As a business owner, you know your brand and customers better than anyone. You may feel confident in your assumptions about who your customers are, what they like, and what motivates them to buy. When it comes to marketing, however, you can’t rely on assumptions to create high converting campaigns because assumptions are only that — assumptions. Effective marketing strategies require ample testing and analyzing and then using your findings to optimize your campaigns over time. 

The results of your campaigns may surprise you, but once you can see what’s truly working and captivating your audience, you can start making marketing decisions you know will pay off. You have to have cold, hard data to back you up, though, and having a tracking system in place is the key to collecting such critical data. 

We reached out to marketing tracking experts and several businesses to find out what surprised them the most after they analyzed their marketing data. Here’s what they found and how they used marketing tracking to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns. 

Which advertising keywords and copy are performing?

Selecting appropriate keywords can make all the difference for your marketing campaigns. Marketing analytics reveal which keywords and ads are attracting the most leads and converting the most sales, allowing you to focus your efforts towards your most profitable ads. 

Mobile Pocket Office CEO Josh Ovett recalls his experience with keyword tracking: “My business partner and I recently acquired an interest in a 14-year-old residential moving company. While it was consistent in sales, we saw room for improvement. The business was spending over $100,000 per year on AdWords and we had no information on which AdWords, copy and lead sources were causing individual sales. We had no problem getting leads, we just needed to know exactly which leads were converting to sales so we could start confidently spending on keywords and ads that converted to sales.

Using Ontraport, we kept a record of which leads and sales came from which keywords and ads. We then exported that information back into AdWords to optimize our campaigns for both offline and online sales conversions.

Without implementing this, we wouldn’t know which keywords to confidently bid up and at what time of day, and we wouldn’t know how to adjust campaigns for maximum profit margins. So far, tracking has allowed us to double our leads and lower our costs by about 30%.”

Using a marketing tracking system for your ads and keywords is essential to understanding how your campaigns are qualifying leads and converting customers. 

Which marketing strategies are actually converting leads?

Marketing analytics also allow you to better understand the customer acquisition process. For example, with UTM links you can see exactly where your leads are coming from. This allows you to refocus your time and money on only your most effective strategies. By using marketing analytics to weed out what works and what doesn’t, you can increase your overall efficiency and better allocate your resources. 

Aaron Norris, Vice President of the Norris Group, says, “One year, we gave up 24 weekends to do speaking engagements all over the state of California. At the end of that year, I pulled data from our CRM to see where leads were tracking from. Indeed, they were coming from our speaking engagements.

However, I also pulled conversion data. Where were leads coming from that actually converted? Well, long story short, we stopped working most weekends the following year with no drop in sales. Come to find out, referrals and the internet were driving the majority of our most valuable leads. Speaking engagements drove leads; they just did not convert.

I dropped what didn’t work and started focusing more on what did. Now, we bifurcated traffic so we’re diving deeper into SEO vs SEM leads. It’s access to the data that makes all the difference. And, I got my weekends back.”

How significant are color choices?

While color choice may seem trivial when it comes to marketing, you may be surprised by just how much it can affect consumer behavior on your pages. In fact, color choice could be a reason you aren’t converting more leads into customers. According to Vlogger Gear director, Thomas Lewis, “After conducting A/B testing on our website, we noticed that color scheme plays a huge role in website and business performance. We noticed that certain colors and even placement of call-to-action buttons increased our click-through rate by 80%.

We went a step further and used certain colors that appeal to our target audience which we researched in my scientific studies. By targeting our audience with specific colors, our CTR increased another 30%. It’s a truly powerful and easy-to-use tool.”

Because it’s proven that color choice can carry a psychological effect on your site visitors’ emotions and decision-making, it might be best to split test your color choices to see what works best for your business. 

What devices are users viewing content on?

