The Guide to Marketing Analytics, Optimization, and Testing Part 2

In our last post, we took a deeper dive into analytics and how you should be using them in this digital era. In part 2 of this series, we’ll talk about marketing optimization, why it’s important, and what it looks like in practice.

How are analytics and marketing optimization related?

You could compare analytics and marketing optimization to managing a sports car. Analytics would be the process of compiling engine and performance data from the car’s computer. Without that data, you don’t understand how your car is performing. Marketing optimization would be the act of upgrading car parts and tweaking the computer based on the data you found previously. Doing this will ensure you get the best results for your effort.

It’s clear that neither analytics nor marketing optimization is useful without the other. If you want your analytics data to have value, you need to use it to optimize your marketing strategy.

What Is Marketing Optimization?

Only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.
– Econsultancy, 2016 (Source: HubSpot)

Does that statistic describe your business? If so, you’re in the right place. Marketing optimization is the key to continuously improving your conversion rates. This is the process of making tweaks to your marketing efforts based on user data you’ve collected from Analytics, CRMs, PPC, and other data sources.

But it’s not exactly that easy. Unfortunately, not all data is created equal. As a business owner or marketing leader, it’s your job to identify what type of data is most important to your overall marketing strategy.

To help you get the results you want, consider three elements. First, identify the marketing data that’s essential to hitting your goals, then factor in your company’s unique attributes, and finally consider the action you want the user to be taking. If you consider all three of these elements, it’ll be easier to isolate which metrics you should focus on improving.

Why Should Optimization Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein

Imagine if race car drivers ignored the issues they ran into during races, never looked at performance data, and just kept grinding race after race. This would make them less and less competitive.

The same goes for your business. If you fail to identify weaknesses through analytics and don’t optimize your digital experience accordingly, your marketing materials (and subsequently your business) will become less and less relevant.

Consider the positive effect of just a couple technical optimizations.

  • According to Google, pages that load between 1 and 10 seconds have bounce rates that are 4x higher than those between 1 and 3 seconds.
  • According to HubSpot, 50% of all web searches now include a minimum of four words.

If you’re not paying attention to what users are doing once they get to your site and optimizing that experience, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Through optimization you can guide users toward the actions that you want them to take and make it easier for them to do what they want, creating an overall more positive experience.

If you’re not paying attention to what users are doing once they get to your site and optimizing that experience, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Through optimization you can guide users toward the actions that you want them to take and make it easier for them to do what they want, creating an overall more positive experience.

In the last article, we talked about analytics as your data source for optimization. Another super valuable data source is your sales team. It’s critical that you leverage feedback received through closed-loop reporting to further optimize your digital experience.

Closed-loop reporting is when you ensure good communication between sales and marketing by having sales report back to marketing what’s happening with their leads. This is important since analytics and optimization should extend beyond the website to what deals/leads are converting into quality sales which, after all, is the whole point. Unqualified leads that don’t convert into sales just create noise for your sales team vs revenue for your company.

What Optimization Looks Like in Practice

It’s clear that marketing optimization should be part of your overall strategy. But, how can you start optimizing your digital experience?
Let’s focus on user experience on your website as a starting point. Almost every business has a homepage. But how do your users feel about it? If there is a problem, is it related to UX design, content, or a technical issue?

How you go about answering these questions is important. The following steps can help you make optimization decisions that drive results.

  • Use real data. Good marketing optimization isn’t based solely on assumptions but instead leverages the real data you find through analytics and closed-loop reporting. This is because your preferences aren’t necessarily your customers’ preferences and assuming they are can hurt your efforts.
  • Identify your goal. Overall, are you trying to get more website visitors, newsletter sign-ups, consultations, or move people to purchase a product? What are the more granular goals for each page? Visitors will be at varying stages of the buying cycle and incorrectly matching the message with their stage could push them away instead of closer to your goal.
  • Analyze customer actions. Do customer actions show that website visitors are close to your goal? For example, did they leave items in the cart or click on sign-up without finishing? If they’re not ready to buy, is there a soft conversion option (whitepaper download, newsletter signup) for people at the top of the funnel, to stay engaged?

Once you have the data and understand your goal, you can make optimizations that move the needle.

For example, you may find that most visitors don’t get to the bottom of the blog post. This may prompt you to think about content quality, breaking up the content to be more scannable and visually interesting, or maybe it’s simply an issue of CTA placement. It’s a great idea to place a text-based CTA near the top of the page, as well as a more graphical CTA at the bottom and then pay attention to how each performs.

By optimizing your marketing efforts you’ll give your business the best chance to succeed and engage with more and more website visitors.

Are Your Marketing Efforts Struggling Due to Poor Website Design or a Weak Sales Funnel?

 

Our team at Windmill Design would love to help you analyze your site and help you bring it into the 21st century. Set up a free consultation today.