Spending valuable time on your marketing and communications can be a big boost to your business or a costly drain on your resources, depending on whether they are effective. We've looked at some of the important steps you need to take to ensure your efforts are successful, from putting together a team to setting your communications and marketing goals and developing an editorial calendar.
Once you’ve put that plan into action with print and digital efforts, a new website, social marketing and more, it’s time to make sure all that effort is paying off by measuring and analyzing your success — and recalibrating where necessary. Remember, it's an iterative process. You make your plans and execute them, then see how they work and do it again. To maximize the effectiveness of your work, you need to learn from your efforts, adjust your goals and methods and continually refine and improve what you are doing.
We've created some helpful worksheets to help you evaluate your communications and marketing efforts, identify the lessons learned, and apply what you've learned to your future efforts. We've also put together a few quick tips on gathering, understanding and acting on the things you learn by measuring your marketing efforts.
1. Track the Traffic to (and Through) Your Site
The very first thing you will want to do, if you haven’t already, is to set up a Google Analytics account. Google Analytics is the industry-standard tool for gathering data on who is coming to your site, where they are coming from (that is, how they heard about you) and what they do once they are on your site. No communication and marketing plan is complete without it.
Installing Google Analytics is very easy and free to start. Google provides straightforward directions at google.com/analytics.
2. Evaluate Engagement Metrics
So, now you have the ability to gather and track data, but what are you actually going to measure? Determining what data matters and what doesn’t is the real key to measuring your success. In the data analytics world, these are referred to as Key Performance Indicators, or KPI for short.
Take a standard KPI like page views, for instance. You could simply gather the number of page views on your site and be satisfied, but what if you used your current number of page views as a benchmark and then set higher targets down the road? Say, a ten percent increase in one month and a 50 percent increase in six months. This would allow you to plan strategies and tactics to drive that additional traffic and, better yet, track how you are doing against your goals.
This helpful article from the Search Engine Journal® provides a list of the ten best Key Performance Indicators, what they mean for your business and how they can help you get the most from your communications and marketing efforts.
3. Determine if Call-to-Actions Were Followed
The most important of KPIs, of course, is whether your audiences follow through on your calls-to-action — are they doing what you asked of them to do? Calls-to-action, or CTAs as they are known, can be as big as “buy my product” or as small as “click this link to learn more,” but, whether big or small, KPIs matter to your business … a lot.
Data analytics can help you track just how successful you are at getting your customers, clients and general audiences to take action. The small-business website The Balance Small Business published a great article with helpful tips on creating a great call-to-action and how to best track whether your CTAs are working for your business.
As the old adage goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” And that advice holds true in the world of digital marketing as much as any other field. Get your measurement engine up and running and find out what the data can do for you.
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