Let’s Get Technical
In blog #3 of our series, “How to Market Your Startup”, we’re getting technical. Previously, we have covered why you as a startup have a distinct advantage (you have the flexibility to pivot after early testing, learning, and recalibrating) and how you can use campaign measurement from the start to stay within budget without compromising on results. Now, we’re moving onto the tools you can use for tracking and improving your site traffic and sales.
What You Can Track
You may not yet know what you’re looking for just yet – site visits for buzz, email sign ups for brand awareness, actual conversions. You need to set realistic baselines before you can start truly magnifying your success. A good way to start this process of establishing a baseline, identifying your target audience and understanding their behavior (what they want to hear, consume and do) is to use, of course, existing on-site sales, as well as phone calls and lead forms to kick off your campaign. Here are some important tools you can use to do so.
Lead forms are a straightforward way to begin your foray into tracking. Just because they’re straight forward doesn’t mean you can’t get creative, though – you may want to have regular old contact forms, or you way want to incorporate white paper downloads, event registrations (like webinars) or demo requests. Either way, having a lead form on a designated landing form offers you one centralized place (or several, if you have more than one landing page) to test out designs, content, and more and track your analytics to determine your audience and set your expectations.
An Aside: Some Tips for Inbound Marketing
Creating content that is geared toward acquiring a new prospect is essential – especially when you are just starting out.
- For white papers, write about important aspects of your business, and give actionable tips that are in some way connected to what you do. Make it useful – and, as a startup, you have the opportunity to also make it FUN! Do it!
- When it comes to your corresponding lead forms, make them as easy to use and straightforward as possible, but capture the information you’ll need later to close a sale.
- Selling a monthly subscription to an app about cats? Be sure to include a question like “How many cats do you have?” on the lead form for downloading your white paper about the importance of feeding your cat organic cat food. And promote your white paper everywhere – not only via paid advertising but also on social media and promotion on other sites to try to capture more and more viable prospects.
Of course, phone calls are an important thing to track (maybe the most important thing, behind actual sales). A phone call demonstrates that you have piqued the interest of potential customer, and gives you the opportunity to either close or bring him or her deeper into your sales loop. Whether your potential customer found you via a designated landing page with your phone number or via a search engine, you’ll want to better understand his or her journey that led to that click-to-call decision so that you can both better serve the customer and drive more people to do the same. Especially on mobile, giving your audience easy click-to-call access is essential; a 2013 survey revealed that 70% of mobile searchers engaged with click-to-call.
Of course, tracking on-site sales is a no-brainer. Understanding who is buying from you, how often and where they came from can help you better hone your digital marketing strategy and put your budget where it will lead to the most Return on Investment.
Track to See Where Things Stop and Go (Plus Our Favorite Tools)
And now for why you’re really here – here’s HOW you track these important things to see how they are working for your startup.
The reason you are tracking is so that you can see where things stop and go, and pivot from there. Through technology, you can have full visibility into and measurement of the sales loop. So, without further ado, here are some important tools you can start using today, plus some you might want to consider later (as you grow).
For tracking lead forms – whether you are tracking regular contact pages, white paper download forms or webinar sign ups – you will use Conversion Pixels through your search engine. Whether you are marketing on Google, Bing, YouTube (Yes, YouTube has conversion pixels!), Facebook or another engine, you will use these engine pixels to see who follows that engine to get to your lead page and convert.
- Side note: At Lead Horse, we use Kenshoo as a primary source for conversion pixels and then use search engines as a backup. It’s also a robust bid management platform with advanced reporting capabilities.
- Side note #2: Google Analytics is a good partner for this strategy; use it to perform a deeper dive into how and when people are using your lead pages.
- Side Note #3: When you’re tracking a longer term sales cycle (say, 60 to 90 days lead to close), and you happen to have a CRM like Salesforce, use what you have to maximize your visibility. There are apps that can really help you get the most bang for your buck. For instance, Salesforce app Bizible offers Adwords integration and it’s something we use religiously. Bizible gives us the opportunity to attribute a lead to the channel from which it came, even if it hopped around a lot or took a long time to transition from lead to conversion.
- Side Note #4: Oh boy, we’re getting lost in the details now, aren’t we? Only one last thing. Tracking conversion pixels can be overwhelming, especially when you’re working with a larger site. One tool we have found helpful is Segment.io, a conversion pixel aggregator. This program actually allows you to utilize just one snippet of code – put it on every page on your site, and then turn on and off which ones work and don’t work. You can integrate with Google Analytics and Bing Analytics (and other search engine analytics) to better understanding which landing pages are working for you and which pages need to be revamped.
- Side Note #5: We may have lied when we said the above was the last. If you’re stumped as to how to build effective (and fast) landing pages, Unbounce is effective and easy to use. Okay, NOW we’re done.
What do you ultimately want to gain from tracking phone calls? You want to understand how well they convert, how much revenue they led to, etc. Are they yur #1 source of leads? Are they your lagging medium? How can you better use click-to-call to bring customers from online to offline, or from a search engine to your checkout page? So many questions! And one important answer: There are several tools you can use to gain insight and understand these incredibly valuable details. ResponseTap, Ifbyphone, and Marchex are a few of the top. With these tools, you can track everything from your paid search efficacy to your organic search successes.
At Lead Horse, we use ResponseTap for several reasons. It is a very robust software that allows us to give clients a complete picture – we can attribute a call to any source, organic or paid, and it boasts full integration with Google Analytics to boot. Tracking revenue efficiently is important, and ResponseTap gives us the ability to do so seamlessly via the “post call IVR” function; this allows us to input the revenue that is gained from the call, which then integrates with Google Analytics as a conversion value. If ResponseTap isn’t for you, remember that a lot of phone call companies offer direct CRM integration that allow you to track phone calls within your particular CRM, an efficient alternate solution.
Tracking on-site sales is arguably the most important thing you can do to grow your business. Understanding how well your site is converting can help you pivot early and pivot often to capture the most amount of leads and move them further into your sales loop. For this type of tracking, you would integrate your existing use of dynamic call tracking and conversion pixels, but you would also be smart to dive deeper into Google Analytics.
Google Analytics has a wide variety of features that allow you to measure how well your site is doing; you can integrate your Adwords analytics, you can understand how your organic search strategy is working, you can understand the demographics of your audience, you can see the behavioral flow of your site visitors to understand where they exited the most. You can also see at what exact pages people may have decided to abandon their carts by tracking your checkout funnel. You can better understand WHY people might be abandoning their carts. If only we had a whole post to discuss Google Analytics, but we’re running out of breath and word count – so lastly, the program allows you to set conversion goals, important for understanding what you want out of your site and how you are doing.
That’s A Lot To Take In
Our advice is to start with what’s manageable and build out from there. Remember, we’re here every step of the way. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you later in the week for our next piece in the series – a fun one all about retargeting!
Other Posts in This Series:
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