Tracking Your Online Marketing

There's a well-known marketing phrase that says "you can't manage what you don't measure." And most marketing is pretty hard to measure. Can you really tell if your billboard or newspaper ad or TV commercial brings in new customers? It's difficult to know for sure.

But with online marketing just about everything is trackable. You can easily find out where your site's visitors came from, what they did while they were on your site and whether they took a particular action you desired. That's one of the advantages of online marketing over all other types of marketing.

Google Analytics

Now the most commonly used and maybe the most powerful of the website tracking tools is a free system from Google. It's called Google Analytics.

Google Analytics will help you know where your visitors came from, how long they stayed on your site and how many web pages they actually visited. But that's just the beginning of what it can do.

Google Analytics has been around for many years and Google keeps making it better. There is no reason not to be using Google Analytics because it's free and very easy to install. If you can't do it yourself then it would be easy for your webmaster to do. And if you have a webmaster, I sure would be asking them why they hadn't put Analytics on your site already. It's a no-brainer that even a beginning webmaster should be utilizing. If they haven't then maybe you might want to consider another webmaster.

Types of Tracking Information/Metrics

As you learn to understand online marketing and the types of ways you can use it to bring more customers to your business, you begin to think more deeply about your online marketing's effectiveness. In the beginning you assume that just getting any traffic to your site is the goal. But the fact is, not all traffic is equal. Some traffic is better than others.

Of course the best traffic is the kind that buys your product or service. Becoming a customer is what is called a "conversion" in online marketing. Your conversion rate is your ultimate metric. The more visitors you turn into customers the higher your conversion rate.

But with all the potential marketing tactics that you can employ in your online marketing, which ones work the best to bring these types of high-converting visitors to your site. After all, you can meet prospects on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and hundreds of other online locations. And developing a presence on all these "touchpoints" takes time and money. And if you are a smart marketer you want to make sure you get the best return on your investment by choosing the ones that work.

But first...

Be sure you understand the context for all of your marketing. Knowing your particular sales cycle is the key to understanding that. Here's a video that will help you learn about your sales cycle.

So let's start by looking at some of the basic information, called metrics, you can get from your Google Analytics Reports.

Bounce Rate

If someone comes to your site and leaves never looking at any other pages on your site then they sure didn't learn much about you. If they leave from the same page they landed on that is called a "bounce." So your Bounce Rate (the % of people who leave from the first page they land on) is an indication of the "stickyness" of that page and that traffic. The lower your bounce rate the better.

Time On Site

If a visitor leaves within the first few seconds of landing on your site, this too tells you that they were not engaged. They could leave for many reasons but whatever the reason you certainly would like them to spend time learning about you and your solution. So the longer someone spends on your site the better.

Pages Per Visit

If a visitor views a lot of pages that means they again were engaged by your site. The more pages they visit the better chance you have of telling your story and getting your marketing message across.

Now there are many other metrics you can get in your Google Analytics reports. And all of the above can be drilled down to the page level of your website. So you can find out exactly which pages work best for moving people through your sales cycle.

What Does It Mean?

The bottom line is finding out which of your marketing tactics works best. For example, if you find out that traffic that comes from LinkedIn has a lower bounce rate and spends a longer time on your site than traffic that comes from Facebook, which do you think is the better place to put your time and effort?

Even better, if you can define an action that proves they are a qualified prospect, and they take that action, then you know specifically that your marketing tactic is working. For example, if you ask your visitors to give you their email address so that you can stay in touch, that action indicates a higher level of interest and commitment to your solution. With Google Analytics you can define specific "goals," like an email signup, that can then be tracked all the way back to the keyword they may have used on Google. Now that's how to measure your marketing's effectiveness.

But remember, you have to put a link on your touchpoint that drives them to your site. Just posting a quick status update about yourself is not an action that can be tracked on your website. In fact you may never know exactly where someone becomes aware of your business unless you put a trackable link on your touchpoints. This is key!

Even better you want to make sure you have a Sales Funnel setup to really make sure you leverage every visitor to your site.

Back To The Sales Cycle

To review quickly, your sales cycle is the decision-making process that your prospects go through before they decide to become a customer. They need questions answered before they are ready. Your site must be able to answer those questions. Review the sales cycle by watching the above video.

And the farther along someone is on the sales cycle when you meet them, the more likely they will be to become a customer... and the higher your conversion rate will be. So certainly a marketing goal would be to identify and connect with as many prospects as possible that are already far down the sales cycle.

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Now this is just the basics of understanding how to measure your online marketing. If you'd like to have a more detailed, personal consultation about your specific online marketing tactics please contact us here.

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About MeRick Hart local online marketing advisor

Hi I'm Rick Hart. I'm a professional online marketer. I help people succeed online with website design, search engine optimization, and online promotion of their websites.

I've been in marketing for over 30 years. Most of that time I was a freelance graphic designer but since 2005 I've been specializing in online marketing.

My first job in online marketing was as an Affiliate Manager. If you don't know what that is don't worry. Basically I helped companies market their products online through an affiliate program. You can learn more at my affiliate marketing website if you like.

I continued to learn the details of online marketing and since 2008 I've been offering my services as an online marketing consultant to many individuals and companies who want to improve their online marketing.

There are a lot of ways to meet new customers online. It all starts with "meeting people where they are now" in the search engines or on social media sites. How you do that is where I come in. I can help you...

• Build a website

• Get that website on the first page of Google

• Do Pay Per Click (AdWords)

• Create Your Sales Funnel so you move people to choose you and give you a call

• Create a Social Media presence to drive new customers to your website

If you're new to Online Marketing and want to learn the basics, please visit my Online Marketing Primer. It will give you the 10,000 foot view of how it all works.

If you'd like to arrange a free 30-minute personal consultation contact me here.

I look forward to helping you take advantage of the "best form of marketing ever invented" and finding new customers online.

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