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Monday, May 4, 2009

Site Visitors and Marketing Campaigns

I was talking to a friend of mine who happens to be a program director for a very large advertising agency here in Chicago. We were swapping notes on Web analytics vs. TV advertising when she made a very important statement: “I can’t stand it when I’m on a site on all these banner ad’s keep popping up on my screen.” Let’s think about that for a moment. How can we get the right message to the right people without annoying them? Have marketing campaigns turned into white noise that our end-users are starting to ignore? You bet they are! We can compare this to the phenomenon of a car alarm going off. Since no one pays attention, the alarm serves no purpose. This article attempts to overcome that.
In order to executing a successful Web campaign, we need to break things into some high-level components: (this is by no means an exhaustive list, just some high level items to get us on the right track!)
1. What is the goal of the campaign?
2. Who are we targeting?
3. How are we going to measure success vs. failure?
What do we want the campaign to accomplish? Driving more traffic to our site vs. selling off products on sale poses two completely different concepts and will require different types of campaigns. Perhaps an email marketing initiative would be more appropriate for driving closeout sales vs. an aggressive paid search on Google to drive more traffic to the site. See the difference? The important take-away here is to have a well thought out goal with baselines/benchmarks to compare the incoming data to.
Who are the end-users that you are trying to target? Are they Male runners? Fire arm owners? Teenagers? Visitor segmentation seems to be the most often ignored aspect of online marketing campaigns. Either that or it’s just not done correctly. The more we know about our intended audience, the more successful our campaign will be. Once you have defined your segment, research where your targeted audience “lives” and, thus, where best to launch your campaign. With me so far? Great!
How are you going to measure the click-throughs from your campaign? Your Web analytics package will need to be configured so that you can track each visit session from your campaign. In other words, are your visitors doing what you intended them to do once they landed on your site and is the content relevant they are looking for? Bringing visitors to your home page where they’ll have to hunt for the product/theme of your campaign is not strategically sound. Also Remember, that a landing page has a unique query parameter that identifies it as the “front door” to your site via your marketing campaign. Below is an example when I Googled “Hotels” and clicked on the paid search ad.

Lastly, some business analysis needs to be conducted before the campaign is pushed live that will determine the ROI of the campaign. In other words, constitute success or failure from a business perspective, not a technical one. Then start to tie in those that have converted to your backend systems so you can show your company how your campaigns are making money for your organization...not just driving traffic to the Web site. All of my points will need to be answered in an on-going manner. As such, make sure you have data that is easily accessible to you and your business stakeholders.


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