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Measure the success of your copy

Measure the success of your copy to help you fine tune your message

I know you’re busy with a thousand and one things on your to-do list. Although I don’t want to add to the pressure you’re under, I want to share with you why checking data and metrics should be part of your weekly routine if you want to know how your copy is performing.

Many businesses take a ‘write it and they will come’ approach to copywriting but even the best written copy will struggle to convert if no-one knows it’s there. It needs care and attention, and to be the centre of your focus once in a while.

In my experience, the success of your copy is an organic process. As horribly pretentious as that sounds, what I mean is that copy, especially online copy, can be fine-tuned, trimmed, embellished or cultivated to suit the tastes of your audience but, to make this happen, you have to know what’s working and what isn’t.

This is where stats come in.

There’s a lot more I could be doing to measure the success of my copy (it’s on my to-do list!) but these are the stats I make sure I check at least once week:

 

Google Analytics logo

Google Analytics

I wrote a post last month about the data I like to keep an eye on in Google Analytics. Here’s an overview of my favourite stats and what they tell me:

  • Audience overview – This shows me how many unique visitors have come to my website, how long they stayed and how many pages they viewed. If I look at the last week, for example, I can see that 62% were new visitors to the site. I like to do month by month comparisons.
  • Acquisition overview – This shows me where my traffic is coming from. I like to look at the ‘All Traffic’ option using the pie chart view. This shows me that last week 48% of my traffic came from Google and 26% came from Facebook. My newsletter accounts for about 5% of my weekly traffic.
  • Social overview – I like to keep an eye on where traffic is coming from in terms of my social media platforms. Last week, 94% of my social media traffic was from Facebook. Now, this is a clear reminder that I need to be more active on other platforms and use them more consistently. It also confirms that Facebook is working as a tool for engagement and promoting content. The visitors’ flow from social media shows that people are finding me through links to my blog posts.
  • Behaviour>Landing pages – The stats on this page show me which pages people landed on when they arrived at the website. This gives me a very clear picture of which blogs are performing well and also which pages are of specific interest to my customers.
  • Behaviour>All pages – This shows me all the page views my website gets over whatever time period I set. Again, this is helpful to see which blogs and pages attract the most traffic.
  • In-page analytics – This is a handy (if somewhat temperamental) tool that shows you what links people are clicking on within your website. Are they using links on the main navigation? Are they more likely to click on pictures or text? Do they click more on links on the left of the page or the right? By understanding how someone’s eye tracks when they’re looking at your site, you can put the really important information where it’s going to be noticed.

I use a Google Analytics app on the phone so that I can check my stats when I have a spare moment while cooking tea or in the school playground.

 

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools logoI’m still learning the potential of Google Webmaster Tools but it shows you all sorts of information at a glance.

You can see:

  • Whether there are any crawl errors
  • How many times your website has appeared in Google’s listings (impressions)
  • How many times someone has clicked through to your site from Google
  • Search Traffic>Search Queries – For the time being, you can still keep an eye on the words people are using to search for your site and where you’re ranking for those search terms. Click on the ‘With change’ option and you can not only see your average position but also whether you’re going up or down in the listings and by how much.
  • Search Traffic>Links to your site shows you where your inbound links are coming from and what your most linked to content is.
  • Google Index>Content keywords shows you what Google perceives to be your keywords based on the content of the site and their significance.
  • Go to Other Resources>Structured Data Testing Tool and enter your web address to see a rich snippet of your site and check your Google Authorship is working.

 

Facebook Insights

I use Facebook daily to post copywriting tips, articles, advice and inspirational quotes. Keeping tabs on the insights is essential to build engagement properly. In the insights, you can Facebook logosee:

  • An overview for the week with total likes, reach and engagement as well as the number of new likes, and post clicks, likes, comments and shares.
  • Likes – On this tab, I can see when I gained new likers (or lost them). Looking at my current data, I can see that I gained a cluster of new fans on 14th November. Why? This was when I posted my blog article on Google Authorship which attracted interest and questions.
  • Reach – The data under this tab shows me what the reach of my page was like on a day-to-day basis. On 21st November, for example, there’s a massive spike in my reach because I posted about National Freelancer’s Day and got lots of fellow freelancers talking.
  • Visits – This tells me whether people are viewing my timeline, my photos, my admin or info tabs. I can also see if other people are talking about The Freelance Copywriter page or posting to my page, and where they found it.
  • Posts – This is where my favourite Facebook data lives. From this tab, I can see which posts had the best reach and which invited the most engagement. I can see what type of posts work well and what don’t. It’s worth experimenting because the type of posts that work well can vary from one page to another, depending on your audience.
  • The posts page also shows you when your fans are online, so that you can work out the best times to post.
  • People – Not sure who your fans are? This is the data you need. You can see whether your fans are predominantly male or female, how old they are and where they live, as well as which fan group is the most engaged with your page. This information let you adapt your content to appeal to this audience.
  • This week I’ve been experimenting with the new Pages to watch feature, which lets you keep an eye on whether likes are going up or down on other pages. If you see a massive increase in likes, you can take a look at the page and see what the person is doing to build engagement. I wouldn’t encourage focusing on this obsessively – after all, their business is different to yours – but it may give you ideas for the future.

I use the Facebook Page Manager on my phone to keep an eye on my notifications and reach.

 

PinterestPinterest logo

I’ve only just added the Pinterest Analytics to my profile but the stats let you see:

  • How many people are pinning from your website
  • Seeing your pins
  • Clicking on your content
  • Find out which Pin gets shared the most and who interacts with them

You can set specific time frames to see how your numbers trend within that.

 

MailchimpMailchimp logo

I currently send my weekly newsletter by Mailchimp, which automatically generates and updates reports for every email campaign. Even with my free account, I can see at a glance:

  • How many people the campaign went to
  • The percentage of people that opened the newsletter
  • The percentage of people that clicked on links within it
  • Which links attracted the most clicks
  • The total number of opens
  • Who opened the newsletter, when and how many times
  • How engaged each recipient is with my newsletters
  • Where members of my mailing list live
  • Social media shares
  • Bounces
  • Unsubscribes
  • New subscribers

My newsletter averages an open rate of 35%-45% (the marketing industry average is 14%) and a click-through rate of 7% (the marketing industry average is 1.9% according to Mailchimp). Last week, my newsletter didn’t perform as well as I would have liked. I can use the stats to figure out why. I can also see at a glance that certain words and topics always have a massive open rate – my challenge is to use that information to boost the likelihood of success for future posts.

So, what stats do you keep an eye on? Or do you just write your copy and forget out it? Have I missed something important from this post? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Emma Heasman

Emma Heasman has been an in-house and freelance copywriter for the past 13 years and launched The Freelance Copywriter in 2003. Ever passionate about copywriting, she now works with small businesses to help them write copy that speaks to their ideal customers. Connect with Emma on Google+

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