When starting out with an online marketing strategy, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right approach and direction for your content.
One of the biggest challenges that marketers run into is knowing how to go about drawing in an audience.
- 50% of B2C content marketers consider measuring their effectiveness to be a top challenge.
To make progress online, it’s important to keep the right goals, numbers, and metrics in mind.
Here are ten key performance indicators that all startups should be watching to measure the effectiveness of their efforts.
The ultimate goal for your marketing efforts should involve leading audiences to become customers.
- As such, while numerics that help measure the reach of your content are helpful, nothing’s more important than keeping track of sales figures.
If your content is generating a lot of traffic but you’re not seeing a translation into sales, it’s a good indicator that you might be reaching out to the wrong audience.
Personally, I don’t just focus on sales, but on producing marketing materials that help draw in repeat customers who will buy from my company regularly.
- This means creating content that appeals to existing customers as well as potential customers.
- It also means monitoring your sales figures to see when the same person comes back to buy additional products, and pursuing these audiences.
It’s not always easy to track exactly how much of your content marketing efforts are effectively translating into sales.
- Some elements of your campaign might be attracting more customers than others.
- Your sales figure will rarely lead back directly to a single piece of content or marketing that you’ve produced.
For this reason, while I use sales figures as my ultimate KPI, I don’t use them alone – there are lot of other metrics that I generally use to help me identify which content is drawing me closer to my main sales goals.
In moving your content’s audience towards making sales, I find it’s important to keep track of what progress is being made along the journey.
- Tracking how often potential customers give you their details is useful to identify what content is leading people to convert.
- This can help you spot content that’s doing a good job of reaching an audience, and help you to weed out marketing efforts that are falling short.
Lead generation stats will depend on what action you’re wanting potential customers to make, whether it’s signing up for mailing lists of contacting your sales team directly.
- You might have various different types of lead generation depending on what customers you’re trying to attract.
- It’s useful to monitor which calls to action are the most effective.
Take Hubspot’s free trial for example – the company pushes people towards taking the trial because it leads customers towards making sales.
- Hubspot are able to track their progress with lead generation using signups to see how well they’re doing at meeting their KPI goals.
- This in turn helps them to know how many interested leads it takes to generate a sale.
- The site is full of links to the trial to help take advantage of every possible chance to connect with a site visitor.
This can help you to spot moments in your conversion process that need more support to help overcome roadblocks to gaining sales.
One of the bread-and-butter metrics of the online marketing world, page views give a lot of vital information about how your content is being received and the size of the audience you’re pulling in.
Page views are typically the most common metric that analytics tools will display prominently.
- I use tools like Google Analytics will provide a regular breakdown of the most popular pages on my site based on their views.
- I use this to discover what kinds of content are most popular, and what I should make more of.
It’s important to note that page views aren’t everything – attracting a large audience that then don’t stay on your site or fail to follow through with calls to action won’t actually help your marketing campaign.
- In fact, having additional visitors to your site who inflate your numbers but who aren’t interested in making a purchase can end up confusing your metrics.
- It’ll be more difficult to get a handle on how well your content is meeting the needs of your core audience.
For this reason, in addition to page views, you should look at the way site visitors use your site, which means taking into account additional metrics.
For some more information on Google Analytics this article from Ana Hoffman on dashboards is a must read.
Your bounce rate refers to the number of visitors to your website who leave instantly after visiting a single page.
- A high bounce rate indicates that your content is failing to engage your audience, or that visitors aren’t successfully being drawn in by additional content on your site.
- As with golf, a low number is best – it shows that you’re connecting with your site visitors and that they want to see more content from your site.
If you look at the stats for each individual page of your content, you can spot which content is performing well.
- Identify which content keeps visitors clicking through your site, and make more that matches it.
- If your bounce rate for the whole site looks high, you might want to consider the layout of your website to draw better attention to your content, or consider altering the audience that you’re trying to market your content to.
It’s also worth noting that a high bounce rate isn’t as big of a problem if your audience are coming back to your site regularly – if someone is checking your website for new content multiple times a day, it’s not as damaging if they don’t stick around every time.
Time Spent on Page
Connected to your bounce rate is the amount of time that each visitor spends on your site.
- These two metrics can be used together to get a better picture of the average behaviour of a site visitor, how much content they look at, and how interested they are by your website.
- A high bounce rate but a long time spent on the site indicates that visitors are happy to enjoy a single piece of content but don’t go on to look at more pages.
- A low bounce rate but a short time on your site suggests that visitors click around briefly without finding anything that they’re interested in.
As with a piece of content’s bounce rate, I find It’s important to get an idea of how long site visitors stick around:
- The more time a person spends on your site, the more likely they’ll be to follow through with a call to action and engage with your content or generate a lead.
- I like to identify which piece of content is keeping visitors on the site for the longest.
- I then make plans to create more content of a similar nature.
