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Marketing Analytics and Tracking – Do It Now!

October 13, 2014 Leave a comment

marketing trackingThough I shouldn’t be surprised, I still am when I talk to a business about their marketing tracking. John Wanamaker is credited with saying “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” With online marketing, that problem can be easily solved, yet many businesses don’t do it.

I learned early on with this business how critical tracking is. What I do is intangible until it produces results. That doesn’t mean I’m not working and doing things. Reporting gives my clients something tangible to see while the effects of my work build.

A huge challenge I keep running in to is the lack of existing tracking. Every thing you do online can be tracked, yet so many businesses don’t take advantage of it. You can track web traffic, keywords, search rankings. You can track traffic from social media. You can track phone calls. All of this is practically automatic! A little prep work and maybe a little money is all you need. Then you won’t waste half your advertising.

Now I’m going to share three tracking methods you should have in place right now.

Analytics

Analytics track everything that goes on with your website. From the number of visitors, to the pages visited, analytics tracking software will tell you everything about your website. Google Analytics is robust, easy to install and free. If you don’t have it, get it now.

Some businesses need better software than Google and it’s out there. The most used premium analytics package is Adobe’s SiteCatalyst.

Tracking Links

People often ask me how social media can be tracked. Using analytics is one way. You can see which social media channels are providing traffic. The tools within each channel are another way. Likes, comments, re-tweets and follows are all signals of engagement. But if you want to be more specific, you’ll want tracking links. I provided a pretty solid tutorial here.

A tracking link doesn’t even have to go to a page. It can go to an image or a file. You can place specific tracking links for each ad campaign you run. Tracking links are even usable for offline advertising! Do you have any print advertising or billboards? Use a specific URL like http://www.yourdomain/adchannel or a URL shortener that’s customized. You can track every bit of advertising you have!

What about phone calls? I’m glad you asked.

Tracking Phone Numbers

Phone intensive industries should have tracking numbers on all campaigns. If you have a phone number on your website, it should be unique so you know where that call came from. Dynamic Interactive offers customized 800 and local phone numbers for tracking. Their interactive menu allows you to track calls, record calls, offer voice mail and mark inbound calls so even the smallest of businesses can answer professionally. Any advertising you do with a phone number should be tracked in this manner.

Sales Tracking

Once you have marketing tracking in place, you must have a system to track leads. Otherwise true return on investment can never be calculated. It’s also helpful to figure out if you’re missing sales opportunities due to poor follow-up of leads.

A business really doesn’t know how its marketing is doing unless proper tracking is in place. Website tracking analytics, tracking links, tracking phone numbers and sales tracking are the foundation of measuring your marketing and advertising. You’ll never have to wonder what part of your advertising is being wasted if you prepare with tracking.

Utah Web Marketing Company Celebrates Five Years

September 29, 2014 Leave a comment

5 Year BlogiversaryTo be honest, this milestone would have passed me by if LinkedIn hadn’t sent me a notice. At first I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long!” Then I started thinking about the other things it means. It means this blog is five years old. It means I’m five years older. It means I’ve found a place for myself professionally.

When this business started, Utah was hit with the Great Recession. I wrote this blog for a month and then I started networking in person. That’s when I started getting business and this blog served as a resource to show people I knew what I was doing.

A lot has changed in online marketing over the past five years. Social media is a real thing now. Back then digital marketing practitioners had to persuade businesses to use social media. Now social media is just a given of any web marketing plan.

I became so convinced, I changed the name of the company from SEO by Swaby to Swaby Online Media. It was a move I believe reflected the diversity of what I did in online marketing.

I’ve been very blessed along the way to get help from different people. One early piece of advice I got was to be as specific as I could about who I wanted to work for. That’s difficult to do when you’re trying to keep up with the bills and any money that comes in seems to be the same. It’s not. Being specific about your client is probably the best advice I got. I tried to narrow things down, but it still isn’t narrow enough when your clients include a home builder, a doctor and a start-up designer blanket company.

So I’ve now decided I only want to work with service based businesses in finance and real estate. This makes my target client real estate agents and brokers, mortgage professionals and insurance offices. That’s still fairly broad, but much more focused. When you know who you want to work with, it becomes easier to find them!

Another lesson I learned is to network in person. As I said earlier, I spent my first month in business writing for this blog. Then I went out and networked. Networking got me business but it also got me some perspective. It’s lonely being a solopreneur. Networking got me out of the house, gave me fresh ideas, allowed me to speak in public and helped me establish myself as an expert.

Over the years, I did have regular employment in spurts. I had one gig that looked like regular employment, but they were still really a client. Another challenge in being self-employed is commitment. It’s easy to be committed when you have clients, but a lot more difficult when you don’t. One of the main reasons I started this business is I recognized the economy was changing. America is going to be filled with people who have their own businesses, consult or work multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. This was research I had done 15 years ago, so I was committed to the idea of working for myself.

