Set up a simple Marketing Analytics Stack with Google Analytics, Pirate Metrics and Lean Analytics in minutes

I recently wrote about Marketing Analytics, Pirate Metrics and Lean Analytics and that generated a lot of questions around how to get started, how to set up a Marketing Analytics Stack, and what shortcuts to take? I'm going to answer those questions here.

BACKGROUND READING (4 mins): The essentials of a Marketing Analytics Stack - for beginners.


First, how to set up your Marketing Stack in 12 minutes?

I'm going to get you started with a set of tools that will provide you a great, easy to setup, and flexible Marketing Analytics Stack - and I'll show you how to set it up in just 12 minutes.

A lot of people tend to struggle when getting started. Maybe you can relate to some of these?

  • I'm unaware of the tools available,
  • I'm haven't decided "which is the best tool",
  • I know I should but I don't have time,
  • I'm too busy doing to stop and get started,
  • Our engineers are too busy,
  • I don't know what to measure.

Stop waiting. Later today, or tomorrow, grab two coffees and sit down with your engineer/developer, and do the following together:

  • Step 1. INSTALL GOOGLE ANALYTICS: Signup for an account at Google Analytics grab the code snippet (shown below), and add to your website. [takes 3 mins.]

Screenshot code snippet Google Analytics javascript code snippet

  • Step 2. INSTALL a CONVERSION FUNNEL: Signup for an account at mixpanel, or KISSmetrics. Grab the code snippet, and add to your website. [takes 3 minutes.]

  • Step 3. INSTALL YOUR LIFECYCLE MESSAGING: Signup for an account at Customer.io, or Trak.io, or at Intercom, grab the code snippet, and add to your website. [takes 3 minutes]

  • Step 4. INSTALL YOUR CODELESS CONFIGURATION: If you want to really optimize the success/effectiveness of your marketing stack, you're going to want to track what your customers are actually doing, so you can segment them in your stack. It can take mere minutes to, for example, sign up for an account at PopcornMetrics.com, grab the code snippet, and add it to your site [takes 3 minutes].

Total Time: 12 mins. Sweet! You have just installed the framework for your first Marketing Analytics Stack in only 12 mins. Great work! You rock! :)


Next, how to setup up your initial lifecycle emails?

Lifecycle emails are great for Customer Onboarding, and done well can have a huge impact on Retention. So, now you have your Lifecycle Messaging installed, lets quickly setup an initial set of lifecycle emails.

To get you started, we talked with Ashli at Autosend.io and she suggested sending five essential emails. Obviously you can build more emails, but think of these as a minimum set to get started.

Day 1: A Warm Welcome Email

This is a behaviour triggered email, on signup. Your goal is to give your new user one thing to do right now to get them to their WOW moment. Keep this email simple and to the point.

Day 3: How to use Product

This is just one of the many emails you can send during the trial to teach users' how to use your app. Try to keep things simple here. Your customers are already overwhelmed by using a new tool. One new tip at a time should do.

Day 14: (of 30 day trial) - Halfway through a Trial - need help?

Use this opportunity to be a helping hand. More likely than not, this user isn't even using your product anymore or didn't think to ask for help. Be a helping hand and remind them you exist.

Day 30: Trial Expiring - upgrade/deal

Use this email to remind your users of the value they've gotten from your app. And offer an enticing enough deal to take give them every reason to advantage of your upgrade offer right now. Remember, you may not get this user to open this email or to your website to upgrade ever again. Don't blow it!

Day 45: Didn't convert - why?

The purpose of this email is to get feedback. You don't want to send this email to soon because people often convert many days after their trial expires.

Get the TEMPLATES for the 5 Essential Lifecycle Emails, by Ashli at Autosend.io

BONUS: Here's a great primer on Life Cycle emails that convert by the guys at Vero. And if you want to go deeper, here's the 75 minute audio presentation.


So, what shortcuts can I take?

