As a marketer, are you holding yourself accountable?
Maybe you have specific goals, and you know that you're on track to hit them. Maybe your landing pages generate a handful of leads each month. Maybe your social media efforts drive the right traffic to the right places, or your emails facilitate your lead to customer conversion in just the right way. You're more or less satisfied with your marketing.
How often do you take a step back though, to really evaluate your efforts? Are you reporting key marketing numbers to the rest of your team, to your boss or to your entire company on a monthly or quarterly basis? If so, are you doing it the right way? Do you understand why it's important?
Are you able to tell the right story?
Over the last few months, I have run a Marketing Analytics & Reporting Workshop that HubSpot customers have found extremely helpful. Just recently, one of my colleagues put together an amazing eBook and complementary workbook that helps HubSpot customers dive deep into their analytics & reporting. Below is the framework that is used - helpful regardless of whether or not you use HubSpot software!
3 Approaches to Marketing Analytics & Reporting
Marketing analytics is the act of looking beyond your website analytics and asking, How are my marketing activities doing? Where can I improve?
In our workshop, we discuss three fundamental approaches. What separates good from great marketers is the ability to weave each of these methodologies together.
1. Quick Wins by Tool
As a marketer, you're likely leveraging a lot of different tools. Day-to-day, you're in the trenches, spinning up landing pages, researching keywords, posting social media updates and building email campaigns.
You should always think critically and analytically about how you optimize each of these moving parts. How are your landing page conversion rates? How many leads are you generating through social media channels? How many customers are you driving from your email marketing efforts?
Each component of inbound marketing, whether it’s calls-to-action, on-page SEO, lead nurturing campaigns or landing pages, has its own particular best practices around analytics. Do you have benchmarks for each of these tools? Are you tackling each particular piece of inbound marketing with the kind of analytical gusto it deserves?
That's step one. Identify your tool-by-tool benchmarks and what quick wins can push you in the right direction.
2. Against a Goal & Timeline
Once you understand how to optimize each particular tool, start putting together your inbound marketing campaign. In this sense, a campaign is no more than cherry-picking the right inbound marketing strategies to hit a specific goal in an appropriate timeline. Are you setting goals around your marketing efforts? Are they measurable?
Everyone wants more website visitors, leads and customers. Dive deeper -- how many customers do you need to generate from your website to hit your annual revenue goals? How many leads would you like to generate from social media vs. organic search? Would you like your website visits to increase 200% over the next six months?
The more specific and focused your goal, the easier it is to deconstruct it into a series of milestones and strategies. Part of your ongoing analytics and reporting efforts should be tracking your goal’s progress. At any given time, you should be pursuing at least one marketing campaign. If you have the bandwidth and focus, feel free to run wild and tackle two or three goals at once.
3. The Marketing Report
Finally, how is your overall marketing strategy panning out?
This is where reporting becomes critical. Are you reporting on your web analytics and marketing efforts at least every month or quarter? You should be.
Just like you’d develop KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators for your web analytics, you’d do the same for your marketing analytics, regularly reporting on your most important performance metrics. Here are some popular KPIs for marketing analytics:
Top 5 blog posts, by page view
Top landing pages, by submission/conversion rate
Customers generated from paid search campaigns
Marketing qualified leads, by source
Number of marketing qualified leads worked by sales team
By continously testing, optimizing and reporting on your marketing efforts, you’ll stay ahead of your competitors, better align with the rest of your organization and better be able to showcase marketing’s return on investment.
Marketing Analytics & Reporting Best Practices
As you dive into each of these three methodologies, keep in mind a few best practices:
Always think critically about each tool that you use. Constantly test, and constantly improve. Think about your blog posts. Your website pages. Your landing pages and emails and social media updates. Are you hitting your benchmarks? Are you testing your calls-to-action? Do you know how much traffic you’re driving from particular keywords?
Maintain a relentless focus on your marketing ROI (return on investment). These days, marketing is much more noble profession than it used to be. It's not much easier as a marketer to demonstrate ROI, to tie revenue back to a particular campaign iteration or target keyword. Do you know where you get the most bang for your buck? Constantly look for ways to best allocate your time. If you spend 1-2 hours a week on social media, for example, do you know which channels are driving the highest quality traffic, generating leads and customers?
Pursue a smart, measurable goal. Goal-setting is an art, and the more you do it, the better you’ll get. Set actionable goals that you can use to focus and structure your marketing efforts. Be as specific as possible.
Develop marketing analytics KPIs and report on them regularly. Pick five to ten of your most important marketing key performance indicators, and report on those metrics regularly. Tell a story.
Create action-oriented reports. Don’t just report your key metrics to the rest of your team, boss or organization. Take your data and come up with an action plan for the next month or quarter. Is your website traffic up? Great. Where is it up? What pages? What sources? What is your specific plan to ensure that this trend continues, or what iterations might you make?
HubSpot Customer? Join our Workshop!
It's easy folks. At the moment, this session is run live once every two weeks. You can register for a live session directly from your HubSpot portal. You can also navigate directly to the Workshop archive page and watch the latest session on-demand, at your own pace.
Are you holding yourself accountable through marketing analytics & reporting?
Originally published Mar 20, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated December 16 2013