Are your ideas at war with your data?
We get it. New ideas are, by nature, exciting: They stir up the team, create passion, and allow people to get genuinely excited for their work. Marketing analytics is the opposite of exciting: and often creative types, feel like it gets in the way. There's no worse death knell for a new idea than someone higher up saying, "Let's see what the data looks like first."
We humbly suggest a compromise between new, exciting marketing ideas and the harsh realities of analytics and data: Let ideas flow, but always let them be integrated with data before growing too out of control. How does such magical integration work? Let's look at a couple key thoughts.
Making Friends with the Buzz
One of the most common and comfortable uses of marketing analytics is the study of trends, keywords, buzzwords, brands, and industry discussion. When people talk about tempering ideas with data, this is often what they are referring too. Why is this good for your great new content marketing idea?
- Drawing in the Customer: Analytics can swiftly show what keywords people are talking about over social media, and in what context. Even changing content slightly – we're talking about finding some adjectives and synonyms – can help tap into current social discussions and draw in more attention.
- Right Place and Time: At the same time, you don't want your message to be drowned out because it uses to many "general" buzzwords that attract too much attention. Analytics can show if it's a smart move to wait until buzz has died down, or act quickly. Without changing a word or pixel of the idea, this data can easily improve a launch. Using the correct hashtags can also bring awareness and improve visibility, for example if wanted to rank for content marketing west michigan, we might focus on #contentmarketing #westmichigan.
- New Opportunities: Most keyword and trend data comes from social media like Twitter and various aggregates. This matters because it forces you to think about customer response. Sometimes a new idea gets so exciting that no one stops to ask: "What will customer response actually be like?" Keyword data forces you to move the conversation into social media where customer response is a very real part of your campaign.
- You vs. the Competition: We hate to bring up the competition, but we have to. There's a rule of thumb to keep in mind here: If you come up with an amazing, passionate idea for your new campaign, it's a good bet one of your competitors has already thought about it. Sad, but nearly guaranteed. So before going all out, it's a good idea to take a step back and ask, "Have any of my competitors done something similar? What was the response? Is my campaign different?" If your great idea makes you look like a lazy copycat, it probably won't impress consumers.
Analytics is a Big Word
A final word about analytics: Even if you stick with something like AdWords, you will run into a myriad of analytic options to study. Studying everything is probably a mistake, but here are a couple important data points to consider.
- Getting to Your Goods: Does your new content/campaign actually get customers to your product or service pages? We're talking about session time, traffic sources, pages viewed, and other funnel-related data. If a piece of content isn't actually getting customers to your sales page, it's time to try a different tactic, even if that content is your darling.
- General Conversions: What phrases and words are customers really responding to? Do certain approaches work better than others? Where are people coming from when they contact you, and is there a consistent approach that draws them? Perhaps most importantly, how many qualified leads is this content creating, and how does that compare to the past?
Ideas and analytics can co-exist but you must know what you are looking for and then how to apply them to your business to help prospects find you. If you need some additional tips on what to look for, we would love to shake your hand online and help you out.