Access to so much data has made marketing analytics overwhelming for many a marketer. We have traffic data, conversion data, lead data, email marketing data, social media data ... the list goes on. Figuring out what data to pull, and when, is the tricky part.
While no two businesses are alike, often they'll find themselves facing similar problems, and unsure of how to use data to guide them through their decision-making processes.
With that in mind, I tried to think through some common scenarios marketers find themselves in, and what data they'd want to pull from their marketing analytics solution to help guide their decision-making. Take a look, and see if you find yourself in any of these stages yourself.
Scenario #1: You need brand awareness.
Most businesses will get to a point where they need to think about brand awareness. The company could be an early stage startup creating their brand identity for the first time, or a more mature company looking to do a rebrand. You'll ask yourself: Do people recognize their company and/or logo when they see it? What do people know about their company? What does someone think about when they hear their brand's name? Analytics can help you get to an answer to these questions.
Look at traffic.
Increasing the amount of traffic to your website is important as you begin to gain more brand awareness. Take a look at the different sources that are sending traffic to your site to figure out what channels are the most successful. The amount of traffic coming from each particular channel can help you figure out how to tailor your marketing efforts in the future.
You should also look at how much traffic is coming to your homepage, specifically. Traffic that comes to your homepage is branded traffic -- in other words, they already know your company name, and are visiting you as a result. Compare this amount to traffic coming to other pages of your site, or through sources other than direct traffic. Look at how that number is changing month-over-month.
If you're a HubSpot customer, you can use HubSpot's Source's report to help you get this insight.
Look at search engine rankings.
As your company creates more content to generate more awareness, you should see an uptick in your search engine rankings for keywords that are important to you. But if you're focused on branding, you should look for an improvement in traffic driven from brand-specific terms, in particular.
Create more content around keywords that you want to rank for on search engines, and drive site traffic for at a greater volume. This article will help you get started on your keyword research so you can create content that helps you do that.
Look at social media reach.
Finally, a wide social media reach can be a good indicator of brand awareness. Look at how big your following is across each social network, as well as how engaged that following is. If you don't have a big social media reach, consider looking at how often your content is shared. Remember, just because you don't have a lot of fans or followers doesn't mean your content isn't popular on social media, giving your brand more exposure as a result.
Scenario #2: You need to grow your database.
Sometimes a ton of visitors to your site isn't enough anymore -- branding aside, you need people to convert on your site and become leads in your database. Or, perhaps you've got leads in your database already, but you've nurtured them to oblivion and you've neglected to keep feeding the funnel.
Either way, you have a hungry sales organization and database growth is critical. Here are some metrics to look at to help in this scenario.
Look at blog visits.
Creating more content on your blog gives you more opportunities to rank for relevant queries in search engines. Use your analytics to see if your blog is helping you achieve this -- if your traffic is growing on your blog, it's a good sign your lead growth could follow. If traffic is flat or declining to your blog, this will be the first thing to remedy in your quest for a growing leads database.
Look at social media reach.
Social media provides another opportunity for you to grow your leads database, and often can also help you grow that blog traffic (which will have an impact on database growth, as well).
If social media reach has stagnated, start new discussions on different channels and start promoting interesting content more frequently -- particularly your blog content.
Look at landing page traffic and conversions.
As your traffic grows on your TOFU channels, you'll need to see whether they're actually getting to your landing pages. That's where the database growth actually happens, after all. Check your analytics to see if that traffic is viewing your landing pages and converting on them.
If you're seeing a ton of traffic to your landing pages, see where it's coming from so you can optimize the source channels -- whether that's search engines, blog posts, social media, emails, etc. Additionally, it may make sense to compare the conversion on each page against each other to gain a better understanding of what your audience really wanted in terms of content; if certain topics or content formats yielded more conversions, it'd be wise to focus your content strategy there.
HubSpot customers, you can check out your landing page analytics right from your landing page dashboard.
Scenario #3: You need more qualified leads.
Your business may be getting tens, hundreds, even thousands of leads in any given month. But does it matter if you get thousands of leads if only a handful of them are qualified?