With so many people looking at content on the go, it may be time to segment a new promising audience your mobile device users. According to Digital Marketing Specialist for Archway Cards Ltd., Jason Scott, “For some time now, we’ve been told that this is the ‘mobile era’ — the era where people use their mobile phones for internet usage over the more traditional PCs, laptops and tablets. It wasn’t until I started paying attention to our visitor device usage that I realized just how true this was:

75% of our visitors are on mobile phones. Rewind just two years and that percentage was less than 50. That’s a staggering increase in mobile internet usage, and it’s only going to increase further in the coming months and years.”

Who really is the target demographic? 

By digging into your marketing data, you may determine that the audience you’ve been targeting in your ads is not actually your strongest customer base. While this finding may be unsettling at first, it’s actually a good thing because it allows you to follow the data to uncover who the real demographic is for your brand. 

Fuze SEO Founder and CEO Jon Clark explains, “I work with a sports apparel company (think Under Armour, 2XU, etc.). We were contracted to help them expand their marketing efforts. During our discovery meeting, we talked about persona targets, typical consumers of the product, etc. Through this conversation, we aligned on some general starting points like athletes, ages 18-35, male, etc., and then we launched our paid efforts. It didn’t take long to see these assumptions were off-base. Our Facebook remarketing demographics showed a higher percentage of sales coming from much older users — ages 45-65 — and the demos included a 60%-40% split female to male. Additionally, our Google display campaigns showed similar demographic profiles.

We immediately began working on a customer survey and quickly learned that many of the products were being purchased for surgical rehab for this older demographic: knee replacements, hip replacements, etc. What we learned? By following the data, we found a completely new product target and, even more importantly, confirmed that sometimes a client can be too close to their product. Always test and allow the data to inform future strategies.”

Which marketing channels work?

Deciding which marketing channels work best for your business is all about testing and analyzing. Ignitive Managing Director Aaron Lin says, “For a number of months, our marketing efforts were spread thinly across a number of platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google AdWords, Bing; you name it, we’ve tried it. It was only when we started tracking that we were able to identify what was working and what wasn’t.

We kept our strategy as simple as possible: Make an offer, send traffic to a landing page, and capture the visitor’s information. Being in a B2B industry, you’d imagine that LinkedIn and Twitter would be excellent platforms for generating B2B leads; but the results that we were shown were quite the opposite.

We found that visitors to our website from search-related channels were about 80% more likely to convert; this includes visitors from both Bing and Google. But oddly enough, the landing page’s design and copy had little effect on conversions. Increasing the number of fields on the lead capture form did not show a decrease in sign-ups either.

The number one thing that we learned from this experience is that the selection of our marketing channel was arguably the most vital; now everything else comes secondary.”

With marketing analytics, Ignitive was able to save both time and energy by quickly identifying which platforms weren’t working and adjusted accordingly. 

How valuable is word of mouth?

Marketing analytics show which sources your traffic is coming from so that you can better understand how you’re generating leads and how to best target them. In some instances, referrals can drive even more traffic than advertisements, which will allow you to spend those would-be advertising dollars elsewhere.

This was the case for Aptus Creative Marketing CEO Gillian Perkins, who says, “When I started tracking my marketing and traffic sources to my blog, I was surprised to discover that most of my traffic (and eventual customers) came from referrals from other blogs — not from big search engines.” This showed Perkins the importance of exposure within her industry and that she didn’t need to spend as much for advertising on Google or Facebook ads, since these were not driving customers to her site.

Regardless of all the variables, there’s one central theme among them all: What might be working for one business might not be working for the other, even if they’re in the same industry.

Dig into your marketing data and see what you find. It might surprise you, and the results of your findings may pay off in the long run.

About Camille Smith
Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Content Marketing Strategist, Camille Smith came out to California to attend UCSB and fell in love with Santa Barbara’s perfect mountain to ocean ratio. During her time in college, Camille also worked on the growth marketing teams for several technology companies. When she’s not putting her Communication degree to use at work, she’s using her minor in French to remind everyone the correct pronunciation of her name à la française (pronounced cah-mee, not kah-meal).