SHORTCUT 1. Forget Perfection

Set up a simple Marketing Analytics Stack with Google Analytics, Pirate Metrics and Lean Analytics in minutes

We're not going to worry about whether its the most perfect Marketing Analytics Stack. That's okay. A great plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow Robert DeNiro. I'm a big fan of iteration, and while its popular in Agile Software and the Lean Startup, it applies not just to product but to your Marketing Analytic s Stack. Make a start. Get a first cut. te you have somethng to wor with, something to learn from, somethign to improve. Its super important that you think like this - and that you build your Marketing Analytics Stack to be and give you all the flexibility you need.

SHORTCUT 2. Don't Build In-House

Some companies build everything in house. Some even have a policy - usually driven by their engineering - that says "We're great coders. We build everything in-house. It's faster."

As Josh Pigford of BareMetrics says, "Tools are an area many founders get hung up on. They make the mistake of thinking it’s a good use of their time to build internal tools as a method of cost-saving instead of focusing on adding more value to their own product."

So, aim to avoid starting out by building in house. Why? Because once you build in-house, you become "locked in", you become invested. You can't quickly make changes. And worse, you can't keep going back to your engineers and constantly change things. Its just too slow. And the costs build. Later, when you have everything worked out, if you want to rebuild your Marketing Analytics Stack inhouse, I won't say a word. Just not now, ok?

BONUS - Read this article by Josh Pigford : Building a tool just to save a couple hundred bucks is an intensely bad use of your team’s time

SHORTCUT 3. Use 3rd Party Tools to Configure your Stack.

Do yourself a favour, get flexible plugin tools, so you can setup your tracking easily. Now is the time to learn what works. And for that you need to be able to move fast, make and test guesses and change things quickly.

  • INSTALL A VISUAL SETUP TOOL: If you want to do everything yourself, quickly and easily, without needing to keep going back to your developers, then head over and signup for an account at PopcornMetrics.com (shown below), grab the code snippet, and add to your website. [takes 2 mins]

Screenshot code snippet Popcorn Metrics javascript code snippet

  • INSTALL A CODE SETUP TOOL: If you are a developer and live writing code, then signup for an account at Segment.com (shown below), grab the code snippet, and add to your website. Segment is an awesome tool and has many integrations. You'll also need to manually write code for each customer action you want to track, and redeploy your code every time you make changes. [takes 3 mins]

Screenshot code snippet Segment javascript code snippet

Lastly, get a baseline - before you make changes.

Get a baseline. Before you rush in and start making changes, get a baseline. Figure out where you are now, today, so you can measure progress.

Many people get excited about making changes - redesign of landing pages or app layout, or start woring a new acquisition channel. It's fun, of course, and it feels good to be active, but the first thing is you need to measure where you are, so you have a solid baseline BEFORE you start making changes. That way, when you make changes, you will know if those changes are improving the growth of your company. (I'll have more to say about hypotesising and testing in a future post, so make sure you've subscribed.)

So, put in place your baseline metrics, and just measure, watch observe. Depending on how much traffic or how many users, you might need a few days or more, but let it run enough to know what your current Acquisition rate or 30 day Retenton Rate is. (Shall I tak about Cohort Analysis? Leave me a comment below.)

For some baseline metrics, see what I wrote about Pirate Metrics and choose (or guess) one metric for the Conversion Funnel (you can do a detailed funnel or as a minimum the 2 stage funnel I mentioned).

What next?

Now you have your Marketing Analytics Stack, Conversion Funnel, and initial Lifecycle Emails, and a Baseline in place, you can start to make changes and measure the results on your key metrics, and start to drive the success and growth of your business by using real data.

Also, take a look at Lean Analytics to get a deeper understanding, and tune your metrics better to your specific type of business and stage of business. But first, let's get that Marketing Analytics Stack setup!

BONUS: - Grab the text for the 5 Essential Lifecycle Emails - to start using on your own site today!

How do you setup your Marketing Analytics stack? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

A big thanks to Ashli at Autosend.io for editorial input on lifecycle emails.