Tracking your Local Advertising

‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half’

John Wanamaker

The quote above was written a long time before the internet even existed, nonetheless it’s inherent wisdom transcends time. At the crux of what we want to do, is to spend our time and money on worthwhile advertising. Anything we can do to cut out things that don’t work, is a saving both of time and money but also allows us to refocus that time and money on what works.

The ability to track success gives an instant competitive advantage against businesses that don’t. While we can spend a lot of money on driving traffic to our website, unless those visitors take an action that we deem worthwhile (buying something, making an enquiry) we’re not getting any value out of our traffic. The key thing we want to know is what works and what doesn’t.

There are 2 great free tools we can use to help us with this. For adwords advertisers, google offer conversion tracking. If a prospect sends us a contact form from our website, by sending them to a thankyou page where we place the tracking code we’ll be able to determine which of our many keywords has led to this action. Over time, as you build up more conversion data you’ll see that different keywords will have distinctly different conversion rates. It makes sense to allocate our spend to the keywords that convert.

By adding google analytics code to your website and associating your adwords account with your analytics account you can pass this data into your google analtyics interface. You can also use your analtyics to track how visitors from different traffic sources (different search engines, email marketing etc) perform. To get the most out of your analytics you can use a feature called ‘goals’. Here you determine pages on your website that indicate a worthwhile action e.g. a contact form submitted as a goal – and you can then see what path the user took to reach that goal. This helps you understand how different sources of traffic perform which you can use to work backwards to determine where you are getting the best return on investment. Analytics is an incredibly powerful piece of kit – while you may never scratch below the surface of what it can do, even using it’s basic features can help you determine what keywords and traffic sources are driving worthwhile outcomes. Checking your analytics and conversion data, is part of a valuable feedback loop that should help you continually refine what works best for your business.

It’s worth thinking about telephone tracking. For local businesses, a lot of enquiries will come by phone. There are call tracking solutions, which will help you tie these phone calls to the most granular level e.g. which keyword/traffic source generated the call. However, something as simple as asking people who call where they found you or using a dedicated telephone number for your website can help you attribute these calls to your marketing efforts.

You need to track, its one of the simplest things you can do, to ensure you’re getting the most out of your adverting (both online and offline). It’s not difficult to setup and the insight it can give you makes it one of the most worthwhile uses of your time.

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