As government spending continues to come under scrutiny and the axe begins to fall in the public sector, the ripple effect on consumer confidence is already being seen. In early November, research by Nielsen for the British Retail Consortium found a six per cent increase in people who thought the outlook for their personal finances was “not so good”, and in people who thought job prospects would be “bad”.
As household budgets come under more pressure and consumers become more careful about their spending, businesses will need to apply exactly the same scrutiny.
It was John Wanamaker who famously said some years ago, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half”. The great thing about online marketing is that you can find out fairly easily where money is being wasted; the data is available. But how well do we use it?
Most companies will have some kind of web analytics in place – Google Analytics is particularly popular with SMEs because it’s free, yet relatively powerful. Some ecommerce applications such as SellerDeck, from the company I work for, provide deep integrations that can be set up in a few mouse clicks, yet provide a tremendously rich set of data. For example, it’s possible to see how much revenue is generated from individual phrases via search engines.
Often, though, there is a flurry of effort in setting up the analytics; but examination of the data becomes more cursory over time, under pressure from other things. Now is the time to revisit those stats and look in more detail at which investments are generating the best return. Here are a few things that are specifically worth checking.
Do you include tracking codes in every clickable link, whether it be on your website, on social media sites, or in emails or other campaigns?
Do you regularly check the results from each online marketing medium?
Do you have a monthly report on your key stats, and do you study it in depth?
Do you check your website for the worst performing pages? E.g. the top exit pages, the least visited pages, and pages with the shortest average visits.
Do you look at revenues and not just visitor numbers?
Do you have the courage to invest more where you are seeing the best return, as well as cutting activities that don’t justify themselves economically?
The businesses that invest their marketing spend most wisely will gain a significant competitive advantage as economic pressures continue to bite. For some, pruning out ineffective spending could mean the difference between life and death.