What is a linear attribution model?
Linear attribution models are focused for multi-touch attribution–meaning they take into account and attribute credit to multiple touchpoints along the customer journey. In fact, this model actually takes into account every single interaction that a prospect has with your brand prior to purchasing.
Mathematically-speaking, they’re incredibly easy to understand. With a linear attribution model, every single touchpoint is given the same amount of credit, so the equation is as follows:
100 (% of the overall credit) / number of touchpoints in conversion path = amount of credit per touchpoint.
So if your customer has four interactions with your brand before deciding to convert, each would therefore be given 25% of the credit.
Linear Attribution in real life example
Say you manufacture sneakers and sell them online to a global audience.
It’s highly likely that you’ve set up a series of Instagram ads–after all, the social media platform boasts a whopping reported reach of 849.3 million users.
One of your prospects might initially see an Instagram ad before liking what they see, clicking through, and spending half an hour browsing your website. They really like your products but aren’t going to buy there and then, so they decide to sign up to receive promotional newsletters from your company.
Over the course of the next few months they receive multiple promotional emails from you. However, for whatever reason, they don’t click through (or even open) any of them. But then one day they’re retargeted by a Youtube ad.
This ad prompts them to revisit your website, where they finally decide to purchase a pair of your shoes.
With a linear attribution model, the credit for this sale would look as follows:
- Instagram ad – 20%
- Browsing through your website – 20%
- Signing up to your newsletter – 20%
- Youtube ad – 20%
- Visiting your website and purchasing – 20%
So if the shoes cost $40, each touchpoint would be worth $8.
The benefits of using linear attribution models
- Takes a multi-touch approach
- Easy to understand
- Doesn’t require in-depth data science capabilities
The true benefit of using linear attribution models is that they take all touchpoints into account. Adopting a linear attribution model is a great way to get started if you’re looking to gain a macro-level grasp of your overall marketing strategy.
By accrediting every interaction that crops up in any one buyer’s journey–all the way from the initial brand awareness stage through to the point of purchase–you can accordingly fine-tune your marketing efforts going forward (according to what campaigns work and what do not).
This makes it considerably better than any single-touch models, for model comparison. Single-touch models can be pretty misleading–after all, prospects rarely make a purchase based off one single touchpoint.
It might happen very rarely for B2C companies with low-value goods and short sales cycles, but it’s generally the exception and not the norm.
So by taking all touchpoints into account, linear attribution models mean that you’ll always have complete oversight of your consumers’ entire buying journeys.
In particular, linear attribution modeling is perfect for companies who are just starting out, or are adopting a completely new digital marketing strategy.
You don’t need to work out a precise weighing system (i.e. how much each touchpoint is worth), you get an overall view of the consumer journey, and it’s easy to understand.
This is especially useful for companies with long buying cycles involving many touches–you don’t want any touchpoint to be ignored, so a linear attribution model will take all of them into account.
Downsides of the linear attribution model
- Too simplistic
- Treats every touchpoint the same way
- Over time, this could have a significant negative impact on your results
Despite the positives, there are actually quite a few negatives to take into account when considering whether or not to adopt a linear attribution model.
Its simplicity, unfortunately, is also its downfall. Linear attribution models offer little to no nuance; all touchpoints are worth the same amount of credit, whether or not they actually had that much influence over a prospect’s decision to convert.
When compared with a W-shaped model (which gives the most credit to the critical first, lead-creation, and opportunity-creation touches), this method of attribution seems to be lacking in many respects.
As a result, adopting a linear attribution model could significantly skew how effectively you deem each effort in your marketing strategy. But how exactly would this happen?
Let’s imagine for a minute that you’re a B2B company selling a novel project management tool.
A prospect of yours (let’s say they’re a marketing manager) goes to a conference and hears your CEO give a keynote address on the amount of time wasted due to poor project management.
The prospect is highly impressed with the way your CEO spoke, so they decide to follow your company’s LinkedIn page.
A few months passes and the prospect doesn’t appear to interact with your brand in any way, shape, or form. Sure, they might’ve seen a couple of posts crop up on their LinkedIn feed, but they haven’t engaged with anything, nor have they decided to visit your website.
However, when May comes, the company has their end-of-year budget review. The marketing team has had a strong year and so are allocated more budget, with the directive of continuing their good work but simultaneously increasing productivity at the same time.
When considering how best to do this, the marketing manager remembers your company’s name. Deciding to check out the ins-and-outs of your project management tool, they start perusing your website: reading up on how the tool works, looking at case studies highlighting just how effective it is, and even clicking through onto client testimonials hosted on your Youtube channel.
Impressed with the accolades and ready to find out more, they arrange an in-depth demo with your sales team before deciding to go ahead and purchase.
So far so good. After all, your marketing strategy clearly worked–online and offline interactions have worked together in an effective manner to lead a prospect down the sales funnel until they became a customer.
But marketers are always looking to further refine their marketing strategy: to work out precisely what they can do to increase their conversion rate and bring in more customers. After all, consumer behavior is always changing; with it, brands need to update and refresh their marketing efforts.
However, when it comes to attributing credit to that sale, a linear attribution model will give all touchpoints exactly the same amount of credit.
As good as it is to take every touchpoint into account, this is probably not the right way to look at things. For example, despite liking your company’s LinkedIn page, the prospect never engaged with anything you posted.
So how much of an effect did it really have on their decision to make a purchase? The likelihood is that social media didn’t actually have all that much influence, yet according to a linear attribution model, it was just as important as your CEO’s keynote address at the conference and the demo that they signed up for that would list them as a direct traffic source.
