OMICS International is a large open access (OA) academic publishing group. Founded in 2007, OMICS has since grown rapidly and now boasts of having over 700 journals with over 50,000 editorial board members. However, the rise of OMICS has not been welcomed by everyone; the company has been branded a ‘predatory publisher’, accused of spamming academics, and of organizing poor quality ‘academic conferences’.
Given this background, it was not so surprising when we learned, last week, that the US
Full funnel attribution is the dream.
A pipe dream.
In most cases.
Because a majority of the time, you’re nowhere close.
Campaigns are tagged. Sometimes.
You track incoming calls. Like 5% of the time.
You’ve got lead reports. Which go up-and-to-the-right at least.
It ain’t your fault. Our tools are limited. Cross-department assistance tricky. And marketing channels exploding.
So here’s a simple process to help you take back control, hopefully eliminating all of those little gaps where leads commonly leak out of your funnel and mess up your reporting efforts.
The Great Analytics Gap: Where Exactly Are Your Paying Customers Coming From?
How many leads did you get this month from Twitter?
How about email?
Most likely, those numbers are wrong.
Not because you made a mistake. But because your analytics platform did.
See, most basic analytics programs like Google Analytics are good. But not smart. (They’re also free, so we can’t complain too much.)
For example, your Email and Social leads this month are probably understated (only getting credit for a fraction of their overall performance), while your Direct ones are overstated (getting more credit than they really deserve).
Sometimes the swing can be 60%!
If campaigns aren’t tagged properly (and let’s be honest, who tags Tweets with any regularity), analytics programs will have a tough time picking up the referral source. Especially if these visits originate from desktop programs like Tweetdeck (does that still exist?) or Outlook (which you’re probably forced against your will to use).
These are tiny examples, but the problem persists.
Even when you’re tracking conversions, with monthly reports going to bosses and clients highlighting Goals with the sources that drove them, you might only be seeing a tiny slice of the overall pie.
Just recently, I’ve seen multiple clients spending tens of thousands of dollars on ads each month, going off of surface level information.
The phone rings, which is great. But why those calls are coming in is anyone’s guess. And nobody has a clue how many paying customers or revenue is tied back to the initial spending efforts.
Think about that. Organizations spending a majority of their marketing budgets on a single channel with tracking… kinda, sorta, setup. But not really.
Couple this with the fact that most smaller organizations use ‘niche, industry’ tools like legacy proprietary CRM’s that offer ZERO API’s and absolutely no integration possibilities.
So they’re forced to cobble this stuff together, manually.
If this stuff was being tracked properly, you’d almost instantly be able to:
- Save money on the losing campaigns that aren’t performing.
- Increase revenue by spending more on those that are.
And then you get a promotion. Or a raise, at least.
Fortunately there are a few techniques you can use to help shed more transparency and accuracy into your analytics. They’re not all encompassing, but they’re relatively easy adjustments to set up to help you practically solve this problem once and for all.
Click Tracking: The Basics of Campaign (or UTM) Tagging
I already know what you’re thinking.
UTM codes blah blah blah. Use any number of builders like the Google URL Builder to drop your URL in and idiot-proof your results.
But here’s the thing.
Many times UTM codes aren’t used properly. Or aren’t used holistically as a way to measure channel performance for conversions.
So let’s look at it more practically, organizing campaigns properly to make sure we’re tracking almost every single possible use case that might not get picked up by our analytics programs.
The easiest way to accomplish this campaign-wide approach is through inbound traffic segmentation. Which is shorthand* for, “Create a ton of landing page versions & funnels for each traffic source so you’re able to clearly see how and where click-conversions are coming from, thereby making analytics and reporting simple”. (*Not really.)
And while there is no shortage of tools to do this stuff for you, we still like to manage client campaigns in a simple, collaborative Google doc so everyone can quickly edit and update.
You can also do the same thing for social channels too, breaking it down even further into the primary ones you choose to plan your campaign’s content and messaging strategy ahead of time.
