Our final post in this series will identify the Third Way to Measure Online Influence in Minutes – Sales. By tying your online influence directly to your business’ sales, you can verify the worth of your online social media and content marketing efforts and match revenue to your investments in time and dollars.
There are great subscription-based programs on the market that are dedicated to helping businesses track the impact online activities have on revenue. Examples include Marketo, SalesForce, Eloqua and Hubspot, among others. However, if your business is new to the online space or if you have a limited budget, several free and effective tips and tools are available.
Check out these simple but sound tips to get you started:
- Compare revenue against online campaigns and web metrics.
Go back to the business basics: identify trends and patterns around your revenue, online campaigns and web analytics. Compare data in a quick excel datasheet or graph and make assumptions for future business decisions. Data doesn’t lie, so don’t shy away from attributing positive (or negative!) online influence to business ROI. Look for any abnormal spikes, dips or outliers. You can even look back at historical data to determine seasonal comparisons and contrast for the results you uncover.
- Embed one-step online sales plug-ins throughout your business’ web properties.
The easier you can make it for your business’ prospects to conveniently purchase products or services from you, the more likely they will be complete your sales funnel from end-to-end. Shorten your online sales process whenever possible, and incorporate purchase widgets and plugins into all of your web resources from email and mobile to social media and your company blog. The evidence will shine in results. PCWorld reported a 40% increase in revenue for an online children’s accessories store – after just three months of incorporating ecommerce into the company’s Facebook page. Don’t miss out on the revenue one-stop shopping can bring to your small business.
- Use discount and promotional code fields in your campaigns.
Track your marketing efforts by incorporating auto-populated discount and promotional code fields in your online shopping cart. Assign codes to each marketing activity and measure revenue your across each. Google analytics and other ecommerce plugins such as Paypal, Intuit, WorldPay and ProfitStars.com can help.
- Drive customers and prospects to “landing pages.”
A “landing page” is any webpage that you send your audience to in a marketing campaign. To increase your business’ likelihood of converting prospects to sales, tailor a webpage to your target audience’s specific needs. Keep your page simple; include only the most relevant information followed by a clear call to action. Google Analytics’ Conversion Suite or Crazy Egg are both tools that will show you where your visitors are clicking and where they fall in your sales funnel process.
- Survey your consumers. Find out how online impacted purchase decisions.
A short poll at the end of your shopping cart checkout will cost your customers a few extra seconds, but will provide you with important information to increase your business ROI. Ask customers which online campaign(s) influenced their purchase decision, and limit the response options to five our less to keep their attention. Also consider including a free response section for customers to offer additional details and/or suggestions.
- Test online activity, analyze trends and measure against revenue.
Another valuable way to prove a direct correlation between your business’ online influence and sales is by testing your online campaigns. Implement controls and variables, compare with your historical data and take note of corresponding revenue patterns. Learn more on best practices in testing from Destination CRM, or read case studies on the positive impact testing has on ecommerce conversions and revenue on ConversionsWork.co.
This concludes our series on 3 Ways to Measure Online Influence in Minutes. We hope you have learned some valuable takeaways to grow your business and attribute online influence to company dollars. Through measuring the direct influence and impact your online presence has on new business, customer loyalty and reputation – you can better manage and ensure your company’s long-term sustainability in today’s competitive markets.
Questions or comments? Contact us through the comments section below.
Did you miss Post 1 in this series? Read it here.
Social media is the second area that business owners can easily measure their online influence and impact. When benchmarking social media success, it’s important to take into consideration that social media should be used as a means to an end, not THE END. Social media can be a great resource to help build your business’ credibility among your target market. Use social media to drive customers to your .US website, continue through your sales funnel and eventually convert.
Often times, social media is stereotyped as the marketing tactic that “can’t be measured.” However, there are many different ways you can measure the value and business impact social media brings to your bottom line.
Below are just a few KPI’s and free tools we’ve identified to get you started in determining your overall online influence via social:
Reach/Impressions: Reach refers to the number of unique social media accounts that saw your published message(s) and Impressions is the total number of times messages were delivered to accounts. Most social media accounts offer free tracking reports for reach and impressions – including Facebook Insights and Linkedin. Third-party reporting sites are other effective alternatives, with Tweet Reach and Crowdbooster to name a few. Moreover, use this valuable data to determine the best distribution times for your messages to optimize your reach and impressions (tool: Timely.is). If your audience doesn’t see your message, you’re wasting your time and you’ll have 0% chance to getting them to your website.
