One of the primary benefits of inbound marketing is the ready availability of marketing metrics to determine how well your strategy is working. Just because you have extensive analytics options, however, doesn’t mean they’re all of equal value.
Knowing what to measure and how it can inform your marketing strategy is critical to getting value from your efforts. These 5 metrics are key to evaluating whether you’re achieving what you set out to do.
#1: Traffic Growth
There are two types of website traffic: organic and paid. Everyone wants the first, but it’s easiest to get the second. Paid traffic options include:
- Search marketing such as Google Adwords
- Social media advertising, such as sponsored posts on Facebook and promoted tweets on Twitter
- Traffic generated by email marketing calls to action (CTAs)
With these, you get what you pay for (literally) and the standard pay-per-click or pay-per-impression model provides you with reports on exactly how many users you reached, in order for them to charge you.
Organic growth, however, is a whole different ball-game. This is when users arrive at your site driven by social referral URLs (not the ones stemming from advertisements!), keyword searches, blogging and link-building. This is the traffic you really want, because it shows you’re ranking well in search and people are finding you through value-driven methods.
#2: Social Engagements
No, we don’t mean the number of parties you get invited to! Social engagement is when your followers on social networking platforms actually interact with you. These are generally easy enough to measure with tools such as the Facebook Page Insights, but often business owners don’t realize the value of an interaction. It’s worth more than just accumulating Likes, though; the way social media algorithms work, the more people who interact with your posts, the more you will appear in your fans’ news feeds. Which in turn encourages engagement, and so on. So keeping a close eye on how many people find your posts interesting enough to like, comment or share them helps your visibility, as well as showing you what’s working and what isn’t.
#3: Lead Generation Statistics
This isn’t just about the number of leads you get (and convert!), it’s also about where they came from and how they got there. Lead generation by content, channel and activity goes well beyond just knowing how many people viewed your website. Imagine how much customization you can incorporate into your marketing efforts when you know what sources drive the most traffic, which types of content are pulling users in and even the ones that are resulting in actual sales. To do all this, your website design process needs to include creating crucial elements such as individual landing pages for each marketing initiative, and customizing them by product line or other criteria.
#4: Original Sources
When a user comes to your website a second, third or fourth time, chances are good they are typing in your URL directly. That’s great, because they know your name now so it means your brand awareness is working. What’s not great about it, however, is that you can no longer use them to establish which keywords are driving your traffic. And if they only buy on their fifth visit, you’re never going to know how you got them in the first place. This makes it essential that you know (and record!) the original source of returning visitors, even if that isn’t the source that resulted in their eventual conversion.
#5: Lifetime Value
If your marketing strategy extends beyond attracting leads and encompasses a customer retention program, then it’s vital for you to be measuring the lifetime value of your clients. That’s the ONLY way you’ll be able to calculate the long-term ROI on your marketing expenditure. Anybody can add up the sales in a year based on incoming leads and compare it to the spend for the same period. To determine whether there’s a point in going on with your marketing strategy year after year, however, you really need to know if it’s paying off in the long-term.
Without usable inbound marketing metrics to inform your decisions, you run the risk of falling for the “marketing is a luxury we don’t need” argument. Remember, without marketing you’ll have no market, no marketplace and no market share. It’s only with adequate analytical intelligence, however, that you’ll know what works.