All of this time-consuming, upfront work will eventually pay dividends by making funnel analysis a breeze.
(Brilliant segue coming…) You know what also makes funnel analysis a breeze?
Kissmetrics does this with a visualized funnel reporting tool that can help you analyze all of this raw data and make faster (not to mention, more accurate) marketing decisions.
Call Tracking: Gain Insight into Inbound Lead Sessions
Any lead-based company will tell you that good, old-fashioned inbound phone calls are still the best.
Invoca analyzed more than 30 million phone calls and found that they have 30-50% conversion rates (compared to only 1-2% for clicks).
That same study found that 70% of calls are coming from digital channels. And yet, we don’t know where.
Or why. As in, what did you do to drive those people to call in the first place? (So you can easily do more of it and take home a nice bonus this year.)
Setting up unique phone numbers on each advertisement or sales collateral is an obvious first step. Duh – your AdWords campaigns are undoubtedly already using phone call tracking.
What happens when those people click to your website instead of calling right away?
Especially if we’re talking any type of consultative sale, they’re going to click around your site for a bit. Maybe even leave, and come back, several times before pulling the proverbial trigger on someone to work with.
The first step towards limiting the amount of information you don’t know is to setup dynamic call tracking that focuses on individual customers.
This way, you’re accounting for the multi-device, multi-event, and multi-channel journey (that already happens over half the time).
CallRail is one of my new favorites to do this. You’re able to create a pool of phone numbers based on the average amount of real-time website visitors you get.
These dynamic phone numbers will substitute the primary one already on your website pages, and automatically stick with one website visitor while they browse around all of your pages.
Not only can you then see a complete web session history, but also start tracking multiple sessions over time from the same customers.
That extra insight gets you one tiny step closer to being able to close out the big black hole that is your offline phone conversions.
There’s also a CallRail and Kissmetrics integration to help you better understand how offline phone calls fit into the customer’s website and app activity, email engagement and more. You’ll also be able to analyze how phone calls play a broader role in lifetime value of a customer (comparing with those who don’t call) and see which specific activities they complete immediately before or just after each call.
But before we can run off to implement, there’s still one last thing to figure out.
How to match all of this stuff up with your lead and customer data to see where buyers (not leads) are coming from.
Lead Tracking: Determining Which Leads Are Converting
It’s time to bring it home.
You’ve got basic campaign tagging properly organized, to limit the number of sessions that slip through your analytics cracks. And you’ve set-up dynamic call tracking to monitor people who may visit your site or call your offices multiple times prior to purchase.
Now we need to line that data up with your lead database.
My completely biased opinion is that HubSpot is one of the best solutions for this problem. Which is no surprise, given my company is a HubSpot partner who receives a nice bonus check every time we sign you up. 🙂
But what if you didn’t appreciate the blatant, selfish sales pitch? Or have the extra budget available? Or you just use some other CRM?
Another (albeit, more manual) solution is to use the excellent (and free) LeadIn to begin turning form submissions into actual people.
Once setup, you can integrate this with a few basic email-marketing services to go freaking nuts on hacking your marketing stack.
You can also begin exporting this data (I know, who the F-exports manual data anymore) and matching it up with whatever lead-based CRM you use – no matter whether they provide integrations or not.
Ideally, you need to know that John Smith just signed up with your company for $X. And John Smith came from a phone call, through AdWords, targeting the term Y.
In aggregate, a tool like Kissmetrics (surprise!) can then connect all of these dots, finally aligning paying customers (and revenue) back to the marketing channels (and decisions), which generated each.
Most of us are making decisions based on incomplete information.
The analytics gap problem is only made worse when companies commonly have their own legacy tools that don’t play nice with whatever marketing ones you’re using.
But when clients and bosses are putting LOTS of money on the line, it’s up to us to make bold decisions on how or where to best spend it.
