In fact, if you set up your program correctly and you’re using the right tools, you should be getting real-time metrics delivered right to your smartphone or tablet every single day.
So, now the question becomes: What are the most important numbers we should be looking at on a regular basis?
We’ve surveyed our team here, and the result is this collection of the top 20 most important and valuable metrics you should be watching in your program.
- Website Visitors – Forget about unique or returning. It doesn’t matter. But, by keeping track of the number of visitors stopping by your website, you get an excellent idea of how well your business is getting found when people are searching for the kind of stuff you do. You should be able to produce a month-over-month improvement of around 10%.
- Conversion Rate – Sitewide conversion rate gives you an overall perspective on how well your inbound marketing is turning visitors into leads. Most sites convert at a rate of between 1% and 3%, but we’ve had sites top out at a sitewide conversion rate of almost 9%.
- Leads – This is the lifeblood of any and all inbound programs. The people who tell you they’re interested in your business are considered leads. They might not be ready to buy today, but they’re real leads. You should be able to increase the leads generated by 10% to 20% per month. Of course, there's a ton of factors that impact lead gen, including the season.
- Sales Opportunities – While all leads are good, sales opportunities are better. These are the people at the bottom of the funnel, the people who want to talk about buying today. Keep track of these because they’re an indicator of how well your inbound is moving prospects through the funnel.
- Social Reach – This is quite simply the number of people who are following you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and all of your other social media sites. The more people you’re connected with, the easier it is to get your content out there, active and driving people to your site.
- Close Rate – If you can’t turn your sales ops into revenue, you can’t close. So, while this is more of an inbound sales metric, it’s an important one to measure and track religiously.
- Landing Page Conversion Rate – If you’re doing inbound correctly, you probably have 50 or 60 landing pages. These should be converting visitors into leads at a clip of 30% or so. Top landing pages have the potential to convert at 60%.
- Average Time On Site – It’s not one of my go-to metrics, but it is an indicator of how well your site and content are engaging your prospects. It’s also one of Google’s key metrics to decide whether your site is worth ranking.
- Visitors By Source – You know how many people are coming to your site, but you need to know how they’re getting there. Make sure you know how many are coming from organic, from social, from referral sites, from email marketing and from direct.
- Leads By Source – The same thinking applies to leads. You need to know where your leads are coming from and then make adjustments accordingly. If you’re getting leads from organic search but not social media, you should make changes to your social content strategy to punch up those numbers.
- Blog Subscribers – You invest a lot of time and money into blogging, and this helps with search. But, even beyond that, the more people you have subscribing to and reading your blog, the more people you have hearing your story. Make sure this number is going up every single day.
- Blog Views – The number of views each blog article generates gives you direct feedback on which types of content your prospects want to read. Start using this data to dictate your blog’s editorial calendar.
- Inbound Links – The more links you get back to your site from highly respected sites, the higher your site is going to rank. You want other people talking about your company, your site and your content. Inbound links measure your effectiveness in getting others to talk about you.
- Social Shares – Another measure of how well your readers liked your content is how many times they shared it. Track shares on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
- Email Open Rates – As we mentioned, most of the people you’re marketing to are NOT ready to buy today, so email marketing and lead-nurturing emails are critical. Make sure that your subject lines are compelling enough to get people to open and read your emails.
- Email Click-Through Rates – More important, the content in your emails needs to be compelling enough to get these people back on your website. If they’re not clicking through from email to web page, you need to crank up the content.
- Net New Email Subscribers – All week long, new people are subscribing to get your regular email content, but you also have people who are opting out or whose email addresses have degraded and become undeliverable. This means you want to manage your "net new" number to be positive week in and week out.
- CTA Conversion Rates – Another factor that’s contributing to people becoming leads is the effectiveness of your CTA buttons. Some may be converting at higher rates than others. You need to be aware of the ones that are underperforming so that those can be redesigned and redeployed.
- Keyword Rankings – You're working hard to get found and drive visitors to your site, but you need to know which keywords you’re ranking for, as well as which ones you want to rank for that are still not delivering. We track this weekly and make sure that our content is aligned perfectly with the keywords we want to rank for.
- Competitive Metrics – It’s always good to know where your top competitors are and what they're doing. Where they rank, how they rank, what they’re writing about and the content they’re publishing is very important. Try to use tools to keep a focused eye on each of your top competitors.
We could have published another 15 or 20 key performance indicators that we use for our client engagements, but these are certainly our top 20. They're a great place for you to start with your metrics and analytics efforts.
Start Today Tip – You don’t have to track all of these, but you do have to track something. Start with visitors, conversion rate and leads. Get the tools and software you need to become intimate with your numbers. Consider the smartphone app that allows you to check these easily from anywhere, anytime. You’ll find that once you begin looking at data, the data starts influencing what you do and how you do it. This is exactly what you want to happen and exactly how inbound marketing improves overall program performance.
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