It’s all well and good recognizing the many touchpoints that a prospect interacts with on the conversion path, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all of equal importance. However, linear attribution models ignore this nuance–instead, offering an easy-to-understand (but slightly inaccurate) overview of events.
Who should use a linear attribution model and when?
Despite the drawbacks, a linear attribution model can still be fairly useful–especially for a new company with limited budget who just want a decent overall picture of their marketing strategy, i.e. which efforts are involved in pushing prospects down the funnel and which don’t really seem to have too much of an impact.
They’re also a great option for companies which lack in-house data analysts to dig into the analytics. Getting an attribution model that’s 100% accurate–reflecting just how much of an impact each touchpoint had on a single customer’s decision to buy–is a difficult (if not impossible) task.
After all, it’s hard to appropriately weigh touchpoints–does a customer spending two minutes browsing on your site equate to the same level of importance as signing up to your newsletter? If so, why? If not, why not?
And this is an ongoing battle. For instance, one customer’s decision to click through on a display ad might have had more of an influence on their decision to buy than another customer also clicking through.
So if you’re looking for a fairly basic model which takes into account all relevant touchpoints, then using a linear attribution model is a pretty good place to start.
When not to use a linear attribution model
That being said, every marketer worth their salt knows that not all touchpoints have the same influence on a customer–so they shouldn’t subsequently receive the same amount of credit.
The only reason that you’d use a model which says they do is either due to budgetary constraints or because you’re not looking to refine your marketing strategy to a point of true perfection.
For instance, if you’re a large organization with a marketing budget to match, then you likely require a more accurate and far more comprehensive model to help justify marketing costs going into campaigns. Just because many of your customers like a Twitter post prior to purchasing doesn’t simply mean that they’re as important as producing thought-leadership eBooks.
At the end of the day, marketing attribution models should guide future investment: influencing the marketing channels and particular strategies where you spend most of your budget. Hopefully, these will be the ones which demonstrate the best ROI and have the highest conversion rates.
Equally attributing credit to all touchpoints might mean that you then decide to equally invest into all aspects of your overall marketing strategy. Over time, investing in ineffective channels will effectively mean pouring money down the drain and leaving potential customers on the table.
So if you’re serious about taking your marketing strategy to the next level, it’s probably best to avoid using a linear attribution model.
How to setup a linear attribution model
Given that the math is so simple, a linear attribution model really shouldn’t take all that long to set up. All your attribution software needs to know is that 100% of the credit is equally divided between all touchpoints in the customer journey.
From that point onwards, you’re ready to go. It’s worth remembering though that you’ll only start to glean useful insights after a good few months of using the model.
Simplistic attribution models might not necessarily be able to retrospectively assign credit–that’s to say, if they’ve been set up to only look at the first or the last touch, they won’t be able to suddenly look back and assign credit to all other touchpoints that were involved.
So what does this mean? Well, in reality, you’ll only really start being able to reap the benefits of a linear attribution model once you’ve had customers pass all the way from the initial brand awareness stage through to becoming paid-up customers of yours.
Starting a channel partner program is an exciting time for you and means your company sees the value in indirect sales. Forrester has stated that 75% of world trade flows indirectly, so now is the time to place deep value into your partner program. It’s a big responsibility – and an investment of time and resources – to attract the right kind of channel partners and provide each with the training and support they need to be effective. It will be a huge undertaking, but a very rewarding journey.
Good news: we created a strategy to help you build a successful partner program. The strategy is simple: implement consistency within your partner program.
Consistency is key to channel partner success. By creating processes that ensure each partner has the aptitudes, skills, and resources they need to succeed, you are creating order out of what could be chaos. Here’s how to use consistency to develop successful processes, in five easy ways.
1. Be consistent in partner choice
You can’t recruit partners with mismatched skills and questionable commitment and expect to win the game. A great way to produce consistent results, right from the start, is to seek out partners that have the time, resources and willingness to learn and grow with you. They’re going to be good team players that will buy into the consistent development program you’ve set up.
Don’t make a habit of jamming square pegs into round holes. Consistently recruit channel partners that are a natural fit for your company: their geography, customer base or another aptitude that just makes sense.
Tip: Ask prospective partners why they want to partner with you.
2. Be consistent with your expectations
What do you want from your channel partners? That’s an important question you should reflect upon before you even begin recruitment. It’s crucial that you come up with some concrete expectations and goals you can easily relay to new partners. By nature, perimeters are reliable ways to guide behavior and drive ambition. Set out those expectations with each partner during signing and onboarding. Having this framework in place means everyone can work toward mutual goals. It also hones fairness and transparency, two essentials in building trust, and thus relationships, with partners.
3. Be consistent in onboarding
The best way to ensure all channel partners are starting out equipped with the required knowledge and skills is by offering a uniform onboarding experience. That means ensuring that each partner completes a program that covers the essentials they need to know to start out on the right foot. The best onboarding programs are easily accessible, engaging, and most importantly, trackable.
A great way to set up a consistent and effective onboarding program is a partner relationship management (PRM) solution. A dedicated partner portal provides easily accessible onboarding materials for all partners. It creates an automated, homogeneous process that includes data tracking so you can see where all your partners are, in terms of engagement and completion.
4. Be consistent in providing resources and support
Before kicking off your channel partner program, make sure you have the resources and training in place to help them find ongoing success. That means having current and effective collateral and marketing materials, as well as clear instructions on how to use them. Offer advanced training opportunities that deepen partners’ understanding of your product or solution, and enable them to perfect their knowledge of selling in today’s market. Consistent and equal offering of this support is key. A PRM solution also shines in this regard: it will be a home base for all your support and resources while providing you insight into who is using each piece.
A PRM will allow you to see what content is being utilized the most, as well as which content your top-performing partners are utilizing. This will give you insight into which content leads to deal registrations.
