You also read my recent article on the 20 key metrics you need to be looking at when you run your own inbound program, but you can’t look at 20 metrics every day.
So how do you pick a handful of Magic Numbers to help you keep tabs on your inbound program and how do you use the data to make decisions in real-time to improve program performance?
Magic Number 1 – Website Visitors
If every single month, more people are finding you and visiting your website, then your inbound marketing program is working well. Regardless of where they find you – organic, social, direct, email, referring sites or other – they’re finding you. The people who are proactively looking for products and services that you provide are finding you. You’re not out there hunting for them, they’re finding you. Welcome to inbound marketing.
What do I do if the numbers are down? Results that are going up and to the right are great, but what if the numbers are going down? That’s when you need to take action. If in the middle of the month, the projections for the month look down, that’s when you take action. Here are a couple of ways to push the numbers up BEFORE the month ends.
Post a few guest blog articles on referring sites. This introduces you to a number of people who may have never heard of you, but who are looking for what you do. Over time, you’ll get a feel for how many of these you need to drive the right amount of visitors.
Look at some high search volume keywords and blog with those keywords in mind. If you can create something interesting, you may find yourself on the first page of Google in just a few days.
Magic Number 2 – Conversion Rate
Now that people are finding you, the key is to turn those anonymous visitors into leads. Site-wide 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 site-wide conversion rate of almost 9%.
If you see a few days of site-wide conversion rates that are below 1%, you need to make adjustments to your CTA buttons, your landing pages, the placements of the CTA buttons, or perhaps you need to look at the types of offers or the quality of offers and make adjustments there, too.
Make a single change and then watch the results for a few days. Continue working through the list of potential offenders until you see that site-wide number going up. Don’t stop there. You want to move the number up as aggressively as possible. The difference between 1% and 2% is double the amount of leads. Welcome to inbound. The metrics matter.
Magic Number 3 – Leads, Yes … All Leads
If I have to read another article that talks about some leads being Inquiries and some leads being Marketing Qualified Leads and some being Sales Qualified Leads or Sales Opportunities, I think I might just lose it. Yes, I admit it, some people are earlier in their buyer journey than others. Some people are ready to talk to you today and some are not even close. Does it really matter what we call them? What does matter is that anyone who downloads any piece of educational content from your site is A LEAD and should be treated as such.
One of the risks associated with categorizing leads is that you diminish the value of a lead at the top of the funnel. This is a major mistake. You have no idea when that person is going to be ready to buy. You have no idea who they know, who they work for, how much money they have to spend or how big of an opportunity they represent. Keep the numbers simple and treat every lead like it might be your last.
If you’re low on leads in a given month, you need to consider publishing more original content. Add a new whitepaper, e-book or infographic to your site. Schedule an educational webinar or create a new, more creative bottom of the funnel offer to attract more leads who are looking to buy today. People are coming to your site more than once, so by adding new content, you're able to turn them from visitors into leads relatively easily.
Magic Number 4 – Blog Subscribers
You invest a lot of time and money into the blog, and while the blog is great for search and rankings, you have to use it to reach potential customers. Driving up the subscriber numbers is very important. You want people reading your articles, sharing your articles and you want your articles to move people through their buyer journey and down into the bottom of your sales funnel.
If you don’t have an up-and-to-the-right trend for blog subscribers, try this little trick. Add a pre-checked opt in box for a blog subscription to ALL of your forms. Those who don’t want to subscribe will uncheck the box, but most will let it roll and voluntarily opt in. This does wonders for your subscriber numbers and if for some reason they don’t like the blog content, they can always unsubscribe on their own.
Magic Number 5 – Blog Views
Feedback on content selection is critical in an inbound marketing program. You have to know what people are reading, sharing and linking to so you can do more of that and less of the stuff people are not connecting with. Checking out the blog article views gives you instant access to what people like and what they don’t like. This helps guide your content strategy in real-time.
If you see that, in general, blog views are down or declining, consider asking people what issues they’re dealing with or look at what other popular bloggers in your industry are talking about and piggy back off of their direction. One great way to ensure that what you’re blogging about is relevant to your audience is to ask your sales guys what questions prospects are asking. Turn those questions into answers by using the blog to answer the questions. Now your sales team can use those articles as content in the sales process. Sweet. Inbound marketing AND inbound sales. Well done!
Start Today Tip – What gets measured gets done, so start tracking these magic numbers today. Regardless of today's numbers, draw a baseline and benchmark. Set some goals for each of these magic numbers and then track them daily. One of the best ways to do that is with your smartphone. Download the app and check the numbers a few times a day. Make sure that you have a mechanism and the resources to respond to the numbers. If the numbers are down, make a move. If the leads are down, make a move. You get the picture. Think about it like this: review the data, gain insight, respond accordingly and take action to drive the results.
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