“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
You’ve made it past the first quarter of the year. Take some time to review your digital marketing efforts so far. Did you accomplish your Q1 goals? Are you still on track to achieve your yearly plan? Get yourself refocused and adjust your strategy if necessary. Sometimes a campaign just flops, and you can’t always save it. What you can do, however, is use the data from this experience to learn why it happened and how to do better in the future. There are a few things to keep in mind when you turn to digital marketing analytics tools for this process.
Are You Suffering From Analytics Overload?
The big data world gives you a lot of information to work with. In some cases, far too much. Google Analytics and other solutions offer pages upon pages of insights. You can get too caught up in trying to understand everything included in the platform. The result is that you end up drowning in information that you don’t care about and have a hard time getting to the information that’s actually useful.
One reason many businesses end up in this situation is that they put this job on the marketing team’s plate. If you don’t have people skilled with data analytics already in place, you’re running into a skill gap problem. Ideally, you can bring on someone with a great head for data. If that’s not possible, and you’re using Google Analytics, get started at the Analytics Academy. It takes some time to get through, but you’ll get the hang of this platform by the end of it. If your organization uses a different analytics package, reach out to the customer support or success team and see what training material they have available.
Metrics That Matter in Content Marketing
Of course, learning the analytics platform is only useful if you know which metrics to keep an eye on. The exact mix of KPIs you want to watch varies based on your business goals and the type of inbound marketing campaigns you’re running. You can start by looking through this list of common data points:
- Website visits
- Social media shares
- Social media likes
- Social media commenting
- Click patterns
- Blog commenting
- Form conversion
- Referring domain traffic
- Keyword traffic volume
- Click through rate
- Brand mentions
- Bounce rates
- Geographic location
- Number of repeat visits
- Content engagement
- Direct interactions
Stop Shifting the Goalposts
You have a clear goal in mind when you put together a digital marketing campaign. Sometimes you frame it with a long-term perspective in mind, such as increasing your revenue 20 percent by next year. In other situations, you opt for a quick win, like boosting your email opt-ins by 10 percent.
Goal setting helps you focus your entire campaign around the result. Your resources are dedicated to this cause, so you limit the amount of scope creep that can throw everything off track. Unless you start shifting the goalposts in the middle of things.
You fall into a pattern of setting new win conditions when you haven’t achieved the original goal or made a lot of progress. Your campaign loses focus, and you stretch your resources too thin to try to accommodate the change in direction. By the end of the campaign, you’re worse off than when you started. The budget is in bad shape, and you have to recover without a lot in the way of resources.
If this sounds all too common to you, break the cycle by starting off short and small. Focus on a single goal with a relatively short project turnaround time. You can run in month-long intervals and go over the results frequently. Start broadening your goals once you keep on track consistently.
There’s an App for That
The best thing about mobile devices and SaaS services is that there’s an app for that. The worst thing is the same. Technology is supposed to make everything and everyone more productive, but that only works when it’s not getting in the way of itself. Some organizations have hundreds of apps in use, from officially supported enterprise apps to software that employees choose on their own.
Scaling operations is difficult when every team or even every employee uses their own technology stack. The martech industry is always coming out with something new, but relearning business processes to accommodate the latest solution kills productivity. Plus, you may end up with marketing team members who are holding out and sticking with the old solution.
Before you consider a jump to another SaaS app, audit your existing capabilities and how they support your digital marketing goals and functions. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your current stack before you look into alternatives. While you might get a slight productivity boost from a new platform, you can end up with a net negative once you account for the disruption in productivity and the training time involved.
Now it’s time to put your digital marketing data to work for Q2 2017. You have everything you need to meet and exceed your campaign and business goals — you just need to surface the metrics that tell you what you need to know.