5. Be consistently committed to improvement
Remember that consistency doesn’t mean that you can’t update or optimize your partner program. Commit to keeping current and effective in an ever-evolving market. You should also be constantly testing and tweaking your processes to ensure they are still setting up your channel partners for success.
Putting effort into creating and maintaining strong and steady processes is worth it: it creates a clear and fair system that will help everyone involved in your partner channel program consistently find success.
Every purchase is the result of a consumer journey. That journey begins with a desire—I want a new hat to make me look cool in front of my friends!—and ends with an exchange that benefits your business—if you give me that hat, I’ll give you more money than it cost to make and market!
While that journey used to be somewhat linear, the path of today’s consumer is longer and more convoluted—one study of online buying patterns included purchasing journeys of between 20 and 500 touchpoints.
While 500 may be on the high end for most businesses, the truth is that consumers are exposed to more and more messages in general, and utilize more channels to access those messages than ever before. As a marketing manager or small business owner, it’s your job to manage those channels and touchpoints, and to choose where to funnel your ad budget. But with such a dizzying array of options, that task can be extremely daunting. How do you know the best way to distribute your resources?
This is where touch-based marketing attribution comes into play. Attribution allows you to trace the consumer journey to evaluate the performance of your marketing efforts. It helps you better understand how your efforts impact the entire sales cycle, and how your various channels and touchpoints work together to produce optimal results. By measuring and evaluating the performance of your marketing channels on a user level, you can distribute resources in a way that drives the most conversions at the lowest cost to your business.
It’s a critical component to building successful marketing campaigns—according to Google Think, 72% of marketers agree it leads to better budget allocation.
What is marketing attribution?
Marketing attribution is the process of determining which of your marketing efforts are responsible for causing consumers to take actions that create value for your business.
Touch-based attribution modelling
Touch-based attribution modelling uses individual data gathered from specific users to perform attribution analysis. As mentioned above, each purchase is the result of a journey. By following the consumer along this purchasing path, analyzing how they interact with the channels and touchpoints they encounter along the way, and assigning credit to each based on its ability to impact conversions, you can decide the most profitable way to distribute your marketing resources. Touch-based attribution is particularly useful for small and medium businesses that have significant online marketing efforts.
When thinking about how to implement marketing attribution, it’s helpful to keep some basic vocabulary to keep in mind:
Marketing channels are the media through which you deliver messages. Search advertising, television commercials, social media platforms, various print publications—these are all types of marketing channels. Depending on the type of analysis you’re doing, channels can be looked at in the aggregate (i.e., you could analyze the performance of all social media channels at once), or on a one-by-one basis (i.e., you could focus on the performance of Facebook ads only). Both would be considered channel-level analysis.
Marketing touchpoints are marketing tactics—materials and experiences that engage consumers and communicate messages about your brand. Examples include pretty much any type of marketing effort you can think of: a billboard on the side of the interstate, a TV commercial during the big game, a text ad at the top of your search results on Google, a sponsored instagram post featuring your favorite celebrity. All of these would count as a touchpoint.
Conversions refer to any action performed by the consumer that increases their lifetime value (LTV) to your business. In many instances, the desired action is making a purchase, which increases the value of the consumer to your business by directly contributing to revenue.
In some cases, the desired action is something different; for a social media company, for instance, a conversion may occur when a consumer signs up for a free account. There’s no immediate revenue associated with this action, but it allows the company to show ads to that consumer down the line. Since ad sales are how many social media companies generate revenue, this cashless conversion still increases LTV.
Types of marketing attribution models
Marketing attribution models are the systems with which marketers evaluate the performance of a marketing effort in order to determine its impact in generating conversions. For touch-based attribution, this analysis takes place at the user level, by looking at the purchasing journeys of specific, individual consumers. These journeys are tracked and evaluated to draw conclusions about which touchpoints influenced their decisions to convert.
These models are typically applied to digital marketing campaigns, because online campaigns can utilize digital trackers, such as cookies, to track the entire journey of each consumer. Cookies are small pieces of data sent by a website or advertisement when a user interacts with it, and stored on the user’s computer. The first time a user interacts with one of your touchpoints, they accept your cookie. When they encounter each subsequent touchpoint, the cookie will tell you about all of their prior encounters. Cookies and other online trackers form the basis of online marketing attribution.
Touch-based marketing attribution models are often divided into two categories: single-touch and multi-touch. They provide the starting points for your marketing attribution program.
Single-touch attribution models
Single-touch attribution models look at just one touchpoint in a consumer’s purchasing journey, and assign all the credit to that touchpoint if the consumer converts. Here are two examples:
1. First-touch model
The first-touch model gives all the credit for a conversion to the very first touchpoint a consumer encounters on their purchasing journey. For instance, if a consumer first encounters your brand by clicking on a paid search ad after searching for a keyword you’ve won at auction, that touchpoint gets all the credit for that consumer’s conversion—even if the consumer interacts with more of your touchpoints before converting.
2. Last-touch model
The last-touch model, as you might imagine, gives all the credit to the final touchpoint a consumer encounters on the purchasing journey. If a consumer first encounters your marketing efforts by clicking on a search ad, then opens one of your promotional emails, then watches one of your ads before a Youtube video, and converts by clicking on the Youtube ad and purchasing something from your website, only the Youtube ad gets credit for the conversion in the last-touch model.
Multi-touch attribution models
Multi-touch attribution models look at multiple touchpoints in a consumer’s purchasing journey, and if the customer converts, assign credit for that conversion across more than one touchpoint. Depending on which model you employ, touchpoints are weighted as being more or less responsible for a conversion.
