Brands have a rather anemic notion of marketing analytics, as we discussed in a recent post on big data analytics. They focus too much of promotion, not enough on marketing; too much of pressuring purchases, not enough on building lasting relationships.
BTW, if you’re interested in building understanding of marketing analytics, Google just released a demo dataset to allow you to play around and see how these insights might drive ROI.
In today’s discussion, I want to focus on using marketing analytics to drive ROI across the entire conversion funnel — such as the one on the right.
I’ll get through the first 4 stages today and we’ll pick on the last 2 in my next post. Too few marketing funnels recognize that there’s still marketing to do after the sale!
Driving ROI begins at the exposure stage
No one can buy your product without first learning that it exists. At the exposure stage, you’re interested in assessing how your outreach is doing in bringing in new qualified prospects — not just tire kickers, competitors …
Buyer personas ensure you’re reaching potential buyers. But, don’t build personas the old fashioned way. Instead, using data from actual buyers, build insights on what they look like, where they come from, what they do on your site.
Google Analytics, as well as those from your social platforms and ads, are critical at this stage and you can learn more about those on this site by selecting the link provided. Don’t forget to assess your influence marketing and campaigns, as well.
Tagging links is critical for increasing your understanding of where traffic comes from, as are using link shorteners, such as Bit.ly. Along with new insights on your audience (demographics and interests), these really help dive deeply into your marketing analytics to drive insights.
In making these assessments, don’t stop with raw numbers, check to ensure you’re reaching the RIGHT people, not just more people. Compare visitor characteristics with your data-driven buyer personas to determine how effective various outreach efforts are in driving sales.
In analytics accounts for my clients, I create pathways to purchase from first visit through conversion. Now, I have a tool to help determine that, for instance, a particular Facebook campaign may drive fewer visitors to my site, but those visitors convert at a higher rate than visitors from other sources. Without this deep data, I might discount my Facebook efforts and reduce spending on that platform.
By the same token, not all customers are the same. That’s where the notion of CLV comes in. Data helps understand which marketing messages and channels bring in visitors with the highest CLV, again moderating decisions about spending on campaigns.
Marketing analytics at the consideration stage
Once visitors raise their hand by visiting your site (your website, your store, or your social platform), marketers hate to lose them. They fear losing them so badly, they actually might actually destroy their chances of closing a sale by forcing a sale.
Market to visitors; don’t sell them.[Tweet “#market to visitors; don’t sell them.”]
It’s very short-sighted to sell someone something. It sacrifices future sales in favor of closing this one deal. Instead, market to consumers, building relationships that generate ROI far into the future.
I don’t want to be sold something. I want you to help me make a good decision that will satisfy my needs.
And, do it with as little violation to my privacy as possible. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to give stores information to reach me unless I get something in return. And, I’m on to your trick of asking for my email to send my receipt.
My email is valuable information because, done right, you get not only information to contact me in the future, but tie my behaviors to that information. So, come on, dude … give me something extra if you want to know more about me. And, the first time you screw up with that information, I’m likely to add you to my spam folder permanently.
I heard recently that prospects are 80%-90% of the way to making a decision before visiting your site. Often, they just want pricing information to make the decision. Don’t make them jump through hoops to get it by forcing them to register.
I guess my main point here is to be a good company to move beyond the consideration stage: make good products, provide great service, give visitors plenty of information formatted in a way that makes it easy to evaluate.
Let sales happen, encourage them, don’t force them.
At this stage, you’ll likely have to jump out of marketing analytics for your owned media. Look at what folks around the web are saying about your brand.
What image do prospects have of your brand? Your company?
What do customers say about you online? in your store?
How do your products perform for real customers?
How successful are you in getting customers to recommend your brand?
And, on website, where do visitors exit? What was the message on that page?
Marketing analytics at the conversion stage
Once folks decide to buy your brand, factors can still interfere with them buying your product.
Here are just a few:
- Poor payment pages – surprisingly, I run across this problem frequently. I want to buy the product, but I can’t find the right button to make a purchase — FAIL
- Poor payment options – especially these days, consumers don’t have their credit card information handy or they don’t trust you enough to give you their information. Offer options like PayPal for websites and use Square or other devices to take credit cards because few people carry money.
- Offer payment and delivery options – maybe I can’t make a large purchase today. Give me some financing options. Or, maybe I don’t like having things delivered to my home or work. Amazon offers lockers where buyer conveniently pick up items themselves. Or, let me buy online and pick up conveniently in the store. Don’t make people wait for poorly trained employees who can’t find items ordered online. For me, Wal-Mart is a huge fail in this respect.
Marketing analytics help you discover factors that divert consumers from buying your products. Shopping cart abandonment studies are the easiest. Not only can you see where the failure occurred, but, using heat maps, you can even break that down to the part of the page where folks stumbled.
In your store, look for problems at the checkout. Are lines too long? Do customers want to pay with other currencies, cards that you can’t process. Do you offer help with bulky or heavy items?
For instance, I’ve started buying dog food online, paying a little more, because I have to lift the 40 lb bags multiple times in the store. The worst is having to lift it up to the counter just so the price code can be read.
I’ve stopped shopping for bulky stuff on Home Depot’s website, because they charge $100 for delivery and it’s free on Amazon.
Well, that’s it for today, what I gave you was pretty dense. I’ll pick up on this in my next post.
Need marketing help?
We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies. Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get the 1st chapter of our book on digital marketing analytics – FREE, or contact us for more information on hiring us.
Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media.