This is a guest post written by Pam Sahota. Pam is a marketing communications/social media manager and freelance blogger who loves Boston, photography, charity events, sushi, wine, and the Red Sox.
Your marketing team should be relying on data to see what’s working, what could use improvement, and what should be squashed as an approach. Data may seem intimidating, but it can also be a marketer’s best friend. How? Keep reading!
1. Referral Sites
It's important to monitor analytics in order to see which sites are the best referral sources for your website. Keep track of your top ten. For example, is your blog one of your best referral sites? Then maybe you should be beefing up your blog even more in order to improve its performance as a top referral source. Are some of these sites ones where you guest posted or advertised? Continue to do so, as these can be great avenues for your potential customers to find you, visit your site to lean more, and hopefully one day convert into actual leads and customers.
Furthermore, if your blog or another site isn’t in your top ten list and you were hoping it would be, you should figure out why it isn’t working and re-work that strategy. Or perhaps admit that it isn’t working for your target audience, and focus on the channels that are working to refer potential customers to you.
2. Social Media
Social media platforms can be quite fruitful in building brand awareness and engaging with potential and current customers. However, the key is to find out which sites are actually working for you. Check the analytics for each platform you utilize, and see how many people are interacting with you on each of those sites. Are you getting people to 'Like' your Facebook page each week? Follow you on Twitter, mention you, and retweet your tweets? Is your LinkedIn company following and group membership growing? More than likely, your customers are interacting more on one than another.
Use your analytics and your awesome data to show you which social media account is acting as your “home base” -- where you've garnered the most followers and are generating the most engagement. Consider devoting more time to this particular community. I'm not saying give up on the others and forget about your followers on those platforms. You want to be where your prospects and customers are, but also want to focus more attention on the channels where they are engaging more.
3. Blog Posts
You have your content strategy, your editorial calendar, and you're blogging away. But until you look at your RSS subscriber list, your page visits, comments, shares, likes, and tweets of your posts, how do you know which type of posts are working best and fulfilling your target audience's needs? Check these stats each time you publish an article and see which of your articles are being read. Which ones are being shared? Which ones are being commented on more than others?
Then re-evaluate and detemine what types of content and topics you should focus more on, which ones you should consider dumping, and what else you can do to get your customers to engage on your blog and with your brand.
Traffic sucks…except when it refers to your website. There, you most definitely want traffic. Lots and lots of traffic. But what you don’t want to do is ignore what's causing that said traffic. Did you release an awesome ebook that resulted in a spike in traffic that went above and beyond the traffic of the previous day or week? Or was there a plateau? Did your whitepaper drop into oblivion, and no one cared to read it?
Traffic allows you to see what works, what doesn’t, and what parts of your strategy could and should be tweaked. Traffic can suck on the road, but it can rock on your website. Embrace it. Analyze it. Learn from it.
Emails can be insightful, informative, and engaging – or they can be intrusive and overbearing. Your brand obviously wants to be associated with the former, but unless you analyze your open, click-through, and conversion rates, you won’t know which one you are and how to prevent the latter.
Check to see if your potential and current customers are indeed actually opening and clicking links in your email marketing messages. Perhaps you need to tweak the subject line in order to be more enticing. Perhaps you should make changes to the content itself. Do you notice that people are more likely to open and click links in your email if there is an offer involved rather than just another promotion? Figure out what works for your target audience per campaign, and tweak it for your next campaign in order to get even better open and click-through rates.
Data, a four letter word, can mean spreadsheets and analysis accompanied by a tall cup of coffee. But it can also mean big smiles on your managers' faces when they can clearly see that marketing is doing a great job at analyzing their efforts and reacting appropriately to improve communications with their target audience and generate more leads and customers. So start brewing that coffee and analyzing your data!
Originally published Oct 17, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016