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End-of-Year Marketing Analysis: What to Track and How to Transform in 2020

Oftentimes, busy event pros do a simple gut check in their minds about what worked and what didn’t work in their marketing the previous year and then conduct another thorough experiment for what they want to do in the upcoming year. They do this despite the fact that there is a treasure trove of website performance data available to them.

As we come to the close of 2019, I want to encourage you to evaluate the past year using the free analytics available to you, so you can make smart, data-based decisions for 2020.

Analyzing data doesn’t have to be difficult. There are a few basic metrics every event pro should be monitoring in order to make better marketing decision for the year ahead.

Google Analytics, in particular, offers powerful insights “right out of the box” with little setup on your part.

Traffic Report: There are two questions you should ask your traffic report. The first is: Am I getting enough? While good marketing is often a matter of finding the right audience for your product or service, it’s still a numbers game to a certain extent. As a local business, you should get at least 1,200 sessions a month. Smaller businesses will hover between 1,200 and 2,400 sessions a month, while larger brands may enjoy upwards of 5,000 or even 10,000 sessions a month.

Getting a lot of traffic is only half the battle. If all of your traffic is coming from Russia or Egypt (both countries are known for referral spam that pollutes website analytics), then your traffic is not relevant because the people (or bots) visiting your website will not  be interested in booking you.

To understand where your traffic is coming from, look at the “Geography” report and drill down to city view. A majority of your traffic should be coming from your local city and immediate surrounding areas. If you are a destination resort town, look for traffic from feeder cities. For example, a caterer in Asheville, NC may get a large number of visits from Atlanta, GA and Orlando, FL— both are feeder markets for destination weddings in Asheville.

Demographics Report: Related to the geography report, the demographics report tells you how qualified your web traffic is. You will have to enable this report manually, but Google walks you through it and it’s a simple process of checking a box and agreeing to the terms of service.

Demographics tell you the age and gender of most of your audience. If you specialize in heterosexual weddings, you want to see a majority of your traffic coming from females, aged 25-34. If you specialize in same-sex weddings or corporate events, the age and gender may be different for you.

Referral Report: This tells you which websites are sending you the most traffic. Look for high referral traffic from places you are advertising on. For example, if you have a listing on The Knot, it should be sending you adequate traffic. Also, pay attention to which social channels are powerful traffic drivers. Knowing what’s sending you the most traffic can help you optimize your marketing efforts.

Conversions: The conversions report is one of the few core reports that requires some setup. You will start by setting up a goal for your thank you page. It requires a bit more skill than enabling the Demographics report, but it’s well worth the effort. You can find a quick YouTube video here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Conversions can help you see which referral websites and platforms are actually generating leads. This is important because not all traffic drivers lead to inquiries.

For example, I had a client once who enjoyed a lot of traffic from Pinterest each month. Looking at her basic reports, it seemed logical to put more effort into pinning and possibly to advertise on Pinterest. However, once we set up a “Thank-You-Page” goal, we discovered that, while Pinterest sent a lot of traffic to her blog, that traffic didn’t really explore the rest of her site and they certainly didn’t inquire. However, we did find that her Instagram bio—while it didn’t send as much traffic—converted traffic into inquiries at a much higher rate. We decided to shift focus to growing her Instagram audience and advertising there. She ended up doubling her sales in three months, just by knowing the most effective place to spend her ad dollars.

By starting your year evaluating a few simple website reports, you can gain powerful insights to make better, data-based decisions and supercharge your marketing and advertising in the coming year.

Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that bring in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA, and the ABC Conference.

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Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that bring in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator who recently presented at NACE Experience in both 2017 and 2018.

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