If you feel that the average time on your site needs to be greater, there are multiple techniques that can be utilized to help improve visitor interest.
Most notably, there’s a strong link between multimedia content such as visuals and videos, and length of time spent on site – adding in multimedia content to your marketing strategy can help keep visitors on your site longer.
I’ve mentioned already that regular visitors to your site can change the way you should interpret your data.
In many ways, regularly returning visitors is an excellent benefit for your site to enjoy.
- Just as spending more time on your site increases the likelihood that your visitors will convert, multiple visits can help push your regular audience to make a purchase.
There are multiple things which you can learn from your return visitor ratio.
- A relatively low number of return visitors suggests that when people visit your site once, they’re unlikely to come back – this means you might need to rethink your marketing approach.
- A high number of return visitors might mean that your content has a strong regular audience, but that you’re not doing a great job of reaching out to brand new audiences.
Keep an eye on the ratio of return visitors to know whether you need more content to help draw people in, or whether you need to better support your regular crowd of visitors.
- If my site is attracting more new customers, I’ll create middle-of-the-funnel content that helps them progress towards generating leads.
- If I have more returning customers, I’ll produce content that appeals to first time visitors to attract more users to my site.
It’s possible to use social media as an indicator of your site’s popularity with various audiences.
- Through observing the way your followers engage with your social media presence, you can spot what content is doing well and what might need a different approach.
Of all the social media stats you should be considering, the most important is the number of shares your content receives.
This is important for several reasons:
- It indicates not only that people are reading your content, but that they’ve enjoyed it and found it relevant enough to let other people see it
- Shares are also useful for the distribution of your content – your work appears in front of more people as your shares travel, thus aiding your content’s reach.
To increase the number of shares you’re getting online, you should be posting new content to social media with regular frequency.
You should also use a variety of action words, alongside visuals, to catch users’ attention and drive them towards your content.
In addition to shares, you can track the number of followers your brand receives, and you can use social ‘likes’ as a vague indicator of how well content goes down – although this isn’t an exact measurement of content popularity, so it shouldn’t be relied on too heavily.
Click Through Rate
When it comes to both social media posts and online ads to your content, it’s important to keep track of what people are most likely to click on.
Your click through rate represents the success of your content’s first impression – it shows how well your content titles, summaries, and images are performing.
- These are the elements that internet users see before anything else, so they’re what potential site visitors use to decide whether or not to click on links to your content.
- If your click through rates aren’t as high as you’d like, it’s worth considering the way your content is advertised.
I find it’s crucially important to pay attention to the headlines you give your content: watch which pieces of content enjoy the best click through rates, and see if there’s any pattern in the topics, themes or words that are mentioned in the titles of these pieces.
You can then use that as a guide to help formulate better ways of drawing visitors to your website.
Again, though, be careful: a high click through rate isn’t as desirable if you’re bringing a large yet disinterested crowd to your site, this may not be as useful as a low click through rate that only brings actual customers to your online store.
A lot’s been said online over the years about the importance of keyword rankings.
- How high your brand appears in Google searches is a strong indicator of how valuable your content is considered to be.
Google’s algorithms are fairly sophisticated – content will rank higher depending on how useful its users find results.
- Monitoring how well your content performs in searches will give you an idea of how often visitors to your site are satisfied with what they find.
- It’ll also help you to know how big your reach is, especially compared with other competitors in your field.
- You can create custom searches in Google Analytics that will help you to spot how well your content performs for various keywords.
I recommend against black-hat attempts to raise your search rankings, as these don’t actually help your content’s appeal in the long run.
Instead, use Google rankings as a way of measuring the success of your content, and invest in producing excellent content which will naturally raise your profile in search engines.
Return on Investment
This is probably the hardest metric to measure on this list, but it’s also one that, in order to get the most out of your marketing attempts, you’ll want to pay attention to.
- Basically, you want to know what marketing tools are cost effective, and whether your efforts are drawing in a worthwhile profit.
Every ROI calculation will be different depending on the type of content you’re engaging in, but you should regularly measure:
- The cost per piece of content
- The website traffic it produces
- The leads generated by a piece of content
- How much each visitor to your site is worth in terms of potential sales.
If you’d like to know more about working out your content’s ROI, have a look at the post I wrote on calculating your cost/revenue ratio.
Measuring Performance Improves Performance
Through keeping an eye on the right metrics, it’s possible to dramatically improve the direction of your marketing efforts.
Keeping your campaign focused and identifying what marketing materials are making the most impact ensure that your business will grow as quickly as possible.
What have you found from measuring these metrics? Which other statistics are important to keep in mind for marketing success? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Images: Pixabay, Content Marketing Institute, Amazon, Pixabay, Hubspot, Hubspot, Flickr, Google Analytics, KissMetrics, Google Analytics, Google Analytics, Facebook, Google Analytics, Pexels, Pixabay, Gryffin, SiteApps, Pixabay.