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We’re engineers and manufacturers; we love to measure things, right?
So why not measure how your campaigns are doing?
The ability to track results is one of the key reasons why digital is increasingly chosen over traditional marketing – heck, we’ve spent whole episodes discussing how those results can help you convince your boss to invest a tad more in digital techniques!
But we will admit; while digital campaign data does make life easier, there are so many tracking programs to choose from that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and into the weeds.
So here are our top five choices to start some basic results-tracking, and to hopefully make your life as a marketer just a little easier.
1. GOOGLE ANALYTICS
If you haven’t hooked up your site to Google Analytics yet…do it. Do it right now. Go do it and then come back. We will wait right here for you.
Guys. It’s free, and it literally has “analytics” in the name.
Google Analytics can track visitors to your site in real time; it can tell you the different paths they take around your site; it identifies bounce rates to let you know how quickly they lose interest; which outside websites are sending you the most traffic; and more.
“If I had a dollar for every time I heard a manufacturer say, ‘Well, nobody comes to our website, nobody buys through that or researches us,’ and then I ask them, ‘Well, do you have Google Analytics? Are you looking at that?’
‘Well, no…’ ”
Use this program to create a baseline, if nothing else.
This is square one. This is the ABC, 1-2-3, Do-Re-Mi program of campaign tracking. It may not look very artsy and navigating its many options may take some getting used to, but it is a cornerstone of integrated data that no company can afford to pass by.
2. TRACKABLE CALLS-TO-ACTION
Quite simply, you need to be able to track any forms or buttons or other calls to action that your campaigns are promoting. That means putting a form at the end of a video, or creating a specific landing page so that you can monitor leads that click on a certain social media post.
Content and campaigns vary widely, but you need to know which of them are performing well.
Whether you create gated content like downloadable white papers, private webinars that require sign-ups, or you have three different landing pages for different newsletters and you want to compare their sign-up rates or where their subscribers are coming from…make sure you know what’s effective and where you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
You spent a lot of time on that video, that report, that ebook…you should at a minimum capture someone’s email address so you know who’s paying attention.
3. MERGE TAGS
Most of you are using email in some form or fashion. Whether you’re married to MailChimp, or whether you’re branching out and trying programs like Autopilot and SharpSpring – most of those systems have a merge tag option in email-building. These tags are a quick way to personalize any otherwise-bland email.
What that means, simply, is that you can pull somebody’s name or company or other information straight from the database where their information is stored.
Now instead of sending an annoying, “Hello, valuable customer!” email to Bob, you can send a message that says, “Hey, Bob!” because you used the first-name merge tag. Just make sure you’ve cleaned up your database and gotten rid of “dirty” data first. (Also, how you type in the specific merge tag will vary slightly depending on the system you use, so be aware of that.)
Furthermore, you can test the effectiveness of these tools by monitoring your emails’ click-through rates and open rates.
Most mass-email programs can track how many people open your messages, and then click through to your website. Don’t be afraid to A-B test those emails. They will give you an understanding of how successful your campaigns are.
4. UTM CODES
A UTM code is a special little tag that you can attach to the end of any link that you create, and it’s almost infinitely customizable.
Say you want to start tracking leads and your goal is to see whether you’re getting more visits to www.yourwebsite.com/ from Twitter, or from a new banner ad that you just released. Just create a UTM code to help you identify each link.
Your posts on Twitter will take leads to www.yourwebsite.com/?utm_source=twitter
while your LinkedIn will take leads to www.yourwebsite.com/?utm_source=linkedin.
On top of that, these codes are stackable; so you can specify between different campaigns, dates, terms, and so much more.
All your leads may be visiting one single page…but now you can see where they’re coming from.
Now, instead of merely seeing 24 visitors to www.yourwebsite.com/, you can see that your CEO’s post to his personal network brought in over three times as many leads as any other ‘campaign’. Now you know that he should post on his personal profile more often.
5 visitors: ?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=valentines-special&utm_content=video
18 visitors: ?utm_source=linkedin&utm_campaign=valentines-special&utm_content=ceo
1 visitor: ?utm_source=google&utm_campaign=valentines-special&utm_content=banner-ad-4
UTM codes can go into emails, too, and partner with merge tags so you can even identify specific individuals that click through your messages.
Still confused? Launch Digital Marketing has a helpful article on UTM codes that goes a bit more in-depth; and Google has an infinitely-helpful URL Builder where you can start putting together UTM codes on your own!
And UTM codes are not only nifty for tracking your own website…adding them to any outbound links on your site is a great way to let your friends know that you’re sending leads their way!
We’ve actually noticed certain websites that have mentioned us in blog posts, because they added UTM codes to their hyperlinks.
Those UTM codes have given us more information about our visitors, and have given us the know-how to respond in kind and send trackable leads back to our business associates. Now we know that LinkedIn sends us more leads by far than any other social medium; and that posts with video get more responses than just images or plain text.
5. M.A.P. REPORTING
Now if you’re not quite ready for that level of automation, systems like KlipFolio and Autopilot are great user-friendly programs for beginners that are only just starting to look beyond Google Analytics.
Nearly all of these programs can set up triggered notifications so that certain site activity will be brought to your attention.
Whatever you choose to begin with, the idea is to make yourself a great “headquarters” where you can monitor what’s happening on your website, and catch leads while they’re hot.
Bottom line: make your data measurable.
Do your best to make your campaigns trackable so that you can identify successes, communicate knowledgable about what methods are effective, and build your case to upper management.
After all, be you a manufacturer or a digital marketer…measuring things is why we got into this business in the first place, isn’t it?
Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get each of our weekly episodes sent directly to your inbox; or subscribe to our podcast on iTunes so you can listen on the go! If there’s a particular topic that you’d like for us to talk about, or if you have a particular a challenge that you’d like us to take a crack at, send us an email. We’d be happy to answer them for you – and if your topic gets picked for a future episode, you’ll win a free IndustrialSage t-shirt!