Make every penny count using online ROI Analysis
In business, you make important decisions each day. But few have as much impact on your business as your advertising decisions. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you need to understand how your advertising works.
This is fundamental of course to the operation of a successful business but even more so in light of the global economic meltdown which is now affecting the UK.
With businesses/companies engulfed in recession many are seeking to reduce overheads, drive down costs and limit budgets, therefore the importance of maximising your advertising spend and understanding your ROI for each campaign is critical.
Online marketing offers one such solution. Targeted and more measurable than traditional advertising channels, the concept is simple, who, why, where and when?
Harnessing the power of technology, advertising campaigns can be monitored and evaluated via the internet utilising one of the many web stats packages that are available in the market place.
At WebPraxis our preference is Google Analytics, a free statistics package which caters to the needs of SME’s.
Along with the normal statistics such as number of visitors, traffic sources, top content etc latest advancements to the package mean that it can be tailored to track all your online marketing activity as well as your offline print, radio or television marketing.
By individually tracking each of your marketing mediums you can refine your campaigns as they progress and gather the information that will help you determine what works for your business.
So how would this work for me? How do I initiate my marketing campaign?
Let’s take a simple example. You organise an information and training seminar day that you want to advertise using both offline marketing (print ads and flyers) and online marketing (web banners, HTML mass e-mail).
Using Google Analytics daily ROI reports can be produced so that you can fine-tune your marketing spends against mediums that generate interest. Combined with a HTML e-mail campaign report you are then able to report on the click-through rate (CTR) giving your telephone-sales team hot leads to investigate.
As the campaign draws to its conclusion provision can then be made for the production of a detailed ROI report. The report aims to give an overview of how successful each medium has been before drilling down to more in depth analysis around bounce rates, traffic sources, number of visits, registrations and sign up’s etc that can be attributed to an original source.
Needless to say this information is of paramount importance if you wish to exploit future advertising opportunities to benefit your business.
The Technical setup
Tracking your online marketing spend relies on;
- Use of Google Analytics (GA) and Google UTM link tagging
- An optimised website landing page
- Set up of goals and goal values in GA
- Refinement of campaign as it progresses
Google UTM Link Tagging
Google Analytics allows you to track both online and offline marketing using UTM link tagging. UTM link tagging is a relatively simple but adept process to add additional parameters to a URL so that you are able to track a visitor’s behaviour during a visit to your website.
The Landing page & the six-step rule
The Landing page is the page your visitor arrives at after clicking on or in the case of offline advertising following a link from your ad creative. The landing page can make or break your advertising campaign, so think about implementing the six-step rule when designing your
1. Consistency -The landing page should expand on and reinforce your ad creative but don’t simply repeat the ad creative – offer the visitor something more!
3. Focus – Make sure the page has one main objective (your call to action) be it to enquire about a product, make a purchase or subscribe to the site.
4. Time – you have just seconds to capture a visitor’s interest before they hit the back button and find your competitors.
5. Positioning – Your call to action should be above the page fold (usually in the top 300 pixels) as a general rule you lose 50% of visitors for every additional click so if you need the visitor to fill out a registration form make sure it’s on the landing page.
6. Practice makes perfect – employ a website optimiser service to test different variations of your landing page to see which variation produces the highest conversion rates.
The Goal page
The Goal page is simply a page to express your gratitude to users once they have registered or subscribed with you or for one of your products. Users expect to receive an e-mail receipt once they have registered. It conveys their importance to you and will allow you to advertise any of your other services at the same time.
Remember to personalise your e-mail to add to customer satisfaction!
Valuing a Goal
Goal pages allow you to measure ROI by your definition of your goal.
For example on an e-Commerce site your goal could be a completed purchase, with a Web Application it could be a customer registration, or on a Blog – a subscription to your e-mail newsletter.
Using the scenario of a seminar registration, a good way to value a goal is to assess how often visitors who reach your goal page become customers. If, for example, your sales team can close 10% of people who register for your seminar, and your average transaction is £2000.00, you might assign £200.00 (i.e. 10% of £2000.00) to your “Seminar Registration” goal.
By tracking the source of a goal you can track your ROI for each medium.
Understand the data you collect
Using the above valuation of a Goal i.e. £200.00 the headline ROI figures for your training seminar might be.
- The website received 3122 Visits in the 5 day registration period
- There were 160 goal conversions (people who registered for the seminar)
- There was a 5.14% Conversion Rate (percentage of visitors who registered for the seminar)
- A £32,000 Total Goal Value
Using HTML e-mails
HTML e-mail is another cost effective and powerful online advertising medium. Before embarking on a HTML e-mail campaign it is imperative that you gain an understanding of SPAM laws to ensure that your campaign doesn’t leave you in danger of having your website spam blacklisted.
WebPraxis HTML e-mail campaigns Terms & Conditions
At WebPraxis we ask all clients for whom we operate HTML e-mail campaigns to agree to the following terms;
People who you can e-mail – the key here is permission;
- Those who have specifically signed up through your website
- Those who completed offline forms & indicated they wanted to be e-mailed
- Those that gave you their business card and asked to receive e-mail
- Your existing customers
People who you can’t e-mail;
Anybody that is not covered by the list above! For example;
- E-mail addresses received from a third party
- E-mails addresses you collected or “copy & pasted” from the Internet
- E-mails addresses you haven’t e-mailed in the last 2 years
Although this goes one step beyond the UK spam laws it ensures that campaigns we manage on behalf of our clients are legitimate and that your business will never be at risk of being Spam black listed.
Tracking and Running a HTML e-mail campaign
HTML e-mail campaigns are ideal for generating new business opportunities. The combination of a quality professional mass mailing application, eye catching design and Google link tagging allows you to distinguish who and how many people (CTR) have gone from your e-mail to your landing page and how many people have subscribed to your site, registered for an event or expressed an interest in your product(s).
WebPraxis HTML e-mail top tips
When operating a HTML e-mail campaign it is advisable that you follow the principles of
WebPraxis’ six step rule but in addition:
- Remember that image blocking in e-mail applications is common, so provide a text based alternative, and make sure it still conveys your message without images.
- Utilise tables and inline styles to ensure that your e-mail displays accurately to clients.
- Make it legal, ensure there is a unsubscribe link and that the e-mail contains your company address, e-mail, telephone number, website address.
- Remind the recipient how they gave you permission to e-mail them & make sure the e-mail is relevant to the recipient.
- Test your e-mail with various e-mail clients (Outlook, thunderbird etc) as well as with spam filters. Outlook 2007 no longer uses Internet Explorer to display HTML content, opting instead to use MS Word.
- Manage your recipients database, make sure your mass mailing application supports suppression lists (list of unsubscribed, DNS failures & bounces), and removes any duplicates and incorrect e-mails addresses automatically.
- Forms, video, and flash content are best hosted on your landing page. Although it is possible to convert a video file to an animated gif if it is imperative that your HTML e-mail contains some form of video content directly.