Marketing is a critical part of any business strategy. That is, it’s critical if you need new business to survive and grow – and most companies do.
There are lots of articles and books on how to start marketing campaigns, but there is one element of marketing that is undervalued. Tracking is the unsung hero of marketing
When it comes to tracking the return on investment of your marketing, we’ve assembled five tips to make sure you know what data to look for and how to make use of it.
5 Tips for Tracking Your Marketing & Sales
1. Identify All Your Marketing Channels
First, ask yourself: how are you getting leads and new clients for your business right now? Identify all your marketing channels and sources of business. These could include paid search, organic search, referrals, strategic partners, etc.
Next, check in to see if you are tracking each one or if you need to set up analytics or additional tracking systems. For some channels, you may not be able to track them directly, but you can implement processes where you ask new clients how they found you, or make sure any strategic partners document referrals to your team.
For each channel, set a goal and determine what success looks like for that source of business. This is particularly important if you suddenly have less leads: you want to know what channel is underperforming, and tracking will be your best tool to help you sort it out.
2. Set Up Tracking on Your Website
In order to benefit from tracking, you’ll need to set it up on your site. Even if you don’t have a lot of website traffic or you aren’t running any digital campaigns, set up analytics on your site now.
The data from analytics will be helpful down the road because when you do launch marketing campaigns, you’ll have a baseline of data to compare your results to.
Google analytics is the best free option. It’s very easy to set up an account and add the Google Analytics tracking code to a site.
If you use a marketing automation system like Hubspot or Marketo, set up your tracking to function with that system. Most of the major marketing automation systems can integrate directly with WordPress.
If you are using Google Analytics, go a step further and set up goal tracking for major forms on your site. Goal tracking is a way to track form submissions and identify a form submission as a conversion. Once you set this up, you can then see the path a visitor took on your site before completing that form.
3. Track All Leads & Sales
This is the most important step. A lot of businesses set up analytics, but forget to actually track the leads and what happens after the phone call/form submission/live chat.
If you are using a content resource management or CRM like Salesforce, you can store any data on leads in that system and run different reports over time.
If you don’t have those systems in place, consider tracking your leads in a spreadsheet. For each lead, document how they found you (marketing channel/source), whether you closed the sale or if the client wasn’t a good fit for you, and the value of that sale.
This information is so critical because you may start to see patterns. A strategic partner may only refer one or two leads each month, but if each of those translates into a big project or ongoing revenue, that’s a particularly valuable partner. Alternatively, you may realize that a marketing campaign isn’t actually delivering the results you want.
4. Monitor Your Website Forms & Tracking Codes
A lot of website owners will set up Google analytics and tracking codes when their website is built and then let things sit, unmonitored.
Monitoring your website data is one of the best ways to catch problems with your tracking and catch any dramatic shifts in site traffic.
Because your website isn’t static, be careful that changes to the site don’t cause any issues with your tracking. Every few months, it’s best to review the forms on your website and cross check form submissions in the WordPress dashboard against your analytics data.
If you are using Google analytics and goal tracking for conversions, be attentive when setting up new forms on your site. We ran into a situation where we set up a new form on our site and realized it was using the same Thank You or Confirmation page as a key contact form. If we hadn’t caught this and changed the new form’s confirmation page, our data would have been inaccurate.
5. Look at the Big Picture
Once you get in the habit of tracking your leads and monitoring your website conversions, you’ll have a better picture of your entire marketing plan. If one marketing channel is delivering great results, then you can invest more time and money into that channel.
However, be careful to not make snap judgements based on too small a portion of data. If you are just launching a business or just starting to track things, you need to collect enough data (over several months or even a year, depending on your business.) Most businesses also have a slow season and a busy season, and your data and leads may be very different during each of those.
Keep the big picture in mind. Every business should have a diversity of marketing channels and sources. You never want to depend solely on one marketing channel because if that channel or campaign stops working, you’d have no new business coming in.
When you start to let this hero do its job, tracking your leads, and analyzing your website data, you have a better chance of maximizing the ROI of your marketing – and your business may just start to sing.