Anyone who provides digital marketing services, like our digital marketing agency, or has a role at a organization where they are responsible for the planning, execution, monitoring, and reporting on of digital marketing tactics, knows that the landscape keeps changing. New social media platforms get introduced. The interfaces or management tools you use to execute activities or monitor results change regularly. It can all have your head spinning.
To help you “keep calm and carry on,” we thought we’d share a list of some of the organizations whose websites we go to when we are in need of answers and help or whose e-newsletters we read to stay on top of all things digital marketing and e-commerce. Since Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two of our Greater-Boston-Area digital marketing agency’s specialties — we love any digital marketing work that is technical or analytical — you’ll see a number of websites that focus on those topics below. Note: use the scroll bar underneath the table below to see right-most columns.
We hope the below makes your life as a digital marketer easier and welcome ideas for organizations we should add. We expect to continue to update this list as we discover more digital marketing experts to learn from. We’re all in this together as the digisphere continues to evolve! Note: use the scroll bar underneath the table below to see right-most columns.
This blog post isn’t about HOW to track marketing & communications results (although we’ve shared a few links at the bottom of this post that you might find helpful on that front). It’s about WHY.
Because I’ve always been a data geek, one of the aspects of marketing I’ve always found most rewarding is being able to see the fruits of my labor. It’s always so fun and exciting to see if website traffic, phone inquiries, e-mail inquiries, or some other desired customer or prospect action (aka conversions) have increased as the result of some new or revamped marketing activity.
Being accountable for marketing results in a number of corporate marketing roles, it always made great sense to me to put various results-tracking mechanisms in place prior to launching a new marketing campaign — even if some of those were less technical/automated in the 1990’s and early 2000’s than they are now. For example, asking sales reps or customer service reps who would likely receive inquiries as a result of a new marketing campaign or tactic to ask prospective customers “how did you learn about us?”
But, you’d be surprised at the number of organizations that don’t make & take the time to:
figure out, prior to launching marketing activities, how they will track results
review and analyze the results of various marketing tactics regularly
know what key performance indicators (KPIs) they should be looking at
let other non-marketing team members of their organization know that a marketing activity is launching or has launched, such as customer service teams or sales teams that might need to respond to e-mails or phone inquiries that might be generated by a campaign
keep appropriate internal & external parties informed of campaign results
We regularly review and report on the results of various client marketing tactics and share insight on what KPIs make the most sense for the client in-question to track given the various marketing activities they employ. We recommend that every organization create and share a master marketing KPI report (one that is stored in a central, easily-accessed, version-controlled report — think Google sheet or report housed in a project management system) that everyone who has influence and impact on results can view whenever they want and need to. That keeps everyone well-informed and understanding and feeling that their contributions matter.
Hey, why shouldn’t everyone who plays a role in a product’s, service’s, or solution’s success get to experience one of the greatest joys of marketing? And, that’s knowing that their hard work, innovativeness, flexibility, creativity, etc. made a difference when it comes to generating results. Plus, having access to results makes everyone who plays a role related to a product’s, service’s or solution’s success aware when sales or engagement results are less than favorable, and hopefully, will prompt them to come up with ideas to improve results.
Who Should Have Access To Marketing KPIs Reports?
The organization’s owner/founder
The organization’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Executive Director (ED)
The organization’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Other organization Chiefs and Senior Leadership Team Members, including the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Information/Technology Officer (CIO)
All marketing & communications staff/team members, including the organization’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), SVPs and Directors of Marketing & Communications
All sales & customer service staff/team members
Any Product Management, Product Development, and Project Management staff involved with the product, service, or solution being marketed.
Any external organizations that have been engaged for marketing & communication or market research services, such as digital marketing agencies, advertising agencies, website developers & designers, PR firms, and market research suppliers
What Marketing Results Should I Be Tracking And How Can I Track Them?
As promised above, shared below are past blog posts where we’ve addressed some of the marketing metrics/KPIs you should track and how to track them, but each organization’s results tracking needs are different, based on what digital and traditional marketing tactics and tools they employ, so please reach out if you’d like to discuss your organization’s specific needs with us.
A JOINT BLOG POST BY GAIL SNOW MORASKI AND RYAN BRUDER
As you do related to your personal life and home, it’s important to do a deep cleaning and decluttering of your organization’s online presence once in a while. So, why not tackle it while you’re already in spring cleaning mode? We’ve outlined, by digital marketing vehicle, various marketing elements you should revisit — and may need to address — as part of your spring tune-up!
SSL Certificate – We’ve discussed this in many of our SEO blog posts, such as this oldie but goodie, but if you’re still using an http:// vs. https:// address, and therefore, don’t have a security certificate associated with your website, you are hurting yourself from both a marketing and SEO standpoint. Chrome or other browsers may remind visitors your site isn’t secure — making prospective visitors afraid to visit. Plus, Google is less likely to serve an organization’s site up high in search results for relevant terms if the organization’s site isn’t secure.
