7 essential elements for a website measurement plan

You only need a few key measurements to ascertain if your advertising and marketing is supporting contribution to revenue

You only need a few key measurements to ascertain if your advertising and marketing is supporting contribution to revenue

 

Making dollars and sense from Google website analytics

Google website analytics: love them or hate them, they are here to stay. Interpreting the data those dimensions and metrics provide can be challenging for the analytic novice. To Google’s credit, they do provide online tutorials to help marketers start to think in analytical terms, interpret analytical data, and take the necessary action to achieve the business objective.

While the sheer amount of data that is available can be overwhelming, it’s important to remember that you really only need a few key measurements to ascertain if your advertising and marketing is supporting contribution to revenue.

Spend the time up front developing the website measurement plan

I can’t stress enough how important this step is. Without a plan, you are guessing about the effectiveness of your marketing (both offline and online) and the related investment being made by the company.

The measurement plan serves multiple purposes. The first is to gain consensus from management on what’s important from their perspective, and secondly, to be able to supply qualitative and quantitative data that identifies and tracks customer behavior as they interact with the website.

7 essential elements of the website measurement plan

  1. Why does this business exist? Start with this simple question. If you can sum up the answer in one sentence, it will help to identify the objectives to be met to support the business.

For example: Burk Advertising and Marketing exists to help businesses achieve optimal contribution to revenue generation through their advertising, branding, and marketing efforts.

Certainly, this is not a Harvard business school approach but it strips out all of the excess baggage that businesses accumulate that can convolute focus.

  1. Business objectives – What does the website need to accomplish to help achieve the business objective? Thinking in analytic terms, this focuses on customer acquisition, behavior, and outcomes. Depending on the type of business you are in, outcomes may consist of the following:

 Desired outcomes

  • Drive product sales
  • Drive contact form submissions
  • Encourage engagement and awareness
  • Encourage frequent visitation
  • Provide information quickly
  1. Strategy – specific actions that will be taken to achieve business goals. Strategy can cover areas such as lead generation, awareness building, thought leadership, or building a community of returning website visitors.
  1. Tactical execution – where micro and macro conversions are identified that help support the strategy. Attribution for conversions can be first step attribution or last step attribution, depending upon the importance of the action taken by the customer. For example, if a new website visitor can be attributed to a digital ad, that could be a first step attribution.
  1. Key Performance Index (KPI) – reports that analytics generate to identify specific customer behavior on the website. These reports can identify specific behaviors and events that can lead to a macro conversion. For example, downloading a PDF or signing up for a newsletter are desirable behaviors that can lead to sales.
  1. Targets – metrics (data) that represent achieving goals. For example, if a KPI was to increase the visitor’s duration of time-on-site, the target to achieve could be greater than (>) 2 minutes.
  1. Audience segments – consists of new vs. returning visitors, geo-traffic sources (country, region, metro area and city) and converted visits.

Successful digital outcomes are based on having a well-structured website measurement plan. The plan not only guides marketing efforts but can also help to identify areas in IT and human resources that may need attention to compete in the digital marketplace.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

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Inbound marketing essentials

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Making a case for business-to-business marketing investment

Marketing execs need to provide accountable metrics that contribute to company revenue.

Marketing execs need to provide accountable metrics that contribute to company revenue.

Soft marketing metrics don’t impress the CEO or CFO.

In most business-to-business vertical marketing segments, marketing is viewed as an expense on the balance sheet. One reason for this is that the justification for marketing has relied on soft metrics — awareness levels, brand recognition, website visitor traffic, target audience reach, etc. While these metrics are important and part of the marketing equation, they lack accountability for revenue generation. This reinforces the perception with the CEO, CFO, and COO that marketing is a cost center, not a revenue center.

Moving to a revenue center requires marketing execs to rethink their role and provide accountable metrics that contribute to company revenue.

Moving beyond soft metrics to revenue cycle metrics

Business-to-business marketers have their feet planted in two different worlds. One foot is in the traditional (and comfortable) world of paid media placement, ad campaigns, direct mail, trade shows, and public relations. These tactics yielded soft metrics and worked to exclude marketing from the revenue generation conversation. Because of this, marketing became the stepchild of sales. It was easy to see the expenditures and hard to justify the results.

