In evaluating your Inbound Marketing performance, the first step is to understand that there’s a huge difference between website analytics and marketing analytics. People that are only measuring the website metrics are only looking at one piece of the inbound marketing puzzle. The channels that feed into your website are what need to be measured accurately to see where your marketing plan truly stands. When you do that, the puzzle starts to have fewer gaps.
As we’ve discussed before, your marketing return on investment (ROI) is always hard to measure. It takes patience and experimentation. But measurements not only let you know which channels are working; measurements let you know which ones aren’t. While finding out a channel is lagging sounds like receiving bad news, it should be music to your ears. Now you can address that channel, rather than letting it continue to be ineffective.
Which Inbound Marketing lever do you need to pull?
To accurately measure performance, you have to gauge ROI on a channel-by-channel basis. By evaluating each inbound channel—social media, email, website, etc.—you are actually gauging people instead of page views. Since in marketing revenue is king, you need to know when people are becoming prospects, turning into leads, and ultimately converting into customers. Identifying which channels are most effective at which conversion stage is the only way to evaluate your current marketing performance.
The right marketing software will place this valuable data at your fingertips. And once you’re armed with this data, you can decide which marketing lever to pull. Going back to the difference between website analytics and marketing analytics, it’s the difference between knowing that a visitor arrived at your site from Facebook and whether or not that visitor turned into a valuable sales lead. Once you can stand back and start to look at that kind of data, you’ll know how your integrated strategy is working, and how to improve it channel by channel.
Are you tracking numbers, or behaviors?
For example, looking at a landing page’s visitor count only tells a chapter of the story. How did the visitor arrive there? From an e-mail or a blog post? What happened when the visitor landed on the page? Did they bounce away, or did they click on a call-to-action?
While numbers belie behaviors, uncovering your customer conversion path means isolating events to see how customers are interacting with the channels that lead to your site, and how they’re engaging with the content you’ve put in place to generate a lead, such as your premium offers.
For example, maybe your site has a landing page that is popular, but its close rate for generating a lead is 5%. However, maybe another offer, one with fewer page views, has a 40% close rate. What that tells you is the call-to-action or content offer for the page with the higher close rate is far more effective. Now you can adjust that underperforming landing page accordingly. This illustrates why looking at page views in a vacuum can be dangerous. Digging deeper lets you read the whole story, and not just that one chapter.
Are you closing the loop?
The final touch comes with integrating a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. The right CRM will let you see leads closed by channel. Much like this article, you should view everything in marketing as a part of your revenue funnel. We’ve discussed looking at channels delivering traffic, and which pages and content are creating leads. The end of the line is seeing which ones become customers, and what is specifically driving sales.
This is the only way to defend a marketing initiative or channel. It’s also the only way to improve one. A CRM will provide lead intelligence. That’s the type of intelligence you need to evaluate marketing performance. Without it, you’re really guessing.
By including marketing analytical tools, you’ll create transparency within your marketing efforts. But transparency will get you nowhere without action. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Having it typically means coming to the realization that there’s a good bit of work to be done. With your marketing performance now evaluated, improving that performance is another endeavor entirely.
How are you currently measuring your marketing performance? Are you using any particular analytical tools?
Diona is a senior Internet marketing consultant at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.