If you’ve been marketing online for a day or a decade, you’ve learned your way around analytics. You know all about adjusting your content based on view counts and click-through rates. You know how to squeeze an extra sale or two out of a landing page by tweaking this and that based on the numbers. This is how we optimize our content, this is what works, so why fix what ain’t broken?
Well, let’s say that you hate math. Is it possible to optimize your content and improve your brand without ever needing to crack open your analytics software?
Obviously, it depends on your goals, the size and scope of your business, your industry, and so on, but yes, it is possible to run a successful marketing campaign without ever touching a spreadsheet or checking a viewcount.
A broader question, and one that is even more important: can you market successfully without any feedback at all? Only if you get incredibly lucky on your first try.
Since the first time a caveman traded a tiger skin cloak for a slab of mammoth meat, salespeople of every stripe have relied on a pretty basic principle: if your customers like something you did, do it again. If they don’t like it, stop doing it.
We restock what sells, we dump what doesn’t. If you’re an experimental jazz musician, you don’t have to worry about what people like. If you’re trying to earn a buck or two, you ignore customer feedback at your peril.
Analytics software is not that new a concept, it is only a more modern and precise way of looking at feedback from customers and looky-loos. Before analytics software, we told customers to “Say that (insert name here) sent you,” and that let us know whether or not our customers were satisfied to the point where they would bother referring their friends.
When you are operating on a large enough scale, analytics software can be an invaluable resource, but it’s hardly the only option that you have for collecting and analyzing feedback on your marketing content or determining how people are responding to your brand.
It’s easy to obsess over SEO. The truth is that the same sample SEO plan might earn two brands the same number of clicks, but it doesn’t guarantee both brands the same follow-through rates. For a small business, analytics can be helpful, but you might be able to optimize your content much more effectively by sending out follow up emails and questionnaires, promoting your store with referral codes and deals for returning customers, or just engaging with your customers in an immediate, personal way that a larger brand would never even be able to consider.
The larger your brand grows, the more you may find yourself relying on analytics software. Until then, there’s no reason why you can’t create great content with a more personal, grassroots approach to collecting and utilizing marketing data.
Gilbert S has been a professional writer for the better part of a decade, working his way up from the half-cent a word trenches of the low end content mills to writing premium content for high profile clients.