Make The Most Of Your Budget With Campaign Measurement
Welcome to blog post #2 in our series, “How to Market Your Startup.” This week is all about campaign measurement.
Let’s set the stage.
You’re running a burgeoning business. You understand the value of digital marketing and advertising for getting the word out there about your groundbreaking new technology or product. While the information we’re about to give certainly does not solely apply to startups, you have the unique (and enviable) ability to get things right from the beginning.
Image via Flickr.
Many marketers have to trek back through what they’ve done and try to discern what’s working – usually after blindly implementing a multitude of strategies. Throwing a ton of money at many things may work for bigger companies, but you don’t have that kind of time or money. What you do have is the opportunity to get things right from the beginning – to learn from what works and what doesn’t, and capitalize on this knowledge to make the most of your budget.
Measuring and recalibrating your goals and the metrics that help you understand how to achieve them is key to your success. Throughout our series, our mission is to take you through from Point A to leads; for this post, our focus is the value of campaign measurement for nailing digital marketing and advertising.
Determine Your Desired End Result.
In most cases, you don’t want to put the cart before the horse. But in the case of developing your digital marketing budget, understanding what your end goal is can help you have a better beginning. Of course, every end goal in this arena usually includes leads, sales, etc. We’d add increasing brand awareness to the list of important goals for your startup.
The more concrete you can get with your goals, the better off you will be. If you already know what your cost per acquisition is, for instance, a worthwhile goal might be figuring out what channel is driving the most traffic and what you can cut. How can you bring that number down? If you don’t have enough data yet, think about what you’d want it to be in an ideal world, do some testing, and learn what’s realistic (more on this later). The same is true of lead goals and average order values – understanding what these important things are for your business and what you want them to be will set you on the course toward profitability.
Here are some metrics to think about:
Brand Awareness: As a startup, this is probably your number one concern. How are you going to measure brand awareness? Some good metrics include (unique) website visits, click-through-rates, Facebook likes, Twitter follows and retweets, white paper downloads, email sign ups. Understanding what you’re working towards and how you are going to measure it will help you hone in on and develop a strategy.
Product Purchases/Downloads: If your goal is to drive purchases, you might be better off paying attention to metrics Conversion Rate, Churn Rate, Average Order Value, Cost Per Acquisition.
You’ll also want to pay attention to areas of lost opportunity – for instance, those who left your site with items still in their carts. Why did they abandon? Or, why are potential customers navigating away from your site just before deciding on a purchase? Google Analytics offers in-depth information about where people exited your site, and is a worthwhile investment (of time).
Set 3-5 Overall Key Performance Indicators.
Your key performance indicators act as a barometer not only for your success, but also for how well your strategies are working. These are overarching goals – attainable ones that reflect where your business is and where it’s going. Some examples include “Increase revenue by x%” and “Increase online leads by x%”. Draw up your KPIs quarterly to allow for recalibration as needed, but keep your KPIs succinct and comprehensive – don’t let this list grow to more than 3-5.
Set Tactics for How You’re Going to Hit the Mark.
How exactly will you increase revenue by x% and increase online leads by x%? Outline what tactics you’ll use to achieve your goals. To increase revenue by x%, you might attend 2 more trade shows, make 5 more calls a day, etc. To increase online leads, you might increase your PPC budget by $100 per week. You might build and A/B test 2 new landing pages. Be as specific as possible, and use this opportunity to try new things – by the end of the quarter, you’ll be able to measure your success, and tie it back to what you did and how effective it was.
Decide what you’re going to track by – these don’t have to be ultimate goals (they can be, though), but they can help you gage what might be realistic in terms of expectations. Some examples are: Email sign ups, lead forms, white paper downloads.
If you want to bring potential customers into the loyalty loop quickly and effectively, email is your guy. Though you should pay attention to industry averages, as a startup your main concern should simply be this: get new email signups. Get people to open those emails. Especially if your technology is new, email is a very effective medium for both selling and informing. Tracking how many opens your emails get, how many people click through from your email to your site, and how may people unsubscribe can offer insight into how your startup is doing, what you should be talking about, what you shouldn’t be talking about, and what you should be offering more of.
Size Up The Competition.
Competitive research can be incredibly helpful. Both for gaining an idea of what is working in your space and for understanding what potentially won’t work, this research is key. If you’re in a competitive space with high cost per click values and your average order value is $100, you might not want to pursue a PPC campaign – you might be better off spending your time and money in social media, email, retargeting, etc.
Some free or inexpensive tools you can use for competitive research and keeping on top of new and different strategies:
- Google Keyword Research Tool (for understanding what CPC is in your industry)
- Mailchimp (for email marketing industry average data)
- Buzzsumo (for understanding what types of content is valuable to your audience via your competitor’s successes).
- SimilarWeb (collects data on important metrics you can use to assess your competitor’s website – site traffic, referring sites, search traffic, social media)
- Think With Google (important content for keeping up with what’s new in the digital marketing industry – learn new tactics for what you can do to stay ahead of your competition)
- Google Analytics Demographic Feature (offers details about your target audience that allow you to better reach them and bring them into your loyalty loop)
Set Two Budgets.
Especially if you don’t have too much data about your consumers’ behavior just yet, setting two budgets is incredibly important. How successful can you be running a campaign based on brand awareness metrics like click-through-rate and unique site visitors? How successful can you be running a campaign to get app downloads, based on metrics like download numbers, usage numbers, return visits, etc.
Look Beyond Last-Click.
While last-click attribution modeling is a digital advertising industry favorite, it may not tell you all you need to know. Think about how many channels came together to lead to a conversion, where a customer first encountered your brand and how that contributed to his or her purchase. More on this later in our series.
Track. Recalibrate. Revisit.
The most important aspect of campaign measurement? Recalibration is inevitable – expect that the first thing you do won’t be the most effective. Go with the flow, and enjoy the ride!