Jul 17, 2014

Marketers: You're Definitely Not Doing This Enough

Last month, Campbell (our head of Sales) wrote about engaging audiences in your online “ecosystem” that is made up of various tools, platforms, and technologies. He talked about online assets that suit your business and your target audiences, user personas, different types of engagement, and other tips to help your business create a strong ecosystem where you can interact and drive audiences to act. Today, I’m going to look at how we can measure these different user activities to improve our online assets and how we use them.

It can be difficult to sort through the piles of data our analytics tools spit out, and turning that data into actionable information is time consuming and, often, a work of trial and error. Here are some tips on how to measure and improve your website, social media, and email marketing strategies using analytics tools and small to large changes.

Website

Your website lies at the core of your online strategy. You own this platform, and it should be where the main engagement with your audience takes place – including purchases, collecting information, and other engagement activities that are connected to your business objectives.

Measurements

There are hundreds of interactions and micro-interactions that you can measure on your website. Finding the best data to track can take some trial and error, and it will depend on your business and its objectives. And while the numbers are never perfect, we’ve found that there are some generally universal measurements that organisations can not only watch but tie to KPIs and both short and long-term business goals.

  • Bounce rates: What pages of your website have the highest bounce rates?
  • Load time: How quickly does your site load?
  • Conversion rates: A direct way to measure business objectives – when you’ve set up relevant conversions to track. And it doesn’t have to be a purchase – it can be a newsletter subscriber, contact form completion, free trial signup, etc.

Improvements

By measuring activity on your website, you can make incremental improvements that will improve the user experience and encourage them to act in a way that aligns with your business goals. Don’t get overwhelmed – limit your focus to the areas of your website that are failing to convert customers (e.g. home page, contact us pages, sign-up forms) will improve your overall web presence.

Site speed: Even the smallest lag in your website can drive potential users away; Regularly test the speed of your site and make adjustments as needed.

Content: The length, layout, or message of your content may need an update. Use active words to drive action. Work on creating a tone and voice that reflects your organisation and its relationship with the audience. Focus on specific areas of your website that need to do better at converting, and consider an entire site audit to improve your overall content marketing strategy.

Design: A change to the layout, images, colours, and other design elements can make a major difference to your website. Create consistent design elements across your online assets – from your website to your emails to online ads to social media accounts.

Segmentation: Segment your audience traffic to see how each type of visitor behaves; for example, those coming from a direct marketing campaign or an email newsletter or a general Google search.

Social Media

There are many social media platforms and strategies available on the web, and it’s one of the more versatile – an inexpensive - tools for organisations of all sizes. And with plenty of room for creativity and personality, social media has become a fantastic tool for engagement.

Measurements

  • Followers: Are certain types of posts leading to a jump in followers or clicks?
  • Mentions: Who are you mentioning? Who is mentioning you?
  •  Likes/Retweets
  • Keywords: Track relevant keywords, including your brand and product names, using tools like Hootsuite

Improvements

Scheduling: Create a schedule of upcoming messages to maintain an active social media presence and to ensure you are sharing essential messages. Of course, social media is about being interactive and present, so don’t turn into a robot that schedules messages and never checks your feed. Finding the balance between the practical, planned part of social media and the active, “social” aspect of the platform can take some trial and error, but it will help you stick with the social media strategy and see results.

Connecting: Social media provides opportunities for engagement at different levels; Follow influential people, mention your partners and those you admire in social media posts, and connect with your customers.

Keywords & Voice: Find a voice for your social media account that aligns with your brand. Balance that with keywords and hashtags to connect potential followers to your posts.

Email Marketing

Email marketing continues to be an effective engagement platform for many businesses because it is a direct line to the customer. But as anyone with an email account knows, it’s also easy to feel bombarded by messages. By measuring your email marketing and making small changes to your strategy, you can find the best way to keep audience members interested and active.

Measurements

  • Open rates: What subject lines are getting the most opens?
  • Campaign data: Who is getting your email? When?
  • Delivery rate: Basically, it’s this: The # of emails sent minus # bounces divided by the # of sent emails
  • Clicks: Which calls to action are generating the most clicks? What email layout is best – the one with more images or more content? Which list is most active?
  • Website behaviour: What are your users doing once they arrive on your website from an email? How deep are they going into your website? Are they acting/engaging with you? Are they bouncing?

Improvements

A/B testing: Email marketing is a great area to test out different templates, designs, messages, and calls to action. Set up two different versions of an email and send them to group A and group B, then compare. Continue testing and improve along the way.

List segmentation: Stop treating your entire audience the same way. Segment your email lists and send personalised messaging, including different CTAs and offers. Providing the most relevant information possible will help drive engagement. For example, a new customer probably does not need the same messaging as a loyal, repeat customer.

Follow-up emails: Did someone click on a link but then not take the corresponding action on that page? Follow up within 2-3 days with a gentle reminder about the offer and its deadline. Send shopping cart abandonment reminders. Send thank you’s for event attendees and remind them about those great services you mentioned at your seminar. There are many ways to provide personalised, informative, and relevant follow up emails in all types of industries. Get creative!

Landing pages: Link your marketing emails to specialised landing pages on your website and provide the most relevant information for the email audience. Unlike a link to a regular webpage, a special landing page can focus on the marketing message you want to get across, offer more information that you didn’t include in the email, and provide specific calls to action that relate to that marketing email. 

These are some general examples of ways that measuring and adjusting your marketing strategies can bring big results to your online strategy and deliver business goals. We know businesses are short on time, but marketers: do NOT let your analytics fall to the wayside. You may not have time to make huge changes and overhaul your entire marketing strategy, but measuring your online activity will help you see where weaknesses can be addressed and where you may need to go in the future. Start now!

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