The other foot is in the digital world. In this world, everything can be measured, tested, and scrutinized. This can be an uncomfortable place because there is nowhere to hide. However, it does present the opportunity for marketing to shift from a cost center to revenue generation center if it is properly planned, executed, and measured.

Where to start

Start small and plan the program with ROI measurement from the beginning. The goal is not backwards measurement to prove ROI but rather forward focused measurement that influences decision-making.

Don’t try to measure all things. Because digital has a lot of moving pieces, select areas to measure that contribute to profitability.

Plan and establish ROI estimates upfront. Consult with management team members that have a negative view of marketing, and build their pessimism into the marketing forecast. Remember, there is nowhere to hide and it’s all about making better marketing decisions that lead to revenue generation.

Success measurement

  • Select 3 to 5 key metrics
  • Measure success versus goals – good, bad or ugly
  • Drill down – measure every campaign, channel, sales rep, and region
  • Track tends over time
  • Create a dashboard that shows what marketing is achieving and contributing to revenue results

Very few small to mid-sized B-to-B brands have a 100% digital customer base. Many marketing automation programs (MAPs) lean heavily on online lead generation as the basis for marketing ROI planning. Small to mid-sized brands may struggle with this due to the size and sophistication of the markets they serve. Therefore, it is incumbent on marketers to identify digital initiatives that lend themselves to ROI measurement and revenue planning.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs)

Big data and creativity

People-to-People Marketing and “Small Data”

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

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Why content development will drive the future of aviation marketing

Blog_66_the Future of aviation marketing

The empowered buyer makes the purchasing decision long before the sales transaction.

Jason Miller, program manager of social media and content at Marketo, posted an article to copyblogger – “Where Marketing is Going… 2013 and Beyond.” Below is my interpretation of his post on how aviation marketers can take advantage of automated marketing platforms to develop content that produces measurable ROI.

Analytics and automation combine to make better marketing decisions

Early tactics used for lead generation

Business-to-business marketing has always had to serve two masters – marketing and sales. On the marketing side was tasked with building the brand, the sales side with lead generation.  Reader reply cards, postcards, direct mailers, fish bowls filled with business cards at trade shows, any and all tactics available were used to get a sales lead. All this was implemented with absolutely no way to qualify the intent of the purchaser or their location within the sales funnel.

Everyone that replied received a phone call and were subsequently segmented as either worthless or worthwhile.

Email – the beginning of automation

As the evolution of marketing unfolded and computing power came down in price, databases became the Holy Grail of marketing automation. The recipients on the databases were bombarded with a constant stream of email offers.   Email marketing was fine tuned from multiple subject lines and offers to time of day to send, but again this tactic provided little to score the lead in terms of interest.

The maturing of marketing automation

Early platforms that integrated lead generation and lead scoring while automating the tedious task of lead management were big, clunky, and had lots of moving parts. However, they were better that anything else on the market and thus were adopted.  They consisted of the ability to generate emails, create specific landing pages, provide rear-looking marketing data, score and nurture leads.

Enter the empowered buyer

Along the way, the buyers got a lot smarter too! Instead of the seller controlling the flow of content, i.e., the one-to-many communication model, the rise of social media platforms brought together groups of like-minded people sharing information on the same topic. Content sharing and peer review effectively changed the shape of the sales funnel and introduced a new set of influencers.

Content sharing brought about People-to-People (P2P) Marketing.  P2P marketing involves taking a leadership role in developing and nurturing relationships through content with influencers and purchasers.

People-to-People marketing answers questions, presents features and benefits, and makes an emotional connection between the purchaser and the brand. Along with the rise of P2P marketing, we are also seeing the influence of content creators, storytellers that bring the content to life and connect with the purchaser at the emotional level.

It is important for marketers in the aviation industry to remember that automated marketing platforms can be a great tool for measuring the effectiveness of the marketing program, but their success will rely on how well their content developers tell the brand story.

To read Jason Miller’s original article, “Where Marketing is Going… 2013 and Beyond,” click here