Dashboards

“How are we doing” or “How is campaign X performing?” It’s these simple questions that can strike fear in the heart of any marketing executive. Although this seems a relatively easy question to answer, it’s actually got quite complicated. As marketing becomes more automated and powered by great new marketing applications — most living in the cloud — it also becomes more siloed from a data perspective, making it more and more difficult to answer this simple question.

To get the holistic answer to the “how are we doing?” question, most organizations are manually producing a monthly  presentation,  usually put together by marketing operations or an analyst through a process that involves many painful hours of reporting and then manually entering numbers into Excel.

Now imagine a world where you can have all of these metrics at your fingertips, in real time. This would allow you to make on the fly changes in order to better optimize your campaigns. Having a marketing dashboard can change a company’s culture from a monthly, rear-view mirror management to one of daily, or hourly, performance optimization. You’re on board right? Right?? Well now comes the hard part.

Not only do you have to decide which metrics you want access to, but you’ll need to figure out how to get access to them. Does your team build their own marketing dashboard, and if so – do you have the resources, talent, and time? Are you better off outsourcing the task? If so, do you utilize a cloud service and pay ongoing fees or do you have something built that you own and manage in-house? A lot of these answers will vary based not only on your company size and budget, but also on what you sell, what your marketing strategy is, and how many sources you are pulling metrics from.

Let’s begin with the first question, which metrics do you need? There are two sets of metrics you should think about. The first being those that are personal to your company. Which metrics are people asking about in meetings? What does your boss always want to know? These might not be sought after items in other companies, but you better be sure they are in your dashboard if people are asking for them. The second set of metrics you should consider are those that are generally considered by marketers are important factors that effect marketing campaigns. Here are a few of those must haves:

  • Website – Page views, times on site, bounce rate, traffic sources
  • Search – Best performing ads, keyword searches, cost per click, click through rate,
  • Social Media – Number of followers/likes, number of new followers/likes, mentions, persona;/direct messages
  • Email – Number on people on email list, open rate, unsubscribe rate, click rate
  • Sales – Number of leads, conversions, opportunity funnel, sales

There are a number more of course, but in general these are a good start to put on your dashboard.

Now let’s figure out HOW you get access to these numbers. Option 1 is to build it yourself manually.  You will likely need a different report for each bullet point above. It’s time consuming, but it’s budget conscience and doable. The best way to do this is to get the person responsible for each marketing activity to run the data for that part of the campaign. The social media person would run the reports and set up that segment of the dashboard, etc.  Then make sure you identity the person who will consolidate all of the reports into one singular dashboard. This might also be the same person who comes up with any takeaways, or key metrics that span across multiple reports, ie campaign ROI. And there you have it – your hard earned marketing dashboard. Keep in mind, it will be a work in progress. Over the weeks and months you will probably change out metrics, adjust style or layout, and such. That’s not only ok, it should be welcomed!

Option 2 is to outsource your data to either an in house solution or to a white label solution, either cloud based or not. This warrants its own blog post so stay tuned to next week when we delve further into this.


Analytics

Google Analytics is a free service that tracks and reports website traffic. It provides insight on demographics of site visitors, the performance of a specific campaign, and how long people are spending on your site. This data gives you an all round better view of how your site is doing and allows you to understand what improvements can be made to make sure you’re optimizing different areas for maximum conversion.

Here are just a few of the things you can learn while using Google Analytics:

  • Who visits your website – user’s geographical location, which browser did they use, what is their screen resolution, which language they speak, etc.
  • What they do when they are on your website – you can see how long users stay on your website, what pages they are visiting the most, which page is causing the users to leave most often, how many pages an average user is viewing etc.
  • When they visit your site – you can see which time of the day is the hottest for your website. This helps you pick the time to publish your posts. If that time zone is not compatible, then you can schedule your posts.
  • Where did they arrive on your website from – you can see how the user found you. Whether it was through a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc), social networks (facebook, twitter etc), a link from another website, or a direct type-in. Google Analytics also shows you the breakdown of each traffic source, so you can focus on specific ones if you like.
  • How users interact with your site’s content – You can see how many users clicked on a specific link.
  • And much more.

The more you learn about your users, the better you can tailor your marketing message and website content.  Go here to find a super easy beginner’s guide on how to set up Google Analytics on your website today.


