Tracking your marketing impact with UTM codes

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Tracking your marketing impact with UTM codes

One of the greatest benefits of digital marketing is the ability to track the impact of online marketing tactics. By using UTM codes or parameters, digital content creators can append URLs with fields that provide transparency into a campaign’s web activity related to source, medium and name. Through this transparency, content creators can have better insight into what is working for their organization and what is not, allowing teams to make more informed decisions regarding marketing strategy and tactics.

At USGBC, we use custom URLs to track the activity generated on our websites through online articles, web content, email marketing, social media and online advertising. For marketing teams that use a number of channels or sources, this is a helpful way to gather stats for a campaign in one location. On Google Analytics, under Acquisition > Campaigns, we are able to view the users, sessions, transactions and revenue tied to each campaign, and then drill down further into the source and medium.

Here’s an example of a recent campaign to drive customers to our education course subscription package, with the custom URL we used to track the impact:

At the conclusion of the campaign, we noted that the web banner and email generated the most activity, with the email bringing in the most users and the banner bringing in the most revenue. This insight demonstrates the value of both channels in the promotion of sale opportunities, and as a result, we will continue to use these sources in future promotions.

Create a custom URL with Google’s campaign builder.

Choose the most effective format for your campaign

Choosing a format for your information

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Choosing a format for your information

As marketers aiming to get a message to the right people at the right time, in a digital world, we’re often faced with decisions about the best channel or format for our information.

When making this decision, it helps to think about the audience you are trying to reach, what people expect from specific formats and how that aligns with the goals of the message or the information you are sharing.

Here are some goals that we consider when creating content at USGBC:

  • Web article or blog post: Share information, educate, build awareness, promote opportunities for further engagement
  • Social post: Generate awareness, build reputation, establish as an industry expert, create community, grow social audience, increase traffic to website
  • Email: Offer strong call to action, build and nurture relationships, influence sales, encourage retention and brand loyalty; message must be targeted, valuable, interesting and engaging.
  • Online advertising: Offer strong call to action, lead to revenue (event registration, product purchase), generate leads
  • Press release: Share information, build awareness

Additionally, it often makes sense to promote a message across multiple channels using multiple formats. When you do so, though, it’s important to reformat the content for the appropriate channel.

Here are a few examples of recent content from USGBC and the formats that were used to share the information:

Write concise copy

Get to the point

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Get to the point

When I was in journalism school, I learned that one of the biggest writing mistakes a journalist could make was to bury the lede. What’s the lede? The lede is the introduction of a news story, intended to pull in the reader. Often the lede also includes the five Ws and one H: who, what, when, where, why and how.

The idea is that we should put the most important information at the top of an article, so that if people read nothing else, at least they get the critical details.

This was a really transferable lesson for me when I made the shift from journalism into marketing. Whether I’m working on web copy, an article, a marketing email or online advertising, each piece of content benefits when I’m able to boil it down and get to the point.

Want to reach people? Don’t dance around big words and fancy language. Don’t get lost in the game of repetition. Make your message easy, digestible and clear. Then you’ll ease the burden on your audience, and likely increase their engagement too.

Read some tips from the USGBC marketing team about writing effective emails and strong web copy.

Go-to Inspiration

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Go-to Inspiration

These days I’ve got three things on my (professional) mind: websites, content and email. As USGBC’s digital marketing manager I’m constantly thinking about what USGBC needs to share with our key stakeholders and the best ways to do that.

Here’s some background on our presence in these three areas:

  1. Websites: At USGBC we manage a suite of websites, all intended to reach unique audiences and promote various products and opportunities related to sustainability and green building. Our current list of websites includes:,,,,,, and In addition to the daily management of these sites, we are also continuously working on web-based projects which advance user experience based on personas, personalization, and optimization.
  2. Content: In addition to our web presence, we are also focused on a robust calendar of content marketing strategies. This includes the creation of relevant and valuable content with the intention of addressing the needs of target audiences and changing or enhancing consumer behavior. Our current content production includes articles, blogs, case studies, landing pages, videos, podcasts, presentations, webinars and infographics.
  3. Email: In addition to our website and content marketing efforts, we also actively engage and nurture leads through one-off and automated e-communications strategies.

As I go through my week it’s important for me to stay up-to-date on the most recent marketing news and trends. This helps ensure that USGBC’s digital efforts are as relevant and effective as possible.

Here are a nine sources that I visit regularly to find inspiration and learn about industry advancements. (I also follow most of these sites on Twitter to access quick and timely updates.)

  • Think with Google ( is the perfect site to discover trends, data insights and creative inspiration for marketers.
  • Adweek ( covers media news, including print, technology, advertising, branding and television.
  • Advertising Age ( is a great source of news, intelligence and conversation for marketing and media communities.
  • Mashable ( is a leading source for news, information and resources related to digital innovation.
  • The Content Marketeer ( is Kapost’s content marketing blog and it’s a great content marketing guide and resource.
  • The Content Strategist ( is Contently’s online magazine and it’s a great resource for content marketing news and strategy.
  • NewsCred’s blog (
  • For a visual pick-me-up and pure creative inspiration I also visit the following blogs:
    • Designlovefest ( is a lifestyle blog with an eye for design in style, DIY, food, travel, entertaining and more.
    • Oh Joy Blog ( is a blog with a focus on design, fashion, food, and joyful moments from everyday life.