There are certainly many business owners that just accept that things like a new website, a social media marketing campaign or other forms of online marketing will yield exceptional results for their businesses. We’ll call these people the believers.
Then there are the skeptics. The ones that don’t trust the prospect of online marketing simply because it’s unconventional. Simply because, for the most part, it’s far more difficult to quantify the ROI of online marketing, especially social media, than other forms of marketing.
But that’s not to say that gauging the ROI of online marketing is impossible. Quite the contrary, in fact. Here are just a few ways businesses have been able to track the success of their online marketing efforts, and better determine the ultimate return on their investments.
Determining what works and what doesn’t work on your site isn’t simply a matter of finding what gets your website the most hits and fine tuning it. In fact, it’s much more complex than that. For the most part, it’s nearly impossible to make changes to your website and figure out what’s working without using some form of analytics.
First, there are basic website analytics like Google Analytics, a free and pretty in-depth tool offered by Google. Google Analytics details such things as hits, unique visitors and bounce rate, which essentially determines what percentage of users actually look beyond the first page that they find your website at. Basically, it helps grant you an overall sense of how visitors are responding to your website when they visit it.
Then, there are other, premium services which, while similar, aim to offer different information that might help you develop a better sense of how users are interacting with your webpage. Web traffic visualization apps like Crazy Egg actually help you see and understand how users are interacting with your website by showing where they spend most of their time hovering their mice over. That helps you understand not only what users maybe don’t care about, but which aspects of your site they are most intrigued by or interested in.
Analyzing Consumer Reactions To Your Campaigns
Finding out how customers are reacting, on an individual level, to your various campaigns is also extremely important in helping to better determine the success of your online marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, with how sophisticated and seemingly immeasurable things like shares on Facebook and retweets on Twitter are, it may seem like gauging those reactions is pointless.
But that’s not necessarily true, and with the right tools, you can find out a lot about how your campaigns are working through social media. For Twitter, Viral Heat is a great tool that helps you better understand specifically how customers are responding to your tweets. It essentially gives a detailed breakdown of their responses, and whether those are positive or negative.
Then, there are link tracking services like awe.sm which keep track of such things as clicks, shares, retweets and other forms of amplification that may occur with social media. These tools can help you to estimate the actual monetary value that those amplifications have with regard to business.
Offering Exclusive Discounts Through Your Online Channels
Another way to effectively measure ROI of social media and online marketing is by creating exclusive opportunities for potential customers to redeem coupons, discounts or offers that are created only on those online channels. For example, creating web-site only coupons that customers must bring into your business in order to redeem would be an easy way to better quantify the success of that channel in bringing traffic.
Or, on Twitter and Facebook, creating specific specials that are only advertised on those specific channels, like drink specials or special packages. Then, judging by the number of customers who end up redeeming those specials, you can establish a better sense of what is working to drive customers into your business and what isn’t.
Still, ROI is difficult to measure through social media simply because it is such a new — but already hugely successful — phenomenon. But it’s never impossible. Although analytics and coupons are just beginning to scratch the surface of defining the true power of social media and other online marketing through concrete figures, they still have a long way to go.
But the value is still there. It’s just a matter of using those various tools at your disposal in order to better refine your efforts and create marketing campaigns that help you to put a number on that value. But just know that through constant, concerted involvement in online marketing, that number will almost always be increasing.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester NY Social Media company specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.