Traditional marketing takes a one-way approach to communication and interaction. And, while it worked in the days when television, radio, phone calls, and trade shows were the only mediums, today it doesn’t simply make the cut. Soon after digital and social media came into the picture, marketing took a two-way communication approach. By pushing marketing messages out to the audience, companies rather found more sense in creating a pull-based inbound marketing strategy. Today, everyone’s doing inbound. And, thankfully!
As compared to outbound, which was traditionally the only way of marketing, inbound marketing is far more engaging, interactive, and cost-effective. Talking about cost, a Hubspot study establishes, that “inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a 61% lower cost per lead than organizations that predominantly leverage outbound marketing.” Moreover, in times when 72% of Americans are on the national Do Not Call Registry, and 85% of people with a DVR fast-forward through commercials, outbound isn’t very likely to get you the desired results.
All this said and done, even companies that run inbound marketing struggle to reach expected profits. Starting with inbound marketing is not a day’s work. You need to have the right tools and the right people in place. Additionally, defining your key performance indicators is extremely important for your inbound marketing strategy to work. There are hundreds of metrics to choose from. For example, SEO ranking, content downloads, CTA click-throughs, reach, retweets, likes, shares, and so on.
The problem is that most of these performance indicators are just ‘vanity’ metrics and don’t provide much insight into how they impact your business’s bottom line. Loosely defining your metrics is one big blunder that you need to steer clear away from. We’ve identified and defined five value metrics that you can use to measure your inbound marketing campaign’s success.
1. Month over month organic growth
Inorganic growth, we’re counting website traffic, leads, and opportunities. This metric will indicate how many people found your website by unpaid means instead of paid promotions. From there, track what percentage of that traffic turned into leads, i.e., dropped their contact information on a form on your website, by downloading an ebook, or by signing up for your newsletter, etc.
Gauge metrics such as organic rankings, inbound leads, and landing page conversion to understand how your content, blogging, linking, and social outreach are actually impacting the bottom line.
2. Social engagement
And, by social engagement, we don’t just mean your reach. Reach only shows your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, LinkedIn connections, blog subscribers, or email list. At the end of the day, this number does not give any insights on whether your inbound marketing strategies are actually impacting your revenue or not.
Social engagement metrics that really matter instead are the number of people who viewed your ad on Facebook, the number of people who bought your product on Instagram, or the number of people signing up for your event on Twitter. While likes, comments, and shares do matter to some extent, there are better metrics that give better insights into how your inbound marketing efforts are faring. For example, has there been an increase in brand mentions through your social media channels?
3. Lead generation by content, campaign, and channel
Identify what sources generate traffic for most of your website traffic. Are people landing on your website by direct search or through ads that you run on social media? Know what kind of content and promotions drive conversions and sale KPIs for you. Is it the ‘recommendations’ email that you send out that gets you more repeat traffic on your website?
These insights will help you reach your target audience on the right channel with the right type of message, and with your inbound marketing strategy.
4. Percent of leads from the ‘original’ traffic source
A number of times, people will discover your brand on a social media channel; however, make a purchase after having made a direct URL search. In such cases, counting direct search as the contributor to conversion is incorrect attribution. That’s why you should dig deeper into your data to know the “original source” of your leads that have converted.
Analyzing and understanding your users’ behavior journey will help you shorten their path to final conversions. Alongside this, it will help you create the right campaign for each stage of the funnel, across multiple touchpoints.
5. Forecasted conversions
Your top management solely cares about the revenue that marketing is generated. They are not even remotely concerned with marketing-generated leads. Show them marketing qualified leads, and they might give you a gentle tap of encouragement on the shoulder. This is where a metric like forecasted conversions from marketing can help keep your top management convinced about the efforts that you are making.
Monitoring the results that inbound marketing services and internal campaigns get you for a few months will help you forecast results better. Based on your past campaign results you can forecast how your future efforts will contribute to the future pipeline, to keep the C-suite’s interest in inbound alive.
Wrapping it up
Most posts that you come across on the internet while looking up metrics for inbound marketing strategy will talk about conversion rates, bounce rates, repeat visitors, referral traffic, etc. And, while we aren’t saying don’t track these. However, there’s more meaning in details like gauging the percentage of leads from the original traffic source, in a world where the consumer journey comprises multiple touchpoints.
The metrics we have listed in this post really count when management actually sits for a round table discussion on how inbound impacts your bottom line.