This guest post written by Michael Deane, the founder of Qeedle.
Most marketers still find it difficult to forecast the effectiveness of particular methods, despite all the studies and their own experiences with past strategies. While some approaches are easier to speculate about than others, you can never give exact guarantees regarding what your client will be getting in the end.
What you can do, however, is take a look back, track the consequences back to their sources and take detailed account of your influence on the client’s exposure. Aside from reporting and, possibly invoicing, you need this data in order to understand how to make your future strategies more effective.
In order to be able to do this, you need to know which metrics to focus on, and where to look for those metrics.
While each channel has metrics that are specific to it, there are certain performance indicators that are universal. Don’t take this to mean that they are consistent across different channels though.
For instance, while 1% conversion rate would be bad for an email campaign, it is great if you are looking at social media efforts. At the same time, while conversion rate is one of the most important metrics to watch in sales-oriented strategies, it can be almost inconsequential in strategies focused on brand awareness improvements.
Aside from the mentioned conversion rates – which you can track in Google Analytics and which represent the ratio between the total number of visits and the number of people who visit your site and complete an action you’ve designated as important (leaving their email address, following a particular call to action, downloading something), other ubiquitous metrics include:
Return of investment – how much did you gain from a strategy, relative to how much you have invested. While the ROI of individual channels can be tracked in the appropriate tools, if you are interested in the effectiveness of your overall marketing, you will either need to resort to some spreadsheet magic, or find a dashboard tool which allows you to integrate various data sources.
Customer Acquisition Cost – how much does it cost you to successfully market your product or service to a single customer. Since it’s calculated simply by dividing the amount of money you’ve invested in marketing in a certain period, by the number of customers you’ve acquired during that time, you don’t really need special tools to stay on top of this metric.
Even if we mentioned all of them, listing just the general metrics would only be scraping the surface. If you really want to find a way to compare your different marketing channels and allow them to complement each other, you need to dig it deeper.
Channel Specific Metrics
Versatile marketers will have a range of strategies at their disposal, and will know how to get different strategies to synergize. For instance, while you may be running an email campaign to improve your sales and not to boost your SEO, you will be aware of its potential to do both, and will try to exploit it to the maximum. Some of the most effective marketing channels and associated metrics include:
Or search engine optimization, focuses on improving the visibility of your site in Google search results for the keywords you are interested in. Metrics of interest include the number of referring domains to the site being promoted; incoming traffic; audience engagement indicators like session duration and bounce rates; organic SERP rankings for targeted keywords, etc.
Google Analytics can help you find out everything directly related to visitor behavior; tools like Ahrefs and Majestic can help you analyze a site’s backlink portofolio; while Rank Ranger and similar rank trackers enable you to view historical data on your positions in search engine results for the desired keywords.
- Social Media Promotion
Social networks have a great engagement potential, audience are practically segmenting themselves, and social media monitoring tools allow you to track even the smallest interactions. Relevant metrics include the number of followers and likes (or network appropriate equivalents) shares, brand sentiment, lead growth and other. If you know that social networks are mostly there for lead generation and brand promotion, you will know which metrics you need to observe.
Pay-per-click marketing relies on serving narrowly targeted audiences with paid adverts. The metrics you need to keep an eye on include: keyword search volume; cost per click or impression, as well as number of clicks and impressions; click-through rate and others. While there are ither tools you might find useful for testing, if you’re only interested in tracking the progress of your campaigns, tools like Google AdWords and SEMrush will get you started just fine.
- Bringing it all together
You can get comfortable with all the listed tools and learn the specifics of particular marketing strategies, but until you start treating them as different segments of one same whole, you won’t be able to get the full benefit out of any of them. Examine which of them can support others, which should be ran simultaneously for the maximum effect, and how to prioritize them when budgeting, and you should be just fine.