Social Media Icons – Be sure that you house icons on your site (normally this is done in the footer or at the top of a website page) with associated links to each of the platforms on which you have a social media presence. If you no longer maintain a social media presence on certain sites, remove the icon from your site. Driving website visitors to an inactive social media profile won’t serve you well from a marketing standpoint.
Broken Links – As with the SSL certificate, broken links are irritating to both website visitors and Google. Google will ding you from an SEO standpoint, and visitors will wonder about the quality of products and services they’ll receive from you, if it appears you aren’t giving attention to and taking care of your website.
Blog Posts – If you maintain a blog section/page on your site, haven’t blogged in a while, and don’t plan to do so in the next few months, consider hiding that section of the site. As with broken links, maintaining a blog section that you don’t keep current can make website visitors think less favorably about your organization.
Outdated Event/Fundraising Info. – Ditto what we said about broken links and blog posts. Having outdated community events and fundraising events on your website just speaks to negligence, and not making & taking the time to keep your site current.
Your Social Media
About/Bio – You should revisit the About/Bio or other section of a social media profile that provides general/overview information about your organization to make sure it’s accurate and current. We’ve often seen organizations leave old phone numbers, URLs, or physical address info. up in these About/Bio type sections of their social media profiles. And, if you don’t have a link to your website included in the About/Bio section, you should add one — on any social media platform that allows for it — as a call-to-action (CTA) to visit your website.
Hashtags – As part of spring cleaning the above-mentioned sections of your social media profiles, make sure they include hashtags for which you’d like your profiles to be found. It may just be a matter of putting a hashtag in front of certain words that are already in the About/Bio section of your social media profile.
Following – Check to see who you’ve followed in the past, and determine which individuals and organizations it still makes sense to follow, based on how your organization has evolved. Since social media platforms limit the # of organizations you can follow, you might free your organization up to follow some new and more-relevant individuals and organizations by discontinuing following irrelevant ones.
Branding Elements – Be sure that all your profiles are using your updated branding elements, such as an updated logo and other images.
Pinned Post – Check to see if any posts that you’ve “pinned” (so that they appear first when anyone views your profile) still make sense to be a pinned post. As with broken website links and outdated event info., leaving outdated pinned posts up speaks to your organization not minding its shop closely enough.
Story Opportunities – Make this spring the time you give some thought to whether, and how, you should be taking advantage of “story” capabilities. A feature that many social media profiles have available are “stories”, or a snapshot that is featured on a user’s social media home page/newsfeed (and your profile) that disappears after 24 hours. With this tool, you can post a picture or video that contains messaging that you deem super important, so your followers will see it up-front/highlighted all day. This is a great tool to use if you are running a promotion or have a big announcement of some sort to make, such as the roll-out of a new product line or service. What we love about this related to Instagram is that, within the stories capability, there is a feature where you can include a link to a website page. Employing this opportunity will help drive additional traffic to your site — something that standard Instagram posts can’t do since you can’t include a hyperlink to your site in them.
Abandoned Social Media Presences – If your organization made the decision to no longer be active on a social media platform on which you previously had a presence, remove the profile, if possible. If you can’t, add a post that indicates you are no longer posting to that particular platform, but asking profile visitors to “please join us on x,y,z social media platform(s),” and provide links to your profile on those social media platforms.
Your Google My Business/Google Maps Profile
Outdated Posts – Google My Business (GMB) allows you to post COVID updates, event info., offers and more. It’s a great service, but you need to make sure that you remove or change any outdated information as part of spring and ongoing cleaning efforts!
Capitalizing on All Categories, Such as Women in Business – GMB allows you to identify your organization as one that is woman-led, veteran-led, or Black-owned. If your organization identifies as one of these, be sure to complete this info. in the Info. section of the GMB dashboard. As you’ll see, we did this with our own GMB profile to capitalize on the fact that we are a woman-owned/woman-led business.
Locations – If you have more than one storefront/physical location that customers and prospective customers can visit, consider taking ownership and managing a GMB account for each of your locations to make sure you don’t miss out on any local search opportunities, therefore, prospective clients searching on “x,y,z near me.”
Info. From The Business – The “info. from the business” statement (that you can enter via the Info. section of the GMB dashboard) provides 750 characters to tell prospective customers what your organization is all about. If you’re not already taking advantage of this large space to promote your business, your services and products, and the solutions to problems you offer, be sure to complete this statement.
Need additional information or help related to any of the above? We are ALWAYS here to help, so please reach out.
