My First Rule of Marketing

Most marketing professionals seem to consider marketing is an art. Creation of an advertisement, or idea for an advert or line for a squeeze page, these may be all coming from the artistic side of the brain.

However, implementing a marketing campaign is not an Art. It is a science. One that too many ignore at their peril. When a campaign is complete, the customer will want to see the final sales figures and from that will decide whether the budget was well spent.  Such a crude analysis is not worthy of any decent marketing professional.

The internet age has brought tools and method of analysis never considered before and yet so many in the small business space shy away from them. Especially where the numbers are small and could be considered statistically insignificant. This is true in many ways, but still, the numbers can reveal interesting truths. Only where you have data can you then decide whether it is useful or not? Otherwise, you are blind and given a binary choice, It worked, it did not work.

My first rule of maketing – Measure, Analyse and Learn.

Analytics for WordPress is very easy to setup. There are many plugins that will install the code for you. I can carry out the whole process in less than half an hour. The most common analytics product to be used is Google Analytics. For the small business owner, it is free and unlike a web hosts analytics, will move with you. The simple process goes like this;

  • First I need a Gmail account to “talk to” Google. We each client, or major project we recommend a new account. I also would mention that you do not use this email account for any other marketing, which will better allow it to be a priority account for Google emails.
  • The next action is to register the website with Google Analytics using this account. You will be pleased to know that once setup, other email accounts can be setup as logins to the analytics and with different administration levels. This means other people can access the data without having the ability to change anything.
  • The third action is to now put the capture code on the website. You can paste in the Google Code, but most plugins will now ‘connect’ to google analytics. This protects you better for changes google may make to their code in the future.
  • Our fourth tasks is to test that the tracking now works. This may mean a break for an hour or so, as the stats take a few hours for google to process.  But you could try the live connection option to speed things up.
  • The fifth stage sadly left out by so many, is to set up at least one ‘goal’.  This allows you to set up within Google Analytics a target page = ‘Goal’, which could be a signup page or checkout page.  You can then define the pages coming up to that page in a process path. Google will then help you analyse the ‘success’ of this goal. You will be able to see the drop-off of visitors across the page. If there is a sudden drop from one stage to the next, you know there could be an issue.

At Business meetups, the most asked question is ‘give me one thing to make my website work better’ – I always say – study your analytics. In the small business space, they often reply with, ‘we get so few people to our site, it would not be of use’.  (Such an attitude make we wonder why they paid so much for a web designer to build it for them?).  OK, I say, so if your stats do not spike over the next couple of says, then I would suggest your time here today may have been wasted? – How many of the people you have met today would you expect to ‘check out’ your website to either consider a being your customer, or line you up for a sale as a purchaser from them?  Should not every other activity like a mailshot, or newspaper add bring similar spikes?

Once you build up visitor numbers above the level of statistically insignificant, which would be in the hundreds, lots of great analysis about the success of particular pages and campaigns can help you hone your marketing to levels of sharpness never seen before.

You may have heard the quote from John Wanamaker, that half of his advertising is wasted, but he did not know which half. Today there are companies marketing online where they can measure the cost of campaigns to such granularity, that one that brings just a few cents profit per click can be scaled up to deliver ongoing profits.

The most useful question that analytics can answer for the smaller business online is “where” customers come from. Did they read a certain post, come from the ‘a tweet’, referral from another site, or a google search? – Because this shows us where we should be marketing for more customers.

Looking for some data to support my argument, I came across this item. Proctor and Gamble have cut the number of PR and advertising agencies by 50%

Interestingly, a marketing research company created an article to appear on the same search results. “50% of marketing”. And the headline has a spelling mistake!