<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1657797781133784&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Where Marketers Go to Grow

Please select one of the blog options to subscribe.

September 25, 2014

How to Use Data to Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Written by | @

smarter-decision-chessTake a moment to step back and contemplate all of the things we, as marketers, are responsible for. Content creation, SEO, email marketing, PPC, social media, lead generation, analytics ... the list is never-ending. Where do we find the time, budget, and resources to do it all?

The answer is: We don't necessarily have to.

Doing stuff just to say you're doing it isn't a good enough reason. Instead, you should figure out which parts of your marketing plan are working, and then focus on and improve those parts -- and then you can start to tackle those other marketing channels.

Sometimes it's a matter of digging into your data, pinpointing what's working and what isn't, and then cutting out the things that aren't working as well. Let's walk through a few different ways data can help you do that.

Look at Attribution by Channel

It's important to have a good idea of the number of leads generated by each marketing channel. Are your customers finding you and converting via social media? Email marketing? PPC? As you plan future marketing campaigns, this information will be extremely useful in helping you allocate your resources.

For example, let's say you're working on your budget and want to figure out whether to invest more resources in email marketing or social media. To figure this out, you'll need to know exactly how many leads each of those channels are driving -- not just the number of visits they bring in to your site.

HubSpot customers: You can pull an Attribution Report to see what sources are converting the greatest number of people. In the example below, you'll see that social media has driven 308 leads, while email marketing has only driven 74. In this case, you may decide it makes more sense to invest in social media if you're focused on lead generation.

attribution-report-source 

If you don't have HubSpot, use your analytics or marketing software to pull some of the same data. You may need to do some manipulation in Excel after exporting your data.

Look at Attribution by MQL

You may be thinking that you don't care about how many leads you generate if they aren't qualified. After all, if you generate 10,000 leads but only five are qualified, how much does it matter that you generated 10,000 leads in the first place?

Take a look in your CRM to see how many customers you have in a particular channel. You may see that the number of customers that converted via your social media efforts is much lower than the number of customers generated from your email marketing efforts. If you are measured on the number of qualified leads you generate rather than simply the number of leads, then this metric will affect your decision in Scenario #1.

HubSpot customers: Use your Attibution Report to pull the report that shows when a customer "Became a Marketing Qualified Lead" or their "Close Date" instead of their "Create Date." That will allow you to see how many contacts converted into customers through a particular source. You can then dig into individual contact records to gain a better understanding of how your marketing efforts moved someone through the funnel from being a lead to becoming a customer.

attribution-report-close-date

Look at Attribution by Blog Leads

Writing blog content is time consuming. So you wouldn't want to write blog content that doesn't perform well, right?

One of the most important parts of blogging is figuring out which content performs well and which doesn't -- so you can avoid writing content that doesn't. To figure out what works on your blog, it's helpful to understand not only how many visits you get to an individual blog post, but how many leads that blog post generates.

Getting this data can sometimes be tricky. After all, the conversion from visitor to lead doesn't usually happen on the actual blog post. Usually, the blog post ends with a call-to-action, which brings you to a landing page where a visitor can fill out a form and then convert to a lead. So how does that work?

What you need to get this information is the referral information. That means you need to see what page a person visited right before they went to the landing page where they converted. Check to see how people are interacting on your site, which pages they're visiting, and what they're reading to help you figure out what kinds of blog content generates leads.

Why is this information useful? Because you can use it to tailor future blog content. If you know that certain blog posts are converting more leads, look at the format of those blog posts and the topics they cover. You may also see that certain formatted posts perform better than others -- for example, your audience may like list-based posts a lot better than visual posts. You may also realize that a particular industry topic is generating more leads for you than others.

This data will also help you show the value of blogging when it comes to lead generation. It may be easy to show how blog content affects traffic to your site, but being able to prove the ROI of blogging by number of leads it generates is even more valuable.

HubSpot customers: You can do this through the Attribution Report as well. Create a report based on Last Interaction and URL. This will show you which pages, including blog posts, people visited before converting into leads. You can then filter by your blog URL to see a list which of your blog posts generated the most leads.

blog-analytics

Look at Attribution by Page Conversions

In addition to understanding which blog posts drive the greatest volume of leads, it's also helpful to understand which landing pages convert the greatest number of visitors into leads. If you know that some landing pages convert a higher number of visitors into leads, you may want to consider directing more of your calls-to-action to that particular landing pages. Or you may want to see if that landing page topic is the reason more people are converting.

I would also encourage you to test out a few scenarios. A/B test your landing pages. (Don't know how? Learn here.) Write blog content that links to the landing pages. You can also optimize for certain keywords. See if there are other ways you can drive up your conversions, and then evaluate how your experiments performed.

This data will help you figure out which pages are performing well, and which may need to be optimized or totally redesigned.

HubSpot customers: You can keep a close eye on your conversions through the Attribution Report. Create a report based on Last Interaction and URL to see what pages have successfully converted the most amount of visitors into leads.

pages-leads

Look at Attribution by Segment

Dig into your data some more through segmentation. How your contacts react to your marketing efforts as a whole may be very different than the way a segment of your contacts react to your marketing campaigns.

For example, you might decide you want to to focus on international leads. Their conversion path could be completely different than the bulk of your contacts' conversion paths. Putting the attribution data based on just this segment of your audience can help you figure out how to successfully reach that specific audience.

Knowing how certain segments perform relative to the rest of your contacts will tell you whether you should be marketing differently to that particular segment.

HubSpot customers: When you create your Attribution Report, select a list to further segment your data. Then create the report based on Source or URL depending on the data you want to pull.

international-segment

Next Steps

After you run some of these reports, you may realize that a channel or page is driving little to no conversions. At that point you have two choices: Either stop putting resources into these efforts, or reinvigorate your marketing.

Take a look at how your pages or channels have performed historically compared with how many resources you have put into them. If you just have a slight dip this month, it may be worth experimenting or trying something new. For efforts that have performed well, you need to decide whether or not to invest more resources in them.

Look also at the leads generated by different parts of your marketing efforts, and track them through the funnel. What was their lead to customer conversion rate? How quickly did they close? Were they nurtured properly? Investigate to see whether or not you are supporting the particular channel. You may do a great job generating the lead, but if you don't do anything to nurture and close that lead, it makes sense that the channel didn't perform well.

Digging into the data available to you will put you in a better position to optimize your overall marketing plan. There are also plenty of other metrics to look at that can help you make more informed decisions about your marketing program. For even more ideas, check out this post, this post, or this post.

get a free inbound marketing assessment

Topics: Marketing Data Analytics

Subscribe to HubSpot's Marketing Blog

Join 215,000+ fellow marketers! Get HubSpot's latest marketing articles straight to your inbox. Enter your email address below:

Comments

Sorry we missed you! We close comments for older posts, but we still want to hear from you. Tweet us @HubSpot to continue the discussion.

Comments