Live

Facebook Live has only been around for a short time, but more and more businesses are capitalizing on it in order to save time and extend the reach of their posts. If you aren’t sure where to start, review these six ways below, originally published by Social Media Examiner.

  1. Address Blog comments – it’s quicker to schedule a Live session to answer lots of questions than to reply back to each one individually. This also encourages fans to tun in for the live video giving you a captive audience.
  2. Give an inside look at your business – this is a great place to gain some loyalty from your members. People love to see a unique side of the business and you can do this easily with Facebook Live. This is especially true for businesses that make something and you can walk viewers through the process.
  3. Promote and upcoming event – tell people you have a special announcement and you are sure to get viewers with a piqued interest.
  4. Tease new products – Instead of taking photos of inventory, go ahead and do a Pop the Box opening in a live video. You can demonstrate new product without having to upload tons of photos to your website. Some people even capitalize on the video with preorders or sales.
  5. Answer FAQs – If you have a common question that is asked often, use a Live video to answer it. You can then have your service team distribute the video to answer future questions. This saves time for your service department and makes sure everyone is distributing the same information.
  6. Engage with group members – this type of media deepens your Facebook relationships and lets everyone get to know each other. This builds loyalty, which is important for most small businesses.

People spend 3x longer watching live video than native video – so doing some research (and making some videos) is definitely worth your time. Read the whole article here.


Instagram

Before you take on the visual world of Instagram, make sure you learn about the social network, what it does and how to make it work the best way for your brand.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing app and social network that was created in 2010 by founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. In 2012, Facebook purchased the service for $1 billion, and as of September 2015, Instagram had more than 400 million users. Instagram is completely photo/video-centric, so users can edit and post mages and short videos (up to 15 seconds), but there are no text updates.  Forrester has named Instagram the “king of social engagement,” citing the fact that top brands’ Instagram posts generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21 percent. That means Instagram delivered these brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.

How does Instagram work?

Because Instagram is primarily a mobile app, you’ll have to use it from your mobile device. Currently, there is no way to create a business-specific account, so business and personal accounts are created and function in the same way. Instagram allows users to post two different types of content: photos and videos. 

There are many ways to interact with other users on Instagram. The service offers the ability to like posts, mention and tag other users, as well as direct message people. These features are all very similar to other social networks.

Hashtags are popular on Instagram and used the same way they are on Twitter. Since users can both search for hashtags and click on hashtags they see in posts on the app, using relevant hashtags can be a highly effective tool for getting noticed. Hashtags like #nofilter (if you’re sharing a photo that hasn’t been heavily edited with filters added), and #tbt or #throwbackthursday (if you’re sharing an old photo) are all incredibly popular on Instagram, but they may not work for you or your brand. Using popular hashtags just because they’re popular might annoy your current and potential new followers, and it will be obvious you’re just trying to get more followers and exposure.

One interesting and less used feature on Instagram is geotagging. Instagram allows you to add your location to your photos when you post them, and if you use this feature, the service will create a photo map of your posts. This shows you, on a map, where all of your photos have been taken, so this is especially useful if your business is related to travel or if you travel a lot in relation to your brand.Since people can click on geotagged locations and see all of the posts in that area, this can be another great way to gain followers and interactions. And if your building or office is a place that is open to customers, you can add your location so they know where to find you. Followers who live or work nearby may be more likely to interact with you or do business with you if they see that you’re nearby.

How can I use Instagram for my business?

After getting your bearings in Instagram and getting comfortable with the service, I suggest you try some of these strategies:

  • Include your employees. Share pictures of your team members hard at work or having fun at company outings. Doing so will show followers that you care about your employees, and it will make them feel invested in your brand.
  • Show off your products or services. Is your brand a retail business? Take pictures of cool new products as you get them in, or share pictures of your most popular products. Or, if you run a service business like a hair salon or a restaurant, take the time to take photos of your work. 
  • Ask your customers to show off their photos. Own a restaurant? Put your Instagram handle and custom hashtags on the menu so that when your customers inevitably take a picture of their new favorite dish, they tag you in it.  This works with any type of product or service.
  • Go behind the scenes. Take pictures and videos to show how your products or goods are made, especially if the process is unique or interesting, or something your customers ask about often. 
  • Post exclusive deals on your Instagram. Give back to your Instagram followers by offering them discounts for following you. Share an image with instructions on how to use the deal. This will make your followers feel special, and likely get them telling their friends about your business, too.

