The following post was written by Aidan Hijleh, an SEO specialist, marketing expert, and blogger for Benchmark Email.
Analytics is changing the world of marketing. Instead of deploying new campaigns in rapid fire fashion, more businesses are taking the time to measure their impact and gain a deeper understanding of the results. 2014 will be another year that sees even more companies jumping on the analytics bandwagon. Whether you're joining them for the first time or simply looking to garner better results than you did this year, these tips can help you optimize your marketing analytics strategy.
1. Get the Tools
More than likely, you're trying to maximize your efforts by pushing your marketing message through as many channels as possible. Wherever your customers dwell, you're right there trying to connect with them. When this is the case, you need a varied arsenal of tools to track your results across those diverse channels. Luckily, there are plenty of tools at your disposal. You can track your website activity with web analytics software, measure your video marketing results with YouTube Analytics, and keep up with your social media efforts by using resident tools like Facebook Insights.
2. Deploy the Right People
It's been said that in order to manage a big data infrastructure, a company needs a so-called data scientist who is skilled in algorithms, statistical models, and other complex data management technologies. I wouldn't go as far as to say that every business needs an IT specialist with this degree of knowledge, but doing analytics right does require someone who knows their way around sets of data. The ideal analyst will understand how to communicate data to team members and more importantly, how to put it into action.
3. Keep Mobile in the Mix
Now that smartphones and tablets have become as common as desktop and laptop computers, more businesses are adopting a mobile focus when it comes to their marketing strategies. If you have a mobile website or app for your business, then you should have the same focus. There are quite a few professional solutions you can invest in to track your mobile efforts, but if you foresee things initially being a little tight in 2014, don't fret because there are a couple of tools that keep the budget in mind.
4. Identify Your Metrics
Most marketing analytics systems come with their own set of established metrics. You've got your opens and clicks in your email marketing program, unique visits in your web analytics software, views in your YouTube Analytics dashboard, and so forth. The built-in measurements are extremely useful, but it also helps to incorporate your own metrics. These custom metrics, known key performance indicators, can be tailored around your specific meeting your marketing objectives.
When it comes to setting up your KPIs, it pays to look at your needs through a broad scope. For example, instead of just focusing on sales and conversions, take a cross-departmental approach and look at things like reach, social media engagement, customer satisfaction, and revenue. Combined with standard metrics, these indicators will help you get much closer to the true measure of your marketing impact.
5. Let Data Drive Decisions
The analytics trend is built around far more than crunching numbers. It's true purpose is transforming raw data into powerful insights that can be used to make effective decisions. So use it. Are your email open rates considerably lower than industry averages? Tweak your subject lines to see if it helps your messages gain more attention in the inbox. Generating a large number of likes, comments, and shares on your Facebook photos? Sprinkle more images into your content mix to further boost engagement. Analytics is at its most effective when you act on what your data is telling you.
6. Integrate and Centralize
Businesses collect data from a variety of sources. Even small companies are generating results from email campaigns, driving engagement in social media, and drawing traffic to their website all on top of processing sales at checkout. This information gets tougher to manage the faster it comes in, and the more you have at your disposal. Data integration is the solution to this problem. Technology companies are steadily creating tools that enable enterprises to use APIs that connect the data from their email software, CRM program, and social media insights in one centrally managed package.
Businesses can no longer view analytics as some sort of optional trend they can do with or without. It's a must-have concept with the power to take your marketing efforts from mediocre to marvelous. In 2014, let it be the guiding light that drives you to make your biggest impact yet!
About the Author: Aidan Hijleh is an SEO specialist, marketing expert and blogger for Benchmark Email. An accomplished writer and former nonprofit organization liaison, he works with numerous top-tier blogs to deliver valuable intel to the small business owner. Get more from Aidan on Twitter.