And 6 Free Platforms to Measure Them With
Everyone wants to get on board the Inbound Marketing train these days.
It is a powerful medium to:
- Reach your audience
- Build relationships and nurture potential customers through the sales funnel
- Humanize your brand as more than a page on a website
- Leverage and build brand advocates out of current customers
- Position yourself as an industry leader
We conducted a seminar recently at Inbound Marketing Agents and found that business owners are hungry for information about the entire inbound process, from beginning to end.
Some of the most commonly asked questions we got were:
- “Once I get my inbound program up and running, what do I measure?”
- “What numbers am I looking for?”
- “Why do I need to analyze anyway?”
There are many reasons to conduct analytics on your Inbound Marketing Strategy.
Measuring your potential ROI isn’t as difficult as you might think.
It depends on having a good plan in place, choosing and using the right points to measure, and then actually assessing your metrics on a regular basis to see what is working for your business.
Kicking off your inbound marketing metrics, in addition to any online marketing presence isn’t a quick process though. So don’t be daunted by all the moving parts.
Establishing your business presence online is a delicate courtship that involves your website, your potential customers and the search engines.
Getting found, building trust and then actually making some sales is going to require planning, patience, and above all…time. It can sometimes take several months before a site will begin to notice the changes they desire – and that is if you are approaching it correctly.
The first step, however, is to define some goals based on your business, your brand, your product and your company culture.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?
Before you jump into the online marketing waters, it’s a good idea to set some goals regarding what you actually want to accomplish with your inbound marketing campaign.
Your goals, as well as your planning will determine what you measure and the success you have along the way.
Sure, your CEO might be thrilled to learn that you’ve had 10,000 visits to your website this month. He will, however, be even more thrilled to learn that three months ago, before you started your inbound marketing campaign, that you only had 3,000 visits a month.
Do you want:
- More brand awareness?
- More product awareness?
- An increase in website traffic?
- An increase in sales?
- To build a database of emails or leads?
- To increase customer engagement?
- To build customer loyalty?
Each of these reasons is a valid and important goal for creating your online presence. Each also has different metrics and analysis that come with it when creating a marketing plan.
Once you figure out your company’s goals for actually being on the web, then you can figure out which statistics are most important to you.
There are gobs of stats that you can track.
Here is a simple list to start with.
12 INBOUND MARKETING METRICS YOU NEED TO TRACK
1. Overall Traffic
First, set a goal for the increase in overall site traffic that you want. If you are currently receiving 500 visits a day, and want 5,000, it will be easier to measure your success if you have an objective in mind.
This is an easy statistic to track on most all platforms and can set the standard for future goals that you set.
Example: Increase overall traffic to site by 2,000 visits per day by the end of first two months of campaign
2. Referral Traffic
What kind of traffic do you get from social networks like Facebook or Twitter? Measuring this number will tell you the effectiveness of things like your blog distribution as well as your social engagement.
When your referral traffic goes up, you know that:
- Your content has value
- People like what you have to say and want to get to know your brand better
- Your audience is sharing your information
When referrals are coming to your website, it gives you a great opportunity to capture their information and turn them into leads for eventual conversion in your nurturing funnel.
Set a goal for this number as well to make measurement a little more quantifiable.
Example: Increase referral traffic by 25% in 1st quarter
3. Email Collection
One of the best ways you can measure your social media and blogging efforts is by the number of email addresses you capture once someone comes to your website. It is also a fabulous way to nurture these visitors into your sales funnel and turn them into qualified leads.
Using your social media platforms and a good content strategy, you can build a database of emails that acts as the best sales tool you have.
As long as you provide your email list recipients with a way to “opt-out” of receiving your emails, and send quality information to them within your inbound marketing campaign, your email list is an invaluable way to measure the success of your online marketing efforts.
Example: Increase email database to 2,500 contacts within six months of campaign launch
4. Ecommerce Sales
If you are actually selling products or services on your website, you can measure how total strangers were brought to your site from social networks and how they were nurtured through your sales funnel, as well as how long it took them to convert to a customer.
This visitor to customer metric may be slower for some types of products, but is a great measurement for determining slower seasons for some industries, in addition to how long it takes your customer to actually make a buying decision.
Example: Increase social network sales by 10% within six months
5. Increase in Brand Mentions
Another measurement tool you have to determine how well your brand is doing online is the number of mentions your brand has across social platforms. After all, the more mentions your brand has the more awareness and reach you can create.
This can be a difficult goal to reach. It is up to your followers to actually mention you in their shares. However, actually asking for a mention is a good way to increase your numbers.
Example: Increase brand mentions by 20% within the first six months of campaign
6. Coupon Redemptions
A very trackable number is the redemption of online coupons. You can directly attribute who redeemed the coupon and which social network they found it on.
These metrics can tell you which social networks are actually working for you and which to steer your valuable time away from in the future.
Example: Redemption of 500 coupons from social networks within first 3 months of campaign
7. Growth in Brand Following
Although some believe that this metric isn’t necessarily tied to direct revenue or sales increases, it does indicate how well your brand appeals to the online public, or how relevant your content is to those who choose to read it.
If your numbers are increasing you can bet that you are doing something right. If the number of your followers is decreasing, it might be time to take a look at your goals, your content and your overall campaign and do some tweaking.