Instagram tips and tricks

Some last things to keep in mind while using Instagram : 

  • As with any social media platform, make sure you have a content strategy in place. Knowing how often, when and what to post is essential to social media success. This will also help you to stay on brand so that you don’t get disjointed and confusing posts with no goal.
  • Links don’t work on Instagram. The only place you will be able to share a working link that actually takes users to your website is in your profile. Links don’t work in captions or photo comments, so if you’re trying to direct people to a specific Web page, you won’t have any luck writing it out under your pictures or videos because users won’t be able to click on it. You can, however, note in the caption that the link is on your profile.
  • Tell a story with your caption. Instagram is a visual social network, so many people end up neglecting the caption, when this is valuable real estate. Captions allow you to expand on the image, give it context and even make your followers laugh (especially if you are proficient in emojis). It can also tie an image back to your business.
  • Keep your posts about your brand. It can be tempting to share photos of food, fashion and animals because they’re so popular, but make sure you stay on brand. Keep things relevant to your business, and the followers you gain will be there because they support your brand — not just because your dinner looked delicious. 
  • Respond to comments. When people comment on your photos, make sure you reply to them. Interacting with your customers and followers will show them that you are paying attention and that you care about whether they see your photos and what they have to say.
  • Consider collaborating with a popular Instagrammer or influencer in your field or industry. Give them control of your branded account for a day, or ask them to share their thoughts on your brand. This could pay off big time as they expose your brand to their large Instagram community. Take a look at our previous blog post about influencers for some ideas on how to work this strategy.

 


Influencers

Inc just published an interesting article about the myths surrounding influencer marketing. Here are just a few of these misconceptions debunked. 

Myth #1: An Effective Influencer Campaign Requires Celebrities. In fact, in the past 10 years, the number of celebrity endorsements has actually declined. In actuality the most credible form of advertising comes straight from people we know and trust. Twitter recently reported that 47% of people have bought an item based on an influencer’s recommendation – ie someone they trust such as a mommy blogger, YouTube subject matter expert, or those with large followings on social media. It’s these social media stars that are the new influencers in marketing.

Myth #2: Influencer Marketing Doesn’t Scale. This might be true if you are trying to work directly one on one with each influencer. However, there are now agencies that have networks of pre-vetted influencers and standardized agreements to make it easy to scale to a larger base.

Myth #3: You Can’t Prove the ROI of Influencer Marketing … Especially for Physical Retail Purchases. It may be hard to monetize but research companies can help. Recent studies have shown that influencer marketing can drive incremental sales at a rate of 16x that of traditional online advertising.

You can read more, as well as see links out to all of these additional studies here.


Tracking

In the past few years, Twitter has completely lost control over its data. It’s being used by third party providers as a form of tracking, but Twitter can’t influence how its used or gain any revenue from it. Even worse is that many third party providers have made such good dashboards that it has eliminated or reduced the need for Twitter users to actually visit Twitter.com. These are some huge challenges that Twitter recently combat when it revealed its new tool called Twitter Dashboard.

Here are some of the things you can now do through the dashboard:

Mention Tracking: During setup you are asked to build out key terms you want to track. They don’t restrict you to your business name and handle so you can watch competitor keywords and names as well. They also suggest a range of related terms based on the regularity at which they are mentioned. This is very helpful for newcomers who are still trying to learn the monitoring process. You can also use negative qualifiers which is something that has been used in Search placements and Adwords for years and is a huge benefit.

Scheduling and Tracking: You can now finally schedule tweets in advance. You’ve been able to do this via third party apps for awhile, but this is the first time Twitter has allowed it via their own website. They also have a handy scheduling feature where you can see all yours tweets laid out on a calendar.

Simplified Analysis: This is the section where you can get the best understanding of key metrics such as number of tweets, tweet performance, and replies. There is also a very handy chart showing your daily mentions and a list of new followers, as well as profile views and total number of people who have view your tweet.

