Are you measuring your success online?

You are working blind if you are trying to implement an effective marketing strategy without analysing your performance and now it has never been more accessible to keep track of your results for the activities you do online. There is a wealth of data which enables you to assess the response of visitors to your website and then evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives, whether it is you are looking to enhance your online presence, increase your credibility or attract new customers.
Your web analytics will give you an understanding of the way that users find and then utilise your website, as well as what marketing activities are working and not working – a vital factor if you are committing budget to them! Here we discuss 5 top metrics you should be utilising:
1. The value of Conversion 
Marketing is principally about generating sales. Converting everyday members of the public into customers can involve many different routes but not every engagement ends with a sale – or is even intended to. It is important therefore to be clear on what type of conversion each campaign is intended to generate – be it an online sale, downloading a report, connecting with your social media profile or perhaps signing up to your email newsletter.
Visitors become valuable when they have engaged with your business online, as you can analyse a tangible outcome and begin to develop a relationship. There are plenty of tools out there to help you track conversions but the most well-known is Google Analytics which allows you to set up conversion goals and track these against the traffic to your website.
In addition, there is now a brand new social media tool that enables you to increase the conversion rate from your social media activity: we all share useful content on social media to increase our reach and credibility – but once you audience has opened bbc.co.uk or forbes.com – they’ve left you,. Conversion lost! But that’s where a new tool called doc.pm comes in – it places a little window from you (a message, an advert, a call-to-action) on the page that you share. Pushing traffic back to you as well – conversion increases!
2. To click or not to click
Everything you do online is aimed at engaging with potential customers in one way or another. Appearing on the first page of a Google search or placing an advert on Facebook are of no value if there is little or no consequent action.  Click-through rates (CTR) are important because they help inform whether the audience you have chosen to target, and the words you have used, are effective in convincing your audience to engage.
Only a small percentage of people who view your advert or link will actually end up clicking and visiting your webpage – around 2% for Google Adwords – so you need to experiment with what will catch their attention. My tip is to review and update your ‘snippet’, which is your company profile on Google, using Webmaster. This free tool will enable you to update this information to give the best possible first impression to potential online customers.
3. Sharing is growing
Referral traffic analytics let you know which third party websites (other than search engines) are directing traffic to your site. The key is to understand not only where your key traffic flow is generated but also the browsing habits of your audience, and use this to develop new traffic sources.
The basic Google Analytics platform enables you to see where your visitors are coming from such as third-party websites, social media profiles, mobile apps or email marketing campaigns.  Another site commonly used by advertisers is www.alexa.com which will give you an overview of any site (including your competitors) plus their web statistics and referral traffic.
Referral traffic is also important to SEO, which we’ll discuss later, in so much as the more credible, and relevant webpages that link to your website, the higher Google search rankings will score you. High quality content placed on other reputable sites with links back to your webpage add real value.
4. The mystical dark arts of SEO
Lots of people will have you believe that the ‘dark arts’ of keywords and web spiders will boost your search engine optimisation (SEO) and boost your website up search engine rankings. The truth is that since 2011, updates to Google’s ranking algorithms mean that a holistic approach to social engagement is now the key to the best results.
Yes, keywords are important but rather than relying on techies in dark rooms trying to trick Google into ranking you higher than your competitors, the emphasis is now on sharing high quality original content. Remember that your website isn’t the only place on the Web where your brand engages with your audience; you need to be approaching SEO by understanding where your customers want to be interacting with you.
5. Social conversations
Lots of fans, followers and friends are great if you’re in a popularity contest but the only real value to your business comes if they are engaging with you.  The key is to not just view followers as a singular opportunity but consider them a route to accessing and then influencing their whole network.
We know that peer referrals have amongst the highest marketing conversion rates so consider what content or message is most likely to get your followers to share with their followers and drive traffic to your website. One of the best tools for measuring your social influence is Klout, a platform which helps you better understand who is engaging with your social media profiles and how influential they are amongst their peers. www.klout.com
 
Written by Christina Richardson, a business marketing specialist and founder of The Nurture Network: The on-demand marketing department for ambitious start-ups, and entrepreneurial SMEs  – bringing great marketing people into your team just when you need them.