The linear attribution model weighs every tracked touchpoint along the purchasing path equally.
If a consumer first encounters your brand by clicking on a link in a sponsored tweet, then several days later watches an ad before a youtube video as part of your remarketing program, then two weeks after that clicks on a digital coupon in one of your marketing emails and uses it to make a purchase—each of those touchpoints are valued as having the same impact on the conversion and are therefore funded equally during budget allocation.
2. Time decay attribution model
The time decay attribution model values recency in determining which touchpoints most impacted a conversion. Starting with the conversion and working backwards, each touchpoint is assigned less and less credit for causing the conversion. Using the example above, the email marketing piece would receive the most credit, the youtube ad would receive second most, and the sponsored tweet would receive the least.
3. Position based attribution model
Position based attribution models assign weight to touchpoints based on the stage of the purchasing journey in which they are encountered by the consumer.
4. U-shaped attribution model
One type, called the U-shaped model, values the first and last touchpoints as being most important—they each get 40% of the credit. The remaining 20% of the credit is distributed evenly among the all of the touchpoints in between.
5. W-shaped attribution model
In another, called the W-shaped version, the first and last touchpoints remain highest valued, along with a third touchpoint that takes place somewhere in the middle of the journey. This middle step is called the opportunity stage. It occurs after a consumer’s first encounter with your brand but before a conversion decision is made: it is seen as having a large impact on convincing the consumer to seek out the final touchpoint that leads to the conversion. In the W-shaped model, the first, middle, and final touchpoints are each assigned 30% of the credit, while the remaining 10% of credit is assigned to each of the points in between.
Using attribution data to make strategic optimizations in digital campaigns
1. Customize your attribution model
Keep in mind: Each of the attribution models described above should serve as a starting point for tracking and measuring the performance of your touchpoints. In practice, most businesses end up using a custom attribution model comprised of variations on one or more of the models described above. Every campaign and touchpoint is unique, and it takes time and experimentation to figure out the most effective way to allocate budget resources.
By adjusting these established models, recording the results, and adjusting allocation accordingly, you can find a way to distribute credit and funding among touchpoints that maximizes ROI.
2. Follow a framework that matches your strategy and goals
Follow a framework of best practices to allocate your ad budget. Thoughtful evaluation, ROI tracking, and accurate data are important keys to taking the guesswork out of allocating your marketing budget.
3. Understand your sales cycle
Interview your customers and sales team and develop a clear idea of what the average customer experiences in their purchasing cycle. This helps you develop a rough outline upon which you can build your attribution model. Use information directly from customer interviews regarding the importance of your touchpoints in their decision making, feed that into the way your model assigns credit to touchpoints and channels, and adjust marketing spend accordingly.
4. Use experiments to inform your attribution modeling
Apply various attribution models and weighting schemes, adjust your ad spend, and monitor the results. Try experimental methods such as switchback and synthetic control. In the switchback method, you turn off certain marketing efforts for a period of time, and compare your performance metrics, such as sales and conversions, to a period when those efforts were active.
With synthetic control, instead of time periods, you’re comparing two similar audience groups. Turn the marketing off on one, then compare to the other and note the differences in performance.
Doing these types of experiments will help you determine how to weight touchpoints in your attribution models.
5. Account for missing touchpoints
Touch-based attribution suffers from one significant flaw: difficulty in collecting data on offline touchpoints.
To produce the fullest possible picture of each consumer’s purchasing journey, you need to collect a ton of data. This includes a step-by-step view of the purchasing journey. Your view of each and every buying path should be as complete as possible, as each missing puzzle piece detracts from the accuracy of your analysis when it comes to assigning relative values to each component.
Since cookies can’t be passed to a customer in the real world when they see a television ad or visit a brick-and-mortar store, attribution reporting systems often fail to account for their influence.
While it’s impossible to collect every touchpoint along every consumer journey, do your best to incorporate offline interactions. Use tools to track mobile usage or in-store visits.
Phone calls, in particular, are a vital touchpoint for most businesses, and can be easily incorporated by using of the right tools.
Ultimately, marketing attribution requires constant tinkering over multiple periods to perfect. By lining up your organizational goals and marketing strategy, understanding your sales cycle, experimenting with various models and capturing as much data as you can—online and off—you’ll be armed with the information you need to optimize your marketing spend.
The post Use Marketing Attribution To Optimize Your Ad Budget appeared first on CallRail.
For your site to be seen by online customers, you need to optimize your website for search engines. This is where SEO comes into your marketing strategy. Without a strategy for search engine optimization (SEO), your business could be and is missing out on a slew of prospects who are local to you, but unaware that you exist. But how do you make your website search engine friendly for both local searches and general organic searches? What’s the difference?
SEO vs Local SEO
Search engine optimization, to put it simply, is the process of increasing both quantity and quality organic traffic to your website. Quality traffic refers to visitors searching for exactly what you offer them, and organic results refers to unpaid content that shows up in search engine results pages (SERPs). Ergo, organic traffic refers to site visitors who click on your site from organic search, and SEO is largely the art of increasing organic traffic by making people and search engine robots happy. (Read more about SEO).
Local search engine optimization is a subsection of this that focuses on the geographical components of search. Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for local search results that it may not only increase visibility and traffic to your site, but foot traffic to your brick and mortar business.
But first, how does a search engine work?
Before diving into the differences between organic search and local search, it’s important to have at least a high level understanding of how a search engine works. And while no one outside of Google’s inner circle will know everything that’s involved in their search algorithm, we can provide you with a basic overview of how search engines, like Google, operate.
