Start with the Analytics: Why the End is Your Beginning

digital marketing firm examining data analytics

For every campaign we run, there’s a point, actually several points, where we step back and look at the results. We examine the digital analytics to understand whether what we’re doing is achieving the goals we set out to achieve. What’s good about this pause-to-reflect approach is that it ensures that what we do works. More importantly, it lets us adjust campaigns midstride. Especially for paid media where the go button means campaigns are live and we’re spending daily, it’s critical to pay attention. If the analysis tells us our efforts are floundering, we can change course, decrease the speed, alter the direction, or hit the brakes entirely.

On the other hand, when we onboard a new client, we often have to look at the end of someone else’s work. That’s okay. Because from an analytics perspective, there’s often a trove of information in bad endings. When we know what a predecessor did incorrectly, we can plan into the future to avoid their mistakes and build solid campaigns based on measurable metrics.

Pull Data from Your Website

If you do any digital marketing whatsoever, you have a website and it has data. Often via Google Analytics, we look at data to find out what’s been going on. We start with traffic and where it’s coming from: how much, from which channels, using what kinds of devices. We look at demographics. And we look at what pages people go to and how long they stay.

And from Paid Campaigns

You can measure your pay-per-click advertising results by pulling data from Google, Bing and social media sites. Depending upon your marketing goals, you might look at ad impressions and clicks or leads that filled out a form on your landing page. You’ll want to consider metrics like your conversion rate, click-through rates, costs-per-click and costs-per-conversion. You’ll also want to pay attention to your Quality Score and average ad position.

Add your CRM Data

Customer relationship management tools are invaluable if you want to nurture prospective students and induce them to act. They also allow you to connect with alumni and other stakeholders who may prove worthwhile advocates for your institution and school brand. You can pull data from your CRM about prospects, actions, timelines and results.

Don’t Forget Email

When email is seamlessly integrated into your CRM, your results are more accurate and your life is likely a little easier. But even if you’re using an entirely separate email tool, pay attention to the results of every email you send. Look at data like deliverability, open and click-through rates. The data allow you to see what kind of messaging connected with which prospects.

And a Whole World of Outside Data

What’s happening right now in the higher education sphere? What is the current demographic landscape and how could it impact your institution? There are data about them. What are the keywords you should target for your programs, how do they rank and what do they cost? Data abound. What about your competitors? There is an abundance of tools from which you can scrape data to determine exactly where you fit in the broader landscape. Embrace as many as you can.

So once you have pulled all the data, now what?

With all those end results, you start over. It’s like a fresh slate, only way better—because you can use the past to predict the future. You can personalize messaging, optimize campaigns, spend more efficiently. The insights you gleam at the end of a campaign can be remarkably valuable—even if the results aren’t good. Knowing what went wrong can help you make sure that you don’t set off down a dead-end road or move quickly when you need to proceed with caution.

If you’re not sure how to gather data and use them effectively to build strategic marketing campaigns, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Contact the experts at ESM Digital and we’ll try to point you in a data direction that will get you results.

~Linda Emma