Sometimes what we do in marketing is based on intuition or common knowledge. Most of the time it is based on data. Having logical and accurate data helps us make the right decisions on where to focus our resources and our efforts. For inbound marketing online, collecting data helps us gauge how effective an initiative was. What metrics do you focus on, though? Is it visitors to your website? Downloads of content? Leads? Sales, followers, likes and interactions?
Define What your Inbound Marketing Results Should Be
As a business professional, I often have a lot of things running through my mind every day that I have to complete. Sometimes there are so many things that it’s easy to work myself into a frantic state that I have a lot to do. It helps to lay out clear goals for the day so that I know exactly what needs to be completed right away and what can wait.
For your inbound marketing activities, it’s hard to measure what you’ve accomplished without first defining a goal. You have to define what you want your results to be, or you will have a really hard time measuring your progress, or even knowing if you’ve accomplished anything.
For companies marketing their businesses online, there are a lot of common goals such as generating leads, making more sales and delivering good customer service. You don’t have to use a common goal or anyone else’s objectives, but you should have something you are aiming for. It may be brand awareness, engaging your target market, maintaining an active presence online or to grow a network.
Measuring Inbound Marketing Results
Once you have an objective or goal, then you can start thinking about how you can measure it. If you have an uncommon goal or something where part of your conversion takes place offline, you may have to get creative. For the sake of this blog post, we will focus on measuring a common goal related to inbound marketing: generating leads.
Measuring Lead Generation
For almost any company, the basic formula for measuring the success of a lead generation campaign is figuring out he cost per lead and eventually the ROI (return on investment) for the campaign as a whole. Running campaigns online makes the much easier to do than in the physical world.
Cost per Lead
In order to track this, you have to note your costs in building, launching and running the campaign. For example, AllState Insurance recently ran a campaign where they provided 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi on Delta planes in exchange for users’ name and address information.
In order to successfully come up with a cost-per-lead for that campaign, marketers would have had to keep track of what it cost to develop that idea, implement it and run it for a specific time period. The cost per lead is then simply the cost of the campaign divided by the number of viable leads they were able to generate. Notice it’s not all leads, just the good ones.
On the other side of that campaign, marketers would have to reconcile the leads they did generate and follow up with sales in order to come up with ROI. The basic ROI formula is ROI = (Gains – Cost)/Cost. Naturally, AllState would have gotten a lot of people (perhaps some not even of legal age to purchase insurance) taking advantage of the offer. By wading through their collected data and pulling out only those leads viable enough to produce sales, they can calculate their cost per lead.
In the end, follow up with sales (if marketers aren’t following up on their own) is an important part of the process. Only by getting the final amount of customers who actually signed up for a product that AllState offered can marketers measure the success of the campaign.
To illustrate, if it cost $22,000 to design, launch and run the campaign, and it produced 2,300 viable leads, the cost per lead is simply $22,000/2,300 = $9.57 per lead (roughly). Sales follows up on those leads and is able to convert 50 prospects. Let’s say the average policy they sold nets the company 600 dollars annually per customer for a grand total of $30,000 or a return on investment of roughly 36%.
Measuring the Offer
AllState may also want to measure the effectiveness of their process of getting people to sign up for their offer of free Wi-Fi. For this task, there are a multitude of tracking platforms available such as Google Analytics, Get Clicky and others. Google’s product is by far the most flexible and comprehensive for the money (free).
Testing is incredibly important before a campaign is launched. Marketers should design multiple versions of campaign landing pages and use methods such as A/b/n or multivariate tests to determine which version converts better. Tracking platforms like Google’s have these features built in. You can alternate traffic to be sent to different ads and collect data on which one was most effective.
There could be a lot of potential goals for your inbound marketing campaign but in general (if you are looking to make money), you should be focusing on metrics that will help you measure results that can potentially generate revenue.
How do you measure your inbound marketing results? Let us know by leaving a comment below.