A search engine’s process can be cataloged into 3 simple steps:
Think of search engines, like Google, as massive online libraries of content. They work by crawling websites (following links), processing their information page by page, cataloging its content with other similarly related content, and indexing those sites’ pages for users on the frontend to find during their searches. As users enter their queries into the search bar, the search engine then pulls content most relevant to those queries from its index to appear on the search engine results page, also known as SERPs.
Knowing the basics of how a search engine operates can give you an understanding of the importance of optimizing your site’s content so that the search engine finds your content as valuable as you intend it to be for your ideal visitor. But how does local search differ from regular, organic search and what does that mean for your SEO strategy for both?
Local Search and the intent behind it
While organic search and its results are based on the relevance to each user’s search query, links (both internal and external), and the other search ranking factors, local search takes into account something different: providing geographically relevant information from the local intent behind its users search queries.
Organic search serves to benefit a much broader audience of both informational and transactional searchers (think featured snippets to common questions and e-commerce stores). And while local search still serves the informational searcher, there is a heightened sense of purchasing intent within a user’s local search query.
Users performing local search queries are looking for a business or place they can visit in person or a service that comes to their home. Think local doctors, in-home healthcare, plumbers, lawyers, and restaurants. But what exactly makes the search intent local for users?
Typical search queries with local intent include the following modifiers:
- [term] + city
- [term] + near me
- [term] + closest to me
These modifiers work to filter a user’s search results based on their location, how far they’re willing to go, and the urgency behind the search. More recently, however, these modifiers have been dropping from users’ queries. Google has stated that they’ve implemented neural matching for local searches. This means their search engine can better understand the meaning behind keywords that may imply local intent and match them with the most relevant local search results, even if there are no indicators such as a business name or specific locations entered.
This means that where you once would use more long-tail keywords like this:
You can now merely enter a single keyword and your intent is understood:
Note: Search competition in your local business area is much lower than competing for high value keywords with online purchasing intent so it’s easier for your business to stand out and perform locally.
How are local SEO strategies different?
For any SEO strategy, you should always implement technical SEO, on-page SEO and off-page to get the most out of your website and see the best results. However, while both general and local SEO should involve a similar plan to improve and optimize your site for search engines, there are key differences in the areas you should focus on for successful a local SEO strategy.
Strategies you use for local traffic warrant a more customized approach, such as weaving location-specific keywords into your web copy or including reviews from local customers on your site. Local SEO can incorporate the SEO efforts found in off- and on-page optimization, but in a more specific way that’s catered to location and the local customer. These strategies affect not only your customer but also each other.
A Local SEO strategy for a brick and mortar store should involve:
- Create & optimize Google My Business
- Build online presence through directories & local listings
- Generate content of all kinds (social media, blog, customer photos)
- Tracking visitor & customer data
- Reputation management
- Having a mobile-friendly site
- Having a dedicate location specific about us page
When to focus on local SEO
If your business is a brick and mortar location has a large, bustling local community and customer base, putting extra effort into a local SEO strategy is essential for your business’ growth and success. When a user performs a local search related to your business, you want your business to alway show up in their search results and within Google’s local pack. This is especially true if you operate a local store with multiple locations.
Use behavior-tracking tools such as those Google Analytics offers to help you determine whether you need to put more work into your local SEO strategy to boost your ranking in localized SERPs. Online reviews also provide actionable insights that can help you determine where your site visitors are from.
Measure success: How to find your local traffic
Behavior tracking tools are the first step in helping you understand what traffic to your site is coming from local visitors and what is not. You can find you local traffic from a few different tools- all within the google family: Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and GMB Insights.
By default, Google Analytics will show you traffic from all over the globe. When in Google Analytics, you have two options for peering into your local traffic vs all traffic.
Option 1: Segmenting
1. From Google Analytics home, click Audience and then Overview directly below
2. Click Add Segment and then + New Segment
3. Click Demographics. For a focus on your Location, capture the city in which your business is located. Narrowing down location to city can leave you blind to other opportunities.
4. Click Save
Now you have a segment dedicated to your the region in which you conduct business, but now it’s time to see which visitors are coming in organically and which are not.
1. Repeat steps 1-3 above
2. Click Traffic Sources
3. Under Medium, enter Organic
4. Click Save
From here, you can see local organic traffic to all other traffic in your region, how they differ in interactions ( what blog posts they read and how they move through your site).
Option 2: Geo-location
You can also get a visual overview of where your site visitors are located through Google Analytics’ Geo-location.
1. From Audience, click the Geo drop down menu then click Location
2. Choose the Organic Traffic segment
3. Begin clicking on the map on the area you want to focus on. The more concentrated the color, the more visitors to your site from that area.
Google Search Console
There is not an easy, straightforward way to track local search performance in Google Search Console, but there are a few hacks we can recommend.
1. In the Performance > search results report, you can filter for queries that you know are local, like “near me” or “<city>” to see how those are performing. You may be able to identify other queries that have “local intent” as well and track performance on those.
2. You can use UTM parameters on the website URL you enter in your GMB profile. This will track when your GMB listing shows up and when it is clicked. Follow these tips so as not to mess up your search listing or other traffic reports:
- Use lowercase parameters
- Maintain source=google and medium=organic (because UTMs overwrite the source/medium, and this maintains the existing tracking happening without UTMs)
- Make sure you are using a canonical tag because the UTMs create another URL for the same page of content (a duplicate page).
- Example: www.website.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb
- You can now track in GSC when your GMB URL is shown and when it is clicked on (also tracks traffic in your web analytics software, like Google Analytics.
How local SEO and organic SEO affect each other
Think of SEO as encompassing many areas of improvement that all relate to improving search visibility and organic search traffic to your website. Local SEO is one part of SEO, and efforts to improve local visibility can improve overall search visibility all over the world.
