Gordon Campbell looks at ways to improve the performance of your client’s digital marketing campaigns in 2016 through analysis, testing, personalisation and more!
Analysis & Reporting
This will probably sound obvious to most people reading this but after working with businesses on a freelance consultancy basis and in-house, it has become apparent that many businesses do not get provided with the level of detailed reporting that you would expect when paying substantial agency fees. I’ve even worked with clients that have forked out over £1 million on paid online advertising and they were provided very little data related to the success of their campaigns yet the agency told them to keep spending money and trust them. When the campaigns were scrutinised it was found that there was a large amount of wasteful spend. As a minimum this is what I believe should be provided to a paying client depending on what services you provide to them.
Search Engine Rankings
If a client is paying you to improve their search engine rankings then a report of where they rank on the search engine result page is still an extremely important KPI. A lot of people argue that with personalised results and localisation that these reports are not as valuable as they used to be therefore are not worth doing. I believe they are still valuable and it is easy to provide your clients with some baseline results. Keywords still matter, Google is a search engine and the vast majority of users still search by entering keywords. I think that a lot of SEOs got spooked after (not provided) and pretended to themselves that it won’t make a difference. However, anyone involved in search engine PPC can prove otherwise.
Key Analytics Metrics
Providing an overview of key metrics from Google Analytics is important. Occasionally they might require some explaining but feedback from the client can often highlight important issues before they become a real problem. I’ve found the best way to approach this is to discuss which metrics are important with the client and create a monthly report based on their needs. Google Analytics reports can obviously be automated but providing a bit of context to the client can be extremely useful, help build trust and improve their understanding. If you are running paid search campaigns it is also important to report on this individually within a report. Again, discussing with the client and advising them on which areas should be reported on is key.
Measuring conversion could have come under the Key Analytics Metrics section but I thought it was so important that I keep it separate. It is important that businesses understand exactly where conversions are coming from. This is relatively straightforward on an ecommerce site and you can quickly find out which traffic sources, or even keywords, are generating sales. Analysing and reporting on this data is in the best interest of the client and the agency as it allows the client to understand where the best return is coming from. For brick & mortar businesses this is slightly more complex and you may have to report on things such as form fills, but software such as CallTracks will allow you to measure the volume of phonecalls generated right back to a traffic source or keyword. Call tracking software like this can also allow you to push back an actual revenue figure into Google Analytics. This means that if someone visits a website, picks up the phone and a sale is made offline the loop can be closed giving you ecommerce level intelligence for people that converted offline. This can either be done manually for simple telephone transactions and works by keying in a transaction revenue figure after a call is completed. For longer considered purchases it can be done automatically by integrating with the client’s CRM system. Bottom line is that you should be doing everything you can to measure conversion, this will allow you to improve return on advertising spend and prove that you are doing a great job!
A/B & Multivariate Testing
Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to what will and won’t work on a website to improve conversion and very often it’s the person who is in the most senior position that wins the debate which obviously isn’t good for you or your client. A/B or Multivariate testing can give you precise answers as to what will improve conversion on a website. It can help you come to objective conclusions about what doesn’t and doesn’t work rather than relying on subjectivity. Whenever a new website is launched, you have just crossed the starting line and continuous improvements should be made that are driven through this kind of testing. Tools such as Optimizely has made A/B and multivariate testing a lot easier than it used to be but it can still be quite tricky to correctly interpret the results so you need to be extremely careful before drawing any conclusions.
During the early days of the web a website was a ‘one size fits all’ static entity and you didn’t really need to worry about multiple devices as much. Now it is a given that you should have a responsive website so that it adapts based on the device it is being viewed on. Having a responsive site is no longer good enough, you should really have a website that adapts based on an individual visitor needs if you really want to drive conversion. Personalised content can be driven by various means with the most basic being based on a visitors history on your website, this can be incredibly effective on its own and I’ve worked on ecommerce projects were this has made a huge difference. However, 3rd party data and data from your own CRM can also be fed into your website to supplement data you gather about the customer’s online activity to make this even more powerful. Sites such as Amazon do an incredibly good when it comes to personalisation but this technology is also available to small and medium sized businesses and can be incorporated into most open source CMSs. Start thinking about personalisation today or risk being left behind when all your competitors do.
We all know that if you are selling a product online, especially if it is a considered purchase, then there is a good chance that a visitor will not convert on the first visit. This is an area in which remarketing can come into play. It has never been easier to set up remarketing to target visitors to your site that haven’t converted yet. A ‘low hanging fruit’ audience to target would be someone who added their items to their shopping cart but never converted. You can retarget with them with something simple like a discount code. If you want to be a bit more sophisticated you can target customers with dynamic ‘personalised’ ads fairly easily too if your CMS provides a product feed. This can be done via Google AdWords but can be quite tricky and time consuming to set up, monitor and tweak. Another option I’ve had a lot of success with in the past is something like Criteo. Criteo is usually extremely easy to set up on most ecommerce sites and covers display networks outwith Google and allows you to remarket on Facebook. However, the additional features come at a price as I’ve found that you have less control over your campaigns.
Remarketing to Previous Customers on 3rd Party Sites
One of the best ways to remarket to previous customers is by using good old email marketing. However, a lot of customers will ignore commercial emails or they will find their way into a folder that never gets read. A way to combat this is to remarketing to customers using their email address. Google now allows you to create a customer email list that you can market to on the search network if they are signed into Google with a matched email address. This is an effective way of getting your message in front of previous customers who won’t open your emails. Facebook also allow you to do this too, and as well as that, you can also do the same using mobile phone numbers!
If you have captured a visitor’s email address it is possible for you to set up automated email remarketing if a visitor hasn’t converted. Many CMSs come with this feature built in and you just have to configure it, if not then there is plenty of email remarketing systems available that you should be able to plug into most websites built on open source platforms. Email Remarketing can be hugely powerful, especially for high traffic sites as it will allow you to contact visitors that didn’t compared without the same large cost that you would expect on doing it via a display network. Again, a good place to start would be to target people who were thinking about converting, such as cart abandoners, and incentivising them with an offer that has a time constraint attached to it to increase the chances that they will come back quickly.
I have personally implemented all of the above strategies to help improve leads and revenue for businesses that I work with and just scratches the surface of what is possible. I’d like to do a follow-up post in the future that and I’d like to invite you to share any additional ideas that you have in the comments section below.