There is an old cliché that marketers once lived by, a sort of mantra that said “Sales is a numbers game.” This is still as true today as it was then. Ever since the birth of internet marketing numbers have arguably became even more important than ever before. From SEO to PPC, there are literally unlimited amounts of statistics and data that marketers can track. If you are tasked with designing an online marketing campaign, one of the best tools at your disposal, believe it or not, is the old standby, Microsoft Excel. Here are the top 7 ways online marketers use Microsoft Excel to develop and track their strategies.
Before you can do anything with your website, you need to know what kind of budget you are working with. How much money can you afford to pay content writers for the SEO content they provide? How much of your advertising budget can be allocated for strategies like PPC and Google AdWords?
An Excel spreadsheet will let you quickly and simply do a bit of bookkeeping to chart and track how much money you have at your disposal. It will save a lot of time on manual calculations. It’s all there in front of you in black and white and once you’ve set the formulas and functions, there is little to do except enter data on the spreadsheet.
2) Maintain a Blog Calendar
One of the most useful functions of an Excel spreadsheet is the ability to build a calendar template. It can be very useful for scheduling the writing and uploading of web content. With a calendar in front of you it is easy to stay on track. It also gives you a reference in case you need to look back at what you did in the future. Many web developers use Excel spreadsheets to assign writing jobs to content writers and then later for bookkeeping purposes when payment is due. Not only is the calendar a schedule of events for your blog but also a vital part of your business administration as well.
3) Tracking SEO Results
The entire basis of an online marketing campaign is usually competitive Search Engine Optimised (SEO) keywords. There are a number of providers of software and online tools that can help you to track which words and phrases are bringing traffic to your site. An Excel spreadsheet can be used to take that information and track ROI. After all it’s all about realising a profit. There is no better or more efficient way to track earnings and expenses than with Excel.
4) Maintain Social Content
If you are maintaining a blog, one of the best ways to build a following is through social media. With a spreadsheet you can schedule Tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn content and then track the results of your social content. Set up your Excel spreadsheet to analyse which social sites are working best for you and in fact, you can even track all the way through to conversion. How many people arrived at your site from Facebook, for example, and how many converted? Social content is huge in today’s marketplace but you first need to know which social sites work for your brand and products.
5) Tracking Google AdWords
Although there are a number of ways to track just how effectively your Google AdWords are working for you, there is nothing quite like Excel for running a thorough analysis of cost vs clicks. From there you can go on to even more precise calculations to show how many of those clicks were converted and then weigh the cost of AdWords against the profits realised from that traffic.
6) Generate and Track Leads
Not all traffic to your website can be considered a lead. With an Excel spreadsheet you can set up a traffic/lead tracker to monitor how much traffic expressed a real interest (such as by clicking through to other pages) and how many visitors bounced off your site before completing any call to action. Lead generation is a big part of sales. It’s the top of the funnel. Without the tools to analyse how much of your traffic is turning into viable leads, you could be throwing your advertising budget away. Your spreadsheet can help you assess where your traffic came from, and how much of it turned into sales leads.
7) Monthly Market Metrics Reports
Nothing is more rewarding than seeing your marketing efforts pay off. With an Excel spreadsheet you can keep track of exactly which ad campaigns have brought a return on your investment and which have not. Marketing can be a sizeable portion of your operating budget so it is vital to keep firm grip on what is working for you. Running monthly market metrics reports helps you to plan your future strategy because you can see right there in black and white what paid off. Successful marketing is dependent upon analysis and tracking of data.
Microsoft Excel is readily available and once you understand a few basic Excel guidelines you can begin creating spreadsheets that are designed to help build a successful marketing campaign. From using templates that are already formatted for you to writing your own custom templates and spreadsheets, you will find that there isn’t an easier program to work with. You just need to understand the basics.
Marketing really is a numbers game. It’s just that the numbers are so much more complex than they ever have been in the past. Let Excel help you understand what works and how to make your marketing work even better for you in the future. From simple calculations to more complex formulas, there isn’t another tool as handy to a marketer in today’s digital world.