When I woke up yesterday morning around 5:00 AM, the last thing on my mind was buying a $600 piece of software.
Not even on the radar.
Job #1 was to find my blasted slippers so I wouldn't stub my toe (again) on the way to the kitchen to start the first of many pots of coffee for the day's writing chores.
So with a steaming mug of "the copywriter's elixir of life" in hand, I stumbled down to my office to churn out copy that would make my clients… and me… very happy and profitable.
Then. . . it happened.
Engagement MUST be tracked
But first, let`s talk about the importance of tracking engagement. If you don’t, your marketing strategies are a waste of time, effort and money.
Simply put, engagement metrics involve collecting the data about your prospects' interactions with your marketing, both inbound and outbound. You need to know where they engaged, how they engaged and what the outcomes were of that engagement.
This includes tracking your content marketing strategies, your social networking announcements and lead generation devices.
For example, how much time did they spend on your website, what pages did they read and what CTAs did they click (or not click) on? Was your content shared and, if so, with whom?
There are other metrics to track such as newsletter and email click-through rates. But once you've gathered all the data, you need to put it into a form that can be studied and understood. There are some metrics you'll collect that don't have any effect or matter for engagement and can be discarded.
I don't have time to explain all of that, so I'll let Petri Darby, APR, the director of brand marketing and digital strategy for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of America, handle that. When you're done here, check out this article he wrote – The Hitchhiker's Guide to Tracking Website Engagement – for the Convince & Convert blog.
Oh, yeah… back to what happened yesterday.
Getting – and staying – on your prospect's radar
After sitting down at my computer and savoring the morning's first brew, my eyes finally focused.
First things first, I checked my email from the night before and noticed an email from a software company in the U.K.
It wasn't marked as "spam" because I was interested in their product and classified them as a friend. It's software to create those "whiteboard" presentations to use as a type of video marketing. I'd looked at it the first time about four months ago.
I read their site content, watched their videos, signed up for their newsletter and even downloaded the free 7-day trial version.
Yesterday… I plunked down my credit card and bought it. I moved from being a prospect to becoming a customer.
After buying, installing and firing up the software for a test run, I got back to writing. But as I did, the old wheels started to turn. I was getting ready to write this article and had become a first-hand example of the process.
So, what caused me to buy this $600 software that day?
There's no doubt in my mind that this company tracks their engagement metrics. They obviously know where their prospects come from and how they arrive. And I have my suspicions that signing up for the newsletter and free trial set in motion a marketing machine that, while subtle, was irresistible.
Each piece of marketing that came my way after that seemed tailor-made for me. Now, I know I'm not all that unique and I'm sure I was following in the footsteps of others before me. But, my engagement with the company had placed me on a well-defined track.
It's almost as if they knew me… and they did, in a way.
I'm sure their engagement metrics helped them understand the various journeys that buyers travel on the way to the sale. Understanding that, they've tweaked their marketing to send "tour guides" to help along the way.
And it worked.
Small or large, every business needs to track engagement
I do with my freelance writing business.
I may be a one-man-band, but measuring engagement is crucial to my success. My metrics may not be as involved as the metrics for a large company. But understanding where my prospects come from, how they find me and how long they stay onsite allows me to adjust my own self-marketing strategies.
Here are a few quick examples and then it's over to you.
My main content marketing tools are my website and my LinkedIn profile. I keep track of the engagement metrics on both so I can make adjustment to my marketing strategies.
Yes, that's right – LinkedIn.
When I click on the "Who's viewed your profile" link, I get charts and graphs and everything. It shows the profile view trend for the past 90 days. Hovering over the "actions taken" bar below the graph displays what kind of engagement, both inbound and outbound, my profile has generated.
Clicking on other tabs tells me where in the world that my viewers live and work. For example, one pie chart informs me that over the last three months I've had profile viewers from my home town of Fayetteville; Orlando, Florida; the Dallas/Fort Worth area; Toronto, Canada; and 69 other locations around the globe.
The LinkedIn profile engagement metrics also gives you some of the same metrics that your website analytics do. For instance, both tell me how many viewers/readers came from Google search and what keywords they used to find me.
LinkedIn also reveals other ways that people arrived at my profile: from the LinkedIn mobile app, from other people's profiles that are similar to mine and from other sources like Facebook.
Using this information and similar metrics from my website, I've tweaked my copy and have seen an increase in page and profile views, and prospect engagement.
Final thoughts on engagement metrics
You need to track engagement metrics in practical chunks.
One week isn't long enough to indicate a trend in most cases. Longer time frames yield data that are more accurate.
For instance, I like the rolling 3-month chart that LinkedIn and my website analytics use. It's large enough to get a bird's eye view, yet small enough to watch the effect that strategic adjustments make.
The period required to track your metrics depends on your product and market.
Finally, if you're not tracking engagement metrics, you're flying blind. If the growth metric report is given at your next meeting and no one knows why it went up (or down), you're not tracking engagement.
And without knowing why… you may never figure out how to fix or improve it.
In the comments, let us know what metrics you track and how they affect your own marketing strategies.
Fuel your content marketing strategy with the right data. Check out our eBook, Data-Driven Marketing: How to Create & Optimize a Content Strategy With Data At Its Core.
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