By improving local visibility you can start to build your expertise or authority at the smaller local level. When people find out more about you and your incredible business, it will naturally lead to links and more people talking about your business on various other sites on the Internet. Think about how word is spread on different websites like business review sites, best companies lists, mentions by other companies or individuals who use your service, local news, recommendation sites, etc.
One of the biggest factors for search ranking is the quantity and quality of links (from external sources) pointing to your site. When you run a great business, people will talk about it. This kind of recognition, especially in the form of linking to your website will grow your overall search value to a search engine. Your local SEO can start to grow your overall world-wide search value as well.
This works both ways, so if you already have a successful SEO program with links and great rankings globally, then it’s going to be easy to translate that into success in the local market. This probably isn’t going to be the case for most businesses, but you can see how this works with a big brand that has local stores. Take Home Deport for example, a huge brand in home improvement. Home Depot ranks very high in global search for millions of queries. Their .com domain has so many links to it because of their prolific brand. When they want to build a new local store, they will have an easy time jumping into great rankings for local search because they are already a recognized authority.
If you run a local business, start with local SEO
If you do rely on a local customer base, you are going to want to start building your authority with local SEO, and bolster that with more global SEO efforts when you are ready to serve a nation-wide or world-wide market.
If your business operates solely online—you don’t have a physical storefront to attract customers to—you probably don’t need to focus on local SEO.
When you grow larger than Local SEO
If you are targeting a larger market than just your local area, you need to rank for keywords that bring in a large, broader audience to your site rather than customers from your local area.
It’s going to take a big effort to grow traffic for a nation-wide or global market. You will need to invest money in advertising, content marketing, social media, and have a solid strategy to become a thought leader or expert in your area of business. Help people solve their problems, answer their questions, and be a resource that everyone can trust and depend on. Surprise and delight your potential customers. Provide a place for them to gather as an online community. It’s not easy, and it’s going to take a long time to build a website that does all of this better than what’s already out there.
Say you sell shoes out of a storefront in Cincinnati, and you have an online store. Of course, you want customers from your neighborhood to walk in and purchase shoes at your store. They will help grow your business locally and boost brand awareness at home. But customers all over the country might like your shoes, too. You want to attract customers from all over the country because you have the best online shoe store that can service a wide audience.
To make sure everyone can find what you sell, you need to combine local and general SEO efforts.
Protected: Let’s Get Packing! What to Pack for WVC at Mandalay Bay Convention Center, February 16-19
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
The post Protected: Let’s Get Packing! What to Pack for WVC at Mandalay Bay Convention Center, February 16-19 appeared first on PetDesk.
Who is on your website and what are they doing there? What kinds of web traffic are you driving?
If you’re a marketer, these are burning questions you probably ask yourself frequently. You’ve probably already gone to great lengths to figure out how to monitor this activity. There are a variety of ways you can go about this, most of which probably include late nights and long hours with your web developer implementing endless code on your site in hopes that the ROI was worth it.
Isn’t there an easier way?
Meet Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. These two free tools will let you keep tabs on all of your site activity and ultimately help answer the questions about your web presence that you spend countless time pondering.
Google Tag Manager in a nutshell
With GTM, your numerous tags no longer need to be implemented one by one or swapped out by a developer based on changes in what you need your site to do. You decide when, if, and how your tags fire at all.
In GTM, your tags live in what’s called a container. This is essentially a catch-all for the various tags you plan on using on a specific site. The tags in your container need to be told what to do, how to do it, and when to do so. This is where triggers and variables come into play. A trigger is the action that sets the tag in motion. A variable is like a table of contents for you to choose from when deciding what your tag will do and what events will trigger it.
Google Analytics & Tag Manager
You can use Google Tag Manager to set up a tag that fires a Google Analytics code across your site as well. Google Analytics is a service that allows you to monitor site traffic and activity for any site you manage. It will easily answer any big questions you have about what’s happening on your site. Given the importance of this information, Analytics is a pretty big deal when it comes to determining what visitors to your site are paying attention to.
Within Analytics, you can configure specific goals and events that you wish to keep track of that are happening on your site. Put simply, an event is when someone interacts with your page. This can be something as basic as landing on your page and viewing it. Events can also be more in depth, like someone clicking on a link or performing some action you want to keep track of. A goal is a kind of measuring stick for the frequency with which visitors are taking actions on your site. The bottom line is that there are plenty of things you probably want to know about the visitors to your page. The next question is, what should you do next to find out?
Installing a Google Analytics tag to your site via Google Tag Manager would be a great first step to take. The great news is that because Analytics and Tag Manager are part of the Google Suite, the process of implementing this tag is made easy given the connected nature of all of your Google Accounts. There is a pre-configured Google Analytics tag option that you can choose when starting this process.
- Upon selecting this, you’ll be presented with the default option to track Page View.
- Below this you’ll connect your corresponding Google Analytics account in the Settings Variable drop down menu.
- Lastly, you’ll want to set the tag to trigger on all pages of your site. That way, you can keep track of every page view across your entire page.
Head back to the Default Workspace view and you’ll be ready to Publish your changes.
- After publishing any changes in GTM, you can opt to turn on Preview mode, which allows you to see the tags you’ve created firing in real time. Simply click Preview in GTM and then navigate to your page. Next, grab some popcorn and watch your tags start to fire away.
With Analytics now installed on your site, you’re set up to monitor your visitors’ activity. Now, in order to paint the bigger picture of what is happening on your site (outside of just who visits), you’ll need to set up some additional tags. These tags will ultimately represent what your visitors end up doing when they arrive. You can then send the data of these events to Google Analytics.
So, what types of actions might one want to monitor on their site?
