We wrote about conversion rate being one of the key metrics in e-mail marketing but you may be wondering how you can track conversions. One way do this is to utilize query strings in your links. A query string is part of the URL that allows data to be passed from the web browser to the program that generates the web page. A URL containing a query string usually has this format:

http://server/path/program?query_string

The query string is separated from the rest of the URL using a question mark and is formatted in field=value sets. Additional field=value sets are added to the string using ampersands. As an example we’ll use the “GlobalSpec- Whitepapers” link in the right column of this page:

http://www.globalspec.com/MediaKit/WhitePapers?=source=mavenblog

In this example the query string is assigning the value “mavenblog” to the field “=source”. You can utilize a similar setup in your e-mails to track which campaign is generating conversions. Say you had an e-mail campaign and the call to action was to download a whitepaper. Using a query string, your link would look something like:

http://www.yourcompanynamehere.com/whitepaper/SecretsofIndustrialMarketing?source=SIMpromo

You could get more granular with the query string to have it note several different things such as the channel, which e-mail generated the download, which link from the e-mail generated the download, and the targe audience by utilizing a query string such as:

?channel=email&source=SIMpromo&link=rightcolbttn&audience=prospect

The key to using query strings is to make sure that you have proper integration with your CRM system. You’ll want to make sure that the fields you use in your query strings are mapped to and identified as campaign tracking fields in your CRM. Ideally, you will also want to have a CRM that tracks field history so you can review conversion trends among your campaigns.
 

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