CMOs report they spend 8% of their marketing budgets on marketing analytics, according to a CMO Survey. In other words, $8,000 of a $100k budget is spent on tools used to gather data and time spent analyzing the numbers.
This investment in analytics is meant to identify what is working, and what isn’t, so marketers can adjust and adapt to always get the most from their efforts. The good news is that we now have tools to pinpoint ROI from specific marketing investments, which is much different from the days when getting a mention in a publication with “high circulation” was all you could hope for. However, to make this $8k investment worthwhile, you have to take action on the reports that are coming in.
It’s not enough to look at the ebb and flow of numbers on a regular basis. Stats are meant to guide your marketing strategy as results come in. They will tell you:
If Your SEO Plan is Working
An increase in visitors is often seen as a shiny star, but it’s not entirely newsworthy. The real news lies below the surface in details like:
- New keyword rankings
- Top pages visited
Your inbound marketing strategy should have a keyword and SEO strategy closely aligned. If this part of the strategy is working, you will start to see your rankings improve for those targeted keywords and more traffic going to the pages optimized for those phrases.
If this part of the strategy isn’t working, you may still be seeing traffic increases due to consistent blogging or social distribution, but keyword rankings and visits to your optimized pages might be stagnant. So, just looking at an increase in visitors doesn’t tell the whole story. You don’t only want more traffic, but the right traffic to make sure the keyword and SEO part of your inbound marketing strategy is working.
If Visitors Are Engaged in Your Content
Creating content is not hard. Creating content that performs and gets results, that’s a different story. Here are some of the stats to monitor to see if your content is actually engaging and converting leads.
- Time on page – Are visitors staying on the target pages you’ve identified in your inbound marketing strategy? If time on page is improving, your content is speaking to your visitors.
- Pages/Session – Is your content moving people through the site? If your content is properly optimized with links and calls to action it will deliver a great user experience that keeps people engaged.
- Bounce Rate – How is your SEO strategy performing? Are people finding you in organic search for specific phrases, but quickly leaving? If so, it’s time to re-evaluate.
If Your Leads are Legit
An increase in leads is often touted as the gold standard of measurement for an inbound marketing strategy. However, not all leads have equal value. A lead that comes in from an eBook may or may not be a “real lead,” as our clients like to say.
Many clients define a “real lead” as someone who is ready to take action immediately, not be dropped into a lead nurturing program. Although Forrester Research has data saying companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost, you still have to look at each lead from the consideration of its value to the company.
An increase in leads alone may tell you that you’re offering interesting content that people want to learn more about, but it’s important to look deeper and see if those are the people who may eventually turn into a client or sale. If your content is increasing leads, but not ones who might improve your bottom line, consider un-gating it like we’ve done with this inbound marketing guide.
If Inbound Marketing is Worth the Investment
One of my favorite aspects of inbound marketing using the Hubspot tool is the clear path it provides to ROI. You can 100% track who is visiting your site, what actions they take, how lead nurturing is working and whether or not they turn into a client. If you connect to a CRM like Salesforce or Pipedrive, you can also track exact sales. Even if you aren’t connected to a CRM at that level, it’s quite easy to manually track sales that result from inbound efforts. Here’s a snapshot of what this can look like:
If stats are showing that sales are increasing at the rate required to meet your goals, it’s safe to say your inbound marketing strategy is working. If stats show that leads are increasing, but sales are not, then we know to look for gaps in the sales enablement process and find opportunities to improve relationships with sales.
Stats are much more than a nicety to appease higher ups or give your intern something to work on to boost design skills. When you dig in deep to your analytics you’ll find what inbound efforts are working and what needs to be changed to make the most from your investment.