A somewhat obvious choice might be clicks to a page’s links. There are probably several components on your site that you wish to monitor the activity of, but a link click event could be among the most helpful–but let’s get more specific. Chances are, in addition to all of your site’s offerings and clickable hyperlinks, there is one piece of the pie as a marketer and/or small business that you are especially interested in: your phone number. Of all of the different elements of your web presence that you may want to keep up with, the question of “Who is calling you?” inevitably ranks pretty high on the list. It’s a common misconception that businesses aren’t called very often anymore in this digital age that we live in. Emails and form submissions certainly hold value but there’s nothing like a one-to-one interaction with another human being. This is where call tracking comes into play. This is a vital need for a thriving business who wants to keep up with who their customers are and what they’re looking for. So how can you track this with GTM & Google Analytics?
Create an Analytics Phone Call Goal
There are two very simple actions you can take in order to start keeping track of what makes your phone ring.
The first of these actions is to create a Phone Call goal in Google Analytics. You probably already have your business number displayed throughout your website. Keeping track of who is contacting your business is an extremely important factor in customer acquisition. With a Google Analytics Phone Call goal, you can start to measure how much traction and activity this phone number on your site is actually contributing to.
If you are managing a call tracking snippet (such as CallRail’s) in Tag Manager, you can start tracking the calls made to your tracking numbers by your site’s visitors. You can then send this call activity to your Google Analytics Phone Call goal. This will ultimately help you understand how your numbers are performing on your site so you can better decide where to focus your attention as it pertains to your page’s activity.
To set up this goal in Analytics, start by:
- Navigating to the Admin page.
- Click on the gear icon in the bottom left portion of the screen and select Goals from the View section of the page that follows.
- Next, click the New Goal button to open up the builder.
- The first section of the New Goal modal is titled Goal Setup. This is where you select from pre-baked templates or go the custom route. For the purposes we are discussing, you’ll want to select a custom goal.
- The next section is titled Goal Description. This is where you’ll give your goal a name that will later display in the Events section of your Analytics dashboard.
- For tracking phone calls, simply name this goal Phone Call.
- In the Goal Description section, you’ll also select the type of goal you are setting up. In this case, that goal will be an event (as we discussed previously).
- The New Goal modal will also take you to the Goal Details section. This is where you set the conditions for your goal and the subsequent event. All you’ll need to do here is type Phone in the category field and you’ll be all set!
- Click Save at the bottom and you’ve got yourself a goal to capture the phone calls made to the numbers on your website.
Set up a phone click tag
The second action you can take to keep track of phone traffic from your site is to set up a tag in GTM that tracks when someone clicks on your displayed phone number. This could prove to be super helpful in parsing together information, like who’s on your site, who’s clicking on your phone number, when are they doing these things, and what page they’re accessing it from.
To start with this process we’ll actually begin in what may seem like a reverse order, by selecting from Built-In Variables in your Google Tag Manager Workspace.
- First, click and open the Variables view in Tag Manager.
- From here, select Configure in the top right of the Built-In Variables table.
- Next, check every box under the Pages and Clicks section in the right sidebar menu that appears.
- Select New from the Trigger menu to open the right sidebar menu. Then, give your Trigger a name and select the Just Links option under the Click section.
- The next step will be to check the Wait For Tags and Check Validation boxes.
- Then, in the fields and drop down menus at the bottom of the trigger configuration screen, select Page URL > matches RegEx (short for Regular Expression) > and type the * symbol.
- Below this in the final set of trigger settings, select Click URL > contains > and type tel:.
- Save your changes at the top and then it’s time to create your tag.
Open the Tags view and once again, click the New button to create a new tag.
- As always, name the tag what you’d like and then select the Google Analytics type.
- Next, you’ll select Event under the Track Type drop down menu.
- Under the Category, Action and Label fields, you can name these however you’d like them to appear in Google Analytics so that they’re easily identified once your tag begins firing and folks start clicking away on your numbers. For example, the Category could be something like Contact, the action could be Number Click and your label could be your Page URL (which you can select as a built-in variable from the + button attached to this field).
- You’ll then select the Analytics account you wish for this tag to send data to once it fires on your site.
- Finally, select the Trigger you previously created, save your work and voila! Your tag is ready to launch on your site.
As always, publish your changes once more in Tag Manager so that these new tags can start working their magic and giving you the data you are itching to know. Give it a few days and before you know it, your Analytics account should start to fill up with data coming in to your newly created goals and events.
There is plenty to know and discover about the activity your web page is receiving – and you should definitely know what’s going on. Several more goals and events can be created and tracked in Analytics as well as new tags in Tag Manager. Now though, you at least have the basics down for connecting these two extremely useful tools in order to start paying closer attention to who is visiting your site and what they’re doing.
By: Ishaq Zaighum, Measuring and Evaluation Fellow at SEED SPOT
SEED SPOT keeps a close eye on the relationship between its program costs and the impact those programs have on the community. We believe it is important to show our donors how every dollar they give is used and how those gifts are changing communities nationwide. Understanding this relationship provides insights into how important it is to invest into impact-driven businesses that generate outcomes to address the social challenges and contribute towards the economic growth of the country.
The concept we use at SEED SPOT to establish that quantifiable relationship is known as Value for Money.
What is Value for Money?
Every program we run is a direct investment into an impact-driven entrepreneur. From our programs, entrepreneurs go on to create ventures that look to solve some of the most pressing problems in their communities. The Value for Money analysis helps us to assess how efficiently our programs convert the amount of capital invested in them into venture outcomes. We looked at the costs of our programs over time and compared this with a few outcomes that are typically indicators of a promising, early-stage venture like capital raised, revenue generated, donations and grants received, and customer/beneficiary base. This analysis gives us insights into how efficiently we were able to run programs using the funds available to us from our donor base.
