For startups,it's critical to stay on top of marketing performance. There is inevitably a level of expenditure involved, and at this stage in your business's development, when resources are tight, you need to know that you’re getting value for money.
The first step in setting marketing goals, HotelTonight Chief Strategy Officer Amanda Richardson pointed out on First Round Review, comes down to, “You need to start with a specific question to answer or hypothesis to investigate.”
Fortunately, in today’s digital age it’s easier than ever to analyze your data for the goals you set. Here are my top five analytics tools for supercharging your marketing strategy:
1. Social media monitoring: Hootsuite
With more than 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook alone, according to Statista, social media’s potential reach is unparalleled. Having an organized strategy may lead you to maximize the effectiveness of your social media output. That's where using a tool like Hootsuite, allowing you to monitor performance and create social media content, enables you to increase your reach.
Scheduling and analytics platforms like Hootsuite offer the ability to monitor a variety of activity across social media, as well as the following features:
- Tracking what your audience is saying about your business
- Monitoring performance of your posts on the full range of major social media platforms
- Integration with other analytics platforms such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights
As a startup, you’ll be experimenting with your social media strategy. Hootsuite can help you identify which types of content work and which don't. The advantage of using a complete social management platform is that you can then respond to the data and create targeted, relevant posts.
If you find that Hootsuite doesn’t fulfill the specific needs of your social media marketing strategy, there are a variety of social media management tools to choose from.
2. Track lead sources: Google Analytics
No list of marketing analytics tools can be complete without Google Analytics. It’s the staple of any digital marketing strategy because it’s so powerful and covers so many bases. For social media tracking, pay particular care to the platform’s ability to track lead sources, to show you where the revenue is coming from.
Follow these steps to utilize Google Analytics to concentrate your resources and efforts into the channels producing the results:
- Set up goal IDs: Giving your campaigns Goal IDs can help you segment and track the data you need.
- Review your channels: With the appropriate goals in place, you can then track leads coming in to the source channels. For example, you could note that Facebook is driving 200 leads while Twitter may generate only 20. This information is key to shaping where most of your money and effort go, ultimately helping you shape your marketing strategy.
- Segment traffic sources: You can use Google Analytics to differentiate between organic (search engine), direct and referral traffic, to provide a complete picture of your digital marketing performance. For instance, a high volume of leads from organic traffic would suggest your SEO strategy is working well.
- Google Analytics provides a comprehensive understanding of your top-performing web pages and traffic sources with the highest lead ROI. It’s also free -- so there’s no excuse not to use it as the centerpiece of your analytics.
3. Email marketing: Marketo
Email marketing generates $44 for every $1 spent when it’s done right, according to CampaignMonitor. So, in choosing the platform to work with, you'll find it worthwhile to pay a little extra for features which can help you deliver the maximum revenue achievable.
Founded in 2008, Marketo has grown into an international, multi-billion dollar business (according to the company's acquisition announcement) with the infrastructure to remain at the top of the email marketing software market. Marketo has all the technical features you’d expect in a premium marketing tool, and the ability it says it has to integrate with Google’s Cloud platform gives the tool an edge over its competitors.
In essence, it allows you to continuously analyze the results which can help you deliver highly targeted emails with relevant content, directly to the right subscribers.
As a marketing platform, Marketo enables you to integrate your email marketing with other channels, including social media and digital advertising.
4. Competitor research: Ahrefs
As every entrepreneur is aware, growing a startup can't happen in a vacuum; your growth strategy must include competitor analysis in order for your startup to remain viable and (hopefully) ahead of the curve. Conducting keyword research can help you identify where your rivals are getting their traffic, and thus their leads.
Ahrefs has several features which enable you to analyze your competitors’ links, content and social media campaigns. Its rank tracker and site audit features can also help you monitor the performance of your site relative to your competitors'.
All this research could lead to invaluable information and data, which can provide a strong foundation for your startup to work on. The site explorer could shape your SEO strategy, while the content feature will guide your blog posts and social media output.
As your marketing develops, you’ll be able to compare your strategy to your competitors'. The Content Marketing Institute has published a comprehensive guide on how to do a competitive content marketing analysis, which can be found here. The key is to continually refine your work and focus on the areas where your startup is outperforming its rivals.
5. Digital advertising: Facebook Ads
As mentioned, Facebook is the world’s biggest social media platform and carries a vast, varied audience. Therefore, many businesses find that using advertisements to target potential customers and leads works well.
Facebook is also a market leader in collecting and storing data. The uncomfortable reality is that the company probably knows more about your customers than your startup ever will. The trick is to utilize this fact to your benefit, with Facebook Ads.
When you’re setting up your Facebook ads, consider what your goal is so that you can work with the right metrics. Hootsuite’s digital advertising blog AdEspresso highlights the importance of goals when it comes to Facebook ad metrics. “Being able to set specific goals and calculate the ROI of your ads," AdEspresso has noted, "not only helps highlight the success of your campaign [but] you can use these metrics to gain valuable insight into how Facebook users are interacting with your ads, what works, and what improvements you can make moving forward.”
For example, if you're looking to generate awareness, you’ll be looking at the number of clicks or shares. On the other hand, if your aim is to sell a product, you’ll need to track traffic through to the checkout.
By being proactive with Facebook Ads, you’ll be able to obtain valuable data and insight on customer behavior.
Data is the cornerstone of marketing, helping to show whether your strategy is working as well as identify your weaknesses. Using the appropriate analytics tools, you’ll be able to leverage data to place your startup in an ideal position for growth and push ahead of your competitors.