That becomes exponentially easier once you set up proper click tracking for the common online channels people are using once they see, hear or read about your latest campaign. And buttoning-up offline conversions like phone calls can help you finally see how many of those leads you’re collecting are transforming into paying customers.
The tips here might not be a perfect solution.
But they can get you significantly closer than where you probably are now.
About the Author: Brad Smith is a founding partner at Codeless Interactive, a digital agency specializing in creating personalized customer experiences. Brad’s blog also features more marketing thoughts, opinions and the occasional insight.
Even though astronomy is my first love, sometimes I wander away and explore other science. This week, I attended a mechanical engineering conference and sat in on sessions specifically devoted to the influence of origami in engineering design. Lucky for me, there have been a few talks that combine this area of engineering with space-based applications.
One of the coolest was a compressible tube whose structure is based on origami folds. This type of tube (called a bellows) has all kinds o
WWE 'Backlash' 2016 Rumors & Predictions: 3 Stars Poised To Have Great Nights At 'SmackDown Live' Event [POLL, VIDEO]
‘SummerSlam’ marked the last multi-brand pay-per-view until November, and ‘SmackDown Live’ live will get the first all-brand show when it presents ‘Backlash’ on Sept. 11. Here are three stars poised to breakout on the Blue Brand’s debut pay-per-view.
Do you like your steak black and blue or just blackened? According to this study, your preference may depend on the emotions you feel when looking at raw meat. Here, researchers first showed 1046 Norwegian subjects pictures of either a rare or a well-done hamburger and asked them to indicate whether the image elicited “fear, disgust, surprise, interest, pleasure, or none of these.” The subjects were then told to rate their likelihood of eating burgers done to different levels (see figure bel
It’s the question on every marketer’s mind – “How do we turn these impressions, clicks and conversions into something that drives results for our company?”
The fact is, you have a lot on your plate. From new product launches to generating interest to reaching new markets and paying attention to customer sentiment, there’s a lot to juggle. Being able to not just make sense of the data you’re gathering, but also turn that information into actionable insights is a must-have skill in today’s competitive markets.
The good news is, it can be learned – easily.
The Problem with Reach
When everything is measured in terms of reach and impressions, we start creating goals that don’t really measure the results we want
In many cases, campaigns are founded with the wrong goal in mind. Everything is measured in “reach”. We look at impressions as the de facto measurement standard when it barely scratches the surface of measuring a consumer’s true interest and intent.
The end result, when focusing too much on reach and impressions, is that you might make a boatload of sales, but not be able to map them definitively to any specific campaign or strategy. Even if people first hear about your product through traditional media (TV, print, newspaper), they’re very likely to go online and do some more research – and that’s where things like reviews, ratings and testimonials can make a significant impact.
Another issue is that most advertising programs assume a straight path to conversions, when the result is anything but. The customer could go from print awareness to online research at your website, but then go offsite to look up user reviews, do some comparison shopping, seek out coupons, watch a product unboxing video, look over the company’s Facebook page to see what people are saying, double-back on the comparison shopping engine to find the best deal, and so forth.
The fact is, the conversion path isn’t pretty and that’s because it’s too often tied to wisps of numbers that don’t make any meaningful and measurable impact on the bottom line.
Mapping Campaigns to Results
Changing techniques to focus on revenues and relationships requires a change in how we think about campaigns
So how do you tie your campaigns into the kind of insights that deliver the results you need? Let’s take a look at some common types of campaigns and how they can be adjusted:
E-Commerce relies heavily on the power of reviews, testimonials and coupons – so combining these in a way that makes sense (such as putting reviews of that particular product below the customer’s item when they go to view their cart) will help reduce cart abandonment rates and seal the deal.
Automatically adding in a coupon (especially for free shipping) only serves to sweeten the deal, and greatly reduces the risk that the customer will go offsite to search for coupons – and potentially to a competitor.
