stop marketing, market smarter.
If sales aren’t improving then marketing must not be working. It seems like this is the simplest equation in business, but business is never that simple.
Marketing’s role is to drive leads by changing perception, creating desire, communicating a point of difference and enhancing a brand.
Marketing’s job is to get a positively predisposed audience to call for more information, look for your product on a shelf, walk in your store or visit your web site. From there it is up to you.
So how do you know if marketing is doing its job? Set up a tracking system.
Today there are many tools available to help you set a benchmark and track your marketing efforts. Here is a list from typically least expensive to most expensive;
Asking how a person heard about you
- By formalizing this process you will be able to gain significant insight on what marketing tools are working
- When people request more information from your web site have a question that prompts them to tell you how they heard of you
- Google has a free web analytics product that provides you good insight into how people are coming too your web site
- More robust analytics products exist, but these can get costly
Discreet URL/Phone Number
- Track activity of a specific marketing tactic by driving it to a specific URL or 800-number
- If Public Relations is a tactic you use often, using a clipping service to track stories is useful in justifying the expense
- Conducting online searches also help track where your company has been mentioned in the news
- Use promotional offers tied to specific marketing tactics
- Offer will determine the expense of this endeavor
- Annual tracking surveys will identify changes in awareness, perception and usage
Over the next few weeks we will discuss how to implement these tracking programs.
Warning: If you find out marketing is doing its job then have to look at your operations to see why sales aren’t meeting your goals.
Economic downturns and uncertainty bring cuts and most of these cuts hit marketing because marketing doesn’t impact how you do business. Conventional wisdom now says that companies who market during a downturn come out ahead of their competitors because they kept their business known while others disappeared.
While that sounds great in theory, it is hard to practice especially when jobs or your livelihood may be on the line.
I suggest another approach – keep marketing, just make it more efficient and more effective.
Thus the reason for this blog – to provide thoughts and ideas that can help small businesses market themselves more effectively – without increasing – and often times decreasing – their marketing spend.
I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you in the hopes they help your business succeed.
Everyone is familiar with the power of word of mouth. In fact there is an organization dedicated to it – WOMMA. There are companies like BzzAgent harnessing and trying to spur word of mouth for their clients. And with blogging, people can voice their opinions faster and more loudly than ever.
While the opinions you find in blogs are an opinion of one, monitoring blogs regularly might help you identify trends that you can take advantage of when positive or market against when negative.
Think about Mentos and Diet Coke, who would have thought a soda volcano would have boosted the sales, awareness and interest in a candy. Had you been tracking the web, you might have.
Even if you can afford research, keeping an eye on blogs will keep you closer to your audience.
Here are some blog search engines that you might find helpful: