The following was previously published in an earlier edition of Marketing Insider.
Data remains your business’s most valuable asset. However, it can be difficult to make sense of all the marketing-related analytics tracking at your fingertips.
It's also hard to know where and how to start leveraging your data. When you’re just looking at a bunch of numbers and percentages, you can become overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are a few strategies to streamline your marketing processes to begin getting more out of your analytics.
Choose a high-quality analytics tool. Unless you want to create rudimentary charts with a program like Excel, choose a turnkey analytics tool. Several respected out-of-the-box solutions are available, starting with Google Analytics. Google Analytics is user-friendly and will give you immediate, real-time data.
Remember that Google Analytics integrates with a lot of existing products like those from Salesforce and Hootsuite. Consequently, you can get plenty of mileage from that initial install.
Invest in help to set up your analytics. After you install your analytics program, get some expert training in how to use it. Yes, you can poke around the Internet for articles and videos. It’s just less time-consuming and ultimately cost-effective to hire someone to teach you and your team the ropes.
One place to find assistance is through a marketing firm. Just be careful: Many agencies lock you into long-term agreements. If all you need is a short-term partnership, you need to have more flexibility.
Pick KPIs to watch for several weeks. Once you have a good understanding of how to use your analytics, choose key performance indicators (KPIs) to watch. Some popular KPIs to track include click-through rates, lead conversion rates, bounce rates, demo signups, and email open rates. Don’t overload yourself at first, though. Identify no more than 10-12 to begin and use a tool like Geckoboard to track how you’re performing.
Within a few weeks, you’ll have baseline figures for your KPIs. Variations from those baselines can be used to spot trends or evaluate marketing initiatives. Eventually, you can start adding more KPIs as needed, as well as determine how KPIs affect each other. For example, you may note that when one KPI increases, another tends to decrease.
Begin conducting marketing tests. At this point, you should be fairly confident in your and your teammates’ analytics tracking skills. Armed with your newfound comfort, you can conduct a few split tests. For instance, you might want to test landing page headlines or call-to-actions.
Testing is a practical way to let your data tell you what’s working with different audiences. Remember: Data doesn’t fib. And if you change something and it doesn’t produce fruit, you can always change it back.
Right now, you’re sitting on a mountain of data. It’s time to climb and conquer that mountain by gaining mastery over your analytics.