Don’t forget the service after the sale either. Following up to inquire about how the customer likes the product, if they’ve used it yet or have any questions are crucial for keeping your brand front-of-mind in a way that’s helpful, not intrusive.
New Product Launch
New product launches are by far the easiest processes to map. Since initiatives are just getting off the ground, you can more easily segment and monitor them across all channels. But even with that kind of segmentation in place, it’s worth noting that few customers who “Like” a particular brand (for a discount, sample or whatever) seldom return to that page.
Your main goal in measuring results with new product launches should be to get customers to visualize their lives made better as a result of having your product in it. Your best customer may not say a lot or interact a lot on social media, but they will tell friends and family about you – and that speaks volumes more than any advertising can.
Brick and Mortar Sales
If your product is featured in traditional storefronts, there’s a lot you can do to help increase conversions. Create a coupon code for a specific retail chain or even a specific locale so that you can tie results directly to that specific campaign.
Help thwart showrooming (where customers browse in store but buy online) by price matching. Don’t force customers to jump through hoops to get the advertised price, either. Move the conversion needle even more by offering users a social coupon. This is one that can be shared with friends, but must be printed and brought to the store to redeem. You can track the success of the campaign through social analytics or the number of coupons redeemed.
There Is No Best Choice
One of the most common questions from the C-Suite with regard to conversions is “which channel drives the most?” Here again, there’s too much of a focus hinging on pure numbers and not more valuable (but intangible) things like customer sentiment, recommendations, brand awareness and so on. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to discovering which channel brings the greatest ROI – because there isn’t a single channel that does this all the time, for everyone, with every product.
Oftentimes, it’s a mix of initiatives that drive the best results. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Look at the mixes of what’s driving the most engagement or converting the most first-time users into paying customers – that’s the avenue you want to improve conversions on.
How Kissmetrics Can Help
If you’re using Kissmetrics, we’ve made it incredibly easy to see which marketing channels are sending the most profitable visitors.
We do this by using different channels. These channels include visitors who are referred directly to your site, who come by way of a third party, by email, and much more. But simply knowing where they come from is only part of the equation.
What you really want to know is — which visitors are bringing in the revenue?
And because Kissmetrics tracks users, not sessions, you can easily tie revenues to people. This is done by setting up the Revenue Report. Set it up once and let it start tackling the data effortlessly. You can even import your existing sales data if you wish.
An example of a Kissmetrics revenue report segmenting revenue by product category
The most valuable aspect of the Revenue Report is seeing which channels drive your biggest profits — not necessarily the most traffic or even the highest quality traffic — but pure revenues. As stated, you can even segment by marketing channel, so you’ll learn not only which campaigns resonate with your target audience, but what that means in terms of your bottom line.
Map It Out
Always look at strategy from a point of constant improvement rather than a “once and done” campaign
Some of us marketers are just visual learners who perform best when an idea is fully mapped out – so don’t hesitate to do this if you feel it will give you a better idea of how to move forward. Draw a horizontal “timeline” showing the different touch points where your customer interacts with your product or service in any way. Then, draw a vertical line showing the stages of the sales funnel.
Now look at it carefully and see where and how the different areas intersect and mingle with each other. Are there areas where customers are dropping off considerably? Are there touch points where the customer isn’t getting the help or clarification they need? When you map out the process, it’s amazing the findings that will suddenly come to light!
No matter what, going from campaigns to conversions isn’t about looking at the raw data as win or lose. It’s about looking at the big picture of which campaigns cultivated the kind of customer sentiment and brand awareness you want while minimizing friction or cart abandonment. And more often than not, these kinds of results will come from many different campaigns and channels.
It requires a shift in how you think about conversions and how they tie into overall customer retention, to be sure, but making that shift and looking at initiatives in terms of wide-reaching strategies rather than one-off campaigns can make a significant difference in all areas of business.
Have you integrated any of these ideas into your own campaigns? What kind of results have you gotten? Share your thoughts and comments with us below!
About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!