Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Suzanne McKee

Suzanne McKee

You have likely spent a lot of time and resources on your website. You take the time to put your marketing emails together thoughtfully before you hit the send button. But do you really know which campaigns produce results? Do you know the pages on your website that bring in visitors? Or, those that more people leave your site from?


The amount of data you can collect electronically these days can become overwhelming, but it is worthwhile to take some time to decide which metrics are important to your business, to help measure your successes and learn where changes are needed.

What Metrics Matter Most?

It depends — what are your goals? If you are trying to gain awareness in the market, page hits, blog visits and organic searches could be very important to you. If you need to prove your ROI for a particular campaign, then funnel analytics, landing page performance and visitor sources would be critical information to understand.

HubSpot is an expert in inbound marketing and a company that provides software as a service product to assist businesses with their marketing needs. It recommends that you start with SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Such goals will set the stage for what data points matter most to your business.

For example,
Specific = Increase email opt-ins by 20 percent
Measurable = Move from 100 to 120
Attainable = 20 new contacts brought in with valuable
content marketing
Relevant = Company needs to gain more awareness
Timely = Two months

Or, maybe you have set up a specific page on your site to promote a new program that you are offering. Your goal could look more like this:

Specific = 1,000 page hits on our landing page for the new petunia program
Measurable = Use Google Analytics (or other tool) to measure
Attainable = Previous campaigns have hit 750, so 1,000 is not out of the ballpark
Relevant = New petunia program is the big push for the company this sales season
Timely = One month

Once your goals are set, make them manageable and start with only two to three to set your benchmarks. Find out where you are today. Do you have two visits per month or 2,000?

Everyone has to start somewhere, but if you don’t know where that starting point is, you’ll have no way to measure your success — or learn about what you need to do differently next time.

How To Capture The Data

Getting your hands on different analytics and data points is actually rather easy, and methods range from a combination of free (or relatively inexpensive) tools to incredibly sophisticated tools that require more of an investment.

The following data collection sites give an overview of some of the more common tools available, but there are so many on the market that a simple Google search of marketing analytics or inbound marketing will offer you a broader view of what is available and what might be best for your business. Take advantage of the free trial periods that almost all of these companies offer to make sure it is intuitive to use and it meets all of your needs.

Here are some of the best known sites:

  • Google Analytics is a free tool that places a line of code on each page of your website to provide web visits, page hits, visitor source and much more.
  • MailChimp is a service that ranges from free to $500/month depending on your package to create, send and track emails.
  • Constant Contact is an email, social and event marketing solution with varying levels of pricing, depending on your service level.
  • KISSmetrics is similar to Google Analytics, but it adds customer intelligence to its mix to give you a better look at who is on your site and not just how many. Pricing ranges from $179 to $599/month.
  • HubSpot is an inbound marketing software platform that advertises itself as helping companies attract visitors, convert leads and close customers. Pricing starts at $200/month and goes up from there based on service levels.
  • Marketo is positioned as a marketing automation software company that helps you bring together all of your digital marketing activities. Pricing starts at $895/month and is targeted more to larger companies.

What Do You Do With Everything You Find Out

You’ve set goals and captured data, and depending on the tools you’re using, you may even have some nice graphics to impress everyone with at the next staff meeting. The time you’ve taken to get to this point is only worth it if you use this intelligence to learn, finesse, and update your website and campaigns.

If a promotion didn’t hit your target, don’t just rerun the same thing next time and hope for better results. Dig in and learn from it — sometimes it may just be a matter of a few tweaks to improve performance. Sometimes you may need to step back and reevaluate the underlying strategy and be willing to walk away from something that just isn’t working. Learn from the data you collect and be flexible enough to make adjustments to your website, programs and promotions when necessary.

Measureable Metrics For Digital Marketing

It’s helpful when setting your goals to understand which metrics exist to get a good frame of reference.

Some of the measurable metrics in your digital marketing and online presence:
Web metrics (Page hits, visitors/month, etc.)
Email metrics (Open rate, click rate)
Marketing channel analytics (How did they find you? Social media, email, organic search, direct traffic)
Funnel analytics (At what point in your communications and nurturing did they make the move from a lead to a customer?)
On-site engagement (Where do they click? Where do they stay? Where do they leave?)
Customer analytics (Surveys, web experience, etc.)