High-performance IT Marketing Step 9: Review the Marketing Data
You created an IT marketing plan and executed it without drama.
At this point, it’s time to take a step back and review the analytics.
How are your marketing efforts performing, and does anything need to be adjusted?
Unlike advertising, marketing is all about the analytics. In other words, leave your instincts at home . . . you won’t be needing those.
But before you can do anything with your IT marketing analytics, you need to know two things.
1. What’s considered good (and bad)
Let’s say you’re batting an average open rate of 20% and a click-through rate of 2.1%. You’re not happy with those results, and you’re certain you could be doing better.
However, when you look at real-world marketing data, it appears that’s not entirely realistic.
Take a look at the industry averages for open and click-through rates:
CLICK-THRU RATE (CTR)
Emails have higher open rates on Fridays but have higher CTRs on Tuesdays.
Clearly, you’re doing just fine. There’s always room for improvement, but according to some sources, your email open and CT rates are above average.
It’s okay to shoot for the moon, but you still need to have an accurate picture of what “good” actually is.
This is mainly because you don’t want to rock the boat too much—if you’re already doing well, then you don’t want to take too large a risk and hurt your good numbers as a result.
If you’re already doing fine, then only make very minor, gradual, and targeted changes to your IT marketing strategy. If you’re doing poorly, however, then go ahead and take some risks. See what works.
Review the analytics. And make changes based on your marketing data.
Emails perform better between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. or between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
2. What’s actually important
CTRs and open rates are important to measure. But what about everything else?
How do you know what facets of your marketing strategy need more attention? And if you do need to measure something like CTRs and open rates, which one is more important than the other? Or are they both equally important?
To help you understand how it all fits together, let’s take a look at one small piece of your IT marketing strategy—your website.
When it comes to your website, here are just a few of the areas you need to carefully analyze:
We like to see a bounce rate that’s lower than 60%, and if we can manage it, lower than 50%. But why?
Because it means people are engaged.
Emails with a preheader are opened 5% more than emails without one.
Instead of landing on your site and immediately jumping back to Google (bouncing), they click on an internal link. This type of action lowers your bounce rate—which is a good thing.
However, one simple percentage does not give you the complete picture. As you should with all IT marketing analytics, it’s important to consider all factors.
Imagine this . . .
Let’s say a person lands on your site, reads all the content contained on that page, and then fills out a form found in the footer. After that person completes the form, they bounce to a different site.
Technically, this process would lower your bounce rate. However, that person did exactly what you wanted them to do—filling out a form. You converted them. Which brings us to our next metric.
Pages per session & average session duration
How long does a person remain on your site? Are they engaged and reading your content? Or do they only remain on your site for a few seconds before they bounce somewhere else?
And if they are bouncing internally, how many times do they bounce? Only once or a handful of times?
These metrics can tell you a lot about your site’s “stickiness” and the content contained on it. But again, it’s important to analyze all of these metrics together and in the context of your goals.
Here’s how Spinutech explains this concept:
Just like you need to know what “good” means for open and click-through rates, you also need to know what good means for your website—and then you need to analyze it.
For example, a personal fashion blog might be able to get 1,000 unique visits per week. But is this traffic realistic for the IT industry? And even if it is (or isn’t) and you manage to receive that much traction, does it guarantee anything?
Take a look at this example from A1 Web Stats:
Situation #1: A business selling widgets has strong website traffic (2,000 visitors per month) but both their marketing activities and website itself have weaknesses within them. The end result is that they gain 20 inquiries from their 2,000 website visitors (1%).
Situation #2: Another business selling the same widgets has relatively low website traffic (500 visitors per month) but their website and marketing focus are much stronger. The end result is that they gain 20 inquiries from their 500 website visitors (4%).
These companies are both getting the same amount of inquiries every month—but they’re seeing drastically different metrics (same output, different input).
At this point, it’s important to understand what your goals are, what your conversion rate is, and what your resources are like.
Again, it’s the bigger picture you’re looking for—how does everything fit together and does it make sense for your company?
So, what now?
When it comes to your IT marketing analytics, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s much more to consider in the realm of marketing numbers and metrics. But if you’re going to leave with anything, it should be this:
Review your analytics and replace (or verify) your instincts with marketing data. Never forget to measure the results against your goals and always remember to look for the big picture.
After all, marketing is a puzzle, and it’s your job to put the pieces together.
By the way, if you’re looking to up your analytics game, here’s a useful list of apps that can help you out.