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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistFri, Aug 5, 2016 8 min read

How To Stay Cool When Your Inbound Marketing Metrics Are Trending Down

Inbound Marketing Is The Only Approach That Helps You Impact Results Today

ThinkstockPhotos-453517079.jpgIf you’re expecting inbound marketing to produce positive results every month, from every tactic, think again. No matter how good you are, or your inbound marketing agency is, you’re going to see downward trends in your analytics at some point. Don’t panic. It happens to everyone and the causes are not always related to what you did or didn’t do.

Sometimes it has to do with what other people, for instance, competitors, are doing. But this article isn’t about that; it’s about what you need to do to recover from downward trends in program performance. The good news is that there are response techniques that can and should be applied to reverse the downward trends and get you moving back up and to the right.

Here are key moves you can make when your inbound marketing analytics look like they are trending down.

Check Same Time Last Year Data First

Sometimes downward trends are simply reactions to environmental conditions. So before you freak out, look at the program performance for the same time period in the previous year. Seasonality is a great example of this kind of factor. You might be up year-over-year and you might have had a similar downward trend last year. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t worry about it as much.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt to reverse the trend, but if last July you had 1,000 visitors to your site and this July you had 3,000 but 500 less than you had in June. I’m not sure that’s a serious situation, especially if the performance dipped last July as compared to last June too.

Downward Trend In Website Visitors

Most of the time a downward trend in website visitors has more to do with what your competitors are doing than what you’re not doing. Sometimes changes in the search engine ranking algorithm can impact website visitors. For instance, if your site is not mobile responsive and people are searching for you on their phones, your site might not appear in the rankings and so—less organic visitors to your site.

Your first move has to be an understanding of what’s happening. Check out keyword, keyword phrase and question rankings. Have those dropped dramatically? Did you do anything to your site to trigger the drop in visitors? For instance, we changed one of our URLs and lost a lot of rankings for one very important keyword. Once we changed it back, we saw the rankings start to pick up again.

After you diagnose the problem, start running a series of tests to see if you can reverse the trend. Generally, blogging does drive a lot of organic search visitors, if you do it correctly. You might want to pick up the pace from one a week to three or four a week. Or start featuring different keywords in your blog. You might have to change your website pages or add a new page to focus on the keywords you’re losing traction with. All of these ideas should reverse the trend if you execute properly.  

Downward Trend In Leads

Lower levels of leads almost always points to a lack of fresh content on your site. Visitors are coming to your site two, three, even four times before doing anything. So if you never publish new and interesting content on your site, then it makes sense that they’ll stop coming back. And once they express a lack of interest (by not converting, you’ll lose the chance to ever turn that visitor into a lead.

Make sure you have something for everyone. People who like to read, people who like to watch, people who like graphics, people who like interactivity. Make sure you have offers for people at all stages of the buyer journey and make sure you have offers for ALL your personas.

The more gated content you have on your site, the more leads you’ll generate. It’s usually that simple.

Downward Trend In Conversion Rates

While conversion rates are a KPI (key performance indicator) you want to track monthly, and it does have a direct connection to leads, there are different adjustments to be made to reverse the decline in site wide conversion rates.

This typically means looking at your landing pages or CTA buttons and making upgrades to both. Start with the most visited landing page. Run a series of upgrades, one at a time until you see the conversion rate increasing. Start with the headlines, make sure the headline and the sub-headline are effective. Then move onto the image...you have an image, right? If you don’t, add one. Look at the page copy, does it have the right keywords and is it short. Use bullets, people don’t want to read so bullets quickly communicate high level points. You should get the idea. Over time, this will improve leads.

Content Not Performing

You might have an issue with the content on the site. But this doesn’t mean it has to be completely scrapped. Sometimes the titles are bad, sometimes the CTAs are badly designed or poorly written, sometimes they’re just on the wrong page. Again, run a series of tests, changing only one variable at a time until you can get the clicks on those CTAs up. You might have bad content, but until you run these tests you won’t really know.

Remember, sometimes what doesn’t work teaches you more than what does work. Knowing what not to do is very valuable. So don’t look at downward trends as catastrophic. Like I said in the very beginning, it happens to every single inbound marketing program at some point. Knowing how to rally and recover is key.

Having a regular methodology for analyzing performance is also key to more proactively finding downward trends and springing into action before trends become too dramatic. Consider a constant cycle of Analyze, Review, Respond and Act. Constantly analyze program performance. Review that performance with key team members. Create a response plan with key team members and then put that plan into action.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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