If a brand campaign is launched in the forest and there are no metrics to glean from it afterwards, does it really make a sound? Philosophical appropriations aside, the importance of metrics cannot be understated in the world of internet marketing. Being able to study the analytics derived from a landing page, email blast, or blog post can serve to direct what the next move is for any business, regardless of their size or scope – but it’s especially important for smaller companies who may need to be more precise in how they dedicate their time (and budget) to connecting with prospective consumers.
But simply deciding to gather and analyze metrics isn’t quite that simple. Today’s internet marketing professionals have a wide range of data to sift through to find the right answers to the questions they have. Total conversions, bounce rate, search engine traffic, and click-through rates are just some of the factors to consider when assessing the success of an initiative. But before even diving into the metrics, most internet marketing professionals will tell you that the most valuable discoveries happen before looking at a single number.
“One of the things that has to be strategized at the very beginning of a campaign is determining what actually matters,” says Rob Croll, an internet marketing consultant with more than ten years of experience working in the industry, who is also Program Director for Full Sail University’s Internet Marketing Master’s program. “Otherwise it’s like throwing spaghetti up against the wall. You won’t know what sticks. Even if it seems like your campaign was successful, metrics can help you determine if you could have been even more successful.” Before examining the metrics for answers, the pros know they need to know what question they are really asking. The campaign type and goal will determine which metrics are the key performance indicators, but there is a lesson in every data point.
Determining whether a campaign was successful usually doesn’t boil down to a simple pass/fail verdict. Analyzing the separate components of a piece is absolutely essential, whether it’s achieved by testing out different versions of ad copy or utilizing email programs with tracking software to see where people have interacted with your email campaign and which sections of the email are working in the brand’s favor. A campaign may fail in terms of the key performance metrics, but provide valuable information on the targeted audience, the creative, the message, the timing, or any number of other components.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is an incredibly useful strategy for tracking and analyzing customer interactions and data throughout the customer’s lifecycle. This not only can provide valuable insight, but also works to develop a more beneficial relationship between brand and consumer, and even informs the content that the brand may deliver later on in the process.
“Say your first contact with a prospective customer is offering them a download of an ebook, but in order to get it they have to provide me with their email address,” Croll says. “I can use CRM to see if they’ve downloaded it, and now I know they’re interested. So now I have a way to continue the relationship by following up with a separate but related email to kind of gauge where the customer is at. At each step, my objective is to get a little more information about them so I understand the best way to personalize the marketing I’m sending out to them, rather than just send everyone the same exact message.”
A strong CRM strategy can help to build a solid understanding of the customer journey, and ensure that they receive the right message at the right stage. Every interaction with the customer provides additional valuable data points to inform future strategy. A marketer who recognizes and understands the information they can pull from their metrics has the ability to build stronger, more effective, and more successful campaigns.
Full Sail University’s Internet Marketing Master’s program equips students with the techniques that brands and businesses need in order to engage with consumers in the constantly-evolving digital world. To learn more, click here.