What is the one thing that determines success for failure in a digital marketing campaign?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you wait until the end for an answer to this question…

The answer is your tracking.  Literally speaking, your tracking is what tells you whether your digital marketing campaign was a success or failure.  But also, you need to have tracking set up correctly to even have a shot at a successful marketing campaign.

Why? Because most marketing campaigns are not successful right from the start, and they don’t run on autopilot.  They usually require tweaking and refining based on results, and if you don’t have your tracking set up properly, then you don’t have a prayer.

Marketing Success


The Most Important Step to Set Up Your Tracking

By far the most important step, and the one that is often skipped or not fully completed, is to define the major steps in your sales process.

For e-commerce websites, this is fairly straight forward.  You have your product pages, your checkout pages and ultimately the final confirmation page.  You can track all of this easily and automatically using Google Analytics.

But what about businesses that close sales over the phone?  In that case, here are some common steps:

  1. Website contact form submission
  2. Initial sales phone call
  3. Proposal
  4. Closed sale

Plus, you may also have leads who call in rather than use a website form.  In that case the steps are:

  1. Incoming phone call
  2. Proposal
  3. Closed sale


Now Track Each Step In Your Sales Process

Once you’ve defined the key steps in your sales process, then it’s time to create your tracking system.  This doesn’t have to be anything complex.  In fact, an Excel file or a Google Spreadsheet will do the trick.

The goal here is to track the source of your leads all the way through to the sale.  That way you can calculate the number of sales and cost per-sale for each of your marketing campaigns.

In our first example above, the initial point of contact is a website contact form.  Forms by default will send the information to you, but they don’t tell you which marketing campaign generated the lead.  In order to get that information, you’ll need to edit your forms.   Ask your webmaster to add what’s called a “hidden” form field that identifies the marketing campaign (i.e. AdWords, Facebook, email, etc.).

Once you have the marketing campaign from the website form, then it’s simply a matter of documenting that information in a file and tracking the lead all the way through to the sale.

Now, how about the second example above where the initial point of contact is an incoming phone call?  Here you have two options:

  1. You can use dynamic phone insertion (DNI) to show a different phone number for each marketing campaign.  Then you know, based on which phone number was dialed, where the lead originated.
  2. Or, you can use a special code that your receptionist requests from the caller. For example, on every page your webmaster could add a special coupon code that changes depending on which marketing campaign generated the lead.  Then you can match the codes received by the receptionist to the marketing campaigns.


Calculate Your KPIs Per Marketing Campaign

The final step is to calculate your KPIs, or key performance indicators, for each marketing campaign.  For example, if you’re running AdWords ads and you set up the tracking outlined above, then you can calculate your total sales, cost per-sale and return on ad spend for AdWords.

Now you know whether your campaigns are successful or not.  And more importantly, by measuring your conversion rates through the sales funnel, it’ll become more clear where you need to improve in order to increase your overall sales conversion rates.


Want More Help Tracking Your Marketing?

Join me this — Thursday, November 20th — at 12 pm Easter time for an online live training called Introduction to Google Analytics.

When you attend this 90-minute crash course, I’ll quickly bring up up to speed on Google Analytics, so you make smarter marketing decisions — and get more traffic, leads and sales!

Click here to learn more and register.