This new tool is valuable for all Twitter users, but especially businesses who are looking to take their Twitter game to the next level. You can  learn more about the dashboard on their blog.


Trending

According to recent research by Bombora, B2B marketers are interested in information about dashboards and lead generation. The Surge Report was based on an analysis of the content consumption behavior of visitors to 2,500 B2B websites (4 billion monthly interactions). The researchers examined which content topics were being looked at compared with established benchmarks. Each topic was assigned a Surge Score of between zero (not trending) to 100 (highly in demand). Marketing dashboards are the hottest area of interest with B2B marketers, garnering a Surge Score of 90. Lead generation is second (85), followed by telemarketing, QR codes, and social media monitoring (80 each).

Learn more about what B2B marketers are prioritizing and see the full infographic here


Local

With online marketing, you can reach the entire world. But when it comes to buying, almost all purchases are done locally and that is where you need to focus the majority of your online efforts. The very first place to start is with local, mobile-based marketing.

Consumers are essentially walking around with a personal computer in their pocket at all times. You can use a variety of apps in order to tap into that computer (ie – smart phone) and let people know you sell what they are looking for. Geofence technology is one option – its a type of app that sends users a text or message from the merchant’s mobile system alerting potential customers they are nearby the store.  This can also be used for re-marketing and relationship building.

Another great way to harness local customers is by using the popular social media networks in your area. Facebook is a no brainer – but some geographies and demographics are more heavily involved in Snapchat, or Instagram, or YouTube. Do some research and see what your customers are using the most.

You can read the rest of the article and get more tips here.

 


Google+

Whether you like or hate Google+, you have no choice but to leverage it. Why? Because Google owns it!  Many people do not realize that your organic search rankings in Google can be positively (or negatively) affected by your presence on Google+. This is an easy way to help your site, increase your rankings, and boost your revenue.

A few simple ways you can leverage Google+ are:

Authorship –

This is the flagship of Google’s social media and SEO crossover strategy. By adding authorship to your website through the use of Google+ you’ll not only receive an SEO boost, but your picture will appear on the search engine results page, increasing the likelihood that people will click through to your site.

Authority –

Perhaps the hardest part of Google+ to master is Authority, but it might also be the most fruitful opportunity. Essentially, Authority is the act of telling Google that you and your content deserves to be ranked highly because of your online reputation. Authority is based on the number of interactions your profile and content receives, the number of people who have you in their Google+ Circles, and how frequently you use Google+. Becoming an authority isn’t easy and it certainly takes time, but if you achieve it then the marketing rewards could be significant.

Communities -

One of the best features of the platform is Communities. In essence these are an upgrade on the Facebook group. They are a great way to network with people and share high quality content.  In communities you can share blog posts, or other people’s, in order to start discussions and ultimately attract more readers to your site.  When used correctly they offer the perfect content delivery system.

Firstly, good social media citizens don’t just drop links and run. Lay the groundwork first, get to know the community members and engage with them. This is all about building up trust between you and your potential customers. You should also personalize your content for each community.

Secondly, you need to reach out to plenty of communities. It pays to interact with other members in each community – you have to be human – i.e. genuinely engaged – at all times. If you post the same link in twenty communities, you’re effectively spamming those communities, but if you post the same link with a valid, worthwhile and interesting comment – you’re engaging in twenty communities. There’s a critical difference.

Currently only 13% of businesses are marketing on Google+ which means there is a lot of growth to be had. Getting in early and using the strategies above could be very fruitful for a business in the upcoming years as the platform grows.


One

If you look around your office and notice the entire marketing department is you and you alone, it can be a bit daunting. Advancing and achieving your marketing goals can seem like an uphill climb, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s some advice for succeeding as a marketing team of one.

  1. Prioritize. You can’t do everything! This is the absolute most important concept to grasp. Make sure you understand your business’ priorities and support those exact needs first.
  2. Communicate with other departments so that if priorities change, you can adjust your marketing strategy.
  3. Ask for help with writing content or posting on social media. It is imperative to the brand to hear from more than one person. Adding in other writers to discuss other parts of the business or behind the scenes stuff makes your business more likable and takes away from your workload.
  4. Be realistic and pick a few places to focus your time. You don’t need to be on every social media channel. Figure out where your target audiences are and focus your energy and budgets there.