Measuring the effectiveness of your marketing

Yield Software · December 17, 2009 · Short URL:

Looking at reach and engagement

MeasureIn my last post, I talked about how to get your team involved in evaluating your 2009 Web marketing efforts. In part two of this series of preparing your marketing plans for 2010, I cover how to evaluate “reach” and “engagement.”

“Reach” is the new word for “awareness.” Others call it your “sphere of influence” or “thought leadership.” Basically, you want to measure the tactics you used to make people aware of your company / products / services – and these tactics aren’t limited to social media.  Why?  Because social media, your Website, and offline tactics such as speaking gigs or print ads often influence each other. Some things to consider when measuring “reach” include:

Social media – The number of followers you have on Twitter, fans on Facebook, or connections on LinkedIn.

Website – The increase in traffic / unique visitors / repeat visitors.

Blog posts / mentions – How many times was your company cited or talked about in blog posts or industry articles – both print and online?

Search engine optimization – The number of first page rankings you have for your chosen keywords.

Webinars – Number of attendees (has this gone up or down?).

Speaking gigs – If you weren’t speaking last year, are you now being asked to give presentations at industry conferences or workshops due to your increased reach?

Having a wide reach or sphere of influence in your industry is good. However, reach works better if your followers, fans, and connections are actively engaged with your company – as that’s what eventually leads to sales. Of course, it’s better if they’re positively engaged with you – and not negatively due to bad press! (But, believe it or not, negative engagement also has its benefits as you can learn from your marketplace.)

To measure engagement, both good and bad, look for the following:

Twitter RTs / DMs / Links – Are your followers retweeting (RT) your content? Do they direct message (DM) you with personal replies or follow up questions? Do they provide links to your content to their followers? Or, are they unfollowing you or Tweeting nasty things about your company and products?

Facebook – As with Twitter, you want to measure if people are responding to your posts and telling their friends/fans about your content or products. If you’ve built a Facebook app or a Facebook Connect site, you’ll want to measure its viral effectiveness – or lack thereof.

Blog – Engagement here can be measured by looking at how many people leave comments, retweet your content, or write about your company in other blogs. Also include whether your blog is included in “top blog” mentions for your industry – i.e. the top marketing blogs, top food blogs, etc.  And use blogger tools such as those available at Technorati to measure the impact of your blog.  You can also use TweetMeme’s WordPress plugin to measure RT analytics for your blog posts.

Email – Don’t forget to determine how many leads / customer inquiries came in through your or email address. What were some of the questions your received and were some of them unexpected requests you hadn’t thought of?

Newsletter – To what degree has your newsletter list grown or gotten smaller?  Evaluate your newsletter host (we use ConstantContact, but there are other services such as MailChimp) metrics for your newsletters to get a sense of whether subscribers are opening your newsletter; forwarding it to friends; clicking through on links; or hitting the “spam” button.  When folks do click-through on links, measure, if possible the degree to which those clicks produced new business or a sale.

Web analytics – Here is the nitty gritty of your marketing efforts and where you’ll want to measure a number of things (especially if you have Google Analytics or some other website analytics package):

• What were your top content pages? Do you see any trends in terms of what people are looking for?

• What were the top keywords to your site? Do you see any surprises or trends?

• What is your bounce rate for your keywords and/or top pages?

• What sites are referring to yours – and how did these links come about? How can you build more of them?

• If you use forms on your site, determine how many people filled out each form and calculate your conversion rates.

• If your site has a search box, what search terms do users type into it? Again, do you see any surprises or trends?

By understanding how well your web marketing initiatives performed throughout 2009, you can make intelligent decisions around your 2010 strategy.

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