How do you decide what metrics to measure for your marketing campaign? You know your overall goal is to get say, 100 leads, or 30 new customers. But what else do you need to measure?
Let's take it step by step.
Set Targets For Your Marketing Funnel
You know about the marketing funnel: the steps by which a prospect becomes aware of your brand/product, interacts with your brand, becomes a lead, and then becomes a customer. But marketing's goal doesn't end with the purchase: you want to have your customer become a regular customer, and you want them to recommend you to their friends.
So this is what the marketing funnel looks like. The first thing to do when planning a campaign is to fill in these numbers: the targets you want to achieve.
Start as far near the bottom as you can. If your goal at this moment is just to get customers or leads, fine. But be honest about the needs of your business. For a SaaS product, for example, retention is key since churn rates can deeply impact your profitability. For most high-value products and services, references help move along the sales process, so having customers who advocate for you is important.
But let's assume your goal for the moment is the number of purchases. How many customers do you want to get out of this campaign? With that as the starting point, you can make your way up, seeking the answers to questions such as:
- How many leads do you need to get 100 customers?
- How many engaged users/prospects do you need to get 500 leads?
- How many people do you need to reach with this campaign to get 2,000 prospects?
How do you get these values? You look at your past campaign success rates and at industry averages. You do a little guess work, maybe indulge in a little optimism (not too much, or you'll find yourself disappointed later).
There's one more thing that you're probably tracking anyway: the activities you're doing. For example, you might decide you need to do 10 guest posts on other blogs, a Facebook ad campaign with X budget, send out a press release, get 5 industry bloggers to mention your campaign, and so on. Tracking the output you create helps you measure the results of that output and will help plan future campaigns better.
Define Important Metrics At Different Steps In The Funnel
Now you work out the metrics you need to track down the funnel.
For reach, you might track:
1. Visitors to the campaign landing page
2. Reach of the Facebook post(s) about the campaign
3. Opens of the campaign email(s)
4. PR mentions
For engagement, you might track:
1. Likes, comments, and shares on the Facebook post(s)
2. Clicks on and forwards of the campaign email(s)
3. Returning visitors to the landing page, visitors who didn't bounce off the page, visitors who spent more than (say) 1 minute on the page
Some of this might overlap: someone who opened the email, clicked on it, and reached the landing page, and then spent two minutes on your site.
You already know how to track leads, of course. If your leads filled out a form to download your white paper or express interest in your offer, you can easily count them. But the leads that are actually of interest to you are qualified leads, leads who fit your target customer profile. So you need to filter your leads to arrive at a meaningful number.
Goals further down the funnel carry much more weight than goals above them: a qualified lead is much more valuable than just a lead or a Facebook fan who liked your post. A Facebook comment might be a qualified lead in some circumstances: for example, you've posted a link to a product that's on sale and a fan comments to ask for shipping information because she wants to gift the product to a friend.
Extend Your Measurement Both Up And Down The Funnel
Even though business goals like leads and customers and repeat customers should be the ultimate goal for marketing, setting goals all the way up the funnel helps you track progress. If you're not getting enough visibility (say, website visitors), then your funnel isn't wide enough and that's the goal you need to focus on, maybe by increasing the effort you're putting in terms of creating content, reaching out to customers and influencers, and so on. If you're getting enough visitors but your engagement or conversion ratios are low, you try to tweak that (i.e., improve your landing page, make the purchase process easier, etc.) Or you might need to review your messaging that's driving people to the landing page - maybe you're attracting the wrong person, which is why they are not converting.
And even if your campaign goal is to get leads, you need to capture how many of those leads turned into customers (and when), how many customers gave you repeat business, how many recommended you to others. Knowing where your best customers came from gives you invaluable insight for planning new campaigns.
The results of your marketing campaign should tell you: how do your customers find you? What message (story) draws them in? What message appeals to what kind of customer? How can you use all this to make your next campaign more effective?
Unmana is the co-founder of Markitty, a tool that recommends actions to improve your online marketing. She writes about marketing for startups and small businesses on the Markitty blog and can be found on Twitter @Unmana.