Staying on top of events for marketers nowadays means they need to closely monitor a constantly growing number of platforms. But how can you identify the ones that will make a difference, or at least prevent you from getting into a tight spot?
Here are the 5 basic data sources you need to monitor daily in order to prevent any headaches and to make sure your data-driven marketing strategy is delivering to the promise.
1. Google Analytics
If you are an in-house marketer, one of the most important things you need to track is the performance of the website you are in charge of. You need to understand how well it is (or isn't) driving incoming traffic, sales and revenue.
Google Analytics is one of the most common tools for understanding website traffic and is an indispensable aid in the work of every marketer. It provides an entire spectrum of information, with numerous reports offering deep insights into how your site is contributing to your business goals.
With the large amount of information that Google Analytics provides, you can easily get lost and become overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are a couple of key metric areas in Google Analytics that you can use to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities on your website.
By keeping an eye on parameters related to Users (the number of people visiting your website, how often they do it, where are they located, which devices they use…) you can make sure that the website is working properly, but also to understand the structure of your prospective customers and their interests and needs.
Traffic Sources tell you more about the channels driving traffic to your website, so you can monitor the performance of your paid campaigns, but also the results of your efforts in the area of Search Engine Optimization.
Ultimately, by monitoring Conversions, whether it’s users hitting set Goals on your website, or them transacting on your eCommerce portal, you can establish a clear overview of the business results that your marketing campaigns are driving.
2. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that brings marketers a lot of useful information about the structure of the organic traffic coming to their websites. Although most see GSC as a technical tool, which helps SEO specialists to monitor the status of individual pages in Google’s Search, there is also a very important aspect of it that most marketers are unaware of.
The Performance area of GSC hides a list of all search terms that your website is appearing for in Google Search results and the ones that eventually brought people to your website. Through monitoring and periodically analyzing this list of search queries you will be able to understand what your customers search for, with which intent, and how you can serve them better.
This information can help you optimize your site's content to perform better (read: appear in higher positions) in Google Search but also gives you an opportunity to track brand awareness through monitoring brand search terms. If the name of your company is searched more often, you must be doing something right.
3. Advertising platforms
Advertising platforms allow advertisers to manage and serve ads through a variety of channels, and to steer customers on their journey to final conversion. These platforms allow marketers to know where the ad budget money is spent, and how it reflects on the business. The most popular advertising platforms are Google, Facebook/Instagram, and Amazon, but there are literally hundreds of other platforms on which you can place your ads.
Any of the platforms will provide you with detailed information on the results of your advertising campaigns, but also on the key characteristics of the people who clicked on your ads. This gives you additional insights that you can use to improve your marketing strategy and use optimal tactics to reach set goals.
Of course, constant monitoring of basic metrics, such as Reach, CPC, or budget spend, is something that goes without saying, especially since we all know that they can change literally overnight. And there is nothing worse than finding out after a month that your campaign has flopped, and that the whole ad budget was spent on bringing in people who are not converting.
4. Social media platforms
If you are looking for a way to engage with the right people and achieve your targets by using social media platforms, you need to monitor data from an array of them – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok… the list goes on.
Social media platforms are important not only for advertising but also for “feeling the pulse” of the customer and increasing the reach, trust, and advocacy. By monitoring your brand's mentions on social media, and responding to any engagement, you can achieve even better results than with regular advertising campaigns.
A quick-response methodology can be applied to all types of brand discussion, including reviews, product questions, and even service repair concerns, allowing your customers to feel heard and supported. But if you don’t have the right tools, and don’t monitor all the channels, you will be missing out on a lot of opportunities.
You can also use social media channels to monitor what people are saying about your competition, and include those insights into the next version of your marketing strategy’s competitive approach.
5. CRM systems
Customer Relationship Management is a very important tool for managing your customers' journey. Various CRM platforms help you to keep all the important information in one place, and use it to understand conversions, manage and analyze customer interactions, and other data throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal is to improve customer satisfaction and assist in customer retention while using the acquired intelligence to drive future sales growth.
In order to improve your business, CRM systems compile customer data across different touchpoints, which could include the company’s website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials, and social networks. CRM systems can also give customer-facing staff members detailed information on customers' personal information, purchase history, buying preferences, and concerns. A properly used CRM system can easily become what sets you apart from the competition in the market.
Monitoring key metrics, such as time to close, deal value, or time to respond to support tickets, combined with information on which channel was used to acquire customers and their total value through time, can be used to optimize future campaigns, but also to calculate the most elusive KPI – ROI of your marketing.
By keeping an eye on these 5 tools you get an overview of all stages of the customer journey – from awareness, through acquisition, to retention – and you then have the insights to optimize it, and increase the value that the campaigns you are preparing and executing are returning to the customers and the business you are working for.
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