Test. Track. Refine.
In today’s marketing world, the technology exists to understand, in no uncertain terms, which tactics are performing and which ones are not. The mantra of professional marketers is now: Test. Track. Refine.
So what does it take to get more sophisticated about measuring and monitoring your marketing program? While there are a lot of tools out there you can pay to use, we find that Google Analytics (which is free) is quite the powerhouse when configured properly. It can provide a multitude of insights to guide your marketing program — above and beyond more basic metrics such as the number of visitors coming to your website and which geographic region they’re coming from.
In order to track the effectiveness of your marketing activities using Google Analytics, you would create unique URLs for each activity and feed these into Google Analytics. Then, when someone comes to your site after they see, for example, an ad in a local magazine that you placed, Google Analytics will tell you that they came to your site from this ad and explored these specific pages of your site. If, over 6 months or so, you start seeing a trend that traffic is being driven to your site from various ads you place or online web directories you have listings in, you can draw the conclusion that it may be wise to invest more time in maximizing your exposure in publications or online web directories that are appropriate for your offerings. (BTW, exposure in web directories is often an overlooked and underutilized marketing tactic.)
This merely scratches the surface on how Google Analytics can be configured to help you know what works in your marketing efforts. In very simple terms, tracking is established for each tactic, regardless of its online or offline nature, and fed into Google Analytics. Then, Google Analytics data provides insight into what is happening at the website in direct relation to the tactic. This insight enables you to try things out and see what happens and then ultimately direct your efforts and dollars to the highest performing tactics.