All Marketing Must Be Accountable and Measurable… if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. Logically, it just makes sense that marketing should be measured, however it is seldom ever done in the world of small business marketing. In today’s post, I’ll share with you how to track your marketing in Google Analtyics, a free tool for website owners. While there are other tracking methods available for phone calls, today we’ll start off by tracking website visitors for all of your marketing methods.
Step 1 – Setting Up Goals
Part of knowing if your marketing is working or not, is actually having goals in place. For example, for every quote request or order on your website, it should trigger a GOAL! While I can’t go over every aspect of setting up goals in this post, you can read about how to do this on Google’s website here.
For most campaigns, I use two types of goals. The first goal is for a lead or conversion and is triggered by the user’s destination. For example, if someone fills out a quote form and then goes to the “thank-you” page, it will track them as a destination goal. The second type of goal I like to see, is a “Duration” goal, which I usually add for those who spend at least 5 minutes on the website. Once you have your goals set up, you can now see how your visitors are responding to your website.
Step 2 – Setting Up Custom Campaigns
For organic traffic and website referrals, it is easy to see how things are working. However, what about visitors who are coming from a other marketing channels? What about social media, billboards, and TV commercials? Many people don’t believe that this sort of data can be tracked in Google Analtyics, but that simply isn’t true. All you need to do is create a custom campaign string. Google made a tool for doing this, so it is a fairly simple process. You can try out the tool here.
When you enter in the basic information, Google will create a URL string for you. Here is the string they provided me with in the example image:
Yes, that looks like a bunch of nonsense if you’re not techie, so let’s break it down for you.
The Page I want People to Go to:
Note, that when you’re passing on variables, you have to use “?” for the first variable and the “&” sign between the following variables. %20 is another symbol in the string and that passes along a single space. In this example, I am directing people to the opt-in page of my website.
The Variables Passed to Google Analytics:
?utm_source=Billboard – Sets source to Billboard
When I’m reviewing the traffic for the month, I would be able to see all the traffic coming from Billboard Advertising. Which might be helpful if I want to see how many leads or sales I received for the month. Then I will be able to determine my ROI from the billboard marketing.
&utm_medium=Offline – Sets Marketing Medium to Offline
If I make a medium called “Offline”, I could lump together all of my marketing mediums as online or offline and determine which campaign is generating more leads. I could even create a Radio and TV medium as well.
&utm_content=DeLand%20Billboard – Specifies the Ad Content to DeLand Billboard
Let’s suppose I have multiple billboards up that I’m testing and I want to see how many visitors I received from the Billboard in DeLand. The URL string above would be for the DeLand Billboard, but I could make another string and use it for the Daytona Beach billboard. Now I can see how each billboard converts individually.
&utm_campaign=Billboard%20Campaign – The Campaign Name
This is a great way to segment the entire campaign. My campaign name is called “Billboard Campaign”, but I could create a new one later and call it Billboard Campaign 2015. Now I can compare previous campaigns.
So, now that I have my URL String ready to go, I just need people to visit that LONG STRING! This is no big deal for online marketing when people are clicking on banner images. But what about offline marketing? The problem, as you may have noticed is that it would be very difficult and ugly to use a long string like this on a billboard or any form of print marketing. So let’s talk about a few ways to shorten up that URL so it looks nice and matches your brand.
Step 3 – URL Shortening for Offline Marketing
There are a few ways to make your URL’s pretty and easy to remember. You could use a URL shortening service such as Bitly.com. That would provide you with a URL which looks something like this – http://oranckay.net/1KYzsu9. Notice that when you click on the link, it shows all the tracking information at the top in your browser. This form of tracking is great for social media links, but not so great for a billboard campaign. The best methods for tracking offline marketing is to create a “301 redirect” for a page on your website or to purchase a dedicated domain name that is pointed to the URL given to you by Google.
For example, I just created a page on my blog and pointed it to the URL String above. So, instead of having the long string in my marketing, I could have oranckay.net/free on the billboard. When you click on the link, notice how the variables appear at the top of your browser.
If I wanted to, I could even register a domain for that billboard and call it “FreeMarketingVideos.com. I could then it to forward to the long URL string. Most domain registrars allow you to forward a domain and thus you’d simply copy your tracking code URL in the domain forwarding setting.
Step 4 – Key Points to Remember
I want to leave you with a few key points to remember. Once you create a URL String and start using it in Analytics, it is important to save the string in a spreadsheet. Remember, you might decide to add another billboard later, or perhaps a TV commercial. You’ll want to keep parts of the URL the same. For example, if you’re adding another billboard, you might just change the DeLand Billboard to Daytona Billboard in the string. If you’re adding a magazine ad, you’d probably change everything except the medium which is set to “offline”. Every URL you create should be saved in this spreadsheet so it is easy to use similar variables for related types of marketing.
Lastly, no matter how well you track your numbers, you’ll still overspend in some areas if you don’t measure your return on investment or ROI. For example, if I set up a campaign like I’ve listed above, I would be able to tell how many visitors came from the billboard campaign. I’d also be able to determine how many leads I received through the goals settings. To determine my ROI, I could calculate the the amount spent in advertising by the number of leads I received.
For example – $1,000.00 on Billboard Divided by 23 Leads = $43.47 per lead
Because we MEASURE & LEAVERAGE the Marketing Arsenal, I would be able to determine if I wanted to cut or keep the billboard or perhaps make some changes to the ad copy. If I decided to change it, I would then create a new URL String and use it in the ad. It might be called DeLand Billboard 2. As you can see, it does take a little work to make your marketing accountable, but when you see what is working and what isn’t, you’ll be so glad that you made your marketing accountable.
Picture This – The yellow page salesman comes in looking to sell you on a $2K/month ad. You pull up analytics and tell him, “No Thanks!”, and that his ad only generated 10 website visits last year and 3 phone calls. You decide to reinvest that money in what is working. You can do this because when you’re tracking your marketing, you can tell what is working and what isn’t.
What about tracking phone calls? We’ll save that for another post, but there are several options available for this and many integrate with Google Analytics.