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Inbound Marketing Blog

    The Power of Numbers in Marketing

    Posted by Pat Owings

    Using Metrics to Help You Achieve Success

    Since the beginning of time, mankind has worked to be able to predict the outcomes of situations by applying math and science to our lives. While this is has taken many shapes over the years, it has never been more elusive than in marketing.

    There were all kinds of numbers that marketers of the past tried to use to explain the number of people who saw a billboard when they drove down the highway. Or how many times an advertisement was viewed in a newspaper based on subscription numbers and on what page of the newspaper the ad was located. These numbers were untrustworthy, in some cases.

    But in the last 10-15 years, it has started to look like math and marketing may be able to actually get along.

    The Internet’s Impact on Marketing

    As the Internet has made itself a mainstay in everyone’s home and workplace, it makes it very convenient to track metrics as people peruse your website. So it is no surprise that marketers have tried to exploit that data in every way they know how. The tough part is that as marketers exploit various metrics, they become useless.

    This is seen on a daily basis in the Search Engine Optimization world. As technologists and marketers have repeatedly tried to beat the Google algorithm, Google has gotten more and more refined, making it more difficult for marketers to easily rise to the top. On the flip side, Google has also dramatically improved the user experience by rewarding websites for doing the right thing.

    A prime example of this a little closer to home is the blog. Initially, having a blog helped keep your content fresh. Visits to any blog tended to by fairly high, as there weren’t that many around.

    However, as marketers helped everyone get on the bandwagon and blogging became more popular, it became tougher and tougher to compete. So, as you might expect, search engines like Google started to increase the recommended length of a blog. This was again an attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    As a result, a number of blogs were created strictly to capture web traffic, not to improve the customer experience or add any value to the customer. It is clear that you need to be an expert in what your blog is or people will see through it.

    What Metrics Really Matter?

    This begs the question: What metrics really matter?

    This is a super important question that many people overlook. But you and your customers must understand exactly what you are trying to accomplish with your blog. In some cases, it may be attracting visitors to your website. In other cases, it may be gaining highly qualified leads, and in others it may be reducing bounce rate or increasing time viewers spend on your site.

    Each of these has its own unique value and it is impossible to solely focus on just one of them. You must remember that improving your site is a journey.

    Making the Metrics Work 

    While metrics can tell you many things about your website, you need to focus on what you want to improve. The primary goal of content marketing is generally the same—generating revenue for your company by bringing on additional customers.

    Now there is another discussion about keeping customers, but we will save that for another time.

    So if we all want additional customers, the question is how do we get there?

    There is no right way or wrong way to attract customers. Regardless of the path you take, you will likely run into many variables along the way. Just like driving from one location to another there are countless ways to go. Some appear to be the quickest, some appear to be the most pleasant and no matter how hard we plan our trip, things can and will go wrong.

    Not every decision that you make on the journey will be correct. Why? Because it all depends on your customer base and what they want. It is not about what you or your staff want. It is what you customer wants and needs and well you solution can solve that problem.

    This is the age-sold problem that goes back to the beginning of time. We need to listen and learn from our customers. If we can remove our ego from the equation our customers will lead us down the right path. That does not mean that it will be easy nor should you always try to take the shortest route.

    You need to evaluate which metrics apply to you and your customers and continually refine them to give you the advantage over the competition. Think of it as being graded on a curve. You will never get a 100% but you don’t need to – you just need to outperform your competition.

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing