December 2, 2011
Today, I’ll wrap up my blog series on results measurement of a marketing communications program by evaluating my current favorite for business-to-business organizations: Website Statistical Analysis. If you’ve missed my previous posts of this series, you can review them here: The Thud Factor, Return on Investment, Advertising Value Equivalency and The Point System.
I believe website statistical analysis to be the most accurate and efficient way to evaluate the ROI of an integrated marketing communications program because it treats all marketing tactics equally. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where your leads come from, as long as they are successfully finding their way to your site. Website statistical analysis is only concerned with the end result of your combined efforts including: public relations, social media, advertising, direct marketing, client retention, search engine optimization and search engine marketing.
Many hosting companies offer web analytics incorporated into their solutions, but an easy-to-use, more comprehensive and, most importantly – free – solution is Google Analytics. It is the most popular website statistics evaluation service on the market because it is designed specifically for marketers, not webmasters. After a quick set up, you will be able to monitor your site and evaluate exactly where your leads are coming from so you can determine the appropriate mix of marketing tactics that’s right for your business moving forward. For instance, after evaluating your referring sites, you can surmise:
- Incoming traffic from media outlets can be traced back to public relations efforts and media placements;
- Incoming traffic from specific banner ad links can be traced back to your advertising campaign;
- Incoming traffic to a dedicated landing page can be traced back to your direct outreach campaign or related promotional efforts;
- Incoming traffic from customer domains can be traced back to your customer retention programs;
- Incoming traffic from search engines can come from a variety of sources, but will noticeably spike after a dedicated focus on search engine optimization;
- Incoming traffic from Blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, StumbleUpon and others can be traced back to your social media efforts;
- Incoming traffic that spikes before, during and after a major industry tradeshow can be traced back to event promotional efforts;
- Incoming traffic from affiliates and industry associations can be traced back to your partner relationship management efforts;
- Incoming traffic from a certain part of the country can be traced back to regional promotional campaigns; and
- Incoming traffic from Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter can be easily traced by reviewing the results of your search engine marketing (pay-per-click) campaign.
Of course, there will be a good percentage of traffic that cannot be identified including generic domains and random leads that do not appear to be tied to a specific campaign or ongoing effort. This is where you’ll need to review other areas of the website analytics data, including overall visitors per month, number of page views, which pages are the most popular, bounce rates, conversion rates, percentage of new visitors, average time on the site, and a host of other metrics. By monitoring and analyzing the report summaries of website analytics programs over time, you can get a better understanding of how your various campaigns are trending and which branding or visibility efforts deserve more of your time and resources.
Remember, marketing communications is a soft science. There is no one magic bullet that will measure the value of your efforts with 100% accuracy. But it is important to understand the various tracking tools and some of the methods used to measure marketing communications value including The Thud Factor, Return on Investment, Advertising Value Equivalency, The Point System and Website Statistical Analysis. Once you have a better feel for the parameters and types of campaigns you are looking to measure, you can select the method(s) that are the most appropriate to your needs, and tailor them from there.
How are you measuring the success of your marketing communications program? Have I missed an important one? Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to discuss!