Chapter 38: Marketing Report – Analytical Tools
You ask 100 different experts which analytics are best for your company, you’ll get 100 different answers. You ask 100 different professionals which analytics are best, you’ll get the same answer — “The One I Sell!” — with 100 different variables.
It could be easy to rabbit-hole into the minute differences between the various enterprise-level analytics tools on the market today. It would be easy for me to spit out a long eBook on the minutia so I can pretend to be giving you deep value while showing off my expertise.
But we’re not going to do that.
The nitty gritty details of the difference between Analytics Product A and Analytics Product B aren’t important, and they change often enough that in the time between my writing this and you reading it some of what I wrote would be wrong. Besides, that kind of tactical-level advice is beyond the scope of what we’re doing here.
Instead, let’s look at the kinds of analytic information you need for your company. If you ask 100 different experts that question, you’ll get 60 of the same answer — and identify 40 people who are trying to bullshit you. Those 60 qualified experts will all tell you about…
The Four Elements of Effective Analytics
That’s right. Just four. Most of your reports will have more than four entries, but those will just be combinations and iterations of these basic four.
- Traffic Sourcing
If your page gets 1,000 hits a month, you want to know where those 1,000 hits are coming from. Look at these two charts:
You’re a highly successful business owner or manager. I don’t have to explain to you that or how these numbers would impact your marketing spend for the next quarter. That’s what you do for a living.
Nobody’s been able to explain to me why so few business leaders get access to charts like this. You need this kind of access to make smart marketing decisions for your team.
- Conversion to Lead
This one surprises few people with business experience and is probably something you look at with each quarterly report. What surprises a lot of people in the Digital Millennium is how much detail you can get with inbound, digital marketing material — and how much of that can be automated. Once you set up your inbound, automated, a digital program you can get detailed reports in fine resolution for exactly as much of your team’s time as you can get less detailed information. Want to know which of your seven landing pages is getting the most captures? No problem. Want to know which of the three Calls to Action on each page is working most? Easy.
The failure in this element for most businesses isn’t recognizing its importance. It’s recognizing its power…and leveraging that power to fine-tune your online presence into a lead capturing machine.
- Qualification Rate
Qualification rate is simple: of the leads you capture, how many are actually qualified. We talked before about how to automatically qualify leads through nurturing systems, and how to leverage CRM to put your salespeople in charge of those leads.
But understanding your ratio of qualified vs. unqualified leads can impact your marketing spend as much as understanding the sources of your traffic. Trends and patterns here can help you narrow your inbound marketing focus to catch the eye of only the most qualified and readiest of potential clients.
- Conversion to Sale
If you’re already handling only one element of analytics, chances are this is the one. If your sales people get bonuses or commission, they’re already doing this for you. It’s another element that requires a little explanation for people at your level.
What does require explanation is how good metrics can get you forensic metrics on conversion to sale. With the right examination, you can use your sales conversions to track how effective every stage of your sales and marketing process are. Consider this chart that shows percentage of sales generated by a selected program:
The Big Guys
Both paint very different pictures of where sales ultimately come from, and both suggest very different plans for the next quarter.
I told you earlier about how which analytic service you choose isn’t important. That’s true, but there are four big players in this field which require special mention. Each has its own areas of strength and weakness.
There’s no universal best choice for all businesses. You’ll have to assess your own needs based on what each of these does best, then choose the service (or combination of services) that’s right for your job.
This is the one-stop shop of analytics, with robust reporting but no customer management. It gives you the basic statistics you need to figure out where your site is succeeding or failing (though some will argue it takes somebody with advanced knowledge to really interpret the statistics). Options run from free to $150,000 a year, so there’s something for businesses of every size.
A strong website analytics and marketing tool, HubSpot generates easily read reports to measure traffic to the site, customer activity on the site, and the progress of leads through your content. It does most of what Google Analytics does, plus loops in the customer journey. Look to pay from $200 to $2,400 monthly. It’s what we use here at Nuanced, and there are versions appropriate for most small and medium businesses.
A real-time reporting suite with API integration and web analytics that can identify for you the strongest and weakest pages of your website. Allows for split testing on layouts and contents to help you fine-tune your web presence. Price points aren’t cheap, but well within the reach of small and medium size businesses.