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How do you see Elmo's fans welcome to another edition of whiteboard Friday this week we're talking about the

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inbound marketing funnel specifically we're talking about why basic web analytics can often fail and mislead

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marketers into investing in a lot of the wrong channels and what I've done today is tried to illustrate that visually

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with this beautiful funnel I know I know it looks a little complex you're gonna go in boy that is really colorful and

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you must have taken a long time to draw those lines I did ah but think about things this way let's let's imagine the

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flow of visitors to your website what happens is there some visitors right who are coming to you for the first time

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never seen your site before you're sort of capturing them literally in the stage maybe they know very little about you

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maybe they've heard something about you through word of mouth maybe they saw someone tweet a link maybe they found

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you through a search maybe they found you through just typing in your web address directly or through an email

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someone sent them whatever whatever the case might be you can track all of those right you know where they come from and

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I've I've simplified this obviously there's more channels and you could break these up but into direct search

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social RSS your blog and referring links right referring links from sort of the blogosphere the news world forums links

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on other corporate sites whatever it is there could be advertising things in here too but I'm gonna ignore paid for

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the moment what's interesting is when you think about this think about the people who come to you for the first

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time and how you capture them those channels might be entirely different from the people who way down here at the

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bottom of this funnel completed a transaction that was worth money right so these are people who made me directly

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dollars or Euros or whatever I've euros it's not the Euro symbol I don't know let's do the yen symbol I know that one

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better I made you cold hard cash excellent great but what happens marketers almost always and and and

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particularly the higher up you go in a marketing organization they look at what sent traffic here and that's where they

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assign the budget right because they're tracking actions down here and they go out well fantastic you know these these

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people down here look at this so in green sent no completed transactions screw social steps up wasting your time

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on Twitter and Facebook and in LinkedIn and Google+ those are wasted time because look they didn't send us any

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transactions oh yeah how did all these people know to subscribe to RSS feed how did they know to come from referring

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lease how they'd know to type in your web address directly how did they know to search for you particularly if this

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is branded and unbranded search if I break that out right here I bet this is going to be ninety percent plus branded

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search meaning people who search for your brand name or items related to your brand name not unbranded terms that

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they've never heard of before and aren't familiar with and because of this you attribute revenue and people and time to

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places that that they shouldn't go and this is a very very dangerous thing so let's walk through the funnel I think

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that everyone who has Google Analytics or something more complicated vance installed can build this out in fact I

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built this for SEO MZ's own website recently I'll put up a I'll give Kenny a screenshot to put in the whiteboard

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Friday of that specific image that I that I built it's not very advanced but it can give you a sense of what our is

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sort of looks like so you can take a count of the first time visitors right so it's like oh I've got you know a

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million first time visitors in the last sixty days and maybe I have you know seven hundred and fifty thousand

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returning visitors in the last sixty days and how many people made four plus visits in the last sixty days well

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that's interesting and you can segment you can create a segment that says hey only show me people who visited four or

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more times in the last sixty days and now show me the channels that they came through right show me the refering

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sources of those individuals Wow now I can start to see a pattern emerging right I can see oh look at this you know

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this is this was actually true for SEO mas RSS very little at first time bigger at referring and then and then a nice

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segment a really nice segment right down to completed transaction where people don't really come through RSS very much

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when they complete a transaction and you can do this so let's say there's a three hundred thousand who came in

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sixty days four more times maybe there's a hundred thousand who came ten plus times wow these people are really

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interesting particularly these people are really interesting because they must really like what you have they must like

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your content or your blog or something that you do on your site some sort of tool some sort of function that you

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provide to them and yet there's going to be a very different look at who sent these visitors right which of these

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sources sent these visitors versus which sent the people who made a conversion action right so something like signed up

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for an email account or sign up with your email address or subscribe to a newsletter or filled out a survey or

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filled out a you know request for a white paper that gave you a lead versus actually completed a transaction like

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went back to the site and signed up for the paid service or bought the product or did whatever it is that makes you

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money knowing these source differences and building out this funnel visualizing this funnel and being able to see these

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means that you will be able to do a bunch of things right so I have some action items that I want you to take

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away from this inbound marketing funnel visualization number one please if you can do nothing else at least set up

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first touch attribution so you may not be able to get the that concrete segment that is you know made at least one visit

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from this source before converting somewhere in there funnel because a lot of those people who convert down here

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are going to be in the ten plus or four plus visit segments and they're gonna have come to you multiple times and

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usually you're only doing last touch attribution meaning you only see the source that sent them the last time

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there are some more advanced analytics like Mixpanel or KISSmetrics that can help you see

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more deeper into that multi-touch funnel but at least you can set up first touch attribution tracking in Google Analytics

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there's a good blog post on how to do that with that will Christo from distilled wrote will link you over to

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that second step segment the content that is driving people so not just the visit sources but the content that's

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driving people early on in your funnel and later in your funnel understanding that dichotomy will give you a sense of

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hey we can't just give up on the content that's bringing people in here or the content that's bringing people in

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in the 4 plus 10 plus made a converting action we need to focus on on both of those and here's how we should be

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distributing our time and let's not spend you know be careful not to over assign value with resources of any kind

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with dollars with people with time to channels that are just getting you into the bottom of the funnel it's really

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really dangerous and it can mean that what happens over time is you increase conversion rate here yeah and and things

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are going well but as this dries up your competitors are taking this traffic they're getting it one way or another or

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you're not executing on it which means no one is getting is happy and finding what they need on the web from you or

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whatever it is that you provide and and finally uh the other thing is track those actions that are likely to lead to

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trend to transactions so if you know that a high percentage of people in a certain bucket in a number of visits

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bucket in a number of visits to specific content bucket in a you know conversion like actions say they did this thing

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like sign up for an email newsletter track that the percent and the number that are flowing down to actual dollar

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value transactions if you do that you'll have a great sense of where you can invest sort of in the middle of the

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funnel that will help to drive that action further down this is this is a complex

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fascinating process and I know it's not easy to implement but for those of you who do the returns can be phenomenal

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thanks very much and I hope I'll see you again next week for another edition of whiteboard Friday take care

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