- You Can’t Analyze Data if You Don’t Have Data: The foundation behind any good web-analysis method is Google Analytics. Since setting up this service is both easy and free, there is absolutely no excuse not to have an account, whether you spend money with Google or not. When you do this, don’t forget to set up all of the lead capture forms so you can track leads/conversions in order to see exactly what is attracting your visitors. If you haven’t done this, do it now. If you have, go back and make sure you’ve done it thoroughly. And, for the love of everything that is good in the world...do your metrics. Measure the results of every sales action - "How did you hear about us / me?"
- Always Be Scanning: A common maxim in sales is “keep your eye on the prize.” Not in web traffic — instead, you want to keep your eyes on everything. Comb through your data in search of benchmarks that lead to sales, sure — but don’t forget to look further upstream too. In other words, don’t just look for a sale’s end goal, but for areas you can key into and strengthen. Is your traffic mostly from direct referrals (typing in your URL manually), or is it coming from a specific blog? Likewise, pay attention to the content of links and keywords. There are infinite ways to search for your company, so make sure you’re targeting hotspots and adjusting your strategy accordingly. Finally, don’t draw a line between web traffic and phone traffic. Many vendors offer call tracking, which can be useful to identify surges of inquiries in addition to those of sales.
- Find Your Sweet Spot: Look upstream at the quality and returns of your online marketing. Your average rankings and cost per click are two indicators that can help identify if you’re in the most efficient spot on the search engine or if you’ve run askew. While holding the number one paid spot has its clear advantages, branding campaigns among them, many companies find that these spots are not the most efficient. PPC and SEM campaigns shouldn’t be “all or nothing,” so monitor your costs per conversions closely.
- Evaluate Your Metrics Wisely: Rather than comparing your marketing results over consecutive periods, try comparing them by season or even years prior. Taking into account events such as holidays and industry upturns/downturns can greatly affect the accuracy of your interpretations. Apply the same level of stringency to areas such as backlinks and rankings. Just as all months are not equal, nor are all backlinks or search locations. Evaluate new backlinks for quality to avoid getting pegged by Google and consider using an IP proxy to differentiate between your personalized search results and those of your target customers.
- Apply Constant Pressure: Don’t let yourself (or your vendors) become complacent with good results. Even after sales climb, it’s important to remain active and responsive. One way to combat stagnation is to ask that your vendors schedule regular conferences with you. Similarly, just because you’ve asked your vendor for new ideas or opinions in April doesn’t mean you can’t ask again in May (and June.)
As an Internet Marketing Specialist, I run into some of the strangest business marketing plans that you ever imagine. Potential Clients tell me everyday that they are not sure about the results they got / get from any marketing effort they employ. This is the very definition of "Insanity". No marketing effort is worth doing without doing the metrics. Here are some other insights you will need to be aware of when you undertake internet marketing (which is something every business should be doing!).
Derek Felbinger, David Trumpler & Andrew Imber.