How to Make Your Marketing Campaigns Smarter

How to Make Your Marketing Campaigns Smarter

Big Ideas

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February 6 2017
Big Ideas
Author: Michael McCaffrey

The question I get asked most often when starting a new marketing campaign with a client is, “how do you know it will work?”. My answer to this is simple and once you buy in to the approach, the conclusion is hard to deny.

First of all, it is important to say that in almost all cases, I don’t know if it will work.

I base what I know on evidence and data. And until we start the campaign, there’s simply no data.

It’s our job to work with you to come up with the best ideas, the most compelling messaging and call-to-actions, the best targeting, and choosing the right moments to be disruptive. This is all “correct”, and important for increasing the chances your campaign will be successful, but how do you KNOW?

The answer to this is simple: Analytics. When you start your campaign, if you are tracking everything, you know what is working and what is not. You can put more budget to the keywords that are driving the most conversions, and less to the ones that aren’t. As your campaign runs, you collect more and more data and become smarter and smarter about how you run your campaign.

So how do you know it will work? You start the campaign! You make darn sure you are measuring it and you will quickly see what is working and what is not. That’s it. No guessing, no tricks, no doubt. The data is there, you just have to know how to set it up and how to use it.

Here is a short list of some of the most important analytics tools that you need to properly “listen” and optimize your campaigns.

Web Analytics (e.g. Google Analytics). 


Tracks and reports on your website traffic. Don’t even think about not installing this on your website. It is extremely simple to set up and use to gain valuable information… but also has a lot of advanced features allowing you to slice and dice the data to gain powerful insights. 
This is beginner level stuff, if your site does not have Google Analytics, sign-up and start tracking ASAP!

Traffic Heatmapping (e.g. Crazy Egg)


Shows aggregated information in a visual way. For example, you can see how far visitors scrolled down on your pages (especially useful for long pages like galleries or long articles). You can see where visitors clicked on your page (useful for seeing if people are engaging with things like the home page rotator). With only a few seconds of analysis, the visual nature of a traffic heatmap will undoubtedly help you learn something.

Session Recording (e.g. Mouseflow)


A personal favorite of mine, session recording software will essentially show you a video recording of the user moving their mouse around and clicking on things as they navigate your website. You can see where they’re getting stuck, watch them follow along certain text with their mouse as they read, see them get lost as they look for something an then finally find it. All sorts of user experience insights can be gained. The main difficulty is that you need to watch a LOT of sessions to get evidence that is not anecdotal, and there is no easy way to aggregate the information into anything useful. That said, watching someone actually use your website is one of the most useful things you can do to learn.

Call Tracking (e.g. Call Rail)

Call tracking software essentially puts a unique phone number on your site - based on when it was dialed, you can tie it to a specific web session. This lets you learn everything about that website visitor – where did they come from (organic search? Email campaign? AdWords?) and what did they do on the site (pages visited, time on site, conversion path). Call tracking goes one step further than traditional goal and event tracking in figuring out whether your marketing efforts (and more importantly, WHICH marketing efforts) are driving sales. 

An added bonus of call tracking is the extra accountability for your sales and in-bound customer service teams. 

Tag Managers (e.g. Google Tag Manager)


The analytics tools above need to be installed within your website code to work. The most organized and effective way of doing this is by installing a tag manager. This will help reduce errors and increase page load time. There are a lot of advanced features that open up when using a tag manager that help you learn even more from your website visitors.

But what if you’re running a print campaign? What about social? What if this sounds way too complicated and overwhelming for you to take on yourself?

Sherpa is running a workshop called Alcohol and Analytics to answer exactly these questions and more. Our first event is Thursday, March 2.

Register, show up, sip on your favorite cocktail and learn how to use Analytics like a pro. No cost, no catch.

To see the agenda, visit our Alcohol and Analytics page. See you there!


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