The final phase of your 7 Step Online Marketing Plan is to take all of the data you have accumulated over the previous weeks and months and use this to truly optimize your website and marketing plan.
This stage is just as critical as the previous 6, but is also one of the most rewarding. By this point, you have been able to truly implement your marketing plan and see what your website has been able to produce for you from its initial launch. Now, with this experience and information under your belt, you are able to pick apart your website and marketing plan to make them as effective as they can possibly be.
Previously, we touched on Analyzing Your Website and Marketing Plan. You will need to revisit these steps and gather this data to be able to make the most educated decisions about how you are going to optimize your website and marketing plan at this point in time. Let’s jump right in.
As you will read many times on this blog, a solid analytics program with scheduled analysis and reporting are some of the most important things you can do for your website and online marketing plan.
In case you missed our previous mentions or need us to point you in the right direction for an analytics program then simply check out and sign up for Google Analytics. It is free, easy to use and very robust with features for just about every piece of data you need to pull from your website.
Using Analytics for Website Optimization
To assure that your website is getting the best possible exposure you need to review your website’s analytics, specifically its TRAFFIC SOURCES. This data will give you a breakdown of how many unique visitors your website is receiving, how many page views, and most importantly, where your traffic is coming from. Here is a quick breakdown of what to look for:
DIRECT TRAFFIC – This data set will show you how many visitors have come from people (1) typing in your url directly, (2) bookmarking / marking your site as a favorite and (3) getting to your website via sponsored results that are not from Google, Yahoo or Bing.
HINT: If the greatest percentage of your traffic is from DIRECT traffic, then it is usually safe to assume that this is you looking at your site, your webmaster working on your site, or repeat visitors who may already know your website url.
REFERRING SITES – This data will give a fantastic breakdown of which websites are sending you the most traffic. This data can be further analyzed to determine if any of these website sending you traffic are doing so because of a valuable link they have placed on their site. Links, like content, are extremely valuable for search engine optimization.
HINT: Find out which websites are sending you the most traffic and put together a strategy to assure that this continues. For example, if a good percentage of your traffic is coming from Facebook or Twitter, then step up your social marketing campaigns to get the most out of these networks.
SEARCH ENGINES – This data set will let you know how much of your website’s traffic is coming from the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, Local, etc). More importantly, this data will reveal how effective your search engine optimization campaign has been thus far and will immediately let you know where you need to make adjustments.
HINT: If you see that less than 15%-20% of your traffic is coming from the search engines’ organic results, then you need to implement a more aggressive SEO campaign. With over 80% of all transactions starting online you should be aiming to get as much of your traffic from the search engines as possible as this is where most people start their search for information on what they need and want.
Marketing Plan Optimization
Just as you need to think about refining and optimizing your website, so do you need to dedicate the time and resources to refining your marketing plan. You will be amazed at the amount of extremely useful data and conclusions that you will be able to take out of analyzing your marketing plan as you do your website.
Using Analytics for Marketing Plan Optimization
Analyzing statistics for your website’s traffic and visitor trends is not only useful for website optimization, but also for refining and optimizing your actual marketing plan as well. By being able to breakdown and view conversion rates and actual returns on your ad spends (ROAS), you will be able to effectively reallocate your marketing dollars and strategies to focus on those that are producing the highest return on your investment (ROI). Here are some data sets to look for to help you determine your next steps:
GOALS – Goals are actions, determined by you or whomever is managing your web analytics program, that help to conclude whether or not certain marketing efforts are producing the ROI and ROAS you need to remain profitable.
HINT: Spend some time setting up specific goals in your web analytics program to track the true effectiveness of your website and marketing strategies. Google Analytics provides some great resources for setting up Goals.
FUNNELS – Funnels, like Goals, are actions determined by you or whomever is managing your web analytics program, to help you figure out the important usability trends that your users create on your site. Something as small as knowing where a visitor leaves your website on their way to actually purchasing something could save you from losing tons of new clients.
HINT: Your marketing plan should be tied directly into the Funnels you determine. For example, if it takes a visitor 4 steps to complete an order on your website, then it is a great idea to make sure that you are reinforcing their purchase at each step of the process to prevent buyer’s remorse.
Bottom Line: Your website and marketing plan MUST be providing you with the highest possible ROI and ROAS to justify your continuous investment and efforts into them. If these two things are not producing a profit for your business, then you have a couple options:
(1) Hire a professional firm to assist you (hopefully you did this in the first place)
(2) Phase out this marketing campaign and go back to the drawing board
Hopefully, these two things do not apply to you and your marketing plan never reaches this point. If you have followed the 7 Step Online Marketing Plan that we have provided, then this conversation should be moot and you should be thinking about how you are going to reinvest the profits you have made from your successful website and marketing plan back into your business and marketing.