Founder's Journal

Improving Your Marketing Metrics

William Gadea 02.14.2017

We have just launched a new website, and I plan to write about that experience once it has settled a bit more for me. Today, I’d like to talk about our marketing metrics, and how they are evolving with time.

Many business owners are a bit cagey about their marketing, but often it is for no good reason. Chad Michael, Founder of Adventures Games, Inc. just finished a four-video series with us, and he was in the office last Friday to wrap up the engagement. I really appreciated the generous way he talked about his marketing tactics; it’s something I’d like to do more of here on Founder’s Journal.

So onto metrics! They are important. It was Peter Drucker who said you can’t manage what you can’t measure, and he was right. But it takes time and money to set-up, collect, and analyze marketing metrics. It’s probably fitting that the sophistication of the metrics should ramp up with the size of the business. That’s what has happened here at IdeaRocket.

At IdeaRocket, we have five major marketing channels: pay-per-click advertising, organic search, email, referrals, and repeat business. The latter two are nearly free, although it takes a bit of effort to maximize them. The most important use of our metrics is to apportion resources to the first three, so that we do more of what is more cost-effective, and less of what is less cost-effective.

What we have been doing for a number of years is tracking the cost per lead. That’s relatively easy to do: tracking code on our contact form tells Google Analytics where the lead comes from. Each month, I divide the cost of each channel by the number of leads we get from it, deriving a cost per lead. We usually report it out as a trailing 6-month figure, to even out the bumps.

This is useful, but not ideal. As our advertising spending gets spread out to venues like Facebook, it is quite possible that a Facebook lead might not convert to a sale as often as an Adwords lead… or vice versa. Up until recently, we wouldn’t be able to say if either was the case.

When we launched our new website, we contracted with a digital agency, Proper Villains, to help us develop a system that would track a lead all the way to a sale. Here’s how it works.

When we enter our URL on social media or an advertising platform such as Bing, Adwords, or Facebook, we add some code at the end of the URL using a tool such as Campaign URL Builder. Here’s what it looks like:

curl builder

Into this tool, we enter:
1. The URL we would like to take the viewer to
2. The source (Google, Adwords, Bing, etc.)
3. The medium (cpc, social, or other) and
4. The campaign (an identifier of the keyword or ad creative.)

At the bottom of the image, you will see a generated URL with a suffix at the end, which we can now enter into the ad or social media post. We call this the UTM, or Urchin Tracking Module.

When the visitor comes to our site, the UTM data is dumped onto a cookie. Should that visitor fill out a contact form, the UTM data will be sent along with that form to our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, in our case SalesForce.

If and when the prospect becomes a customer, we will be able to refer back to the CRM contact and see where that business came from. And now we will be able to tell, not just where our leads come from, but where our sales come from.

Of course, there are leaps in sophistication that we are yet to take! Many times the channels work together. Somebody might see an Adwords ad, like us on Facebook, then start following us on Twitter, eventually to be prompted by a tweet to revisit the site and send a contact form. In our system, this would be counted as a triumph for Twitter, but really all three platforms played a role. A more advanced U-shaped attribution system would score that lead .4 for Adwords, .2 for Facebook, and .4 for Twitter, so they all received a little bit of the credit. We are not there yet!

If you have any questions any aspect of our marketing efforts, please ask away. I would be glad to help another small business owner with whatever pickings I’ve been able to gleen!

William Gadea

William Gadea

William Gadea is the Creative Director and Founder of IdeaRocket.
William Gadea

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