As marketers, how can we use the data available to us to determine the impact of our efforts? How can we leverage this data to provide insights and make informed business decisions?
In our latest Lunch & Learn @ Liquid, we walked you through Liquid’s proprietary Analytics Maturity Model and the importance of having an analytics strategy in place.
We all have so much data at our fingertips, but without a strong, long-term analytics strategy in place, you’ll likely never understand the true value of your marketing efforts, and you are likely missing opportunities to capitalize on trends from your data.
Our detailed process goes through the steps needed to get from a basic level of analytics to a level in which you have closed the loop in your marketing efforts and are able to use your data to make strategic business decisions.
If you want to start doing analytics the right way, read on for more (or skip to the end for the video of the presentation).
PHASE 1 – BASIC ANALYTICS
Establishing a strong analytics foundation is the most important step in our process, because, without clean data, you won’t be able to trust the data that you are monitoring. How will you be able to know that your analytics setup works efficiently without going back and starting with the basics?
Determining your website goals and the story that you want to tell your audience will help to prioritize which data is the most important to your organization.
Then, you can begin tracking the actions that users take on your website as conversions to see if your goals are being met.
However, none of this will be possible unless you stay organized.
It is important to get consistent tracking in place before a campaign begins, or else you will have no idea which sources your data came from and won’t be able to weigh the impact of your efforts – making your data virtually useless.
Nobody wants useless data, right?
PHASE 2 – USER EXPERIENCE ANALYTICS
Now that you have a solid baseline analytics strategy, you can start to look at the user experience journey across your website through the story that your data is telling you.
Looking at which pages are receiving the most engagement on your site will show you which content users are the most interested in reading – and what you should create more of.
I am a strong believer that your data will tell you everything you need to know – including what your audience wants.
It is also important to start looking at the health of your website. Incorporating other tools, like Search Console and a mobile-friendly tester, along with your basic analytics platform will begin to piece together how your website looks to your audience and to search engines. Then, you will learn where you need to make improvements based on what your data is telling you.
PHASE 3 – ADVANCED ANALYTICS
Since you now have a strong baseline and can understand the user journey on your site, you can start to bring together all of this data in an advanced format.
Making the transition from basic analytics to advanced analytics involves data aggregation. You can get your data truly connected by bringing everything into the same place, and comparing your data side-by-side.
Visualizing the data from your social media efforts right next to your email efforts and your paid efforts will give you the insights you need on what your different audiences are doing once they reach your website.
Then, you can start to optimize your marketing efforts and make changes to reach the right audience, and get them on a path of least resistance to conversion.
The easiest way to aggregate and visualize your data is through dashboards.
You can build dashboards for your entire team, and show each person only the data that they care about – which will make their lives easier and your life more efficient.
PHASE 4 – CLOSING THE LOOP
How can you get all of the leads you are collecting to become actual sales for your company? What is your plan for how you will use this data to your advantage?
You have to start closing the loop and tying your leads to actual human beings.
This is by far the hardest step for brands to conquer. But it is possible.
Every person that touches your brand is an individual, and you need to start diving deeper into the wants and needs of these people to deliver the answer that they are searching for.
Taking this step begins with a CRM – a customer relationship management tool that can analyze your customer lifecycle from the moment a person touches your brand to the point of sale. If you already have a CRM, is it being used correctly to give you a full understanding of your efforts?
Another tool you can begin using as a marketer is a marketing automation system. This tool will help you to prepare a plan for how your leads will be nurtured and turned into sales. A marketing automation system is an excellent way to tie your lead nurturing back to your marketing efforts.
Then, it becomes much easier to start attributing which channels from your efforts are responsible for a sale.
However, without clean and organized data, you will never be able to attribute your efforts. It is impossible to do this without knowing how your data works together, inside and out – and this can take years.
But you will never be able to get there unless you start at the beginning.
PHASE 5 – BUSINESS PLANNING
The final step in our Analytics Maturity Model is to begin to make data-driven business decisions.
You are no longer just “going with your gut” to make decisions, but have the actual data and insights to prove exactly where your organization needs to be going.
You have the data to accurately tell how many marketing dollars you need to turn your efforts into revenue.
At this phase of the model, you can start to look towards the future and think about how you will begin to reach new audiences – and initiate the cycle all over again.
This is not an overnight effort and truly has no end. You can always use your data to learn something new about your website and audience, and then you can deliver the best possible experience to your customers, so they keep coming back.
Data is focused on the client, with a goal to improve every single touchpoint and experience they have with your brand.
Liquid can help your organization determine where you are within our Analytics Maturity Model, and we can put a plan together to get you where you need to be.
About Alex Prestipino
Alex monitors and plans strategies and campaigns surrounding SEO, SEM, social media and analytics for our clients as a Digital Marketing Strategist at Liquid.