No marketing can be reliably successful without a strategy framework behind it. To succeed in marketing and grow your business, you need to specify your target audience, set goals and timelines, determine the channels you should use to best reach your audience, and follow inbound marketing best practices.
An especially crucial part of your inbound marketing strategy are the metrics you track to gauge success. Without measurable objectives - set before you begin your efforts - you'll find estimating the ROI of your efforts difficult to impossible.
But exactly which metrics matter most when setting up your strategy? Here are the 6 on which you be focused.
First, any marketing campaign - inbound or outbound - will have little success if it doesn't reach anyone within your intended audience. Exposure doesn't only help your brand awareness efforts, but it's also the first step in getting your audience to engage with your brand and eventually become customers. Reach on its own may not be an effective metric - after all, the number of people you reach matters little if none of them follow through. But it does act as a valuable baseline metric for your campaign.
2. Click-Through Rates and Website Visits
The first indication you get on whether someone who saw your content was actually interested in it is whether they clicked on the link. Inbound marketing channels like Facebook, Google, and email allow you to track click-through rates, which give you a good indication of the interest level garnered by your individual effort. Total web visits are less specific, but they do give you a good overview over the success of your campaign in terms of raising interest.
3. Bounce Rates
One key component of any successful marketing effort is consistency: if you promise the sky but deliver less, initially interested audience members become disenchanted and leave. That's what makes your website's bounce rate a valuable metric to track: if a certain channel or effort results in a higher bounce rate than its counterpart, chances are users are expecting something different than the page they land on upon clicking through. The ad likely needs adjusted to be more consistent (and honest).
4. Lead Conversion Rate
Lead generation is a core pillar of any inbound marketing effort, which is why your lead conversion rate - the percentage of your web visitors that turn into leads - should be a core metric for you to track success. The majority of your visitors will leave your site without turning into leads, but you should be able to convince at least a few of them about the value of your offer or content. If your conversion rate falls below the average for your industry, adjustments may be needed.
5. Content Engagement
If your audience loves your content, they'll begin to interact with it by leaving comments or sharing it on social media. This type of interaction is especially valuable for two reasons: one, it increases your content's exposure beyond your initial audience for no extra cost. In addition, a piece of content that has been shared numerous times will add social proof to your website, increasing your credibility as a result.
6. Lead-to-Customer Yield Rate
Of course, inbound marketing doesn't end when a visitor turns into a lead. Lead nurturing - via email and additional content - is just as important to ensure a healthy customer increase.
In addition to the above, a great way to measure your nurturing efforts is to keep track of your yield rate, or the percentage of leads that turn into customers. Yield rates can help you determine whether you under (or over) nurture your prospects, and whether you are finding the moment your leads become sales-qualified.
Keeping track of these six metrics will help you gain an accurate understanding of the success of your inbound marketing efforts. Specifying objectives based on them in your strategy will enable you to keep track of them throughout your campaign, and making adjustments as necessary.
This post originally appeared on The Fried Side blog