Extrapolate data based off of outlook email subject lines and text in body.

Hello fellow experts, I need some advice on a task the marketing department in my company has asked me to do. Basically, we have a user who receives emails from a contact form on our website, in one of the required fields it asks "where did you hear about us" and they select one of about a dozen options. It sends them an email with a basic subject line, and in the body is shows what they selected. They would like to someone extrapolate how many emails/leads come in from a certain magazine/website/referral. Then create excel charts/graphs based on that data. They would like this to be somehow automated, a solution which reads as emails come in and counts where the referral is coming in from.

As of this moment the only idea I can come up with is making a dozen rules, one for each selection and dump the emails as they come in into a certain folder. Then using math and excel to create graphs/charts. But they would like this to be completely automated. Any ideas?

-Marco (Network Admin)
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EvaUnit01Asked:
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AndyBeardCommented:
Just a suggestion related to your problem

When someone first arrives at your site, set a cookie with their referral data

When they submit a form, include that information as a hidden field.

This referral data is much more useful than a visitor simply telling you they searched on Google, as it will give you the exact query they used.

If you are using print advertising, buy lots of custom domains

www.specialoffer1.com
www.specialoffer2.com
www.specialoffer3.com
www.specialoffer4.com
www.specialoffer5.com
www.specialoffer6.com
www.specialoffer7.com

If you are running tons of offline offers, then you can also include some kind of special coupon code on those landing pages to refine things even more, or add a number to the end.
www.specialoffer1.com/1
www.specialoffer1.com/2

Each one of those domains / URLs should redirect to a page on your site using parameters for your analytics package, such as those from Google's URL builder.
http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55578

Any time you know exactly where a visitor came from, you don't need to ask them, and thus can remove that question and ask them something else, or not have the question and possibly have less friction.

Then to processing...

What you really should do is add some server side processing of the referral information, but most of the processing and the fancy charts needed can be directly from Google Analytics or whichever package you use, and can be tied directly in with all your search marketing efforts, whether paid advertising or SEO, and any display advertising.

If you want to process the data in other ways, Google Analytics has ways to export it as CSV files, or via API.
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Patrick MatthewsCommented:
Marco,

Can you provide any detail on how one would see the source of the referral?  I.e., what's in the subject, what's in the body, how do I know the referral came from, say Redbook vs GQ, or www.xyz.com vs www.abc.com, etc.

Patrick
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EvaUnit01Author Commented:
The subject line will always say "new leads from example.com" the example.com would be one of our websites. So, company.com or companycity.com, we have multiple websites based on the city for our distributors/consultants. Then the message portion will look something like this:

Name: Joe Smith

telephone: xxx-xxx-xxxx

and so on, the field we are interested in is the one that says:

"where did you hear about <our company name> from"

That field is dictated by the dozen or so options I referenced in the original post.
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EvaUnit01Author Commented:
Thanks Andy, your suggestions seem to be what we are looking for. I do not have any experience when it comes to websites other then hosting them. I am more of a sys/net admin. I will study up on Google analytics, I believe our webmaster uses that right now to monitor our website. I will submit your suggestion our marketing supervisor and setup a meeting with our webmaster as well. I will reply back to this post once I speak to them and see if this is a plausible solution.

If anyone else has any other suggestions feel free to post!
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EvaUnit01Author Commented:
We are going to go another route, our webmaster will begin working on a way to process all requests into a database, then from there we can process reports.
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AndyBeardCommented:
You can do that in parallel

Build the URLs suitable for use with Google Analytics
Pull the data into your database to work with other data sources

Depending on what you are doing, open source applications such as Piwik & Prosper202 might be a good starting point.
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