When HubSpot asked marketers about their top priorities, over the years, one of the perennial top contenders has been the need to prove the ROI of marketing activities. (See more insights in the State of Inbound report.)
In order to prove ROI you need to be diligent about tracking and reviewing your metrics and results. It isn’t enough, however, to show a growth in web traffic or increased social media following. Those are useful, but fall short of truly being able to report results that get the results you are looking for.
This five-step checklist outlines the things every marketer must do for meaningful marketing measurement.
1. Marketing measurement and reporting actually starts with setting goals.
As I’ve mentioned before, jumping in the car and hitting the road with no map or plan may make for a fun made-for-the-movies road trip, but it is no way to reach a specific destination on time and under budget. You need to know where you are going in order to plan how to get there — and to know when you’ve arrived. If you aren’t sure how to go about setting the right kinds of goals for your marketing, check out this blog post and video: Why And How To Set Goals For Your Content Marketing Campaigns.
2. Track and review content-specific metrics.
These are the metrics you are likely intimately familiar with—the nitty-gritty details of blog readership, website traffic, social media engagement. These are the metrics that tell you which blog posts are getting the most readers, which landing pages are found most often through search, and how long visitors stay on your website. They are important in guiding your content decisions, but don’t stop with these. (Ready to dig deeper? Here are some posts that give you more details on some of the metrics available to you if you use HubSpot’s content management system: HubSpot Blog Metrics—A Tour Of HubSpot’s Measuring Tools and Dig Into Your HubSpot Data For A Marketing Success Audit.)
3. Track and review performance-based metrics.
These metrics tell you a little more about not just how visitors and readers react to your content, but also whether the content and the way it is presented are inspiring your prospects to take the actions you want them to take. Are they clicking through from emails to visit your site? Are they converting once they arrive at a landing page? How many leads convert into customers? These are the actions the drive the next set of metrics.
4. Track and review revenue-based metrics.
Lots of website traffic is great, but if those visitors never convert into leads, your marketing isn’t doing its job. A high visitor-to-lead conversion rate, mentioned in Step 3, is also a good sign, but if the lead-to-customer rate isn’t good, it doesn’t matter how many leads you attract. The marketing metrics that really matter to your boss—and the corporate bottom line—are the revenue-based metrics, like customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value.
5. Use those metrics to calculate the ROI of your marketing efforts
When you can confidently state the return the company gains from your marketing efforts, you can use those figures to fight for increased budget requests and for buy-in from the executive suite for new marketing campaigns.
Measurement and analysis, along with goal setting at the beginning, are all part of what we consider “doing the data work.” They are essential steps in the marketing process, not something to be left for later and done “if there is time.” This is one of the lessons I’ve learned in marketing, which is why I shared it in my 15 Marketing Lessons series. You’ll find all of the details here: First, You Have To Do The Data Work.
Measurement and reporting are also the final category in the 30-point scoring system we developed for rating an inbound marketing program. We’ve outlined the other key checkpoints in a series of infographics published earlier this year.
Click through below to learn more what your marketing program needs:
Our Inbound Marketing Learning Library also includes a host of resources you can download to learn more about all of these, including our Rate Your Inbound Marketing Scorecard. Want to chat? I’d be glad to visit with you about how including the right measurement and reporting in your inbound marketing program can make it more effective. Schedule a time on my calendar for a no-obligation consultation here.