So what data should you have? You’ll have experts talk about page views and clickthrough rates and retweets and email opens—all of those metrics have their place—but the most important statistic is the conversion.
A conversion, in sales parlance, is when you make the sale—when you convert a prospect into a customer. In digital marketing, we’ve co-opted the term conversion to mean the action we are getting visitors to take online.
So, a conversion could, in fact, be a sale, if you are running an eCommerce site. But most websites don’t directly sell anything, so their conversions are more likely to be actions such as locating a store, or filling out a contact form, or downloading a white paper.
For those of you who sell offline, it’s critically important to track your offline sales back to your website. Only by doing so can you truly know how much your website and other digital marketing is worth, and by extension know how much to invest. Similarly, you can’t know whether any individual change to our marketing was an improvement or a regression without a way of keeping score.
Tying sales back to marketing tactics is not a new problem. Direct marketers used matchback systems, which gave credit to tactics for influencing sales, much the way attribution schemes do for online tactics today. But you are probably familiar with more primitive approaches, too.
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