Writer. Reader. Lover of naps, dogs, sunshine and ironic humor. Samantha's specialties include SEO, content marketing, and rescuing turtles in the road. Oh, and she's a #marketing engineer... with an artistic flair.
Gone are the days of making 200 cold calls and measuring your success on the number of people who buy your product. While promotional opportunities have grown tremendously with the introduction of inbound marketing, it has not been without challenges. As marketers struggled to understand and utilize this new form of marketing, it was often a game of hit and miss or get lucky.
But as inbound marketing matures, and as the competition gets more savvy, it’s not enough anymore to just try something out and hope for the best. The foundation has been set, best practices have been just about settled, and it is no longer just about “doing” inbound. It is now about optimizing, improving, and testing.
No matter what your achievements are in marketing, there is always room for improvement. How can you take your inbound marketing to the next level until it is truly successful?
The Best KPIs for Inbound Marketing
Key Performance Indicators - the statistics and metrics that indicate just how awesome we are.
There are a myriad of measurable activities in inbound marketing, and each visitor goes through several phases on their way to being a customer; each phase has its own set of metrics and measurements.
Visitor > Lead > Customer > Return Customer
This can also be referred to as Attract > Convert > Close > Delight
Attracting visitors to your site is always the first step in the process. This can be achieved through SEO, social media, or referral. So what KPIs do you want to focus on in the attract phase?
For the attract phase, we want to hone in on those people who are coming to our website for the first time; the people our marketing is actually attracting.
From there you want to look specifically at the the unique visits from:
Social - How often your site and content is being shared on social media, but more importantly, how often social is bringing visitors in.
SEO - What long tail searches and primary keywords are bringing in the most visitors, and what content they are viewing via these clicks.
Referral - What other sites are sending visitors your way. This is achieved through organic mentions, advertising on other sites, guest blogging, etc.
You want to see:
A low bounce rate. Bounce rate is how quickly a visitor exits your site after only viewing one page.
High pages per visit. The more pages a visitor checks out, the more you know your content is resonating with them.
Little to no abandonment. You don’t want visitors leaving your site before 2 pages or 10 seconds.
Converting visitors in itself is a process. Depending on your products and prices, the path to a visitor voluntarily offering their information and converting them to a lead may be simple and short, or long and complex.
If you are selling a popular, inexpensive item, visitors may only view a social page and a couple links on your site before they enter the buying mode. You have attracted, converted, and closed all within that short process.
If your product is an expensive business technology with a price point in the six figures, you are going to have a much longer and more convoluted buyers’ journey. You need to have credible offers, you need to be a trustworthy brand, and you need to have website landing pages that perform well. In this scenario, a visitor may follow your blog, like you on Facebook, visit and revisit pages on your website for days, or even weeks, before providing their information to you.
Set your key objectives for your own business with this in mind.
In measuring your conversions, look at the number of pages viewed, the number of links clicked, and the amount of time spent on the site before the initial conversion to lead. More leads isn’t necessarily better than less. What matters most is converting qualified leads. If you can identify a common baseline, you can begin to better predict your conversion rate.
Since you are a super-savvy marketer, you’re doing all sorts of things with cool landing pages and multiple calls-to-action. These are key indicators for telling you what buttons work best on which pages, and which landing pages are converting the best. These are all things that need constant measuring.
You should come out of this analysis with an understanding of the marketing that performed the best, converted the most, and had the lowest cost. Replicate the most successful and do A/B testing to see if you can ramp up the conversion rate even more.
Closing rates consists of the percentage of leads you convert into customers. This is pretty straightforward but, depending on your business, this can be where measuring success becomes much more difficult.
When leads are converted into customers, you want to make sure you are still measuring how many calls, demos, emails, or interactions it took before they made the decision to buy. Again, this varies widely depending on your product and the price. The lead-to-customer conversion path is arguably the most important, so pay attention to it.
Just because they bought, doesn’t mean you should forget about them. After the sell is when you have the opportunity to delight your customers. Customers who are delighted purchase again and tell other people to buy your stuff. They become your brand evangelists.
Make sure your customers are properly identified across your systems so you can see when they return to the site, open your marketing emails, or voluntarily tweet your content.
There are 2 primary KPIs in Delight:
- How many customers purchase additional products/services.
- How many customers refer new visitors to your site.
The work of inbound marketing is never done. Remember, in all things marketing you...
Measure, Test, Monitor, Improve. Then Rinse and Repeat.
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