Here's a "close to home" scenario we are all familiar with:
It's not always peaches and cream when it comes to marketing. You spend hours (and a small fortune) building what you hope to be an amazing marketing campaign with the internal team you have assembled.
Every year you seem to try something new, only to let your efforts drop off after the first eight weeks.
The main reason for this, whether you realize it or not, is that you have no actual way to track your marketing efforts to see if you are really making a difference or generating results. Because of that, you end up giving up on the efforts over time.
Then, when someone else pitches the idea down the road, you end up saying something like "well, we've tried something like that before, and it just wasn't a good fit for our team." In all reality, those marketing initiatives might have changed your business forever had you devoted enough time to it to see the fruit.
It doesn't have to be that way. It really doesn't.
Analytics Are The Key
In a very stripped down explanation, analytics (in the web sense) are the tracking of visitors to your site, how they found your site, and how they interact with your company.
Analytic tracking is typically a proactive effort. However, you can learn a great deal from simply watching how people are using your website.
For example, one of our clients is a wholesale candle company based in small town Indiana. They are in 1000+ retailers nationwide. Through the use of tracking their website visits, we discovered that they were getting roughly 400 people each month searching for their company in New York City.
The issue is, their products are not available to be purchased within 100 miles of NY, nor are they available online for purchase.
This was extremely useful information because it helped our client identify prime markets for their next location to pursue more wholesale markets.
How To Use Analytics
At the base level, you can use analytics to tell you where people are finding your website (is it from social media? from direct typing in of your domain? is it from search traffic? etc). You can track the number of visitors, new vs. returning, over time. And, you can break down the kind of device and software people are using to search.
This is valuable information... if you know what you're looking for, and how to use it.
We use these kinds of tools to measure the results of our client's campaigns and to help us show an ROI from our marketing efforts.
When used with a REAL marketing campaign, analytics will absolutely allow you to measure the ROI of your marketing efforts.
You see, tracking something like this isn't simple dollars and cents. Sure, at the end of the day, that's what is important. But, if you are building a strong content campaign around a central lead generating download (like a free eBook, template, calculator, etc.), you definitely want to know a lot more about what your next move is.
Let's say you know when you are blogging about a specific topic, you are generation about a 6% conversion rate of people who visit to people who download your eBook. Then you have another topic you've been blogging about, and that is generating a 10% conversion rate. As your consultant, I would say we need to do 1 of 2 things.
We need to change how we are writing about the content with a 6% conversion rate. This could be hitting home on different pain points of your buyer personas, or it could be just revising the content in general. We want to do this in order to improve the conversion rate and get people to feel the need to engage in the offer.
Our next option would be to completely stop looking at the 6% offer all together, and spending our time on the 10% conversion rate content. If it takes us 30 visitors to get three leads, then we want to increase our visits. If we get 90 visitors, we are hoping then to get 9 leads. It's simple math!
That's kind of the goal with analytics. We want to monitor what we're doing, see how well our site visitors and leads interact with us, and allow that to drive what we do next.
Growth Driven Design
This is where we spend a lot of our time in our office. We use analytics to help us in growth driven design, because it's a unique process for website development that totally relies on how our clients' websites are being used.
We focus on launching a "launch pad" website almost immediately when we work with our clients. It makes more sense, and it allows us to track and monitor how the site is used over time so we can develop a smart strategy for implementing our work.