Asset signed off, emails built, work flows created, social posts scheduled, paid traffic poised…publish. Now for the results to pour in. Right? Refreshes campaign results…again…and again…and again. Where is everybody? We’ve all been there.
No matter how much preparation and planning go in to the build phase, no campaign is ever going to be perfect from the get go. The key is understanding how people are interacting with the campaign and how it needs to be optimised to gain more traction and enhance performance. A campaign is like a living organism – it will often die if left untended, but with nurture and careful input it will often adapt to its optimum environment and flourish with great results.
We all know that reporting is hugely important when it comes to optimisation, but simply analysing the metrics is not enough. The campaign needs to be set up to collect those metrics in the first place. Creating campaign specific URLs which include UTM parameters allow you to track specific activities through Google analytics. Google picks up the tags included in the UTM parameters, when the link is clicked, allowing you to identify exactly what is working and what is not…right down to individual keywords or social posts. An example link would look like this:
This tracked URL will take you to a blog I posted a couple of weeks ago about successful B2B social media marketing. However, if you click this link, when I look at my campaign analytics, I will not only be able to see that the post has received traffic, but that the traffic can be attributed to the weekly blog campaign, it also came from a blog I posted directly on the Sherpa website and specifically the traffic came from this blog on optimisation. All of those tags are listed in the UTM parameters and provide me with detailed information on exactly where traffic comes from. These tracked URLs can contain tags attributed to paid search, paid social, email marketing or simply just other webpages, giving more transparency when reporting on a campaign. They are an essential part of any campaign and can be created using numerous URL builders which integrate in to the analytics tool you are using, whether this is Google Analytics, Adwords, Hubspot or an external or bespoke reporting platform. Obviously there is then the SEO to focus on. When building content it is hugely important to optimise webpages, blogs, etc to make them more visible to people actively using your identified keywords on search engines, such as google. And, seeing as Google is responsible for 94% of total organic traffic, it would be foolish to skip this step!
Once the tracked URLs are set up and content optimised, the actual reporting templates should be created and agreed. This is especially important for agencies running campaigns on behalf of clients. If the client is solely interested in the number of MQLs generated and the reporting only addresses social share and email opens, then there is not suitable visibility on the required output. It is also worth noting that standardised reporting will not work – ROI can be the main metric of a Demand Gen campaign, but is not a suitable metric for something like ABM, so each report must be tailored. The entire point of the metrics is to understand what is/is not working and optimise activities, so the end-to-end visibility is crucial. At Sherpa, we believe that live reporting is the only way for successful campaigns. Both our team and the client’s sales and marketing team can then react in real time to any positive or negative occurrences throughout the programme. We have the capability to create live campaign dashboards, which consolidate all of the campaign metrics in to one place and enable everyone involved to see activities in real time. Having this insight also creates more cohesion within teams as we are all singing from the same sheet. The term ‘sales and marketing alignment’ is rife in the marketing landscape, but we don’t think it is enough – alignment still implies two teams operating separately. We prefer to talk about blended sales and marketing…where there isn’t a line where marketing finishes and sales starts; there is a closed loop which guarantees cohesion. Real time reporting allows a blended sales and marketing team to react in real time and create an optimal lead nurture process.
We don’t just stop at optimising our campaigns at Sherpa either. When running a marketing programme there are a lot of moving components and each cog has to be well oiled and working smoothly. So we also optimise our team. We work together every day and actually spend more time together than we do with some of our family members…so it is important that we work well together! Last Friday, the Sherpa team had a quarterly away day, where we were lucky enough to spend time with Peter Miller-Smith from The Colour Works learning all about self-awareness, emotional intelligence and personality types. Each member of the team carried out a psychometric test to help us better understand ourselves and those around us. We were given an Insights Discovery personal profile which detailed our personality traits, what motivates us as individuals and how to deal with us for maximum effect. We also completed a team performance indicator and carried out various activities throughout the afternoon, based on the results, to identify any required areas of improvement in our team processes. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and eye-opening day and we have all come away knowing each other a bit better, but moreover, have more awareness of how we talk to each other and how to get the best out of each other. As per point five on our values, we are always learning.
So, in summary, if you are running any sort of marketing campaign, whether it be direct or through an agency, make sure optimisation is at the forefront of everything you do. From strategy and campaign structure to reporting and team efficiency, make sure your campaign is as dynamic, responsive and as effective as possible to ensure success.
If you would like to discuss how Sherpa can transform your marketing, please get in touch…