If you conduct internet marketing of any flavor—email, e-newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, banner advertising, etc.—you must wonder which channels are driving business and which are wasting your valuable time. Stop wondering!
- Download IM Vermont’s Free Custom Excel URL Builder for Google Analytics (click to download)
- Create and store URLs in the Excel spreadsheet following the simple directions under the “Instructions” tab
- Use the custom URLs in your Internet Marketing campaign
- Track the effectiveness of your different online channels in Google Analytics! (If you don’t have Analytics, you can get it here.)
Easily track your Internet Marketing Return On Investment
With these two free tools in hand (my spreadsheet and Google Analytics), you’re on your way to measuring instead of guessing. The Excel spreadsheet-based URL Builder allows you to track the effectiveness of all your online activities within Google Analytics. How? Use the URL Builder to tag links that you share online and through emails, and Google Analytics will register traffic from those links separately from general site visitors.
[bctt tweet=”How many of your social media visitors convert into leads or customers? #urlbuilder” username=”imvermont”]
This allows you to go beyond the number of people who click on a link (a figure which is probably meaningless on its own) and actually see how different segments of traffic behave once they reach your site; how long they stay, how many pages they view, and, if you have Goals configured, how many convert into leads or customers. (If you don’t have Goals set up and you don’t know how to go about it, please Contact IM Vermont for help.)
Example of the custom URL Builder & Google Analytics in action
Say you own a bookstore in Burlington, VT. You’ve been spending a lot of your “free” time building a following and posting links on social networks. You know on average how many unique visitors originate from Twitter and Facebook each month. But are they quality visitors making purchases from your e-commerce store, or are they just window-shoppers?
The next time you’re ready to share a link, open the Excel URL Builder, paste your landing page link in the Landing Page URL field, enter “twitter” as the Source, “social” as the Medium (Term and Content will likely stay blank unless you’re tracking paid ads), and “bestsellingauthors” as the Name—assuming this link is part of a Campaign you’re running to promote your “Best Selling Authors” section.
You just built your first custom URL!
Note: Each time you use a new Source, Medium, Term, Content, or Name, enter them first under the “Index Campaign Variables” tab. The URL Builder checks your entries against the Index every time you create a URL, and if it doesn’t find an exact match it gives you an error. This prevents typos and other mistakes that could wreck your Campaign tracking. For example, if you enter “bestsellingauthors” the first time, but “best-selling-authors” the next time, those will track as separate Campaigns in Google Analytics, which defeats the whole purpose! Cataloguing all unique variables in the Index will help you avoid those issues.
Next, paste the original landing page link again on the next line, enter “facebook” as the Source, and fill out the rest the same way. (Repeat for all your Social media sites.) Then just copy the Final URLs, share them, and wait…
One month later
After some time has passed, login to Google Analytics and drill down to Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns. In the Campaigns table is an entry for “bestsellingauthors.” Click, and see stats for “twitter” and “facebook.” Visits, Pages, Time on Site, etc. Immediately you notice a big difference in visitor behavior! But you still have one more click to go. Up near the top, under “Explorer,” are the Goal and Ecommerce tabs. Take your pick, click, and you’re looking at either conversions or sales by Source. Is either one a stand-out that you should invest more time in? Can you forget the other altogether?
Of course, I wouldn’t recommend making a decision based on just one month worth of data, but you get the idea. Track links across the entire online spectrum, and you can quickly and easily judge to what degree each Internet marketing channel is delivering. Let some data build up, watch for trends, make decisions, increase your success. It all starts with tracking ROI.
Download the free custom URL Builder & improve your ROI
Click the following link to download: Free Custom Excel URL Builder for Google Analytics
Post your questions and feedback here after you’ve had a chance to use this tool. I’d like to hear how it goes, what your experience is like, and what you learned or did as a result. If you find this is too much of a hassle, you’re more than welcome to turn to IM Vermont for one-on-one support. Click here to learn about my Internet Marketing consulting services.