Every business is challenged with finding more leads and growing sales. In fact, more and more B2B companies are realizing the value in leveraging Inbound Marketing to create a sustainable marketing model for growth. When Inbound Marketing is done correctly, it provides some outstanding marketing ROI metrics and analytics that you can use to see how your digital campaigns are performing. Furthermore, you could be getting real-time performance information delivered right to your smart phone or tablet.
If you're not making data-driven decisions, it's likely you're wasting marketing dollars based on assumptions and guesswork. At this point, one question arises: What marketing ROI metric numbers should you actually look at? We've compiled a list of 18 valuable metrics that you should be keeping an eye on.
- Visitors to your Website: Don't worry about irrelevant details like whether you're getting unique or return visitors. The raw numbers are what matter most for seeing how well you're getting found, and you should average a 10% improvement each month.
- Conversion Rate: The overall conversion rate lists how many visitors convert into leads. A realistic rate of conversion is up to 3% - some particularly excellent campaigns and websites may go as high as 6%, but those are as much luck as anything else.
- Leads: These are what you actually want to have - they're interested in your products and services, even if they're not going to purchase something right now. Your goal is to increase your number of leads 10% to 20% each month. Note that many things can affect this, including the season you're currently in, so don't worry too much as long as the monthly results are up from the year before.
- Sales Opportunities: These are better than leads - sales opportunities want to buy now, and inbound metrics can tell you how many of these there are. These are a key indicator of how well your leads and prospects are moving through your sales funnel.
- Social Reach: This part of inbound metrics focuses on the number of followers you have across social media. The unique number is what's most important, but you should also look at who is following you in multiple places, especially if they haven't bought yet.
- Close Rate: You're not making money if your leads aren't closing and becoming customers. Keep a particularly watchful eye on both the absolute rate and the percentage rate - this is one of the most important inbound metrics.
- Landing Page Conversion Rate: The best inbound marketing campaigns will have quite literally dozens of individual landing pages, all of which should convert visitors at a rate of 20% (normal pages) to 60% (outstanding pages). Inbound metrics can help you see how well each page is doing and tell you whether or not a given page is worth keeping.
- Average Time On Site: This is an interesting one. It's not something most companies consider a key metric, but how long visitors spend does count rather significantly in Google's ranking algorithm, so you'll want to keep an eye on how it's going.
- Visitors By Source: Isn't it great when inbound metrics tell you where to focus your advertising? This metric tells you whether people are coming in from organic results, social media, referrals, emails, and so on - and if one of them performs far better than the others, you know what to do more of.
- Leads By Source: This goes hand-in-hand with tracking your visitors, but is significantly more important. You may find that most visitors are from organic results, but most leads (read: customers) are from social media. You definitely want to do more with wherever you're getting leads from.
- Blog Subscribers: When you've invested a lot of time and effort into blogging (and if you're smart about inbound marketing, you have), you want regular readers. Seeing how many subscribers you have will go a long way towards enlightening you about your blog's overall performance.
- Blog Views: You'll want to keep an eye on how well each of your blogs performs over time, and use that to decide what content you'll be producing next.
- Inbound Links: Having links from high-authority sites is great for improving your overall rank. Be sure to focus on link earning instead of link building, though - natural, organic links to your site are helpful, while artificial links meant to manipulate the system tend to be penalized.
- Social Shares: This part of inbound metrics focuses on how much your content is being shared. Remember, don't do more of something just because it's getting shared - keep an eye on that Leads by Source to see what content is actually helping convert people into buyers.
- Email Open Rates: Are people actually reading your email? The great majority of leads are not ready to buy right now, so email marketing can help you stay in contact. Adding personalization to the message (especially the receiver's name) tends to increase this metric.
- Email Click-Through Rates: This is more important than the open rate, but you should look at the two of them together to see first how many emails are being opened, and then what percentage of readers are clicking through. If readers aren't going from your email to your website, you have a problem.
- Net New Email Subscribers: One thing most advertisers don't want to talk to you about is how people will unsubscribe from your list. The goal is to have a net number of subscribers that goes up each week, as well as to increase the average length of time people stay on your list.
- Call To Action Conversion Rates: Which of your calls to action are most effective at converting visitors into customers? Measure this by both volume (total conversions) and location (blog, email, landing page, etc.). Those that aren't performing very well should be modified or completely replaced.
It wouldn't be very difficult to publish another dozen marketing ROI metrics to watch, but these are the ones we've found to be most valuable for most businesses. When in doubt, start here and then branch out to whatever metrics are most relevant to your own business.