When you’re running a business, it’s easy to get fixed on the here and now. You just never have enough time to keep all those plates spinning to make sure the company stays profitable.
So it’s easy to assume that the last marketing email or online ad is what got a customer to purchase. But you’re probably wrong. Let me tell you a secret: the most important factor is time.
Let’s take this idea for a test drive. Ask yourself these three questions for your business:
- What is the value of my customers over time?
- What is my return on advertising over time?
- Which emails or ads are making the most money?
Do you have the answers? I didn’t think so.
Tracking the Customer Journey
Let’s start with the customer journey because most businesses don’t convert 100% of prospects on the first day with the first contact. (You wish, right?) Your customers communicate with you over a period of time that can vary depending on their needs, their budgets, their schedule, and even their fiscal year.
They go from clickers to prospects and from prospects to customers. Eventually some become your best customers. But which ones go from good to great and what marketing programs made that happen?
You start by building relationships with prospects:
- You reach out to them multiple times.
- You nurture them with multiple offers.
- You try different approaches. You target and re-target.
- You mix ads and emails, blog posts and social media to get your message across.
Still, it could take days, weeks or even MONTHS to go from the original click—that first optin–to when they actually buy. So how do you know in all that communication, over all that time, which activity finally triggered the SALE?
Control the X Factor by Tracking Value Over Time
The next thing to keep in mind is the importance of first optin because this is why the customer gave you his contact information in the first place. That might have happened a long time and many marketing touches ago.
So how do you connect first optin to the initial sale?
Somewhere along the way, retargeting might have kicked in. You sent out a new offer, a different message, a best-practices recommendation or some other information and, BINGO! they purchased.
You really need to know which retargeting offer got someone who had been on your list for a long time to pull out their card and buy something. The last click may—or may not—not be what drove the sale. And it almost certainly wasn’t the first contact you had with the prospect. So how do you go back in time to calculate the correct attribution?
If all you’re looking at is the last click, you can’t see either the first optin or the retargeting success and connect it to the sale. You have been blocked from a huge piece of information that could make all your marketing efforts more successful.
If you don’t know what finally triggered the sale, it’s because you can’t track value (real sales) over that entire customer journey and the complicated sales funnel that results from it. That makes your tracking data essentially worthless.
You try to figure it out by running from spreadsheet to report and from column to column but in the end you fail. It can be a pretty frustrating situation.
Invisible Payments Add Up
Another complication comes from recurring payments like memberships and payment plans. All those payments add up week by week but they’re invisible to pixel-based systems because they require a customer to land on a page. Another complication comes from recurring payments like memberships and payment plans. All those payments add up week by week but they’re invisible to pixel-based systems because they require a customer to land on a page.
But when your system bills the customer’s credit card automatically, the transactions go straight to the bank. They don’t land on a Thank You page so there are no pixels to track.
What if 80% of your revenue comes from recurring payments? How could you track those most profitable customers?
There’s one simple thing to understand—and it should be easy but usually isn’t.
The only way to get accurate tracking data that gives you ROI over time
is by connecting the click on an ad or in an email to sales from your shopping cart.
Make Time Work for You
Time is the X Factor in measuring advertising effectiveness, Follow the customer journey from first optin to first purchase. Get on top of how, when and why your customers buy over time and you will run your business smarter and more profitably.
To learn how Wicked Reports tracks leads over time to give you the real ROI, just watch this quick video with CEO Scott Desgrosseilliers:
Then check out our Lead Value Over Time report. It will tell you when your leads become worth more than the cost to acquire them.
Find out which audiences, ads, posts and emails led to the greatest spread
between cost-per-lead and revenue-per-lead for your business.
Control the X Factor of time and start making smart decisions for your company.