Several years ago tracking for small businesses was next to impossible at least for service based companies. With Ecommerce companies it’s a rather simple thing to do because you place a conversion pixel on the order confirmation page after someone purchases and you are good to go.
With service based companies you often have no such online purchase. Getting someone to pre-pay on a website for a transmission repair or carpet cleaning is next to impossible. You have to do the work first and then the person makes the purchase.
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If You Can’t Track It Don’t Do It
One hard lesson to learn for many small businesses is if you can’t track your digital marketing you should not do it. You will have zero clue where the sales are coming from and what is working and what is not working.
While it’s really easy to say this, in practice it’s a lot harder to do. Most of us need to advertise to get new clients. While you might not always be able to track every single lead and variable you can still get a good understanding of what is working and what is not working using the methods we outline below.
Tracking e-mail signups is rather easy compared to most other kinds of tracking. With this method you send all your signups to a Confirmation Page. This is often called a thank you page. On this page you place your tracking code from the traffic source and your conversion will be counted. Only those who signup to your newsletter will get sent to this page so it’s very easy to setup tracking.
Even if you have no set plans for a weekly newsletter you can setup a monthly newsletter and each month have some kind of special even if it’s the same different kinds of specials over and over.
If you where a car mechanic you could have an opt-in form to offer $5 dollars off your first service. This marks an easy conversion and technically you can just show the coupon on the confirmation page which is also where you have the conversion pixel.
There are a wide number of call tracking services out there. When using something like AdWords you can implement call tracking on two fronts. 1 is using a Google Forwarding number in your call extension and the other is using a Google Forwarding number on your landing page.
With a Google forwarding number your customer will see either a 800 number or a local number that they call that then forwards on to you. With this measurement all forwarded calls from AdWords will be tracked and you can measure what keywords are leading to phone calls.
For service based companies this is the absolute best way to track leads.
With Facebook you can also track calls using Google Tag Manager to fire the Facebook pixel when someone clicks on your phone number. Not every call will be placed but you should be able to get a very good idea of the people who are clicking on your phone number with both Desktop and Mobile traffic. This process is a bit more complicated but I hope to jam out a specific guide for Facebook call tracking in the near future.
Page Views / Funnels
E-mail opt ins for many service based companies can be a dead end. Your customers might also not be ready to place that phone call if you have a longer sales cycle or your doing social media for branding purposes.
You still want to be able to tag those that are taking certain actions and for this you can build a funnel on your website that pushed people to multiple pages on your website that you can then count as a conversion or at the very least count as someone who is interested in your product or services and get them added to a remarketing list.
This is one of the more complex setups so let me walk you through an example.
In this scenario you are a re-modeling company specializing in bathroom and kitchen remodels. You setup a Facebook Campaign showing before and after picture in the ad of the kitchen you just remodeled.
Once the user clicks on the ad they will be taken to your landing page.
On the landing page you are actually telling a story about the job your performed and each section of the story is broken into multiple pages. The first page might just have your phone number which is tracked through a Google Tag so that angle is covered. You also have a before picture there and perhaps multiple pictures. At the bottom of the page you have a big button that says next page or some clear call to action for more details.
On the second page you would most likely start the process of showing the re-model in action and have a number of follow-up pages talking about the process and the products you used with lot’s of pictures.
The end page would most likely include the total time it took for the re-model as well as the cost. It’s on the final page that is multiple layers deep that you would have the conversion pixel placed. You know these people are very interested in a remodel if they went through the previous pages and you want to optimize your campaign based upon these kinds of people.
This same process can be done over and over for most industries. You might find doing contests and giveaways work for you. Building out funnels can be a bit complicated and take extra work but it often pays off when done right.
An example of a giveaway contest might be offering a free cake if you are a bakery or a dozen doughnuts. If you are a car mechanic you can offer something like a free oil change.
Where most companies fail on this is not trying to offer an up-sell after the person enters the contest. Sure it’s great to get people to like and share your content but you also want to at least try and make a sale. Having a coupon code that the person can use is nice but I would attempt to build in a 1 time special offer for a product or service.
Going back to the bakery example you could offer a dozen doughnuts for $5 after the person enters your free cake contest. If they say no then you can forward them onto another page that offers maybe 1 free doughnut good till the next week just to try and get them in the door.
With this method you are making people aware of your company, giving them a chance to win something by providing you with some information such as their e-mail then trying to convert the person so you make a sale and lastly giving them a chance to sample a free doughnut.
My least favorite method is using coupon codes as it’s not all that specific and more of a wide net tracking system. However when advertising you can have a unique coupon code for that advertising platform and when someone makes a purchase you can at least know what kind of advertising or what platform lead to the sale. You may not be able to optimize based upon this method but at least you know what you made in sales for advertising on that specific platform.
If you are going to attempt to build out different targeting groups on the same platform such as Facebook then I would suggest having different coupon code for each specific group. In this manner you can track what group of ads are leading to the most conversions.
How to setup Tracking
This is the more difficult questions which we will dive more in-depth on at a later date as each traffic source has it’s own tracking code. If you have a specific question about how to track something feel free to ask in our private Facebook group and I’d be happy to answer.