If, for example, your overall goal is to increase brand or product awareness, an increase in brand followers will be important to you.
Remember that choosing the right social media networks is important. You want to target the networks that your ideal buyers hang out on.
Example: Increase brand followers on Instagram by 10,000 in 2nd quarter
8. Returning Visitors
Studies show that 98% of visitors to your website will never return again. A returning visitor is a valuable commodity.
It shows that you are creating:
- Deeper engagement
- Stronger relationships
- Interest in your product or service
Better than just website visits alone, return visitors are not strangers, but more likely to become leads.
Example: Increase return visitors from Facebook by 20% in 3rd quarter
9. Bounce Rate
A little bit more complicated, but no less important to measure is your bounce rate.
Who is leaving your site and what page did they leave from? Did they enter your website directly through your home page?
If you are getting a high bounce rate from your home page, you might consider a re-design to make it more appealing.
If visitors are bouncing quickly from a landing page, then maybe it’s not that well designed or doesn’t have a clear conversion path.
On the other hand, if your pages have low bounce rates, it means that you are doing something right.
You can compare this number with metrics like “average time spent on page” and determine exactly what is making your users want to stay and what is scaring them away.
Example: Decrease bounce rate on Landing Pages by 25% in 3 months
10. Conversion Rates
Are your website visitors actually making any purchases?
You can figure out this number with a simple equation:
Rate at which your visitors are converting = Transactions ÷ Visits
You can examine your conversion rates by channel – organic, email, referral – to determine where you are getting the most out of your time and money.
You might possibly even want to consider increasing your budget in those areas for more revenue in the future.
How many of your visitors are actually converting into leads?
There is also an easy formula for this metric:
Rate at which your visitors are converting = Leads ÷ Visits
You will also want to determine:
- What is a lead to your company?
- When do they become qualified?
- At what point does the marketing team hand them off to your sales force?
The way you set up your lead nurturing funnel will answer these questions for you.
This is an important metric to determine not only for your inbound sales process, but to keep your CEO happy.
Keep in mind, however, that it is going to take some time to establish a realistic number.
As you begin your inbound marketing campaign, you are going to be doing things like:
- Conducting A/B testing
- Determining which social channels work best for you
- Figuring out the best and most relevant content to post
- How to best nurture your leads down the funnel
While you are tweaking all of these different moving parts of your online presence, your revenue numbers might not look as good as you would have hoped. Be patient. Keep in mind that ROI will improve as you wrap your head around the entire inbound process.
To determine revenue use this formula:
Revenue per Channel (organic, paid, direct, email, referral) ÷ Visits per Channel
With those metrics in mind, and taking a little time to get started, you will have a pretty good idea of how your website is doing in just a few months.
But just how do you go about getting started with all of these metrics?
While there is no inbound magic wand to wave around, there are lots of platforms available to you for getting started with your analytics.
By far, we recommend marketing automation which makes measuring each of these stats much easier and does it all in one place. There are lots of free platforms to begin though.
TOP 6 FREE PLATFORMS FOR MARKETING ANALYTICS
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics has become the go-to site for free analytics.
It is simple to use and easy to set up.
To get started, visit the Google Analytics page and set it up in three simple steps.
With Google Analytics you can track things like page views, visitor demographics and even conversion rates.
By setting goals in certain areas, you can compare several layers of data at once.
For example, if your buyer persona includes males and females between the ages of 25 and 35 who live in Atlanta, you can track their specific traffic on your website.
By setting up goals, you can also better manage and calculate your company’s ROI.
Track over 40 different types of stats with Woopra, including usernames and IP addresses as well as visitor paths and geographical information.
Although this service is still in beta-testing, the research shows that this new platform is going to be a great free alternative for website analytics.
Unlike other analytics platforms, with Piwik you own the information created for your company.
Developers will like this platform because they can build custom plug-ins for even more laser-focused metrics built just for your company.
Track websites with up to 3,000 page views a day with Clicky.
One drawback is that their information is only available for 30 days, so gathering it and keeping track of it yourself will be important. For a free service, they are average at best. However their paid service has many very cool features.
Their customer support is also apparently very responsive.
StatCounter has a great track record for high accuracy on their information.
By using a combination of logs, cookies and browser information instead of server information like other platforms, their analysis tends have a higher quality.
If your site is larger, then you might want to consider their paid service, but for smaller sites with low traffic, StatCounter might be for you.
ClickTale’s free version only tracks sites with 400 page views per month. Their solution, however, is very visually oriented with graphs and pictorials of results rather than numbers, which could be a plus for people who don’t enjoy graphs and sheets of numbers.
Another unique ability of this option is the ability to record a visitor’s path throughout your website.
Getting started with your website analytics may seem like a big task. But setting some goals for what you want out of your website, and then measuring a few simple items at first is a straight-forward way to begin.
There are also some free platforms available out there that will do just what you need as a beginner in the analytics department.
As we stated earlier, marketing automation is the way to go once you get your inbound train running at full speed. But for now, let us know in the comments if you have any questions.
You can also download our free e-Book The Science of Enterprise Lead Generation and learn about the Inbound Process and how to nurture leads through the funnel using social networks and great content among other things; as well as measure it all with your new measurement tricks!
Photo Credit: Flickr - Calflier01