Here at Inbound 281, we're all looking forward to seeing "Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi" this weekend. — and we bet you are, too.
But what does "Star Wars" have to do with marketing? That is, aside from the over $350 million Disney spent on the budget and marketing for the last entry in the series, "Episode VII — The Force Awakens."
Marketing is Just Like The Force
If you've seen Episodes I–VII of the saga, then you of course understand that in the "Star Wars" story, there are two sides to The Force: the light side and the dark side.
In Star Wars, the balance between the light and dark sides of The Force is critical
to the health of the entire universe.
And in the philosophy that George Lucas lays out in his movies, it's important for there to be a balance between the two sides (i.e. the fall of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader to the dark side and his eventual redemption to the light side through his son, Luke Skywalker).
The same is true for marketing. There are two sides to the field: the communication/creative side and the measurement/analytics side. And just like with The Force, there needs to be a balance between them.
Even though it's tempting, you can't spend all your time just creating the best message or content. You also have to measure how well it does. If you don't, your whole marketing strategy may fail.
You have to be looking at things like the number of leads you generate, how many of them convert into customers, and how many of those customers you were able to upsell or retain.
In others words, you need to be looking at the numbers.
Do or Do Not, There is No Try
When it comes to these marketing numbers or metrics, what should you be collecting? And more importantly, which numbers need to be communicated regularly to The Man?
If you witnessed Kylo Ren's epic temper tantrum after receiving bad news in "The Force Awakens," you understand why some lowly stormtroopers are hesitant to deliver bad news.
Kylo Ren could maybe benefit from some anger management classes.
Fortunately, your boss isn't Kylo Ren (and doesn't have a lightsaber!), but if your inbound marketing strategy lacks some luster, who wants to broadcast that?
So, there are lots of metrics you need to be collecting, but maybe not all of them need to make their way to the big wigs (unless, of course, specifically requested; in those cases, may the Force be with you!).
The Droids You're Looking For
Here are the metrics all marketing pros need to be collecting and analyzing on a regular basis.
#1 — Overall Traffic
Set a goal for daily traffic and measure your progress.
#2 — Referral Traffic
This metric will tell you how much return you're getting from social media marketing and your PPC endeavors.
#3 — Email Collection
This metric will tell you how effective your landing pages, blog posts, and other content are performing by letting you know exactly how many people are willing to cough up their email addresses to get your stuff.
#4 — Ecommerce Sales
Your website should be effectively building trust with your leads. You know how well it's doing by monitoring how many people trust you enough to click "Buy Now."
#5 — Increase in Brand Mentions
This metric lets you know how well you're doing in terms of awareness. Are people mentioning you on social media and in their blogs? This is a good way to monitor campaigns in progress.
#6 — Coupon Redemption
Here is another metric to track to determine which venues are particularly generating interest and traffic for you. You can easily determine where coupon codes come from using tracking links, and thus know where to invest more time and effort (and where not to).
#7 — Growth in Brand Following
While this isn't helpful in terms of actual sales or revenue, it's an excellent indication of how well your brand and messaging is being received by the general public.
#8 — Returning Visitors
About 98 percent of the visitors to your website will never return. That makes returning visitors particularly valuable. These are the customers who are engaged, interested, and ripe for lead/customer nurturing.
#9 — Bounce Rate
Any webpages that produce a high bounce rate need to be redesigned, ASAP. If your homepage has a high bounce rate, it's time to get back to the drawing board. Identify pages with low bounce rates and do more of whatever's working with them.
#10 — Conversion Rates
Here's where the rubber meets the road. No matter how low your bounce rates are or how high your traffic and returning vistor rates are, it's the conversions that pay the bills.
#11 — Leads
Salespeople will be quick to point out that not all leads are created equal. While the number of leads you generate is an important metric, it's critical to relate this back to the percentage of conversions you glean from those generated leads.
#12 — Revenue
Revenue is the end goal. It's a critical metric (especially to the powers that be). Just don't get so caught up in revenue that you fail to focus on the steps that got you here (see numbers 1–11).
Which of These Metrics Do You Pass to the C-Suite?
Don't worry, the C-suite doesn't have Force powers. But you still need to give them what they want
in terms of marketing metrics — they want to see progress.
First, breathe a sigh of relief that you're not working for Darth Vader. But you still need to report your progress. So, out of all these metrics, which should you be reporting to your top brass?
Most C-suites want to see indicators of progress, which means metrics like overall traffic, eCommerce sales, and conversion rates/revenue are important.
They also want to see metrics that relate to return on investment (ROI). So, if you lobbied hard for a bigger social media budget last quarter, be prepared to pony up the metrics on referral traffic, coupon redemption, and growth in the brand following, as well.
The Bottom Line
It isn't necessary to report all your metrics to the head honchos. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be collecting, analyzing, and using those metrics. Gather the metrics that prove you're doing your end of things. Those are the ones you should be sent to upper management.