If You Measure It, You Can Manage It

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Does your online marketing investment deliver optimal returns? Are you sure? Online marketing success depends on knowing what works and what doesn't, and how to fix underperforming campaigns and keywords.

The only way to know what's working is to track, measure and analyze the performance of every campaign. Once you know what works and what doesn't, you can adjust campaigns and delete the keywords, campaigns and strategies that do not deliver the results you want.

If you measure it, you can manage it. Enterprise return on investment and return on advertising spend are two metrics critical in conducting online marketing campaigns.

Enterprise ROI, or total revenue generated enterprise-wide by online marketing programs, gauges the overall success of your campaigns. ROAS, the revenue generated per dollar spent on advertising, indicates the effectiveness of individual campaigns.

To calculate ROI and ROAS, track the performance of four components: keywords, positions, search engines and campaigns.

Tracking these components requires careful planning. In planning your campaigns, define your goal metrics, including: budget (daily, weekly, monthly), impressions (traffic), click-through rate, average cost per click, conversion rate, average cost per acquisition (new customer), average sale per acquisition, average value per acquisition, ROAS and enterprise ROI.

You will see whether you are meeting your goals by tracking and analyzing the right data in the right way.

The minimum information needed to analyze and optimize online marketing spend is: ROAS, impressions (traffic), cost per acquisition or sale, advertising spend (daily, weekly, monthly), cost per campaign, cost per keyword, conversion rate, average sale amount, customer click origination, discrete activity (per keyword, per campaign) and how visitors traffic through your site.

So how do you track, analyze and manage all these parts and pieces? You have three options:

· Buy software.

· Build your own software.

· Subscribe to a search engine online management service that provides the Web analytics you need and offers expertise in analyzing the data and managing your online ad spend for maximum ROI.

Whatever system you use, you should be able to define specific events for tracking and analysis (clicks, sales, etc.). Using the data you collect, you should be able to analyze results by campaign, by keyword, by referrer and by search engine. Look for software and services that let you manage all your online marketing campaigns: pay-per-click, search engines, paid-inclusion, comparative shopping sites, e-mail, newsletters, etc.

When you shop for Web analytics services or software, buy the best you can afford, plan for growth and get references. Web analytics and management systems are a powerful competitive weapon, and many businesses are unwilling to disclose their secret. But any vendor should be able to give you at least one or two customers to contact for an endorsement. Many providers offer a free trial period, a great opportunity for you to try before you buy.

Once you've tracked and analyzed results, you can manage return on investment by adjusting campaigns and keywords; modifying your use of search engines, shopping portals and ad outlets; and revising your pay-per-click bid strategies to gain maximum exposure when and where your customers are most likely to be shopping.

You must be able to react quickly and appropriately. If you are inexperienced at Web marketing, your best investment would be a combination of software and services to provide the analytics capabilities you need as well as the management experience to optimize the return on your online marketing investment.

You will save money and increase sales with the right information and careful management. Among the benefits of more effective management of online marketing:

· Reducing average cost per click.

· Using more search terms.

· Improving click-through relevance.

· Using more search engines.

· Better scheduling of listings.

· Improving conversion rate.

· Reducing cost per acquisition.

· Increasing your average sale.

· Increasing the value of each customer.

Comprehensive Web analytics are the key to avoiding mistakes and managing online marketing dollars for optimal return on investment. When you shop for Web analytics software or services, remember: The secret to success is in the statistics.

Dave's Top 10 Online Marketing Mistakes

10. My Webmaster takes care of it.

9. I don't have the resources to manage my campaigns.

8. I get tons of hits/I don't get enough hits.

7. I can pay only "X" per click.

6. I can't afford to advertise online.

5. I need this campaign because it accounts for so many sales.

4. My media vendor plans my campaigns and gets the best rates.

3. My ads must appear everywhere.

2. He is my competition, and I will crush him!

1. I want to be No. 1!

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