Inbound marketing is just a fancy name for blogs, webinars, SEO, emails, and any other content-related marketing efforts. The goal of inbound marketing is to draw customers in; to get them to make contact with your business after seeing a piece of content.
Unfortunately, many businesses use the wrong metrics to measure inbound marketing. It’s hard to know what’s working if you’re measuring the wrong thing.
The mistake is in using metrics that have nothing to do with sales. If you’re not measuring leads, you’re not tying inbound marketing to sales.
Here are a few of the ‘mistake metrics’ we’re talking about.
- Website traffic
- Content downloads
- Email open-rate
These metrics are indicators that your inbound marketing might be working, but they don’t tell the whole story. They’re marketing metrics, not sales metrics. Any marketer knows how hard it is to sit down with clients or CEOs and explain how marketing metrics affect the bottom line.
There’s a different metric that clients and CEOs like better; leads. Every business person understands that leads are fuel for sales.
Read on to learn five ways you can make sure you’re measuring inbound marketing by the metrics that matter.
Don’t let any leads slip through the cracks.
When using data to measure the success of your inbound marketing, it’s vital that you track every new lead back to its marketing source.
Whether people call your business, fill out a web-form, or start a live chat, you have to capture that lead and trace it back to the marketing campaign.
If you fail to tie every lead to its marketing source, you’re going to be dealing with skewed data.
This can happen if you don’t have call tracking capabilities. On the other hand, when you know where every single lead came from, you can analyze the data with full confidence that it’s telling the full story.
Disqualify junk leads
So, you’re confident that you’re capturing every lead. Great! Unfortunately, some leads aren’t real. You can’t let junk leads get caught in the marketing net.
What’s a junk lead? It could be a spammer who fills out your web-forms. It could be an existing customer who clicked on your blog then started a webchat to ask for product support. It could even be a solicitor who clicked your PPC ad then called to make their sales pitch.
None of these ‘conversions’ are actual leads, and you shouldn’t count them when determining the success of your various marketing campaigns. Junk leads must be disqualified before they skew your data.
When you receive a conversion of any kind, be it call, form or chat, you need to double-check if it’s real.
- Was it a current customer calling for some support? Disqualify the lead.
- Was it a spam call? Disqualify the lead.
- Was it a solicitor trying to sell you on their B2B software? Disqualify the lead.
At the end of this process, you’ll have clean data.
That means you know every lead in your leads dashboard is real, qualified, and valuable. If you can track each of those leads back to the inbound marketing source that brought it in, you can tell which inbound marketing channels are actually working.
Add sales value to leads
You know what each of your products or services is worth. If you know which services or products each new lead is interested in, you can assign estimated sales value to each lead. Once leads turn into sales, you can assign real sales value to leads that have turned into customers.
The real power comes from being able to trace these sales values back to the marketing source responsible. If you can do that, you’ll know the exact return-on-investment you’re getting from each of your inbound marketing sources.
Adding real sales value to leads helps bridge the gap between marketing and sales. It brings the two departments together using actual monetary value, revealing how marketing drives sales and delivers ROI.
Analyze results against ad spend
People often think of inbound marketing as a free form of business marketing. You can do SEO, write blogs and host webinars at any time without having to pay a fee to Google or Facebook.
It feels less expensive than paid advertising.
However, inbound marketing content does have a cost. Writing blogs, updating web pages with keywords and creating social media posts takes time and resources from your marketing team.
Just as you do with all your paid marketing initiatives, you must measure inbound marketing by its ROI; how many qualified leads are you getting in return for the time it takes to create your inbound marketing content?
To find the answer, you must track every lead that comes from inbound marketing channels and sort those leads alongside leads from paid advertising channels. From there, you can filter and search through all your leads to determine which marketing delivers the best bang for your buck.
Use landing page reports
Landing page reports are perfect for measuring inbound marketing, especially SEO efforts and blogs. A landing page report tells you which page your leads land on before they call, fill out a form, send you a chat message or complete an eCommerce transaction.
Landing page reports show which pages drive leads from organic search, which blogs are convincing people to convert, and which simply aren’t delivering any leads. Landing page reports reveal how your website and content drives leads.
If you can do these five things, you can accurately measure the impact of your inbound marketing and adjust strategy accordingly. More data means better decisions, and better decisions lead to successful marketing departments.
Author Bio: Mac Mischke is a Content Marketer @ WhatConverts.