Over the past six years, as a digital marketing agency owner and marketing consultant, I’ve had so many prospective clients approach me with a specific marketing tactic/activity that they’d like me to implement on their behalf. As I’ve repeatedly expressed on social media, in other blog posts, and in my website’s content, I never encourage clients to implement or continue with a marketing activity that doesn’t make sense for them. So, as part of discussing the particular tactic for which they’d like my help, I do a “preliminary check” to see if their website is “optimized for search,” and, therefore, likely to be found by individuals searching on relevant terms for the products, services, and solutions to problems the client in-question provides. Instead of a costly advertising campaign or direct mailer, the client might be better served investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which could have longer-lasting impact.
You would be amazed by the number of organizations — both large and small — who have spent significant $$ and time to launch a comprehensive, user-friendly, informative website, but didn’t realize they needed to implement off-page (behind-the-scenes tags) and on-page (content) SEO tactics in order for their site to be found on Google. Some website developers and designers are well-versed in SEO, others aren’t, and don’t offer the service automatically, or as an add-on when launching a new site.
The above means that a for-profit or non-profit organization may have invested in a beautiful, effective website as far as design, user experience, functionality (interactive tools) and content goes, but they won’t likely benefit from it to the degree to which they could/should. Their site becomes like a pretty little unknown island that no-one knows is there, and therefore, no-one visits. In sum, building their new site, didn’t mean people would come.
Another factor related to lack of visitors may be this. If the products, services, or solutions to problems an organization offers are not ones that individuals are aware of, and therefore, aren’t actively searching on, even the most-optimized-for-search website isn’t going to get a lot of visits that stem from search engine inquiries. If your product or service is a brand new one — think something you’d see on Shark Tank — your target audience may not even realize a product or service like yours exists. Or, particularly, if you’re a B2B (business-to-business) organization, prospective clients may identify an organization like yours by asking one of their contacts or colleagues for a referral.
Both of the scenarios outlined in the paragraph above equate to your organization not being able to rely on “organic search” to drive traffic to your website. But, if you want and need to confirm that individuals aren’t actively searching to find an organization like yours, read our recent post that explains how keyword research can help you figure out whether or not individuals are searching to find an organization with your capabilities.
So, what are the takeaways from everything we’ve shared so far in this post, i.e., how do you ensure “if you build it they will come?“
Don’t assume that searchers are searching to find you and/or what you offer. Take the following steps to determine if they are searching to find you, and how.
use your Google Analytics data to see what percentage of your traffic is organic (comes to your site as the result of a visitor clicking on a search engine results listing)
use your Google Search Console data to see for what search terms, if any, Google is presenting a listing with a link to your website in search engine results, and the # of individuals who are clicking-thru to your site as a result of it being presented
conduct keyword research for the specific geographies you serve to determine whether or not a significant volume of individuals is searching to identify an organization likes yours
If the above exercises reveal that the percentage of organic traffic to your site is low (less than 30%), and your website isn’t being presented in search engine results for relevant search terms (keywords), but keyword research indicates a large number of individuals in your geography are searching for the solutions, products and services you offer, then you should optimize your website for search, i.e., implement organic/technical SEO tactics
If keyword research indicates that only a small number of individuals in your geography are searching for an organization with your capabilities, it’s time to consider “push” vs. “pull” marketing. Push marketing is all about putting the idea of your product/service in individuals’ heads and making them aware that a your solution to their problem exists. Display vs. search advertising is just one form of this and this blog post explains the push vs. pull dynamic, but there are many other forms of push marketing, such as an e-mail campaign, print or broadcast advertising, or a direct mail campaign.
Results Communications & Research is always here to make sure your website isn’t an island onto itself, so reach out to make sure it gets the admiring visitors it deserves.
As promised in my most recent blog post about revisiting 2019 marketing activities to inform 2020 ones, I’ll be outlining below the primary digital and traditional marketing tactics that an organization or individual could use to spread the word about themselves in the hopes of generating some “conversions (sales, inquiries, donations, e-newsletter sign-ups, or other target-audience desired behaviors).” But before I get to that, I want and need to address the issue of “dilution” that access to an ever-growing number of marketing vehicles and activities has created.
As the owner of a digital marketing agency and a marketing consultant, I see so many organizations in my niche trying to do it all and have a presence everywhere, as far as promoting their agency/consultancy goes. It has caused me to really ponder that strategy/approach and whether that truly is an effective one — for both me and my clients. Of course, for us marketing agency owners, there’s a fine line we have to walk — we need and want to test various tactics and vehicles, so we can share our experiences with clients, and we also want to demonstrate proficiency, via our own marketing, related to those activities. But, honestly, some activities and vehicles just haven’t generated any kind of results for our firm, and trying to capitalize on each and every one is likely to lead to us not generating effective results from any of them. And, the same goes for our clients.
