• You built your website, created a blog and launched a social media campaign. 
  • You've tried to do all the right things -- including using the correct key words and optimizing your online experience -- to improve your search rankings. 
  • You developed an online sales portal.

So, how do you know it's all working?

Do you find yourself constantly fishing for the data you need to prove your company's investment in marketing is paying off?

Your firm probably has some tools that could help you monitor digital performance. But you're not sure what they are, how they work and what they do. And you likely don't have direct access to many of them.

It's time for you to take control. Here are six digital monitoring tools guaranteed to get you the data you need to track -- and optimize -- your marketing efforts.

The good news: These tools are either free or relatively low-cost, so you won't need to bust your budget to track your online marketing efforts.

1. Google Analytics (GA)

GA is the industry standard, must-have tool that will help you understand what's happening on your website. It tracks the visitors to your site, where they come from and what they do once they're on it. It shows the devices and browsers they use. It also provides solid demographic information about them, as well.

The one issue most beginner GA users face: The interface -- and amount of information available through it -- is dense and can be overwhelming. Google remedies this by offering great tutorials and information to guide you to the data you're looking for and to develop the reports and dashboards that will help you become a more effective digital marketer.

Google Analytics offers both a free and a paid, premium version. The paid version is designed for large business enterprises and provides:

  • a higher level of personal service
  • the ability for people across a large organization to view data
  • ways to increase data integration
  • an enhanced service level agreement.

Most businesses start out with the standard, free GA package and some move into the premium version over time.

2 and 3. Optimizely and Google Content Experiments

So what should you do when Google Analytics identifies something going wrong -- or right -- on your website? Of course, you should fix the things going wrong and optimize those going right. You can do this by implementing an A / B testing program.  

Optimizely allows you to do A / B or multi variant testing without having to build separate webpages. You simply adjust different elements on the page using the clear and intuitive interface. Once your tests are set up, the system will monitor their performance so you can decide which variations are driving better results.

Optimizely pricing is based on the size of your organization, and you'll need to contact them to get a quote.

Google Content Experiments is part of the overall Google Analytics solution. If you find Optimizely or other similar digital testing platforms too costly for your company, Google Content Experiments can be a good, free alternative. It can be an effective way for your organization to begin a testing protocol -- and monitor the results -- without a big investment.

4. MOZ

MOZ is the all-in-one tool that will help you improve your search engine results. It will give you a view into:

  • how your key words are performing
  • how your site compares to those of your competitors
  • what sites are linking to your website and your competitor's websites. 

In addition, as social media buzz and activity become more important factors in determining search rankings, MOZ provides actionable data on your Facebook, Twitter and other relevant social media outlets.

The information provided by MOZ will give you what you need to be more strategic about how you manage your SEO efforts. And if you're not sure how to approach this, the MOZ blog and website is packed with information to get started.

Subscriptions to MOZ start at $99 per month. But it could be a worthwhile expense when you consider the amount of additional traffic you'll be able to attract to your website using the insights you get from MOZ.

5 and 6. Facebook Page Insights and Twitter Analytics

If your company is active in Facebook, Twitter or both, you need get access to these valuable tools.

If you have a Facebook page for business, then you should be able to access Facebook Page Insights. It provides detailed data about your posts including:

  • who they are reaching
  • who is liking them
  • sharing and comment information
  • visitor demographic data
  • how your Facebook performance is trending over time. 

You can track this information and use it to optimize your Facebook posts. Look for patterns on the types of posts (image, link, etc.) that work with different customer segments or the images that resonate with your audiences. There are countless variants you can track, which provides almost unlimited opportunities to optimize your posts.

To use Twitter Analytics, simply log into their advertising site and click the “analytics” tab in the top navigation. You don’t need to be a Twitter advertiser to use this tool. (Just ignore all the advertising-related buttons and links.) Once you get into Twitter’s analytics suite, you can see:

  • who your followers are
  • where they are from
  • what they are interested in
  • gender breakdown. 

You also analyze your tweets to see which ones reach the most people and create the most conversion.

Both of these tools are absolutely free.

Next steps

So, what are you waiting for? Every minute you wait to start tracking data on your digital marketing campaigns is time you're not using to optimize them. And that means you're wasting your company's marketing dollars.

If all this feels a little overwhelming, then talk to an agency that's experienced in developing and monitoring digital marketing campaigns. We'll listen to the issues you face and provide ideas on solutions that could help you track, monitor and optimize your online marketing, 

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