Are You Nailing Inbound Marketing Results Or Habitually Missing Them?
Say what you will about inbound marketing, but you can’t say that it’s not quantifiable. Inbound marketing has transformed the way you should be thinking about how you market your company. Those old-school sayings that claim marketing is about getting your name out there are gone for good.
Every element of our client programs is 100% quantifiable. So with that comes a newfound responsibility to use these new tools and these new analytics to predict future performance of your marketing. The scientific aspect of inbound is allowing marketers to accurately tell sales “we’re expecting 100 top-of-the-funnel leads, 30 middle-of-the-funnel leads and 10-bottom-of-the-funnel leads next month.”
If that’s not happening at your company, you need to consider making some adjustments.
Here’s evaluation criteria to more accurately know whether you’re capable of predicting marketing performance this month, next month and for the next six months.
You Have Access To Marketing Analytics And Metrics
Getting data is the first step. Do you have access to the numbers you need? Typically, most companies have access to Google Analytics. It’s free and your website should have this associated with it from the time it launches. Of course, other tools provide more data along with better insights, better tracking and better reporting, but we don’t really care what you use as long as you use something.
I mention access as the first indicator of being able to hit projections because time and time again we speak with companies that have analytics tools but don’t know how to access them, or lost the user credentials, or haven’t used them enough to be adept at getting the data. Make sure you have the right tools, the appropriate access and that you or your team is experienced enough to get the data you need to do the projections required to turn your marketing into a scientific exercise.
When You Review The Numbers You See Opportunities For Improvement
Now that you have access and you see the quantitative performance of your marketing you have to be able to respond to the data. You need to know where to look, what to look at and then you have to make decisions on action steps as a result of the data.
We practice a very specific methodology that includes four steps: analyze, review, respond and act. This allow us to look at the data, digest the data and work with our team to make sure we understand what the data is telling us, create a plan of attack and then execute that plan. By working like this, we ensure that we’re always making data-driven decisions and prioritizing the marketing effort based on what’s going to produce the best results. Now marketing is results-driven and not driven by bogus industry-created metrics like awareness or impressions.
You’ve Worked With Sales To Figure Out How Many Leads It Needs To Hit The Company Revenue Goals
When it comes to projecting marketing performance, context is key. You have to know what you need to create a program that’s going to deliver it. What are your annual revenue goals? How many new customers is that? Based on what average revenue per new customer? Break those down into quarterly and then monthly goals. Be realistic in your close rates. We see companies consistently overestimating their close rates.
Once you know these numbers, you can match up the number of leads required with the projected revenue and ensure you have a marketing program that matches up correctly. Again, we consistently see businesses with lofty revenue goals, like going from $8 million to $16 million in 12 months. When we ask about marketing budgets, the answers are $2,000 a month. That's not going to work.
Aggressive growth goals require aggressive marketing budgets. Make sure you’re planning on investing enough money in marketing to hit your revenue goals.
You Have The Capabilities To Monitor Numbers Daily, Weekly And Monthly
Finally, treating marketing like a science is an acquired skill. Marketing people have historically been unaccountable for metrics. Now that they have to get the numbers, review the numbers, respond to the numbers and take action to drive the numbers up, you might need to upgrade your current team or add some skill sets to your current team so that you can use metrics as we’re describing here today.
Making marketing a science and mathematically tracking the performance of your marketing is definitely something you should be doing for your company. But there’s a chapter two in this story. You have to respond to the metrics. After you see them, you need to come up with a set of action steps to improve performance. Inbound marketing is the only type of marketing to include levers that can be moved today and then give you the opportunity to see the impact of those actions in your results tomorrow.
Here's a practical example. We recently picked up a new client that was getting 2,500 visitors to its website every single month. Its site-wide conversion rate was 1%, which is not great, but also not horrible. I’ve seen much worse. This was producing 25 leads a month and about two of those were sales-ready lead opportunities. By looking at this client's marketing data, we were able to make some subtle changes to its website, search and content strategy. In just 30 days, the client's 1% conversion rate jumped to 1.5%, which improved its leads from 25 to 38 and led to doubling its sales opportunities from two to four.
Now that might not sound like a lot, but if this client closes 50% of those, it has doubled its new business revenue in 30 days. That’s the power of inbound marketing.
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