However, working for yourself isn’t idyllic. It means chasing new business. It means chasing checks. It means criticism. It means losing clients. It means it can be a wild and crazy ride.

My life is a lot different now and more ideally suited for self-employment. I’ve downsized financially so my overhead is low. I have a family commitment that makes my time precious. All my circumstances compel me to be self-employed and keep this business going, so that’s what I’m going to do. I have a new client from my focused target market and I will continue develop business in those industries.

It’s been a great ride so far and I’m looking forward to the next five years!

 

Email Marketing Tactics – Drip vs. Blast

July 16, 2014 Leave a comment

email marketingEmail marketing is still a viable and effective strategy to get sales, referrals and stay in contact with clients. The key is to have a strategy and stick to it. There are two main types of email marketing – drip marketing and blast marketing. Let’s take a look at what they mean and how they can be used in your business.

Blast marketing is designed as a one off, or part of a small campaign to promote a product or service with the singular idea the recipient will take action because of the message. Think about retail sales emails as an example. Email blasts can be sent to your existing database, a purchased list or even a joint venture with another business.

Drip marketing is very different in its execution, but can have some of the same desirable effects of blast marketing. Drip emails are designed for prospects or clients as a stay in touch method. Ultimately drip emails are designed to increase sales, but before that happens, they can be used to generate referrals, build traffic to your website and grow your social media channels. Drip emails are designed to be sent to people who know you – clients, referrals, prospects. They also take more time to create and execute since you are NOT directly selling.

What most small business owners don’t realize is email marketing has to be multifaceted. The goals of email marketing are to:

  1. Get sales
  2. Acquire clients
  3. Get referrals
  4. Stay in touch with existing clients
  5. Increase traffic to your website
  6. Increase your social media channels
  7. Build your drip marketing list

Did you notice the last item on that list? How do you build your drip marketing database? The answer is to get more clients or customers and you do that by making more sales.

Here’s how:

  1. Make sure you ask your customers to join your list. You can do this at the point of sale or when you do post close follow up.
  2. Acquire databases for your list.
  3. Make sure you’re collecting emails and sending them something!
  4. Leverage your social channels to build your list.

Now that you understand the difference between blast marketing and drip marketing, you’ll be able to start utilizing them as part of your strategy. In a future article, I’ll dive deeper into drip marketing.

 

The Future of Online Marketing

March 23, 2011 2 comments

Last week I was asked an interesting question by the Chairman of the company I’m working for. He had just heard me present for 50 minutes about the power of social media.

He said, “We may be ahead of the curve right now, but our competitors are going to catch up. If we adopt your strategies, where will we be when the competition does too?” (Paraphrase)

I said, we’ll still be ahead. The reason is simple – we understand social media. The future of online marketing is people will no longer search for what they want to buy, they will ask their friends/contacts for recommendations or the needed information will naturally come to them.

I’ve been thinking and teaching this for a while…but I didn’t know how it was going to happen. Now I know how and the unanswered question is when.

Let me elaborate. Tonight I attended a conference put on by Kynetx which featured tech blogger and evangelist Robert Scoble. For three years Scoble was a second public face for Microsoft and he has

made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience.

Frankly, I really went to see him, but Phil Windley stole the show. Dr. Windley is a top Utah technology blogger, CTO and co-founder of Kynetx. Basically Dr. Windley explained how relevant content would be instantly delivered to web users…without having to track user’s personal information.

The Kynetx version is called the “Live Web” and could bring consumers conveniences like knowing automatically when their refrigerated food is going to expire. (That data is already on the bar code.) How about automatically generating an expense report based on flight info and foursquare checkins?

Kynetx may not be the company that creates, defines or owns this market, but they’ve certainly got a chance. Regardless, someone will. Imagine only seeing online ads for things you’re interested in. No more spam!

How about news? Only see the topics you’re interested in. Never see another headline about (insert your least favorite sport, celebrity, politician here.) If you ever want to hear about that topic, you’ve got a friend on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn who is an expert and will share.

Now that we know the what and the how, the question is when. That’s exactly the question I asked Dr. Windley and Mr. Scoble when I got the opportunity to speak with them. Neither would venture a guess. That’s a fair answer too. It’s not about the technical ability, it’s about the controllers of the data/technology giving it up. The tech exists now, it’s a matter of coordinating it all.

Proprietary information is what creates value. However, we’re looking at a system where information yearns to breathe free, but businesses still need to make a profit. That’s where the delay lies. Until a profit model is demonstrated, consumers are going to be stuck in the current model of spam and unsolicited herbal Viagra ads.

Marketers are stuck in a sort of purgatory right now too. We know the old methods don’t work, but management insists upon using them. Forward thinking management wants to see a return on investment for their social media marketing dollars.

I’m of the opinion the smartest investment, whether business or personal, is in connecting with people. Connecting, not selling. When the Live Web or Web 3.0 comes around…and it will…sooner than you think…the business/person/brand with the best people connections will come out ahead. If you can manage that task cheaply and effectively through social media…it’s even better.

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