The great Avinash Kaushik, Google's own analytics evangelist, says he spends most of his time attempting to understand and clearly define a problem before trying to solve it. Applying this logic to your marketing efforts, the more you can pre-plan, the easier it is to successfully execute campaigns.
Follow these steps to ensure your next campaign is informed by data.
1. Define the purpose of your campaign.
Marketing campaigns should be working to advance the business strategy, to improve or answer a consumer need or for another purpose that makes sense to your brand.
Before you begin to brainstorm, define the purpose of the campaign and how it relates back to your marketing objectives. For instance, are you running a campaign with the aim of generating new business leads, nurturing existing leads or increasing reach on social media?
Answer the 'who, what, where, when and why'. Make sure your purpose relates to your target audience and leverage your marketing channels to reach this segment.
2. Set realistic goals and timelines.
Your goals should go hand-in-hand with the purpose of your campaign, but they are NOT one and the same. Goals need to be measurable. Identify the metrics that you'll use as a benchmark by comparing past campaigns.
You might set a goal as a number of downloads for your white paper, a percentage of likes to the impressions of Facebook posts or a percentage of unique visits to your landing page.
Also set realistic timelines so you're ready to simultaneously launch across channels for maximum exposure.
3. Set clear parameters.
Does the audience understand the rules and know what the prize is? Make sure your landing page includes all the information visitors need, including clear terms and conditions.
Don't overcomplicate steps. Make the desired engagement simple enough for your audience to follow through.
Choose a clearly-defined call-to-action. You might ask people to 'download a white-paper' to generate new leads or ask that your current customers to 'share a post' on Facebook to increase social reach. Whatever it is, make the primary call-to-action clear and prominent.
4. Tag campaigns URLs.
We cannot stress enough the importance of tagging campaign links so you can measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Tagging lets you see where someone found the link and how they interacted with your site.
Your primary concern should be tagging URLs that point to the landing page of your site. Otherwise, as a good practice, you should only tag links from social media if they are paid advertisements.
Try our free URL builder tool if you need assistance with tagging your campaign links. Then, have the analytics team test to ensure you've tagged correctly and consistently. Otherwise, a simple error here and you won't see your hard work in Google Analytics!
5. Analyse the data.
After you've run your campaign, compare the metrics to your original objectives. How did you go?
You can look at Google Analytics data for your landing page to see where visitors came from and how they interacted with your page. See if you can identify which channels contributed to its success and which channels under-performed.
It's equally important to understand your marketing efforts in context, comparing them to similar marketing campaigns you've run. If you've run a split test, are the results statistically significant to go with the winning option?
Finally, don't forget to apply the lessons you've learned when you plan your next marketing campaign.