When I say "qualified," I mean they're actually interested in not only reading content and browsing your site, but they're interested in becoming one of your customers.
Are there any usual steps that someone takes before becoming a customer? Does talking to one of your sales reps make them a qualified lead? Does looking at your pricing page make them a qualified lead? Find out those things that make one of your leads qualified so you can replicate your success there. There are a few metrics that can help you with that.
Look at call-to-action clickthrough rate (CTA CTR).
It's important to have calls-to-action in prominent, highly trafficked parts of your website as a way to help your visitors and leads take the next step in finding out more about your company -- blog posts, web pages, etc. -- as well as in your lead nurturing emails to help move people further down the funnel.
But sheer volume of conversion on those CTAs isn't always helpful if you're looking to improve lead quality. To help with a lead quality goal, use your analytics to identify which calls-to-action bring in more leads than others, and which of those leads convert at a faster rate than others. You might end up finding certain locations of CTAs play a role in the quality of conversion (CTAs on the homepage might be better than a CTA on a blog post -- or vice versa), or that the content behind that CTA matters more.
If you are a HubSpot customer, you can use the HubSpot CTA tool to figure this out. This information will help you determine what types of content your audience is interested in and what subset of your audience is qualified to become a customer for your company.
Look at landing page conversion rates.
In addition to taking a look at your CTAs, take a closer look at the conversion rates on your landing pages. The conversion rate is the percentage of views based on a form submission. Comparing the conversion rates of different pages gives you a better idea of what types of content leads to higher conversion rates -- and using closed-loop analytics, you can track the entire funnel to see which conversions actually turn into customers.
You can also experiment with different format of your landing pages from the way the content is presented to the length or design of the form. Try segmenting your audience before sending them to certain landing pages and see how that performs. The conversion rates will give you a better idea about whether or not these experiments are successful in converting more opportunities, and how you can improve your landing pages for the future.
HubSpot customers, check out your landing page dashboard to get better insight into the performance of your pages.
Look at work rates.
Your sales organization might be working certain leads more than others. For instance, an inbound sales organization will probably be apt to work leads that first converted on a blog post over leads that came in through PPC. See which channels bring in leads that actually get worked to identify which channels to put more muscle behind.
You might find that your sales organization has a bias toward certain lead types that's not data-backed -- old habits die hard, you know. Be sure you use closed-loop analytics to get a full-funnel view of whether the leads being worked at the highest rate actually do correlate to more closed won. If rep productivity and closed wons remain high on those leads with the highest work rates, it's a good sign your reps are working the right leads, and you should bring in more of those types.
Scenario #4: You need to close more business.
At a certain point, some businesses may reach a stage where they have a steady flow of traffic and leads to their site. This is great! But what if the funnel clogs there? What if they're getting a good flow of traffic and leads, but these people aren't taking the next step to become customers?
You may need to take a closer look at your conversion rates and your lead-to-customer conversion rates to figure out how to keep the steady flow of customers month over month. Note that this isn't only an issue that mature businesses can come up against -- businesses of any size may need to take a closer look at these metrics.
Look at lead-to-customer conversion rates.
We talked about landing page conversion rates a bit before, but let's dig into some things that may affect your lead-to-customer conversion rate. First, you'll want to look at the effectiveness of your lead nurturing sequences. Are there certain workflows that have low engagement rates? To which segments are they going? And what content are those recipients receiving? Identifying underperforming lead nurturing workflows and optimizing them will help you help Sales move customers further down the funnel to the BOFU stage.
Lead-to-customer conversion rate is also impacted by more soft metrics, though -- like how Marketing works with Sales. Is your relationship agile, communicative, and high-touch? Is Marketing creating sales enablement collateral that'll help close more deals? Is Marketing available to hop on sales calls to close deals not just at the end of the month -- but throughout the month? These assessments of soft metrics are just as important to improving lead-to-customer conversion rate as the data that comes out of your analytics.
Originally published Apr 21, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017