We all know that solid data is the foundation of solid decision making. If only it were that simple. A tool like Google Analytics or your marketing automation platform will track a plethora of numbers for you. Bounce rates, unique visitors, average time on page, page views, social shares, comments, form submissions, leads generated, and sales generated; just to name a few. But which of these are important? How can you be sure to track what is important without missing a red flag buried deep in some spreadsheet or graph? Here are the top 3 metrics that you will need to make good decisions about how you allocate your marketing resources.
1. Leads Generated
The definition of a lead is different for every company. If your fleet is using your website to generate applications from drivers you are trying to recruit you probably count form submissions or phone calls as leads. If you are a construction dealer trying to get traffic into your dealership you might only care about potential customers who actually visit your locations.
Once you have defined exactly what a lead is you need to figure out how much that lead is worth to you. This is a simple calculation, and once you have that number you can know exactly how many more leads you need to generate in order to hit your company’s financial goals.
2. Close Rate
The next logical question to ask: if I generate a given number of leads how many of those will turn into sales? Generating a ton of leads is great, but if those leads aren’t qualified you just wasted a lot of time and money. Content marketing, with all it’s strengths, has to be targeted. A white paper about how to monetize a mobile app is perfect if you want to reach mobile developers. But if your target audience is companies looking to advertise on mobile devices, you might not end up with contacts that are going to be interested in spending money with your company.
Don’t just track overall close rates. Make sure you know what your close rate is per lead generated from each channel that drives traffic to your landing pages and forms.
Side Note: Don’t be too quick to blame your sales department for a sub-par close rate. We all know salespeople are the critical last step in the lead generation process, but a truly great lead will already trust your company and will be looking to purchase the product you sell. Salespeople will close good leads; it is why they come to work every day.
Return on investment is the mother of all metrics. Everything your marketing department does comes down to ROI. If I spend $X on marketing, I will get $X back in revenue. To really get a solid ROI number you need quite a few flawlessly tracked metrics like the lifetime value of a customer, the value of the time of each member of your marketing team, and a detailed accounting of every cent spent on sponsorships and advertising.
Don’t assume that the expensive PPC ad you just invested $30,000 in generated more than that in sales. You might have generated a ton of leads that led to sales for your lowest profit margin product. You also might have just driven a ton of traffic to your website that only resulted in an impressive looking number of visitors. ROI is your guiding light and your best friend. Don’t leave home without it.
Tracking all of these numbers and processing them into useful reports might seem like a daunting task. But if you don’t actually know how successful your marketing department is, how secure is the future of your company? How do you know you are properly spending your budget? How secure is your job? Make every decision guided by properly tracked metrics and watch your value to your company skyrocket.