SME marketing: Measure, review, refine
by Lindsey Witcherley
on Dec 22, 2014
It’s all very well having a well designed website offering excellent user experience and a targeted marketing strategy to match. But if you don’t have the right tools in place to measure performance, you won’t have any idea of what is and isn’t working.
Having this information to hand will provide you with a far better understanding of your customers, what drives them and what they’re looking for. You can then review what’s working and refine your tactics to target your ideal customers even more effectively.
But how do you go about it? Read on to find out.
First off, measure your marketing tactics
The first obvious question to ask is which of your marketing strategies should you be measuring? The answer: practically everything. The following list isn’t exhaustive, but will give you a good start:
- Your website – Use Google Analytics to discover what’s performing and what isn’t. You’ll find out how long your customers spend looking at different parts of your site, how often they’re clicking to download offers and, crucially, how often they convert. You can also use A/B testing on your web pages, on everything from the colour of a call-to-action button to the layout of a page.
- Your social media activity – Social reports – from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and all of the key networks – provide you with a wealth of information. You’ll discover everything from conversions resulting from referrals, to the paths that customers from different social networks took when they visited your website, to what content on your site customers are sharing, and where.
- Your mobile marketing – An ever-growing number of people are using their smart phones for everything from reading your emails to browsing your website. So you need to have a clear understanding of how your mobile site is functioning. Discover which devices customers are using to access your website, for example, and you’ll be able to ensure that you can tailor your offering to create an optimum experience for them.
- Your email marketing – You can use measurement tools to discover how potential customers are interacting with your email. With a tool like Mail Chimp or Campaign Monitor, you’ll be able to find out who opened your email, and who followed your call to action. All of which enables you to be more targeted. A/B testing is also crucial when it comes to email marketing. You should try out different subject lines, copy and templates to find out what works best.
- Your online advertising – From sponsored posts on social media platforms to pay-per-click Google listings, it’s easy – with the tools you’re given by whichever platform you’re using – to measure the success of your online advertising.
Once you have the analytics, it’s time to review
So you have the tools in place, and you’ve measured everything you’ve been doing. What next? It’s time to review.
As an example, let’s say you’ve posted a blog about how to drive sales with the right marketing tactics. You’ve shared it on LinkedIn, and more contacts than ever before have liked and shared it.
What’s more, you can see that 25% of those contacts who liked your post have downloaded the e-guide (about using online channels to generate leads) suggested in the call-to-action at the conclusion of the blog.
So what can you learn? First up, you know that this type of content is of great interest to a certain segment of your contacts. Because the form links to your CRM, analytics will tell you whether there’s a common denominator they share. Perhaps they’re businesses of a certain type or sector, or all marketing managers, or all based in a similar area.
Whatever their background, you’ll know what they’re looking for and can send them targeted content, as you know they’re engaged with and are interested in what you’re offering.
You’re then able to refine to improve
But you also need to look at where you’ve fallen down. Despite its huge popularity on LinkedIn, 75% of those who shared the post took no further action. It’s obvious that the content was of interest. So why the hesitancy in taking that further step?
An obvious place to start is to look at your call-to-action button at the bottom of your post.
Did you know that the colour of that button can have a huge impact on your conversion rate? Contrasting colours – orange on a page where the focus is blue, for example – appeal to our lizard brain, the reactive part of us that wants to make a quick decision.
It sounds improbable, but tests have shown that the greater the contrast in colour, the more your button will stand out. Try it!
Of course, there are a huge number of variables that could be affecting the success of your post, and you need to look at other factors. How about A/B testing the layout of the page? Or attempting to share your content at lunch time or early evening, when people have more time to focus on it?
Having the right tools in place is also important at this stage of the process. Operating with an effective content management system (CMS), like WordPress, gives you the flexibility to easily refine the content on your site to respond to any conclusions you’re able to draw.
You could also consider an inbound platform – HubSpot is very effective – to facilitate your marketing practices and workflows, and to track how contacts engage with you.
Treat the process as an ongoing cycle to achieve success
So you’ve measured, refined and reviewed – great. Your strategies are working and you’re converting more leads as a result.
However, you can’t afford to get complacent. Your commitment to the process should be ongoing. After all, for any number of reasons, tactics that are successful in the run up to Christmas could alienate customers in January.
Whatever the time of year, if you know who is interacting with your marketing, and how, you’ll ensure your company is well positioned for growth.