The Strategic Toolbox: Everything You Need to Build an Effective Marketing Strategy

By
Brad Bishop
March 28, 2022
5 min read

When it comes to creating a solid marketing strategy, there is a simple phrase that I go by: If you don't measure it, you can't manage it. Here at Kyler Creative, we believe in being strategy led. That means, we let the data dictate where we're going. And, in order to collect and measure data, you need tools. Today, I'm going to show you exactly what tools I use.

Tools I use to build a marketing strategy

Google Analytics:

The first place to start with website data is traditionally Google Analytics. It can tell you who's visiting your site, how they're interacting with it, and where they're coming from. All of this information is critical when trying to form a marketing strategy. This is a free tool.

With Google Analytics, I'm typically diving into things like:

  • Pageviews month over month
  • Users month over month
  • Traffic (ie, where are people coming from) month over month
  • Customer Journey (ie, how are people utilizing the site)
  • Bounce Rate

From Google Analytics, I typically export everything into Google Sheets so that I can run pivot tables and compare these metrics versus other things like sales, emails, and social media.

I want to point out that it's important not to make decisions on standalone numbers. Like, I could go to Google Analytics and see your bounce rate is 67% and just assume something's off. But, by diving in I can see other metrics that might affect bounce rate.

For example, if I compared a data set from Q1 of 2021 versus Q1 of 2022 and saw this:

2021

  • Users per month - 10,000
  • Bounce Rate - 67%

2022

  • Users per month - 20,000
  • Bounce Rate - 67%

If I saw a standalone number of 67% I might freak out and try to fix it. But, if traffic was up and bounce rate was flat, it's a different story. Can 67% be fixed? Sure. Is it a positive sign that it's stayed flat through a traffic increase? Absolutely.

Google Analytics provides a treasure trove of data, just make sure you're viewing it through the right lens.

HotJar:

In addition to Google Analytics, I also like to use HotJar on client websites. HotJar provides heat maps and recordings of user sessions. This allows you to see exactly how users are interacting with your website. It tells you what percent of visitors are making it down the length of your page, what buttons they're clicking on, and more. This is a free tool but the free version is limited to just 30 visitors per day.

Agency Analytics:

Agency Analytics is a dashboard tool that actually connects to more than just your website. They have over 100 integrations from social media to SEO to email and more. The dashboard can be completely customized to fit your business needs. I looked at a bunch of dashboard sites before choosing this one and so far, I've been really impressed with their capabilities. This is a paid tool, they have different tiers based on how many dashboards you need.

Sales Platform:

I don't have a favorite here. I basically tap into whatever my clients are using. Some use Stripe, some use Thrivecart, and some use specific platforms to their niche. Speaking from a data standpoint only, I prefer Stripe or Thrivecart because I can extract the most data. From here, I export everything into a Google Sheet and build my own tables that track orders, cart views, conversion rates, revenue, commission, and more.

Let me give you an example as to how I would utilize this data. Aside from just seeing if sales are up or down, or if conversion rates are up or down, I can dig a little deeper. I had two separate clients interested in doing paid ads, so I built some tables to see if this was a wise decision.

  • For Client 1 - Their traffic was trending upward but sales were flat. Ideally, if you want to run ads to your site, I'd like to see that your traffic and sales mirror each other, so if you have a spike in traffic, you should have a spike in sales. That tells me, if you paid for ads and increased your traffic, theoretically, sales would follow. But, for this client, sales and traffic weren't aligned and that told me that they had a conversion problem and, therefore, paying for ads would be a wast of money until those issues were fixed.
  • For Client 2 - Their traffic and sales mirrored each other. For every spike or dip in traffic, there was a spike or dip in sales. That told me, if they added some fuel to the fire and paid for ads that generated significantly more traffic - sales would follow. So I recommended doing paid ads.

Email:

Like the sales platform, I utilize whatever my client is using. Most of our clients use Active Campaign, but I have some that use ConvertKit and some that use Hubspot. While it's extremely expensive, I love Hubspot because of the ease of use and the amount of data it tracks. I typically pull high-level email statistics into Agency Analytics, but I'll go in-depth in Google Sheets.

For example - in Agency Analytics, I'll look at open rates, click-through rates, and un-subscription rates. But in Google Sheets, I'll build the entire sequence or campaign into a table so I can look at each email individually. From there, I'll read the subject lines, word count, and the number of call-to-actions compared to the open rates, click rates, and un-subscription rates. That allows me to identify granular issues in specific emails rather than making decisions at a campaign level.

SEO: (Search Engine Optimization)

There are several SEO tools out there you can use and they're all relatively expensive. Ahrefs will cost you over $1,000/mo, Moz will cost the same. My favorite is Ubersuggest because it's easy to use and it's only $295 LIFETIME. You read that right, you pay once and you're done. Now, is it as robust as the other two? No. But it gets you what you need.

I can do keyword research and do some basic SEO audits. Here are SOME of the things I like to track when it comes to SEO:

  • 4xx errors - These errors normally occur because a page does not exist (404), it requires authentication (401) or it is forbidden to access the page (403).
  • Broken external links - An external link is one that links to another website and is considered broken when the page cannot be accessed.
  • Broken internal links - An internal link is one that points to another page that exists on your server and is considered broken when the page cannot be accessed.
  • Missing H1s - H1 tags are considered to be the main heading of a page and are used to help define the topic of the page.
  • Duplicate content - A page is considered to have duplicate content if it contains very similar text to another page.
  • Duplicate meta descriptions - A meta description is a hidden tag that describes the purpose of a page. Search engines may use this description in the listing for this site and in determining the topic of the page.

All of these things (and more) can contribute to your SEO score, so it's important to track them on a regular basis. You can do the keyword research and audits on Ubersuggest, but you can also run the SEO audits on Agency Analytics.

My Ideal Setup:

In a perfect world I use Agency Analytics to build high-level dashboards that let me track things at a 30,000 foot view. From there, I export as much data as I can into Google Sheets and I dig into the numbers at a granular level. For example, on Agency Analytics I can track your overall revenue numbers, but in Sheets, I can cross-reference your site user numbers vs your sales.

When I work with clients, I run all of this for them, because 1) I nerd out over it, and 2) they don't have time for it. If you want a full audit of your brand from top-to-bottom, inside-and-out, feel free to email me at Brad@kylercreative.com. I'd love to help you out.

Brad Bishop
VP of Strategy