Why is it important?
- It helps us understand how our programs are helping our entrepreneurs grow their businesses
- It helps us quantify how lives are being changed by our work based on the amount we invested into our programs
- It helps us communicate how donations materialize into tangible impact for our ventures
How We Calculate It
To calculate value for money, we followed the guide developed by the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI) designed to explore and answer key questions about enterprise acceleration, such as:
For every $1,000 invested into a program:
- How much revenue is generated?
- How many grants and donations are received?
- How much capital is raised?
- How many lives are impacted?
For this calculation, we use all direct costs associated with running our programs which includes costs related to training, program materials, marketing, recruiting, evaluation, entrepreneur support, and the grants we give to entrepreneurs.
For every $1,000 donated to SEED SPOT programs, our entrepreneurs:
- Have generated $6,132 in revenue
- Have raised $1,887 in grants / donations
- Have generated $4,986 in capital
- Have impacted 879 lives
We are proud of the work our entrepreneurs do every day and are grateful for each and everyone one of our supporters. Your donations matter. We truly believe in the power of entrepreneurship to transform lives and solve some of the most pressing problems we face today. If you want to help us further our mission, #InvestInImpact today by joining the SEED SPOT 500 or making a one-time donation. You’ll help us impact more lives and solve meaningful problems through the entrepreneurs you support.
The post How SEED SPOT Uses Value for Money Analysis to Quantify Impact appeared first on SEED SPOT.
A Channel Partner Program Can Transform Your Company
Channel partner programs can exponentially aid growth within a SaaS business. For proof of this, look no further than some powerhouses like Microsoft and Hubspot. When Hubspot first launched its partner program in 2014, it generated 33% of its revenue and made up 42% of its customers, all within the first quarter. Microsoft has always been a partner-led operation, with 95% of its business generated through its partners. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a perfect fit for your company; some companies aren’t ready for a PRM, while a few simply don’t need PRM at this point in their partner program maturity.
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether a channel program is right for your business. Some of the criteria are:
- Stage of your product. If your product is in the early stages of development, feedback from customers is vital. Having partners as middle-man blocks critical feedback. Make sure you are past the stage of needing a majority of feedback directly from customers before recruiting partners.
- Revenue needs. Although channel programs yield long term results, they require time and money upfront. Determine where your money is most needed at this moment to decide if it’s the right time to build your channel.
- Knowledge of sales process. Keep in mind that there will be a training period for your partners. To adequately equip them with the skills to sell your product, you must be an expert in your sales process. You’ll have to educate them on the length of the sales cycle, buying triggers, and buyer personas.
- Target market. Channel partners are especially useful when it comes to large target markets. It’s more cost-effective to leverage partners with a large number of potential customers versus a smaller account-based strategy.
- Expansion strategy. If you plan to expand across the country or internationally, channel partners are essential. You’ll save time and money by not needing to build out remote offices to penetrate new markets.
The following are ways in which channel partner programs can benefit your business:
Lowering costs while increasing revenue.
The cost of customer acquisition is one of the most critical metrics for a viable SaaS company. If your company’s revenue model is built on monthly recurring revenue (MRR), success is measured by keeping the lifetime value (LTV) of your customer higher than the cost of customer acquisition (CAC). Keeping CAC low is critical to scaling your business. Selling through channels is the number one way to reduce CAC.
Building a channel program enables you to leverage the skills and resources of partners. Channel partners are established companies that market to your target audience. Their sales reps have pre-existing relationships with customers. Leveraging relationships significantly reduces marketing and sales costs.
Your channel leaders manage several partners at once, which allows for scalability. By having the right processes and tools in place, you can onboard, train, and support your partners efficiently. This process is significantly less involved than hiring and managing a team of your own sales reps.
Expanding into new markets, whether by vertical or geography, can be challenging. By onboarding channel partners that already have the lay of the land in those markets, you gain instant access. A channel can save you from building satellite offices and investing in local marketing.
When sales cycles are complex, involving several stakeholders, cost efficiency becomes vital. By having long, complicated sales cycles occur outside of your organization, you save resources. You’ll be able to dedicate the time and effort saved toward more significant opportunities.
Ensure client success.
Your channel partners can also serve as a client success channel. Software has an inevitable learning curve, which is why support is critical. You want your product to have “staying power” within your customer base. That’s why many entrepreneurs try to crack the code of how to make their product a “habit.” The key to making sure your software is used to its fullest potential lies in upkeep and support. This required support led to the explosion of the Customer Success role in the SaaS industry.
Software companies realize that customer retention is the lifeblood of revenue generation. In most cases, it’s cheaper to keep a customer than gain a new one. Onboarding, training, renewing, and upselling ensure continued business. Each one of these functions is so important that they’ve become separate job functions.
Relying on channel partners to provide client success increases efficiency. You can motivate partners to provide elevated customer support with your incentive program. Measure partner performance by client success metrics to ensure these goals are met.
Building brand awareness.
Hiring more sales reps is not always a solution for increasing revenue. Growing your sales and marketing teams is challenging to scale and cuts into margins. That’s where channel partners can help you grow.
Partnering with known brands, also known as “co-marketing,” is a great way to expand reach. Slack does a great job of this with its partner ecosystem. They use their partner program as an asset to customers by providing integrations with over 1,000 SaaS products as tools and resources. Partnering with Google and Salesforce helps Slack build trust with their customers.
Developing a channel program can transform your business in many ways. Channel partners can lower costs, keep customers, and build brand awareness. Once you’ve determined that a channel partner program is right for your business, grow it intentionally. Proper support and management of your channel program will determine your results.