This is 2 of a 4 blog series on closed-loop marketing.
The easiest way to close the loop is to make your website the central hub for all your marketing. Search engines, social media, email marketing, referral links, paid search, even offline campaigns should get filtered to your website. Once someone visits your website, you can cookie them and start tracking their activity.
This is the entry point of your closed-loop system. As the lead progresses through your sales and marketing stages, you’ll be able to attribute them back to the proper channel. Making this lead generation technique the easiest way to segment leads.
If they came into your site through a link from a trade show, an email marketing campaign or a search term, for example, you’ll be able to trace them back to that original source.
For instance, here is what that data can look like. Below you see a screenshot of traffic by channel, brought to us by the marketing analytics tools of our software. By looking at this data we are able to see trends and compare channels. We know which are our most valuable sources of traffic and can work on optimizing the rest.
The drop down menu enables us to switch this chart for a view of leads and customers by channel.
Most web analytics systems will allow you to track sources of traffic like search term or referring website, but you’ll need to go a step further than this in order to make sure that you’re accurately assigning your leads to the right marketing initiative.
To create a tracking URL, you just need to add a parameter to the end of your website’s link that your analytics system can identify and associate with a particular campaign or initiative. This will enable you to more accurately track visitors who otherwise look like they are coming from direct search.
The tracking token is added to the end of a link, allowing your analytics tool to pool a certain group of traffic. Different tools employ different tokens, but here is an example of what a visit from Twitter could look like:
By attaching this to your URL anyone who clicks that link is signaling to your analytics tool that they are coming from Twitter. The same type of tracking tokens apply to different channels, such as email, paid media and referral traffic. Investigate with your marketing or analytics software to make sure you have tracking tokens in place and your data gets assigned to the right categories.
This is the trickiest part of closed-loop reporting: making sure that you can connect a visitor’s session with their lead information once they convert on a form. Without this piece, you’ll have two separate databases, one with anonymous visitor history and one with lead information. As a result, you won’t be able to connect those leads back to their respective marketing source.
In order to make this work for you, either do something very technical on the back end of your analytics platform or you start using some software that does this for you. There are a few of companies out there that have figured out how to do this and there is no point reinventing the wheel--full disclosure, the HubSpot software allows you to do closed-loop reporting.
Here is a screenshot of a prospects tool which tracks visitors’ activity (when they are still anonymous) and provides some actionable next steps, such as social media following.
More than just knowing where your visitors are coming from, you’ll need to know who they are. This is curtail to closing the loop and being able to associate closed customers back to their entry source.
The way to capture this information is to direct website visitors to a landing page with a submission form (or also known as a lead capture form). Once visitors fill out this from, you’ll have whatever contact information you asked them for: name, email, phone number, etc.
As a best practice, you should be sending most of your traffic to landing pages and forms so that you can grow your leads database. Learn more about building awesomein later blog posts.
Finally, you need to look at all of the leads that your sales team has closed and attribute them back to their original marketing initiative. If you’ve setup everything in steps one through four, this should be a relatively straightforward process.
For most medium-sized business, the easiest way to achieve this is through your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. For smaller businesses, you might do this more manually using a spreadsheet.
Here is a screenshot of an analytics tool providing us with insights on customer acquisition from different marketing sources, such as email marketing, social media and referrals.
In order to set up closed-loop marketing you need to map marketing activities to sales. Such an integration requires connecting your marketing software to your customer relationship management (CRM). In other words, you need to tie the data from your marketing to prospective, current and former customers together with the data your sales team is creating with these same people.
The purpose of a CRM system is to synchronize the activities of your sales, marketing and customer support teams. A CRM platform can support your business in a number of ways ranging from selling and fulfillment to identifying and rewarding loyal customers. SAP, Oracle, Salesforce and SugarCRM are some the most commonly known CRM systems.
Marketing software, like HubSpot, Marketo and Eloque keeps record of your marketing data and makes it actionable — by optimizing campaigns, enabling lead conversions and revealing results. The CRM and the marketing software talk to each other through an application programming interface (API).
As a sophisticated marketer, you want the two systems to talk to each other. When one of your sales representatives closes a deal, she can mark that sale as “won” in your CRM and that will trigger an update in the marketing software. You will then be able to go backwards and see where this new customer came from originally. What channel brought them to your website? What pages did they view afterward? At what point did they convert into a lead?
Such intelligence will expose conversion assists, pages on your website that your visitors viewed before they converted into leads or customers. Understanding a website’s conversion assists can help marketers identify the most influential pages they own. In doing so, they can learn a lot about why those pages are (or aren’t) effective and apply these insights to improve poorly performing web pages and to enhance other components of their marketing.
We at Fritz and Andre consider such conversion assists valuable in gaining a 360-degree view of the sales cycle. That is why the software we use includes a tool called Conversion Assists:
As we demonstrated so far, closed-loop marketing offers data that is critical for successful marketing. Yet tying your marketing software to your CRM impacts your business strategy in even more positive ways.
This is the second blog in a series of four about closed-loop marketing.