Online marketing can seem like a blur when you’re used to more traditional forms of advertising.
We’ll admit, it probably doesn’t help that we use so many acronyms such as PPC, SEO and CRO. It makes online marketing seem endlessly complicated, when, in reality, there are simple steps you can take to streamline your campaign and appeal to both your customers and the search engines.
The tools listed here are free and generate actionable, useful insights to help you market any business more effectively. You can also use and install them quickly, making for faster ongoing work and easy to access stats.
1. Understanding ad value quickly: Google Analytics – focusing on referrals
We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve been tempted to renew an advert or paid business listing because we’ve been told that it has generated a generous number of clicks to a site. Sometimes the results being claimed don’t match up with sales one bit.
Knowing what advertising/link sources generate the most traffic to your site allows you to focus on the most profitable opportunities and capitalise accordingly.
On your Google Analytics dashboard, head to: acquisition > all traffic > referrals
It isn’t uncommon to see a few odd links here (for example from a forum or two), but a quick sift through should quickly unearth the links you have placed on other sites. This can be incredibly insightful, and will show you what sites (and content) are working for you.
Discontinue any pricey ongoing advertisements or listings that aren’t working for you and look to capitalise on opportunities that are driving relevant traffic. This may be a semi-regular post on a particular industry website, or perhaps an upgraded listing on an industry directory.
Need tracking code for an advert? GA Config will do all of the hard work for you by taking you through the entire process. Depending on your technical skills, you may need a developer to help you implement this.
Don’t waste time chasing KPI’s when you don’t need to, referrals will help you make those quick decisions when ad calls are coming in thick and fast.
Bit.ly is considerably more than just a URL shortening tool. If you’ve just posted some content, company news or offers on social media then Bit.ly is a really simple way to see how it’s initially performing via click-throughs.
It’s ideal if you’re working on something really current or contentious and need instant updates into how many people are engaging. Launch events are a particularly good example.
Once you’ve logged in Bit.ly is incredibly simple to use. Just click on the shortened link you want to monitor and wait for real-time click-through stats.
If you ensure you’re logged in every time you shorten a link, over time you can start to identify patterns too. Arrange content types into bundles and see what’s performing best for you at what times of the day.
3. Test if your website can be displayed correctly on mobile devices
A small section of industries late last year found that mobile searches had dramatically increased between November 2013 and November 2014. Mobile searches in the property sector we sampled had increased by 552%.
Of course before going in for a site overhaul you’re going to want to know how this could potentially impact on your traffic.
To check the number of site visits coming from mobile, use the audience > mobile feature in your Google Analytics account. Compare this to figures from the previous year(s) to get a realistic representation of how much your audience’s habits have changed.
If your bounce rate is high (compare this to your desktop bounce rate) then there’s a good chance mobile users aren’t finding what they need.
To get an idea of how user-friendly your mobile site is, Google’s mobile friendly test will unearth specific problems and lead you to helpful resources based on the platform your site is built on. While a confident web developer will need to implement any changes, determining the number of visits you could be getting via mobile is a quick and simple research task.