Engagement: Now that your audience has seen your social media message, the next step is for them to “engage” with your message and/or your company account. Engagement can take different forms – from clicks, comments and questions to follows, shares and mentions. If a potential customer engages with your business on social media, you know your message relates to them and has provided value. You can also set lead scores for various types of engagements received on social, and use pass along qualified leads to sales. Social Mention, Bitly Hootsuite and Tweet Deck are five tools to count and quantify your business’ social media engagement.
Are you reaching the right audience through your social media efforts? Research the top users and contributors to your outreach with Social Mention and Tweetreach. You can also set up an account on Klout to find out which users you are influencing the most (navigation: influencers>>you influence tab). View user profiles and followers/fans to learn more about who they are and if they fit into your target customer persona. If you find that your social media efforts are not, in fact, attracting the right audience for your business goals, then you might need to go back to square one and conduct some additional research to catch the attention of the audience that is valuable to your business. You can search for users by various demographics and keywords, such as company name, job title, location and more via Twitter Advanced Search, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and other networks. Directories including wefollow, twello and Technorati may also prove worthwhile tools.
Track your website visits from social through Google Analytics. It’s easy to create tracking codes for all the links you publish socially with google’s URL Builder tool. This will allow you to identify the social networks that drive the most traffic, the most popular pages your visitors visit and the messages that produce the highest sales conversions. You can also use Google Analytics to test the messages you distribute through social media. Learn what content resonates best with your audience, optimal distribution times, and tweak future messages accordingly for best results.
You can also determine your business’ social media influence by following the social media activity of your competitors. Most social media outlets display public profiles for all users – so a simple company name search will often do the trick. Additionally, search for analytical information on your competitors’ social presence with free tools Social Mention, Tweetreach and Klout or dig deeper with a paid subscription of Radian6 or TwentyFeet.
Looking for more? Check out these additional resources for best practices on optimizing social:
Next week: check out our final post in this series –how to measure online influence and impact across Sales. Get cutting-edge tools and best practices to better connect your social efforts to sales revenue and ROI.
Business savvy entrepreneurs everywhere understand the importance of getting their business online. However, once there – many fail to measure the direct influence and impact that their online presence has on new business, customer loyalty and reputation.
There are several free tools and resources available to help you connect your online results with ROI. You can start measuring your online influence and impact across your website, social media and sales & revenues — all in a matter of minutes.
If you haven’t already started using Google Analytics to monitor your website activity, follow these simple instructions to add it to your site now. Google Analytics is a free tool that will provide you with invaluable data around where your visitors are coming from and how they are engaging with your content.
Use this service to access and automate:
- Reports: Tailor weekly, daily or monthly reports for your specific needs – from number/demographics of web visitors and PPC ad performance, to website referrals, ecommerce and content trends.
- Dashboards: Design personalized dashboards with the analytics, visuals and comparisons that are valuable to you. Place your dashboard on your internal websites with customizable widgets or set up automated alerts to your company email.
- Promotions: Create google tracking codes for each link (to your website) you distribute externally. Distribution outlets could include social media, email, forums and more. Filter results of each promotional campaign within google analytics (Traffic Sources >> Sources >> Search >> Campaigns).
Now that you have access to your Web site analytics, you’re probably wondering how you compare to your competitors. Compete.com is a great resource that allows you to benchmark your data against others in the marketplace. You can also use SimilarSites.com to find other information about competitor websites including keywords and rankings. After checking your site against competitors, you might find that your website doesn’t measure up quite as you hoped. The reason for this may be attributed to your website having a low SEO ranking on popular industry key words.
SEOCentro provides a quick “rank checker,” which allows you to identity where your website ranks on search results for specific keywords. The tool also lists those websites who rank above and below your website according to search term.
Stay tuned for our next two posts in this series – covering tips and tools to measure online influence and impact across the areas of Social media and Sales.