So, where I’ve landed for my own marketing and that of my clients is this — and it’s very much in keeping with my last blog post — it’s impossible to “do it all” on the the marketing & communications fronts, and to do it well. It’s also very important to regularly (at least quarterly, if not monthly) assess which vehicles are or aren’t generating desired results and to put your marketing $ and time into the ones that are. I equate trying to spread your marketing $$ and energies too far/thin to trying to be a “jack of all trades, and master of none.” We all know trying to offer too many products and services, or trying to be “all things to all men” doesn’t work well from a business standpoint. The same premise holds for marketing.
In-person (Chamber, Industry, and Other Business and Community Events)
Of course, depending on the size of your organization, some of the above tactics may be outside of your scope because of the associated implementation and maintenance cost, and/or the time that you or your staff would need to be involved — even if you outsource some of the work to a marketing agency like ours.
We can help you figure out where to best employ your marketing dollars and time in 2020, so reach out for a complimentary brainstorm.
I’ve repeatedly shared in this blog and on social media that my firm’s tagline is “Maximizing Results Through Research-Supported Marketing.” I will never encourage a client to start or keep doing something on the marketing front that doesn’t make sense for them, based on available data. Data on which to make decisions can be primary, i.e., a client’s data, or secondary data, i.e., data found online about others’ experiences related to particular marketing tactics or vehicles. On a related note, the end of any budget year — and for many this is the end of the calendar year — is the perfect time to look back at which of your organization’s, if any, marketing activities have worked well for you. That should inform where your marketing $$ would be best spent in 2020. Sounds like I’m stating the obvious. That it’s a “no brainer”, right?
You’d be surprised at how many organizations continue to spend money on marketing activities that either aren’t working for them or regarding which they have no idea if leads, sales, inquiries, or other desired prospective customer or customer behavior — known as “conversions” are being generated. In fact, I was prompted to write this post because I’ve witnessed both the aforementioned scenarios numerous times with prospective clients.
Now more than ever, there are so many (actually too many for this marketer’s taste) diverse marketing activities and vehicles a marketer can invest time and $ in (we’ll be discussing this further in our next blog post). A fresh, new year is the ideal time to figure out which of these have worked in the past and/or might work in the future. Because each organization employs their own specific traditional and digital marketing tactics, we can’t address each & every piece of marketing results data you should look at in this post; however, we will provide some examples below to get you thinking about the types of analyses you should be completing and why.
Even if you can’t tackle this until the new year gets underway, to maximize your 2020 marketing budget, you or your team should:
which marketing activities are driving traffic to your site — this particular data set is critical to figuring out where to employ marketing $$ in 2020 — using reports under the Acquisition section of Google Analytics, you can see not only if visitors are coming to your site directly vs. thru organic search (finding you thru a search engine), but you can also see if they landed on your site due to your social media post or profile website links, via e-newsletter links, etc.
If you don’t have a Google Analytics account attached to your website — make it an early 2020 goal to get one set up — you can use visitor data available thru your content management system (CMS)/website platform to look at some of the data above, but don’t expect the data to be as detailed or “rich” as Google Analytics data.
If you’ve been running any kind of online advertising campaigns — whether they be social media, Google Ads, or banner ads — you should be able to employ reporting capabilities within the online advertising tool(s) to slice ‘n dice results. Or, if you don’t have access to reporting capabilities yourself, ask whomever set up up or from whom you purchased the ads to provide you with detailed reports on 2019 advertising results.
And, related to the above, even if you did achieve what you consider to be a significant # of ad click-thrus at a reasonable cost-per-click (this varies by the nature of the advertising, industry, whether advertising is business-to-business, or business-to-consumer, etc.) if you didn’t cause enough new inquiries/leads or sales in 2019 to achieve a positive ROI related to your online advertising, then you should revisit your online strategy for 2020.
Using information available in Google Analytics Acquisition Reports or using data available within social media accounts themselves, look at likes/shares/commentsof your posts. If you’re not getting any of the aforementioned engagement, on one or several networks, you need to revisit the nature of the posts you’re sharing, and if you’ve already done that a few times, maybe you shouldn’t invest so much time in those non-engaging forms of social media this coming year!
If you send out e-newsletters or e-blasts via Mail Chimp or Constant Contact, use available data in those e-mail service tools to look at results like “open rate” and “click-thru” rate to determine if your efforts on the e-communications front are worth the time and associated dollars.
Need help analyzing available marketing data, want to make sure you have the right tracking tools in place for 2020, or need help figuring out what are the appropriate tactics and vehicles to be included in your 2020 integrated marketing plan? We’re data geeks, and would love to help, so please reach out!