Five ways to know your marketing works

The digital age has changed the way businesses market themselves and with the right tools you can plan and execute a highly effective campaign. Successful marketing depends on evaluation of EDMs (electronic direct mail), advertising campaigns, the marketing calendar, your website and your use of social media. Learning to interpret key metrics will ensure you’re engaging your audience consistently and effectively.

EDMs

The goal of EDMs is to get people to not only open an email, but to read it and take action. You can get statistics on the response of clients and potential clients by examining open rates, click-through rates (CTRs) and bounces (when an email is rejected by an email server). Open rates are a sign that your content is effective and reaching the right audience. Businesses should aim for an open rate of 20% or higher for each email campaign.

CTRs show the proportion of visitors who follow a hypertext link to your target, promotion or website. On average you should expect this figure to be around 2-3%. Mailchimp’s statistics, based on millions of email campaigns, provide a useful guide.

Another way to improve the effectiveness of your EDMs is to keep track of the times you send out the emails. It is worth having a regular schedule, especially if subscriber lists are within a set region. Online resource Adweek has advice on the best time of day to send out emails.

Ad campaigns

There are three reasons to run ad campaigns: raise awareness of a new product or service, drive sales or generate leads. Collecting data and metrics about the way people interact with your ads is vital, but you need to be clear about your goals. That’s where conversion tracking comes in. When you set conversion goals in platforms such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads you can monitor the campaigns and determine if, for example, customers are making a booking or buying a product through your website, signing up for a newsletter, filling out a contact form or survey, or downloading information.

Landing page builder Unbounce puts the average conversion rate for a campaign at 12%. There are some great consolidation reporting tools that go beyond the standard platform reporting to make it easier for you to analyse, measure and improve customer experience. Examples include ClickMeter, MixPanel and Intercom.

Marketing calendar

A marketing calendar covers your marketing activities on a month-to-month basis for the entire year. It’s a way of planning, managing, visualising and assigning tasks. You can keep your editorial team unified and on track if they can all see who is responsible for which tasks and deadlines. Regular team meetings are critical for keeping all marketing staff up to date with the company’s progress and making sure everyone is committed to the marketing strategy.

A marketing content retrospective offers the chance to celebrate the campaigns that went well, examine those that flopped and discuss ways of improving content marketing effectiveness. Revise which metrics you’re using to measure success. Perhaps you’ve had high open rates, but low click-through rates for your EDMs. It might be time to formulate a new strategy. You’ll find a basic structure for running a high quality retrospective here.

Websites

Your website is your window display and front door, and, like a bricks and mortar shop, it needs to be easy to find, be appealing, offer the customer something of value and make them feel compelled to engage with your products and services. But how do you know if your website is attracting visitors, giving them what they want and turning them into customers? There are four ways to measure website effectiveness:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) and how your business shows up in search queries.
  • Usability and how easy it is for people to navigate your website.
  • Performance and the speed at which content is loaded to create a positive user experience.
  • Security and the safeguards that protect you and your customers against malicious software, spam bots, click fraud and hackers.

If you are marketing your brand, you should ensure these four areas are optimised before launching your website. There are audit and reporting tools like SEOptimer that can give you a quick report on your strengths and weaknesses. It also makes recommendations that you can quickly put into practice. Poor website performance will impede your marketing reach.

Social Media

You may have set up business accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram, but have no idea what you’re trying to achieve. Social media can raise awareness of your brand, provide a forum to engage customers and influencers and be a vehicle to boost traffic to your website.

Tracking the right social media metrics can help you improve your performance and strategies. The three pillars of social media are awareness, engagement and driving traffic and there are key metrics associated with each term.

Awareness

Measure volume, reach, exposure and amplification by tracking follower growth, the number of times your business, brand, product or service, industry and the competition are mentioned; and the rate at which your followers share your content through their network.

Engagement

Track comments, shares, replies, likes, clicks and saves to work out how many people are interacting with your content on different social media platforms.

Driving traffic

Track URL shares, clicks and conversions. Is social media funnelling people to your website and, if so, do they engage with your products or services once they get there?

There are many platforms that can help you manage, monitor and measure your social media activities, including Oktopost, Buffer and Hootsuite. A well thought-out Facebook campaign could have customers flocking to your business in no time.