We recently had the privilege of speaking to a group of experienced & successful outdoor adventure company owners and when preparing for our speaking engagement, one of these business owners raised the question ‘how do you effectively manage your marketing teams or agencies?’ This is a great question and quite a common one. We do our best to hire the ‘right’ people or agencies to run all facets of our marketing, and we do our best to help drive how our brand is presented in the digital space. It always seems to boil down to the same performance metrics and the people or agencies we hire love to share those obvious stats, right? ‘Your CTR is this’ or ‘Your bounce rate for this audience is this,’ but if you’re like many business owners, you have several irons in the fire and you don’t have time to learn and understand every KPI from every platform your company is currently marketing on.
So what do you do if you are the overseer of the marketing strategy for your company but not the implementer? How do you ensure your marketing strategy is holistic and accountable when you don’t have the time to dive into every detail? Do you manage simply by conversions or are there additional metrics you should be looking at to get a fuller picture of the story?
The answers to these questions are probably simpler and more accessible than you realize. In this article, we’ll share a couple of readily available reports and equip you with questions you can ask your employees or marketing agencies to ensure you are investing in an efficient and effective marketing plan.
1. Get Familiar with Google Analytics.
- GA (Google Analytics) is a free service provided by Google that is likely already firing on your website. Many business owners avoid this tool because it can seem complicated and overwhelming. It can also be challenging to discern good metrics from bad ones. On the flip side, Google Analytics also provides crucial, high-level indications of how your marketing plan is working. Here are a couple of simple reports that are easy to access and read to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing.
- Source/Medium Report – Source is where your traffic originates. Medium is the general category of your source. For example; Google (source), Organic (medium). This report is very straightforward and the results you see will either motivate you to make changes or confirm that your marketing strategy is effective. Notice in the 1st example below that over 60% of the website’s traffic is coming from paid media channels whereas, in the second example there isn’t a single channel that’s responsible for more than 25% of the total traffic entering this site. As a business owner, I’d choose the second example for the same reason I’d want to diversify my investment accounts. It’s almost never a good idea to be too highly vested in one channel. It’s important to make sure your traffic is varied and that you’re not held hostage to any one channel for traffic.
- Expert tip #1: Speak to a professional that can customize your Analytics; including setting up conversion goals, sourcing traffic, and filtering out unwanted traffic to see the most accurate results
- All Pages Report – This report shows your most visited pages. Do those highly visited pages on your site match your business goals? For example, if you are an auto mechanic wanting to focus on engine replacement, how much of the traffic coming to your site is visiting pages referencing engine replacement?
Expert tip #2: Check out Google Analytics Academy for a simple beginner course on some basic reporting in GA
2. Understand that not all channels are created equal
- One of the best features of digital marketing exists in the trackability it provides. In the old days of yellow pages, tracking was simple right? Just add a tracking number to your ads and the reader would either call you or they wouldn’t. While digital marketing offers a lot of new transparency and insights into user behavior, it’s also created a world where all marketing channels are graded on the same scale. This creates a problem we experience all the time. A business will cancel their digital advertising simply because “it doesn’t drive any leads.” The platform that we see this with the most often is paid social media advertising. (Here’s a secret…no one is going to Facebook to look for your services!) That’s not the point of advertising on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. Did you know that about 2/3 of active users on Facebook claim they visit local business pages at least once a week? With this kind of user activity in one place you can access and leverage behavior information to target a more relevant audience in a way no other channel has been able to do – even with the recent privacy restrictions! Regardless of the marketing channel you appear on, you want to meet your audience where they already are – it’s one of the most intrinsic pieces of digital marketing
- Expert tip #3: Ask your marketing team what their strategy is for using each platform in your strategy and become familiar with the KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) your team or agency is measuring to define success.
- Expert tip #4: Start to understand your buyer journeys in GA and understand where each marketing investment fits into conversion paths. When goals are set up, you can easily track these journeys by navigating to conversions and to multi-channel funnel reports.
3. Don’t be okay with not looking at reporting.
- Every single digital marketing platform has readily available reporting. Too many of our clients don’t take the time to fully understand the reporting we provide and some don’t even look at it. You owe it to yourself and your marketing team to spend time reviewing those reports. It’s in your best interest to talk openly about the information contained in them and to make necessary changes if things don’t appear to be working. When armed with the appropriate information, both you and your team can work together to meet your business objectives.
Expert tip #5: Share your industry trends and competitors with your agency or internal team. Utilize tools available online to give you a window into the marketing strategies of your competition and how to adjust strategies to grow your business. One we use consistently is Spyfu.com. This is a good tool to “spy” on the movement of your competitors. (Keep in mind that no online tool will be 100% accurate but will give useful information about your competitors.)
4. Measure your entire marketing investment against actual results.
- I know this seems obvious, but are you really doing it? At Xcite, we invite our clients to compare their marketing investment to their sales results to determine their ROI. This really helps to keep them informed and able to make sound business decisions with their marketing strategies. The best part is you don’t need ‘fancy’ software to accomplish this. Many of our clients simply use a Google Sheet with revenue and profit numbers compared to their marketing investment on a monthly or quarterly basis. This is especially effective when you break it down to individual accounting or revenue streams for your business.
- Expert tip #6 : Share these results with your team.They love having this information because it enables them to toggle your marketing channels to meet your goals more effectively.
You are your business’s best advocate when it comes to formulating an effective digital marketing strategy, but you shouldn’t do it alone. Whether you have an internal marketing team or choose to hire a marketing agency, they are your partner in establishing your brand in the digital space and reaching your business revenue goals. Be aware of available reports, take the time to read and understand reports that are provided to you and discuss them on a regular basis. Your marketing team is an extension of your vision – be willing to discuss the results from your side and share your insights as they relate to your own business objectives so they can adjust the strategies they’re implementing to better meet your revenue goals. To quote a successful business owner and colleague, “An informed business owner that takes ownership in his or her marketing efforts doesn’t have to fire people so often.” Our most successful partnerships are with clients that take the time to understand their marketing strategy efforts and lean on the expertise and knowledge of their marketing team.