It is common to be stereotyped into the “creative” pool when having a discussion about marketing. If you were to say that you are in the marketing field, the folks from finance or technology would begin to make comments focussed on your creativity and artistic ability. This is the widely accepted view of marketing but is far from the truth.
It is true that much of marketing depends on creativity, the visual presentation and the power of art. However, to make a marketing effort meet your goals, it is important for it to show you its value and this can be found through effective analytics. Marketers are repeatedly forced to show their return on investment to clients. Marketers often struggle to do this. Statistics state that eight out of ten marketers cannot measure the value of their marketing efforts to their businesses. This is a big gap and it is crucial for one to be able to measure the value being derived from their marketing endeavours as this is crucial to sustained marketing success.
To know what metrics to look at
Web analytics like site traffic are often important metrics but they do not always provide you with everything you need to arrive at the best conclusions with respect to your marketing campaigns.
Website traffic only shows you one part of marketing success – the ability to effectively put out your content to create awareness. This metric should by no means be underestimated however. Using data, it is possible to understand what a prospective client’s current average traffic is. With that as a benchmark and a goal for what you would like to increase traffic to, it becomes easier to put together a marketing plan to achieve said goals. Data gives you structure – information on the ground realities as well as achievable targets for the near future. A clear starting and finishing point makes it easier for you to understand what kind of marketing is needed and keeping both points in mind, you can measure the efficiency of your efforts at every step of the way. Without analytics, you have no starting or finishing point. Imagine a sprinter running a race without knowing where it starts and where it ends.
If a client is solely focussed on generating awareness, traffic is a fabulous metric. This should not however, be the only thing that is measured regularly. Some companies are focussed on the quality of the traffic generated rather than the quantity. Quality of traffic can be measured by studying the conversion rates or by observing the bounce rate of the users. For example, if there was a new player in the real estate market who was focussed on selling very expensive houses, this new player would be more focussed on generating a good quality lead rather than many leads. How do you measure the quality of traffic?
Once we understand what the hypothetical client’s bounce rate is, we take a look at why the bounce rate is what it is. Is the brand’s communication effective and clear or is it generic and therefore causing many people to feel confused about the value proposition and so leaving prematurely? If the communication is not clear and the services being offered not articulately put across, fixing this is the most significant way to decrease bounce rate. Another thing to focus on is the user friendliness of the website or application. If things are complicated or broken, people will leave. Bold communication and a inherently friendly, attractive and usable portal will increase the quality of traffic. Conversion is also tied to communication. Generic communication will cause many people who are not seriously considering buying a very expensive house to fill up their form. Be clear and precise and you will receive less traffic but an audience more in tune with the services you are offering.
How do we know if our changes are boosting the conversion rate and minimising bounce rate? How do we know that we are increasing the quality of traffic? You need to be tracking the right data points and need to consistently keep your eye on them. Data never lies and removes any biases that even the most qualified of human beings brings to the table. Don’t deny yourself and your business the chance for absolute truth to boost business.
Testing and Retesting – It’s more valuable than you think
Readily available data opens the door to something very interesting. The opportunity to try new things and know exactly how each new thing has affected business results and goals. The accuracy with which experiments can be judged should cause a significant increase in the number tests that we run. What a fabulous world to live in!
An interesting way to test things out is through a form of experimentation called A/B testing which permits you to alter tiny elements – the subject of an email or heading of a form – and see how each version does. Its a way to measure how efficient messaging is to your persona. Many marketers don’t do enough of this but if you are focussed on analytics, it is something you will know is possible. So if you aren’t doing it yet, get right to it and be prepared to have your mind blown at the possibilities and results!
Take the example of the new real estate players who sells expensive houses again. They have a hypothetical challenge – should they use the term ‘dream house’ or ‘the home you’ve been waiting for’ as a power term for their properties. If you were to run an A/B test, you would discover that conversion rates change based on which term you use. If the difference is significant, you know that you have to use the one that performs better with their audience. If the difference is insignificant, the decision is relatively unimportant. The fact that you can test this out is amazing!
If your marketing style has not contained too much of analytics yet, don’t worry. Analysing the efficacy of marketing efforts is not easy. However, to see success in marketing, adopting a proactively analytical approach is very important. All that you do has to happen at a particular point in a cyclical pattern of measure, analyse, plan, execute, measure and analyse again. This is the only way for you to derive impactful data to support your results.
Authored by Santhosh Palavesh, Founder, UMM DIgital