You’ve taken your website through the evaluation process. Maybe you found some things that need to be changed; maybe you were lucky and found that your site was already well prepared. Either way, you’ll eventually have to dig in to the metrics and make sure things are happening like they’re “supposed” to.
Maybe it’s too soon for some of you to roll up your sleeves and jump into metrics. However, monitoring things, at least once a quarter, is always something we recommend with any new business (or any old business, for that matter).
How good are your metrics? How good is your social media and SEO ROI? Do you know?
Tracking Direct Campaign Benefits
One of the biggest reasons to look at your metrics is because your campaigns can go off track without you knowing it. For that matter, if you implement a campaign without watching the results, you wouldn’t know if it ever did what it was supposed to.
With website statistics, you get a chance to find out if your campaigns are giving you direct benefits. For example, how many people came to your site, and where did they come from? Are you getting more visits from Twitter or from your Facebook page? How many referrals are you getting from other sites that are talking about your content?
Not only will you need to know the answers to these questions, but you’ll also need to be able to compare the information.
Social media and content campaigns are two big parts of many marketing efforts now. With this in mind, consider the number of social networks. As well, consider how many sites you could guest post on. Can you possibly use them all? No. Therefore, we always recommend trying a social network and a few content sites first, then watch the results for at least three months.
Comparing Metrics for Informed Decisions
For social networks, you compare the new one to the results from networks you’re currently using. Based on the information you receive, you can then decide whether it’s worth incorporating that network into your campaign. Metrics you might compare are:
- Traffic from the networks
- Bounce rate per network (make sure you have the 10 second GA rule in place before putting any weight at all on this metric)
- How many mentions, RT’s and conversations you had per network, per post
In this way, you can find out how much exposure you get. You can use products such as TweetReach, HootSuite or Klout (closed) to track your reach and exposure on individual tweets. As well, Facebook Insights can give you metrics on the health of your FB page.
What about content placement sites?
Well, mainly, you’re looking at the number of referrals. The other metrics you’d track depend on what you’d planned for a particular post. For example, if your article only has a link to your home page, you want to look at whether they went anywhere else on your site. If your article has a deep link, perhaps to an article, you’ll need to look at how much time they spent on the page, whether they went anywhere else and so on.
Points to Ponder
It’d be nice if the above were all you had to keep in mind. Just look at the data and compare numbers, right? Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that. Your website evaluation is more than just data, you also have to look at what the post was about, how it was written, how long it was and so on. You need to be able to keep track of how you send out the posts as well.
For example, are you asking questions before or after the link? “How do you feel about XYZ – weigh in! In other words, are you giving them a reason to click on Twitter? Do you give them something to respond to on Facebook?
When you guest post, do you push the post as well, or leave that up to the host site? In other words, how involved are you in your content?
The Metric Called “Relationships”
Once you have something to look at – once you have all your data in one spot – you can look at how the metrics relate to each other.
Conversions are a good example. If you have analytics set up correctly, you’ll have a goal funnel in place. With a goal funnel, you can see the whole process – from the time they reach your site to the time they (hopefully) convert and then leave.
In this way, you can see how many from Twitter vs. how many from Facebook (for example), actually went through the entire conversion process and out the other end. -And, this data can help you understand which sites, networks, etc, bring stronger results in terms of meeting your main goal.
Yet, with all this data and all this knowledge, decision making, et all, there are some things about building relationships that you can’t track using analytics metrics. For example, the data doesn’t tell you about Joe, who’s running in the same site circles as you. Joe likes your content; he recognises your name and company every time he sees an article you posted, no matter where you posted it.
Here’s another good example:
We had a potential client contact us for a big contract – one of our first big contracts, at that. About three months in, during a conversation about social media, the client said, “Well, yeah, that’s where I found you guys.”
As it turns out, they’d been following our Level343 account for several months – just one of the thousands of followers and monthly visitors to our blog. When it came time to optimize their site, they immediately thought of us.
Because, unbeknownst to us, we’d created a relationship with them. Of course, that was the plan all along, but you don’t know if you’ve succeeded until such a thing happens. For this person, we’d managed to do what everyone aims for with social media and content development: create a sense of trust, a sense of authority, and a feeling that they “know” us.
How Do You Track Social Relationships?
“Social” relationships don’t come just from social media. They don’t even have to be someone you’ve spoken to or interacted with. Social relationships are any relationships you’ve built throughout the business and marketing processes. For example, they can be someone:
- You met at a conference
- Who’s a regular of a site you guest post on (but may never have actually visited your site)
- Following you on a social network
- Who has visited your blog
- Who’s a friend of one of your vendors
- Who’s a friend of a client/former client
- Who was forwarded one of your newsletters
With all these possibilities, how can you possibly figure out where they came from? Simply put, you have to ask:
- In your contact form, have a “how did you hear about us” question. Offer 3 – 5 options of places you’re actively marketing, such as a newsletter, on Twitter, on Facebook, through a friend, through a client, etc.
- If you don’t have a contact form, you can provide a brief survey that includes the question.
- If they call you on the phone, ask them.
- If they’re buying products, add the question to the buying form.
For that matter, you can offer them incentive to answer the question and/or continue the conversation on social networks and/or subscribe to your newsletter:
Are you following us on Twitter? Enter your Twitter ID for a chance to win [product name, discount, etc].
Subscribe to our newsletter to get exclusive offers and discounts!
Take it from us, tracking your traffic and conversions isn’t hard, but eventually you have to delve into the returned data to be able to do anything with it. Otherwise, you’re just throwing actions and energy into a bunch of “stuff” and hoping something works. This is what we call “counterproductive” campaigns.
Use the data.Use the metrics. Use the relationships and everything that comes along with them. Knowing where your traffic is coming from and what referrals convert the best will greatly enhance the return on your campaigns, as well as the return on your investments!
Turning knowledge into action is one of the hardest things to do in any walk of life, especially the web where we seem to have mountains of data. The million dollar question is often, “So what do I *DO* about it?”