Guest Contribution by Sarah Noel Block
When you work in a small marketing department, you need to focus on the marketing activities that count.
That means you must ignore the noise and look at your data to find out what marketing tactics are driving buying intent.
Right now, you may be thinking, “That’s great, Sarah, but I have next to no budget. How do I find out what marketing is driving sales?”
There are many ways to review your data to learn what is:
- driving people to your website
- how they become a lead
- how they convert to customers.
Unfortunately for most small marketing departments, most of these ways aren’t in the budget. The cost of a CRM or marketing automation platform is something many small businesses can’t afford. While these tools take can take your marketing to the next level, there is a free way to understand what is driving traffic to pages that show buying intent (usually pricing, contact, or service pages): Google Analytics.
How to use Google Analytics to find your buyers
The best way to learn where your buyers are coming from is to understand how they find your website, Google Analytics can show you the information you need.
Without a marketing automation platform, you can’t fully track acquisition to sale. But, you can track how website visitors who show intent to buy are finding your website. Here’s how:
Make a List
First, make a list of pages on your website that would show intent to buy. This would be pages that show pricing, services, buyer enablement tools, or contact information.
Your website might have additional pages that would signal someone is interested in buying.
Take action: Make a list of pages that indicate intent to buy.
Take a step back – how do I get Google Analytics on my website?
- Go to analytics.google.com
- Click on “ADMIN”
- Go to “Tracking Code”
- Insert code on your website.
Next, create goals in Google Analytics to track visitors going to those “buying intent” pages. It’s simpler than you think.
First, go to ADMIN (it’s the gear icon on the bottom left).
On the right side, you will find goals. Click on “goals” to get to the goal set-up.
Create a quick goal with this hack – use a goal template and then modify it later. I like the template, “inquiry → Contact Us.”
In this screenshot, I used the “Contact Us” template but modified the destination to track my “buying intent” pages.
Pages to track in your goals:
- Contact Us
- Discovery Call
- Service/Product Page
- Pricing Page
Last, verify your goal to make sure that it was created correctly.
- Review Acquisition
Now…. we wait. You want the goals to have enough time to gather data.
I waited two weeks before reviewing my goals.
Go to “Goals” → “Overview.”
This is where you can review “Source/Medium.” The source and medium will tell you how these high “buying intent” visitors found your website.
My Goals results shows me that the people with the highest buying intent are coming to our site through organic search and Google Ads. This helps me gain focus and build a list of tactics that are working.
- Analyze Goal Results
What activities are driving a return on investment (ROI)?
Through my Goal research, I learned that content marketing, search engine optimization, and Google Ads are driving the high buying intent people to our website.
By knowing how potential buyers are finding your website you can focus on what matters.
What tactics are working for your website?
Are they finding you via organic search? Focus on content marketing.
Are they finding you through social media? Focus your efforts on the platform they are finding you from.
Are they finding you through referral sites? What types of sites are linking to your site? Do outreach to similar platforms to guest post or get backlinks (here is a great article on increasing backlinks via Neil Patel).
Take Action: Make a list of how your high buying intent website visitors are finding your website. Next, make a list of tactics that could increase traffic from those sources. Use my template – download it here.
Bonus Free Data Gathering Tip
Make a list of publications that cater to the same audience as you. Review their media kits to see where their audience is online. Media kits are a treasure flowing with information about your mirror audience.
Let’s look at my audience: small marketing departments. They are likely part of a small business, which means they might read Inc. So, I go to their “Advertise” section and download their media kit.
Go to the “Audience” section.
Within “Audience,” I learn the average age, education level, net worth, what they care about, and where they frequent online.
Review their social media profiles.
- What is their most popular social media profile?
- What do they post about?
- What content gets the most engagement?
For Inc, Twitter and LinkedIn were the most popular. The content that gets the most engagement is not a surprise. It is articles focused on solving problems that their audience has: leadership issues, dealing with difficult people, mental wellness in the workplace, etc.
Take action: Make a list of publications that share the same audience as you. Review their media kits. Take notes on their audience stats and their social media strategy.
How to narrow down your marketing activities
Now, it’s time to use the information you gathered to build a focused strategy. You are part of a small marketing department (maybe it’s just you!). You don’t have time to do everything and there is no shame in that.
Let’s use your newfound knowledge to create an efficient, effective marketing plan.
Step 1: Make a list of ALL marketing activities that you are currently doing.
To get you going I’ll name a few. Maybe you are sending email campaigns, present on all social media platforms, writing blogs, writing guest posts on other publications, sending out press releases, and everything in between. Write all marketing activities that you are currently doing.
Step 2: Review the data you gathered.
Earlier you made a list of how your best website visitors (those who want to buy) are finding you. Additionally, you reviewed mirror publications and learned more about their audience. Use this data to compare your list of current activities.
Now, it’s time to make cuts.
Step 3: Make the cuts.
Look at your lists and discover what activities you can trim. You might be surprised! I found that I THOUGHT Twitter was dead, but after looking at my data, I discovered many people were coming to my site from Twitter. And, publications with mirror audiences also had a high Twitter presence. Perhaps I should step up my Twitter game!
Keep in mind, though, your company owns your website, but not Twitter (or LinkedIn or that blog that gives you a lot of referral traffic). By focusing on marketing activities that improve your own site, you will always win.
SEO-rich, value-driven content will benefit your digital presence for years to come. If your data shows that you aren’t getting organic traffic, that doesn’t mean you should give up on content creation. Instead, go at it in full force.
Build your house instead of rent.
Build a content-rich website instead of focusing on “renting” your leads from LinkedIn. It could shut down its virtual doors tomorrow, but your website won’t.
When you are part of a tiny marketing team, you need to focus your time, energy, and budget on what matters.
Use data from Google Analytics and other sources with mirror audiences to make the decisions on where you should focus your energy. But, don’t forget to “build your house.” Marketing activities that revolve around your owned assets like your website should always take priority.
After reviewing your data, what have you decided to cut from your marketing activity list?
Sarah Noel Block has been working with tiny marketing departments for over ten years to streamline, systemize, automate, and outsource, expanding the bandwidth of a tiny team.
Learn more at sarahnoelblock.com.
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