Many startups and small businesses feel pressure to have an online presence. They work hard to create a website, update their social networks, and try their hand at digital marketing. When their digital marketing strategies don’t lead to instant popularity or sales, they feel discouraged and give up. In most cases, if they’d tracked their marketing campaigns and made adjustments based on analytics, they’d begin to find ways to generate revenue.
Not tracking campaigns with analytics is one of the most common
Goal No.1: Raise Brand Awareness
Brand awareness campaigns are designed for a single purpose: to increase the visibility of your brand. In many cases, social media is the ideal channel for brand awareness campaigns. You can also buy online ads to generate brand awareness, but when you have a limited budget, cost-free social media reigns supreme. Use these KPIs to measure the success of your social media brand awareness campaigns:
- Measure how many people mentioned you or your brand on social networks during the campaign. Also, measure your brand’s share of voice by comparing the number of mentions your brand received to the number of mentions that your main competitors received over a different time period.
- Likes, comments, retweets, shares, and clicks tell you how much engagement your brand’s content receives, which can tell you a lot about how many people are seeing references to your brand.
- Reach is the number of accounts that follow you on social media and potentially saw your post. Impressions include both your reach and the number of people with whom your posts were shared — the followers of your followers.
Think Like an Analyst
Once you’ve collected these metrics, it’s time to figure out what they’re telling you. Ask yourself these questions:
- Did certain types of content result in an increase in mentions, engagement, and exposure? Notice which content performed most successfully for you, and use it in future brand awareness campaigns.
- Did you notice a correlation between the times of day that you shared certain posts and the engagement they received? If so, schedule more posts around these times of day.
- Did any influencers share your content to increase its exposure? Consider reaching out to thank the influencer for the share, and propose ways that you could form a mutually beneficial partnership.
Goal No.2: Generate Leads
Lead generation identifies prospects who might eventually purchase from your company. Social networks, online ads, content marketing, and search engine referrals are all important tools for lead generation. When your business is new, or when you’re just starting to expand into digital marketing, you have to determine which channels generate the best leads for you. Also, you need to figure out which channels give you the most value for your digital marketing budget. Use these KPIs to get the best leads for your marketing dollar:
- Cost per lead. Measure how many leads you get from search engine referrals, ads, social networks, and pieces of content. Then, calculate how much you spend on each channel, and divide your total spending by the number of leads generated by each channel.
- Site traffic to lead ratio. Calculate the number of unique visits your website or landing page receives and the number of visitors who become leads. After determining how your visitors found your site, determine which channels and campaigns generate the best site traffic to lead ratios.
- Marketing qualified leads (MQL) vs. sales qualified leads (SQL). Determine how many of your MQLs — those who might have a demand for your product — become SQLs who are good prospects for making a purchase. Analyze which channels not only generate the most SQLs but also which channels refer SQLs that end up spending the most money.
Think Like an Analyst
Again, analyze what these metrics tell you about your digital marketing effectiveness:
- Which channels — social, PPC, search — generate the best quality leads for the lowest cost? Spend more of your marketing budget on those channels and less on channels that aren’t contributing to your bottom line.
- Does your website or landing page get traffic without converting leads? If you have the same landing page for multiple channels, start testing design elements one by one. Add a call-to-action, change the color of your CTA button, rewrite your copy, or change the value proposition (email signup, free download) that you’re offering. Note which changes drive more conversions, and use that information for future campaigns.
- Which types of content and landing pages used in your lead nurturing emails turn MQLs into SQLs? Once your leads get into your lead nurturing email queue, use KPIs like email click-through rate (CTR) to see which pieces of content get the most attention. Notice which website pages your customers visit after clicking one of your CTAs. If they consistently bounce from your landing page without further action, test elements of the page. Then, based on what you learn, change your content and your landing pages so that they become more effective at converting leads into customers.
The Ultimate Goal: Increase Sales
Use your awareness and lead-related metrics to draw connections between digital marketing activities and sales. Ask yourself these questions:
- Which campaigns types generate more leads who end up making purchases?
- Do leads who come from certain channels — or leads referred by certain influencers — tend to make more purchases?
- Does increasing brand awareness truly generate more sales, or should you do fewer brand awareness campaigns and more targeted lead generation campaigns?
- Have you improved your marketing ROI over time by lowering cost per lead or making smarter budgeting decisions?
- Are certain marketing activities better at turning first-time customers into repeat customers?
Ultimately, your KPIs tell you one of three things:
- First, they tell you when you need to stop doing something, like investing in a social network that doesn’t generate valuable leads.
- Second, they tell you when to start doing something, such using a certain landing page because it prompts more email opt-ins.
- The third thing they tell you is when to do less or more of something. For example, your KPIs might cause you to spend less on Google AdWords and more on Facebook ads.
It’s vital to measure KPIs, but you also have to take action based on those metrics. With time, if you gather the right KPIs and interpret them correctly, you’ll see how much digital marketing can do for your business.
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