Measure and Learn with Analytics

I Recently attended a Google presentation and learned more about their free Analytics offering. We’ve had Analytics on our site for a while, but hadn’t really ever utilized it very much. Due to some shifts in hosting and redirects and other IT mysteries, we weren’t even tracking the right pages. But fixing it was really simple.

Coupled with our recent increased e-mail push, and our organic SEO efforts, Google Analytics has been an excellent way to measure what drives traffic. And the tool is so easy to incorporate and use. I even added it to my personal blog (www.getout1.blogspot.com) to learn more about behaviors of my visitors.

The spikes when we blast an e-mail, add a white paper, or change content are direct and measurable. This is a good example of some our philosophy on Demand Generation – tie the pieces together BEFORE you go in-market. And give some thought to what success would look like, so you can figure out what metrics will matter to you. We set some goals – to balance our traffic sources, and to increase our Google search traffic  – and we’ve been able to attain them.

If you’re not using this FANTASTIC and FREE tool, I strongly recommend you look into it.

Focus

I participated in a panel presentation last night at Ann Arbor SPARK – the Marketing Roundtable, highly recommended – on developing a marketing communications plan. There was some discussion on the elements of a plan, but the real issue focused on having a plan that was aligned to your business objectives.

Years ago I worked with a career sales guy who taught me, “Plan your work, and then work your plan”. Perhaps some of the greatest advice I’ve ever received and one I see more companies fall down on in these trying economic times. Without a plan, you’ll never know what success looks like, or have the knowledge to adjust for changing environmental variables –  and in most cases you’ll squander money like a drunken sailor.

One key is clear objectives with metrics tied to them. At PWB we decided we needed to increase our web traffic to get more folks to sign up for our e-newsletter series. So Keith and I spent some time with the search marketing folks at Pure Visibility. Learned a lot –  key was that search success is all about focus and targeting. Pick the terrain you want to own, then work at taking it. We picked a key phrase we wanted to own, tuned up our site content, navigation, and structure to support that term. The results? We moved from being buried in Google to PAGE ONE. In about a week. All with organic search optimization. The benefit of focus. The ironic part is that most of the changes we made were things we already knew about. We just hadn’t taken the time and discipline to think them through for ourselves in a focused way.

My advice? Don’t panic. Think. Then do.