In this final part of my 5-part series on building your complete small-business website marketing plan, we're going to focus on what really matters: RESULTS! In this case, tracking your results so you have a clear idea of what you did (or did not) get out of your marketing efforts. Truth be told, it's impossible to track everything -- even in the systematic world of online marketing. But you can track a lot and tracking is effortless if you use the right tools and use them correctly. This post will ensure you do your tracking right!
NOTE: This is part of a five-part blog series, which explores the 5 key components of building a powerful small business marketing plan that works! If you enjoy this post, please be sure to read the other posts in this complete series:
Why You Need To Track
I shouldn't have to explain all of the glorious benefits of tracking, but since they are so glorious I just can't resist. The primary benefit of tracking is having clear and measurable data. Don't make the mistake of assuming that you need to know how to understand data before you start gathering data. This would definitely be a case of putting the cart before the horse.
Long before you truly understand exactly HOW you'll make sense of your data, you need to start collecting it. Really, making sense of data is an on-going, organic, ever-changing process. In other words, the way you make sense of data in your business today isn't necessarily the same way you'll make sense of it next month, next year, or in the next decade.
In fact, chances are very good that you'll actually be very surprised by the kind of information and insight you do glean once you start systematically tracking.
What You Should Be Tracking
There's a massive amount of data you can track with online marketing. But since you're just getting started here, I've narrowed the list down to 5 key items for you:
Traffic (how many total and unique visitors, page views, etc?)
Conversions (how many people actually take a specific action?)
Lead Sources (where do your visitors and leads come from?)
Top Content (what pages, posts, etc do your visitors consume most?)
Search Rankings (where are you currently ranking on Google, Yahoo, and Bing?)
Again, we can dive much deeper into all of these categories, but this is a strong list to start. You may need to add other items to this list if your specific business type calls for it. But for now, this is all most will need to start.
Recommended Tools For Tracking
Tracking all of this data means you're going to need some tools to pull it off. Here are the tracking tools I use and recommend:
1. Google Analytics (must have)
This is a no-brainer. GA is actually quite a beast. You can put together some reports, graphs, and charts that would make an MBA grad blush with envy. But you can also pull the basic info you need quickly, easily, and in real-time. (I also recommend StatCounter for more basic traffic tracking, a nice supplement.)
2. Infusionsoft (must have)
Tracking all this data in Analytics is fine for looking at raw numbers, but if you expect to become a marketing powerhouse you're going to need to connect this data to REAL PEOPLE. That's where Infusionsoft comes in. You can track all of this information under one roof with Infusionsoft and connect these key pieces of information to your customers and sales reports. This is a game-changer! I use and highly recommend Infusionsoft.
3. Visual Website Optimizer (optional)
Another tool I use off-and-on is the Visual Website Optimizer tool. This is excellent for understanding your website performance and resistance issues. Where are your customers not opting in and why? What is wrong with your Landing Pages and other content pages that could be improved and optimized for better user experience and more focused action on their part? Great for A/B split testing.
With these 3 tools alone, you'll have enough data to make supported decisions in your web marketing plan. The real key is formulating a clear picture of what your best traffic sources are, which types of traffic sources convert the most (and best) leads, and what kind of content is most effective in pulling it all together.
We've been through quite a journey over these 5 posts. I hope you've learned a lot. This is just the beginning, but it's so key that you get these fundamentals in place now. Don't overwhelm yourself with advanced strategies and tactics until you've mastered the basics.
What other questions do you have? Leave your comment below.