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Trying to figure out what works and what does not in marketing is a lot like trying to figure out which diet helps you lose weight. You can do a ton of different things, try all sorts of techniques, and work at it harder than ever. At the end of the day, if you are not tracking your results, how do you know what works and what doesn’t? How do you know which diet helped you lose the most weight? How do you know which headline had the best conversion rate?
Marketing is all about testing and tracking results. You do not need to have a bunch of online “gurus” tell you what works and what does not. By simply tracking your results you learn what your current stand is and what strategies you should adopt in the future depending on what your audience is looking for.
Obviously one of the things you have to keep an eye on the most is where your traffic is coming from. Most analytics tools have that information readily available. Is the traffic coming from search engines, social networks, e-mail, or direct traffic? This will tell you which traffic sources you are doing well in (i.e. strong SEO, good e-mail, headlines), which ones need improvement, and which ones help show off your strengths and you should focus on.
If you are not tracking which headlines work in your e-mails, social network updates, ads, or article titles, you are wasting your time. There is never one right answer to “what is the right headline for this” but by testing out two or three you can see which works best for you.
Getting the headline right is the first (and the most important) step to getting readers to click on your link. Most e-mail marketing programs will let you know which headlines saw the maximum success. You can see how many people clicked on your link in Twitter or Facebook or Digg. You can see how many people opened your article, now change the headline and see if it gets more views.
It is also important to track when your traffic is strongest and when it is slow. This is especially true with the fast pace of social networking. However, it is not just about time.
You want to know what time of day your audience comes, you want to know which days they are coming, you want to know what time of month or year your traffic is spiking and dropping – and then you need to figure out why and what you can do about it.
As a marketer, research is very important. Tracking your analytics is crucial to gaining important knowledge about what parts of your strategy are working and which ones need more work. It also helps you identify certain questions that you need to answer like why does your site witness a traffic surge on the weekends? Why does your traffic spike at 10 a.m.? Why doesn’t anyone open your e-mails?
The bottom line is you should be constantly reviewing your work and implementing changes.