Ok, so let me preface this post by saying that link tracking is not a sexy subject. I’m sorry about that. Trust me, it’s not the most fun topic I’ve ever chose to write about. But the reason I’m doing so is because link tracking is the difference between having a successful, high performing Instagram lead funnel, and spending hours a day on Instagram and getting no results from all that effort. It really is that important.
Please note this post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.
Before we continue, a little side note. In this guide I’m going to use screenshots from Clickmagick. Full disclaimer here. I’m an affiliate. I’m also a loyal, longstanding customer. And the reason I’ve chose to screenshot their tool is because they have a nice demo account so I can show you good examples to back up what I’m saying, and if you want to you can log into the demo account yourself for free and give it a try. But this article isn’t about plugging any particular software, so in the interest of balance, here are other tools similar to Clickmagick which you could use instead:
An introduction to link tracking
Let’s start with a short and simple introduction of what I mean by link tracking.
There are tools which I have listed above, that will allow you to track any traffic you have coming to any page. The software does this by allowing you to create different custom links for each bit of traffic you want to track. For example, let’s say you are promoting a free webinar, and you are promoting it on Facebook, Instagram, and on your website.
All your traffic goes to one page: the page which is promoting your webinar. But if you want to be intelligent about your marketing activity, surely you’d be interested to know where that traffic is coming from? That’s where link tracking helps. You can set up three different links: one ot use on each medium you are promoting on. When the traffic comes through to that web page, you know the source.
So that’s the basics, but link tracking isn’t just about finding the source of traffic. That’s all very useful, but it does something far more powerful than that.
Tracking traffic quality
The holy grail of internet marketing seems to be thousands of hits to your website or sales page. Why? Raw numbers like this make no sense to any business wanting to make a profit. You wouldn’t judge the success of a high street shop based on the number of people who walked through the door; you’d do it based on sales or profit.
So I want you to get rid of the idea that, for your business to succeed online, you need hundreds or thousands of visitors. It’s far more important to go for quality over quantity.
One of the most important roles a link tracking service plays is to measure the quality of the traffic coming to your web page. This is especially important if you are paying anyone to drive traffic to you – whether that’s a third party who manages your traffic generation or an advertiser. You’ll find out very quickly if you are paying for high quality traffic from real people who could become your customers, or you are simply paying for bots.
Here’s a screenshot so you can see what I mean:
Track your conversions
Measuring quality is important. But if you are driving traffic from social media, for example, you might not be as worried about traffic quality than if you were – for example – paying for solo ads. Social media traffic, on the whole, tends to be better quality.
But you can still have good quality traffic that fails to convert. And by that I mean you could find yourself with hundreds of clicks to your opt-in page, and very few of those clicks signing up to your email list.
You need to measure conversions. For every traffic source you are using on the web, you need to be able to see at the touch of a button whether that traffic is converting into email subscribers. If it isn’t, you could be wasting time and money on a traffic source that just isn’t doing a lot for you.
Here’s a good scenario where this could happen. Occasionally, you’ll see someone post an article about how they got tens of thousands of hits to their website in a single day. You’ll read on, and it turns out they had a blog post that went viral.
However, viral traffic isn’t always high converting traffic. Depending on why people are clicking, if they are simply responding to a funny blog post that’s made their friends laugh, they aren’t necessarily going to be your target audience or want to sign up for more information from you.
Once you understand how your traffic is converting, you can start to spend your time and efforts on the traffic sources that bring you the best rewards. That’s a perfect example of working smarter and not harder.
Track the money you are spending
Following on from conversion tracking, you can go one step further and track how much you are spending on traffic. So if you are buying banner ads on a blog, for example, you can add these costs into your link tracker. If you are buying banner ads in several different places, this is going to allow you to compare (and control) your spend. Definitely useful, especially as you expand your business and need to start keeping track of this sort of information.
Track how much money you are making (your ROI)
The natural next step to tracking conversions and spend is to look at your ROI (return on investment) for each traffic campaign you run. To do this, you need to know how much each click is worth to your business (this is simply a case of understanding how many clicks eventually convert into buyers and what your average revenue is from each buyer).
ROI is the cornerstone of any well managed online marketing campaign. Without understanding ROI for each of your campaigns, you really don’t know for sure whether you are doing things at a loss or at a profit. Why waste time and money on advertising that only brings you half as much in terms of revenue, if you can choose to spend that budget on a more profitable traffic source instead?
Split test your campaigns
I’m a firm believer in split testing if you are looking to run a profitable marketing campaign online.
Too often, I see posts on forums and Facebook groups from business owners showing a screenshot of an opt-in page with the question – why aren’t people signing up? Well, here’s the truth. You aren’t a mind reader. Neither am I. If you want to know why people aren’t signing up, test it. Test one opt-in page against an alternative and see which one performs the best. Keep repeating this test – tweaking your opt-in page each time – until you see a gradual rise in your opt-in rates.
This really does work. When I first started creating opt-in pages, they converted at something like 5% (it might have even been lower than that). Now, I can confidently create an opt-in page very quickly and achieve a 65% opt-in. Need proof? Here’s a recent campaign I ran:
Link tracking is a very easy way to split test, because you can simply divert all your traffic to two different pages and measure the results.
When you start to understand just how powerful link tracking can be to any marketing campaign on the web, you’ve got to ask yourself why you wouldn’t do it. If you are simply promoting a sales page or an opt-in to any sort of internet traffic, it might convert. But it might now. And if you don’t have any way of monitoring that traffic, you are working blind. Worse, you’re probably spending a lot of money on campaigns that yield very little in the way of profit.
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