- Closed-Loop Marketing, Part 2: How to Close the Loop and Fix a Broken One
- Closed-Loop Marketing, Part 1: 4 Ways to Improve Sales
Marketers spend a lot of time on digital campaigns, not really knowing whether their efforts are having a real impact. When you engage potential customers in conversation on Facebook or Twitter, do you know exactly which sale or lead resulted from that effort?
In today’s measurable, digital world, we have no excuse for not tracing every single bit of revenue back to the action that created it. Drawing these connections closes the loop in your marketing campaigns, helping you to focus energy on those actions that really pay off – not to mention demonstrate your value to your company.
In this two-part series, I will share everything you need to know about closed-loop marketing, from what this tricky-sounding tactic is, to how to make it work for you.
Closed-Loop Marketing 101
To create a closed-loop marketing system, you should make your website the central hub of all your marketing efforts. Everything you do – from social media and email marketing, to referral links and paid search – should drive potential customers and clients to your website.
Think of your website as the entry point of your closed-loop system. Once potential leads arrive at your site, you can cookie them and track their activity. Careful study will reveal exactly how they found your business, what they did on your website, and what converted them once they arrived.
Tracking Your Visitors
You’re probably used to tracking sources of traffic, like search term or referring website, through your web analytics systems. However, closed-loop marketing requires you to go a bit further to be sure you’re assigning leads to the right marketing initiative. Using a tracking URL can help you do that.
Creating a tracking URL is as simple as adding a parameter to the end of your website’s link so your analytics system can associate that link with a particular campaign. Called a “tracking token,” this special link might look something like this:
When visitors click on the link, your analytics tool will automatically know that the traffic is coming from Twitter. Tracking tokens can be applied to other channels, such as paid media, email, and referral traffic. Check out your analytics software to see if you have the right tracking tokens in place.
Once you start identifying where your traffic is coming from, you’ll need to track visitors’ behavior. Note which pages they view and the path they take throughout your site. Understanding this path can help you optimize for faster conversions in the future.
This step is an important one to get right. The last thing you need is one database with anonymous visitor history and another one with lead information. Making the connection between a visitor’s time spent on your site and their lead information will help you close the loop. Then, you will know exactly which marketing source produces successful leads.
Unless you are really adept at the technical back end of your analytics platform, you may want to consider software that can help you link the above information. HubSpot, for example, offers software that can give you the information you need without all the extra work.
Converting Visitors into Leads
To monetize your traffic and generate qualified prospects for your sales team, you’ll need to convert your website visitors into leads. Sending incoming traffic to landing pages will help you collect information from your visitors and qualify them as leads.
I wrote about creating landing pages back in January, so take a moment to go over the steps to building an effective page. Basically, a landing page includes a lead capture form where visitors provide their name, email, and other information you ask for. Building separate landing pages for your marketing initiatives will help you learn where qualified leads are coming from.
Attributing Sales Back to Leads
Understanding which tactics actually lead to sales can improve your marketing efforts tremendously. Closed-loop marketing helps you identify which activities are bringing in the most – and the least – revenue.
If you have taken all the previous steps mentioned, attributing the leads that your sales team has closed back to their original marketing initiative should be relatively simple. Most SMBs can use their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to do this, or you can do this manually using a spreadsheet.
In the second part of this series on closed-loop marketing, I will show you how to close the loop – or fix a broken loop – in your marketing strategies.
Image courtesy of magnetism.co.nz