I like to think of myself as a numbers guy. Where some might more readily go with their gut, I’d rather look at the statistics before I make a decision. My colleagues at Points Group are very much of the same persuasion. Instead of jumping right into campaigns based on seemingly good pricing or on the recommendations of others, we base our decisions and recommendations to our clients on statistics that we are constantly gathering. Not only has this approach drastically boosted our success rate, but even when campaigns are not successful, it removes the guesswork in determining why a campaign did not do well.

What do we use to gather our data and make informed business decisions?

Google Analytics

There are a number of options out there for analytics on your website, but Google Analytics (GA) is free, easy to use, and works well with other platforms. We use it on our own website and on our client’s websites. What does GA measure? A lot. You can get simple data, like how many people have been on your site, how many of these people are unique (not repeat visitors), where they came from (a link, a search engine, an advertisement, etc.), and what pages they visit on your site. And you can get more complicated data, like how many people “converted” on your site. A conversion would be something like submitting a contact form or signing up for your newsletter. There’s far more once you get into it, but we’ll stay at 30,000 feet for now.

Remember how I said GA works well with other platforms? Well you can sync GA with your Google Webmaster Tools and AdWords accounts (go figure, they’re all Google platforms). Synching with Webmaster Tools will import data about what Google searches trigger your site to show up, where your site is showing up in the search results, and what pages are showing up. Synching AdWords will give you valuable insights into how traffic from your AdWords campaigns behaves on your site, all the way down to the keyword level. So you can see how much time visitors from a specific paid keyword are spending on your site, what pages they are visiting, and whether or not they eventually convert. Not only is this valuable for your AdWords campaigns to see if a keyword is worth targeting, but this also tells you if your landing pages are not performing.

Call Tracking

Call tracking is a valuable tool for any campaign, digital or traditional, that functions through the use of measured numbers. A measured number is a phone number that redirects to another phone number. It records statistics about phone calls: the same data you would see on your Caller ID. It can also record phone calls (just make sure you include the “This call may be monitored…”).

The benefits of using measured numbers to track your phone calls are twofold. Firstly, you can use this as a tool to improve your customer service and hopefully your conversion rate from an interested caller to a customer or patient. Secondly, you can use your call tracking statistics to improve the vehicle of your measured number. This could be your website, a digital advertisement (a web banner ad, a search engine text ad, etc.), or it could be a traditional print ad. By looking at the number of impressions (views) your advertisement gets (easily possible for most digital advertisements and estimated for print advertisements), you can figure out your cost per lead.

Google AdWords

Google’s search engine, display network, and YouTube advertising platform is all numbers: bids (amount you are willing to pay for a click), clicks, impressions (ad views), click through rate (clicks divided by impressions, a.k.a. CTR), average position (your ad’s average rank in the search results) and quality score (more on this later). Understanding and using this data offers you an opportunity to lower your costs by increasing your average position and by optimizing your ads.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll only be discussing search engine ads. The AdWords interfaces for each product function slightly differently, but the core concepts are the same.

Optimizing your ads is actually pretty simple. You can create different variants of a certain ad. Google will randomly display your different ads as they are triggered. Once there is some impression and click data to work with, Google automatically will begin to display the better-performing ads more often than the less successful ones. As long as you are adding new ads to the mix with different variations, you are optimizing your ads.

Quality score is the most important aspect of your ads on the AdWords platform. Your quality score is Google’s measure of how relevant your ad is. It takes into account three main factors: expected CTR (based on past performance), ad relevance (how relevant is your ad to the targeted keyword?), and landing page experience (is your landing page relevant to your ad?). Your quality score is extremely important because it can actually lower your bid costs. If you have a sufficiently high quality score, you can outrank competing ads with higher bids because of the value Google puts on relevance. In order to understand how this works, check out Google’s most recent explanation of quality score and Ad Rank in the video below:

Points Group Products

Catch Basin Analyzer

With the Catch Basin Analyzer, we are able to study a business’ catch basin, or the geographic area from which a business attracts its customers. This in-depth view allows businesses to make educated decisions in their marketing and overall business strategies like who to target with their next marketing campaign or where would be the best location for expansion. Understanding your catch basin at such a granular level takes the guesswork out of these major business decisions.

Patient Satisfaction Survey

Feedback from your patients is essential to managing a successful healthcare practice and our Patient Satisfaction Surveys are one of the easiest ways to get it. Patients tend to be more honest in a form than they would be to an actual person as they are not worried about the form’s feelings. So, while a patient survey is not the most quantitative form of data, the feedback that you receive can be valuable in perfecting your internal processes.

“Feel good marketing” is a term coined by our CEO, Thomas Hofstetter. It means engaging in marketing activities that make you feel like you are doing something, even if they don’t demonstrate tangible results. An example of this might be taking out an ad in a local paper because it feels good to see your brand in a paper that you read and that friends and family will see. Taking an ad out in a local paper is necessarily a bad idea, but if you are doing so without basing your decision on solid statistics, you have no one to blame but yourself if it goes south.

Gathering data requires a certain amount of foresight. Some forms of data will help you immediately (i.e. recorded phone calls, patient satisfaction surveys, etc.), but others won’t help you until several months down the road. But, if you want to make educated decisions for your business, especially in the digital marketing realm, you absolutely need to commit to recording your data. And the sooner, the better.

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This document was last updated on July 24, 2014