Napoleon Bonaparte said, “War is ninety percent information", and information is exactly the kind of weapon you can equip your business with when you track the performance of your inbound marketing activities.
One of the biggest and best difference between inbound marketing and traditional marketing is that business are able to track and analyze every part of their marketing strategy at every point in time with inbound marketing. This allows marketers to make necessary adjustments to their marketing activities depending on trend or performance to ensure success along the way.
With so many KPIs you can track, here are nine of the most essential ones that will help you heaps when it comes to refining your strategy.
1. Web Traffic
This first KPI in a no-brainer. These are the visitors that come to your website and is one of the most basic metrics to follow. Other destinations can also be measured such as landing pages related to a specific offer. How many people visit your site and where do they land? Is there a particular trend or a seasonality to your web traffic? What sort of information on your site do your site visitors gravitate to the most?
You can track this using Google Analytics or full-scale website and marketing automation platforms like HubSpot. If numbers suddenly and drastically drop off, it may be worth looking at possible penalties you may be incurring from search engines, possible search algorithm changes you need to adjust for, or simply a lack of information or non-enticing content on your site.
2. Lead Source
Where are your efforts best rewarded? Find out the source of each lead. Where did the lead initially hear of your offer? How do they get to your site and where do the majority of them congregate? You want to find out when your audience first became aware of your product or service, prior to any additional visits for the purposes of research and purchase.
When you are juggling multiple channels, it makes sense to devote more time to channels that drive more traffic. Newer organizations are painfully aware of this situation and only over time will find what channels their audience prefers to use. Determine the stimulus that brought forth this new traffic.
3. Engagement Metrics
Find out what these visitors are doing on your site or social media platforms. How do they interact with your content? What drives their engagement? Are they responding to images, tutorial videos, podcasts or webinars? How engaged are they? Check the average number of pages view and how long is spent on the site. Check your social media outlets as well and see what sort of content your audience interact with the most.
How engaging is the content, print and video, to initial and returning visitors? Look at New vs. Returning Visitors to see if visitors are looking for more information on your product or services and may be going from the stage of awareness to that of consideration.
4. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
How many visitors qualify as a "marketing qualified lead" and what are the criterias? This prospect usually clicked and shown a desirable behavior on your “brand filter” promotion. Typically, this lead has downloaded an offer, shown interest in your business, as well as your associated services and products. They are considering doing more research into your company. Knowing this information will allow you to nurture leads with a creative offer and align your messaging to target their persona and their stage in your buyer's lifecycle.
5. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
Communications and content put out by your business have helped drive those that are considering the purchase. Knowing when to (as they say) "strike when the iron is hot" ensures a successful sale. What qualifies your leads as sales-ready? What steps are you taking to get them to convert?
Sales teams can forward details as to the leads ability to purchase, their budget and their need for management support. Similar with the strategy above, you will be able to fine tune the messaging for your sales qualified leads.
6. Cost Per Lead
How much money is spent to acquire a single lead? This is a very specific metric and is correlated to the strategy chosen for every lead generation channel. According to Forbes, to find your cost per lead, review the general monthly cost of a selected campaign and compare it to all of the leads generated for that channel and period. Include management time, peripheral expenses or startup costs as they apply to your organization’s situation.
Knowing this number enables you to create an appropriate marketing budget depending on the number of leads you want to acquire. Keeping tabs on this will also keep you informed on which inbound marketing activities are the most essential and cost-efficient.
7. Lead to Customer Ratio
This metric has much to do with the quality of your sales team. This number allows you to understand the total return on your investment. Often times businesses that have a generally healthy marketing campaign that brings all the leads they could ever want experience some issues closing the sale.
Knowing this will get you to the bottom of the issue whether or not you are marketing to the right audience or if your sales strategy is as tight as your marketing game plan. Successful sales follow-up on leads as well as a good marketing and sales alignment will increase this metric. Add the number of conversions and divide it by the number of leads to arrive at the lead to customer ratio.
8. Social Media Reach & Demographics
The definition of reach is the “total size of the audience you can reach, including your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, LinkedIn followers, blog subscribers, and email list.” Inbound marketers use social media to attract attention and engage with potential prospects and customers. It is important to know the extent of influence of your organization. Social media platforms after all, are used to share new content, engage with customers, and get the attention of new prospects.
The growth and engagement of the social media profiles of your business is significant. Mentions, shares, comments and more are a few measures of social media engagement. These metrics don't just give you the buzz and influence you need, but more importantly, they function as social signals to search engines, giving you more authority and relevance when it comes to the ranking game.
9. SERP Position vs. Competition
According to a Chitka study, the average Google results traffic falls from approximately 33% to 18%, depending on whether a company is first or second in the SERPs. Keep in mind that this metric measures traffic and not conversions. This metric allows you to view how you rank against leading competitors and is good to track both quarterly and during campaigns. A majority of your inbound marketing activities impact your SERP position and you would do well to review changes to your campaign, website structure, content, and keyword selection to improve your ranking.
These key metrics will help you see the direction that your campaign is taking and adjust activities as needed. The best way to win is to know how to win. Be informed and use these metrics to your advantage.