Problem #1: I don’t know what will resonate. Should I resort to scotch-induced content?

Okay, it’s not really after a nice full glass of scotch, but before keyword research, marketers relied on their ‘gut feeling’ or costly and time consuming focus groups.

Fix It:

Today’s comprehensive online data about keyword traffic (for the most part) and website behavior shows marketers what is really driving behavior. Search and analytics are no replacement for talking to your prospects and customers, but you can get a lot more efficient and targeted with keyword analytics.

Before you create your next ebook, blog post, or even email campaign, be sure to check out your (and your competitors’) traffic-driving keywords. Doing so will give you the insights to enable you to create more compelling content that focuses on the keywords and topics your target audience wants, thus attracting more of the right prospects to your site.

Problem #2: I don’t know where to start. What will have the biggest impact?

Regardless of your business, the sales and marketing process can usually be modeled as a funnel. If you don’t know whether it’s broken at the top, bottom, or leaky somewhere in the middle, then you’re going to have a hard time improving your results. That means scattershot approaches at problem solving, which is never any good.

Fix It:

Enter closed-loop analytics. Dissecting your funnel to understand what’s coming in at the top and the fallout at each stage along the way will help you identify the ‘leakiest’ parts of the funnel so you can start to fix it there. If you have stellar website traffic but only .05% of it converts into a lead, and leads close at a 50% rate, you’ll pretty quickly know that you need to work on that first conversion and investigate why your offers aren’t resonating or if you’re driving the WRONG types of traffic to your site.

Now that’s a simple example, and most funnels are more complex. But no matter your process, in order to do this, you need your analytics to integrate with your CRM system so you can map that funnel all the way to the end.

Problem #3: I don’t know how to evaluate my social media. I’ll just swag it.

Yes, marketers know they should be participating in social media. But so often, it’s hard to justify why. Coming up with a ‘swag’ or ballpark estimate of value is all you can do if you aren’t using analytics.

Fix It:

Not only can marketers use traffic analytics to show the volumes of traffic coming to their site from social media, but if they are using integrated marketing tools, they can also measure leads and even customers generated from a specific channel like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Mapping dollars and cents to social media campaigns makes it a lot easier to invest in the best social media channels for your business and spend less time on those that aren’t generating marketing results. Even without sophisticated tools, you can use customized, short URLs and specific landing pages dedicated to your social campaigns to track their results.

Problem #4: We missed our number, and I’m in a SMarketing war.

Have you ever seen sales and marketing managers at each others’ throats when the team missed quota?

Fix It:

Creating and maintaining a service level agreement (SLA) between your sales and marketing departments and then measuring which type of leads (based on lead scoring) were generated and how many and quickly they were touched by sales is easier than ever. What used to become a knock-down, drag-out battle has grown up into a collaborative business discussion about tweaking lead criteria and optimizing sales processes to make the entire company successful.

If you read this post and thought, “Wait… that sounds like my company’s marketing department,” don’t despair. With some careful implementation of marketing analytics tools, you can turn your organization into a data-driven marketing machine!