If you’re exploring inbound marketing as a strategy to grow your small business, then you’re moving in the right direction. However, without understanding which inbound marketing metrics you should monitor, you are missing a critical step. In order to build confidence in your inbound marketing system and make future decisions easier and more effective you need to identify and monitor some key metrics.
Inbound Marketing Metrics for Small Businesses
The inbound marketing overview
Inbound marketing is a powerful way to draw in prospects that have already raised their hand to tell you in one way or another that they’re interested in your product or service. Creating content and distributing it through the right channels, at the right times and to the right people helps ensure you’re driving qualified prospects to your business.
Why should you care about inbound marketing for your small business?
When your small business is leveraging an inbound marketing strategy to grow your online presence, you’re no longer fighting for the attention of your buyers, but are instead creating positive experiences through valuable content tailored to their needs, that in turn attract your ideal visitors to your site and convert those visitors to leads and leads into customers.
As consumers we’re bombarded with information - sales pitches, ads, promotions, sales – and it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to discern what we should care about…so we eventually start to tune it all out. But with inbound, we’re bypassing all of that noise and putting your business in the right place at the right time in order to drive action. If done right, your content is addressing the wants, needs and challenges of your ideal buyers and for this reason will be the content they’re looking for as they search for information to education them, inspire them or make a purchase.
Where you start with inbound marketing determines your metrics
So you’ve identified you want to start implementing an inbound strategy, and may already have some of your content in place and are seeing some traction.
Make sure you aren’t missing a critical step.
Many small business owners fall into the trap of implementing an inbound strategy or starting a new marketing approach without first setting some specific goals.
Without goals, you’ll never be able to accurately measure whether or not you’re getting closer to your desired outcome. So let’s set your goals now. Get specific with your goals and set predetermined timelines for when you’d like to hit them.
- How many new customers do you want to acquire from inbound marketing?
- Do you want to launch a new product?
- Expand an existing service?
- Expand into a new market?
- Connect with a new audience?
- Are you new to the marketplace and want to focus on increasing brand awareness initially?
Dig a little deeper…
- How many leads do you need to get to generate the number of customers you want at your current conversion rate?
- Do you want to improve your lead to customer conversion rate?
- Or perhaps improve your visit to lead conversion rate?
There are a lot of factors to consider when setting your goals with inbound marketing, so take your time and really think through how your inbound marketing goals align with and support your business goals as a whole. In general, your goals with inbound marketing will fall within one of four categories:
- Attract and Build Awareness
- Convert New Leads
- Closing New Customers
- Delight & Upsell Existing Customers
While your strategy should encompass all of these actions, your focus will depend on where you are at in your business and what you are hoping to accomplish next. Once you’ve set your goals, you’re able to identify which inbound marketing metrics you need to pay attention to.
What inbound marketing metrics should matter to you?
The metrics that matter to you are primarily dependent on your goals. While you should pay attention to most of the below metrics, to gauge the success of your campaigns you should monitor the metrics that are indicative of you reaching your goals.
Some of the most common metrics to monitor to determine if your inbound marketing efforts are successful include:
- Website visits
- More specifically, website visits from organic search
- Subscribers generated (This could be RSS subscribers or blog subscribers)
- Leads generated
- Marketing qualified leads generated (This is a status of the lead depending on the activity they’ve taken with you. Becoming a marketing qualified lead may mean the engaged with a more bottom of the funnel offer, or they’ve engaged with your brand enough times and ways to deem them ‘marketing qualified’)
- Sales qualified leads generated (This is the status leads reach when they’re ready to be handed off to your sales team. They were either generated through a very bottom of the funnel engagement (think consultation request or free trial) or they have reached this point through ongoing lead nurturing)
- Keyword rankings (when you start your inbound efforts you should identify keywords or phrases you want to rank for. These should be selected based on what online users are actually searching for, and keywords that align with your brand)
Once you’ve determined the key metrics you want to monitor based on your business goals, set some goals around each of your metrics as well. Hold yourself or someone on your team accountable for regularly checking progress toward your business goal and the metric goals. Don’t set it and forget it! You need this data to determine if your money is being well-spent, if there are other opportunities to capitalize on or if you need to make some serious adjustments.