No more shooting in the dark- track your marketing campaigns.

So you just started a blog and have been promoting it like hell. Or maybe you just realized the power of the web for marketing and use it to promote your small business. Email signatures, emails, status messages and commenting and being a part of discussions across the blogosphere- and what is called as the social media. However, there is one problem- you just do not know if any of this is working better than the other. You spent time installing a web analytics solution, but many sources are listed as direct/others and you can’t figure out if they were from your email marketing campaigns or something else.

Whether you are a savvy blogger or a smart, hands-on small business owner who uses the web to connect, market and sell- there is one major part of the RoI jigsaw puzzle- tracking your off-site marketing campaigns. Sure you can use some existing ad tracking applications- but knowing that blogging and start ups are cash stranded, that might not be a very good idea.

I recently developed a marketing tool- a simple spreadsheet app that you can use to generate tracking tags for your marketing campaigns. And it is not just for online marketing, if you are creative, you can even use it for tracking your offline campaigns.

Interested? Read on. One caveat though. This works if you use Google Analytics (GA) as your web analytics tool. Not too much of a problem I presume- as GA is free and going by the success of it, it is likely that you’d be using this any which ways. In case you do not, I recommend that you do. (No- not getting paid to say this).

To access the tool, click on the link: ChasingTheStorm campaign tracking tool

It is a Google Docs spreadsheet- so you can log in using your Google ID, export the cells in your excel or spreadsheet, follow some simple instructions- and there you go.

There is a detailed explanation on ChasingTheStorm on how to use the sheet. Some details are also available on Google Analytics blog - and the inspiration to make the tool comes from there, though I have explained in a manner I thought would add value to the discussion. Of course, Google does not have a tool- they just have the theory.

Essentially- the sheet has 5 columns that need filled up- all according to your understanding and convenience. The 5 columns refer to the campaign variables that you as a marketer- populate. These variables will tell you about the source of the referrer and give you more detailed insights into the traffic emanating from your various campaigns.

The last cell has a formula that need not be changed- as it takes on the inputs from all those cells and then automatically develops a redirect/tracking code/tag.

What are the ways you can use this (there could be many ingenious uses that you can use this for):

  • You could insert it as links in your email newsletter- and track not only one link- but use to track what call to action drives most traffic to your website
  • If you track conversions, you could attribute this to conversions as well
  • You could use this to update your status messages on your social network- and track people coming to the site from your social network
  • You could even use it in your offline campaign- use URL shortening using a web service- and put the URL in your offline DM or newspaper classifieds ad. Track how many people visit your website after seeing this ad. Cool eh?
  • You could use the auto tagging feature for your PPC campaigns across search engines and see which KWs are converting better

Are there any other ways that you think you can use the tracking for? Let us have the discussion continue for the benefit of all.


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