Reporting on your marketing efforts can seem challenging. There are many different metrics and data sources and many of them can suggest different things. In this article, I’m going to list some of the most important metrics, based on the inbound marketing funnel - with metrics you can use to report on how well your marketing is drawing in visitors, converting them to leads, nurturing those leads into paying customers and then turning those customers into advocates for your business.
The diagram above shows the inbound marketing funnel, to give you a quick refresher on how it works. Your own business may be more focused on some stages of the funnel than others.
For example, if you’ve just launched a new website, you will want to draw in more visitors, whereas after you’ve made changes to your sales process, you may want to focus on metrics related to your customers closer to the end of the funnel.
No two businesses are the same - and you should adapt your reporting to suit your business needs, focusing it on the areas in which your business wishes to improve and where it has spent its marketing budget.
So, without further ado, let’s move on to the most important marketing metrics.
Marketing Metrics to Report on
The first set of metrics covered are about visitors, how many of them there are, which pages they visit, where they come from and what they do.
The best source of this type of information is from analytics, such as Google Analytics or HubSpot Analytics. As Google Analytics is free, there is no reason why your business shouldn’t have it installed, as it gives you a much better picture of how your website is performing, and its a lot easier to use than you might think.
Once you have it, you can use it to report on a wide range of metrics - the three listed below are the most critical, but there is a wealth of information to be gained - depending on your business and marketing goals.
User numbers is the first critical metric. Google Analytics reports on both the number of sessions, as well as the number of unique users. This tells you how many people are visiting your website, which is important for any future goal setting.
Knowing your user numbers allows you to more accurately predict how many leads and customers you’ll be getting (based on estimated conversion rates to each), which allows you to see if you need to invest in attracting more people to the website, or if you need to invest more energy in turning existing visitors into paying customers.
Page Views (of critical pages)
Page views let you see how much traffic particular plages on your website are getting - allowing you to see which parts of your website are being visited. Ideally, you want your most valuable pages - such as product pages and contact forms - to be the most visited, but this isn’t always the case.
Identifying which pages have a traffic shortfall - and which have traffic that could be directed elsewhere is an important metric to keep track of. It allows you to plan out adding internal links throughout your site, as well as to decide which pages to promote.
Identifying which channels are providing the traffic to your website allows you to assess how your marketing is going and where improvements could be made. Traffic sources are split into several channels:
- Organic Search - Traffic from search engines, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo, useful for assessing how SEO is performing
- Paid Search - Traffic from paid online search advertising, via Google Ads or Bing Ads
- Paid Social - Traffic from paid social ads from social networks like Facebook and Instagram
- Social - Traffic from social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter (note that this does not include traffic from advertising on these networks)
- Display - Traffic from paid online display advertising, via Google Ads or other providers
- Referrals - Traffic referred to your website from another, via links
- Email - Traffic coming from links opened in emails, particularly useful for analysing the effectiveness of email marketing
There are other channels that can also be analysed, but these are the main ones and often where budget is spent. By looking at the amount of traffic coming from these channels and what they are doing on your site, you can identify which channels are the most valuable, which could use more investment and which ones should be scaled back. This information allows you to make better use of your time and budget.
Leads are another important metric to report on, especially for companies with longer conversion pathways. These metrics look at the number of leads, where they are coming from and what quality they are.
Marketing Qualified Leads
The first measure is Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). These are leads that are determined by a process of lead scoring to be more likely to convert into a customer.
It’s important to measure the number of these to ensure your marketing efforts are turning visitors into MQLs - if you have plenty of traffic but a lack of MQLs, you’ll need to consider finding more ways to capture visitor details with relevant content offers to the buyer persona’s you’re targeting.
Sales Qualified Leads
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are leads that your sales team have determined are worth of a direct follow-up. These are important as they are high-quality leads and a good measure of how well your marketing is performing.
For example, if you have a high number of MQLs, but only a few SQLs, it is likely your marketing and sales teams aren’t properly aligned and that the current content offers are not bringing in the right sort of lead and need to be re-evaluated.
Another issue could be if you have a number of SQLs, but not enough of them convert into customers - this may mean your sales team lacks something they need, such as extra marketing resources or customer information that can be created or gathered earlier in the customer journey.
Form submissions are a basic way of analysing the number of leads your website is generating as a whole, as well as how individual campaigns are performing via their own form submissions. This allows you to assess how easy your forms are to fill in - are you getting the number of submissions you’d expect?
Assessing campaign by campaign also lets you see which types of content offer and overall campaign idea perform best. For example, analysing how many users filled in a form to download an eBook versus how many filled in the same form to watch a webinar can advise on which type of content your customers wish to engage with the most.
Conversations Via Chatbot
If your website uses a chatbot, you should track the number of conversations and the results of those conversations. Ideally, where possible, these conversations should lead to customers becoming leads, or being pushed further down the marketing funnel.
Customer-focused metrics relate to your revenue - how many leads are being turned into paying customers and how much money your business is making.
Conversion numbers are the simplest metric to use - how many sales did your business business make? This lets you know if you’re turning more leads into customers and bringing in a higher volume of sales. This can be helpful when evaluating improvements to your sales process, or evaluating the success of an offer.
An important metric to consider with this one is the average order value. If your conversion numbers are increasing, but that number is decreasing (as can happen with discounting-type promotions), your revenue may not be increasing even with higher conversion numbers.
Revenue is another important metric to measure - the amount of money coming into the business is obviously critical. You’ll want to see improvements in revenue when efforts are being made to improve the customer journey.
Splitting down the revenue brought in by the marketing channel they came from can be useful to see which channels performed well - though it’s important to consider the full journey they took before converting. In Google Analytics, you can view this using the assisted conversions and attribution reports to get a better idea of which channels customers are engaging with during their journey to conversion.
Return on investment is another important metric to look at, as it determines the overall effectiveness of your marketing efforts. For e-commerce businesses this is simple to measure, simply looking at sales or contract values, but for those that offer long-term services, ROI can be measured by using the estimated lifetime value of a customer to best estimate how much they are worth.
Measuring ROI lets you see which campaigns and channels have produced the best results based on investment. This allows you to determine which channels are performing well and may benefit from additional investment and which could be cut back to free up budget for elsewhere.
The final stage of the customer journey is into the delight stage, where the aim is to turn customers into evangelists - and into repeat buyers. Metrics for these will look at measurements of customer satisfaction.
A good measure of customer satisfaction is reviews, either on your Google My Business page, or on third party review sites such as Trustpilot. You should be encouraging reviews, as they help build customer confidence in your brand. Measuring the number of reviews you have, as well as monitoring the average rating, can help you to get a picture of how well customers think you are performing and how well you are following up to get them to leave these reviews.
Responding to negative reviews is also important and measuring your average time to respond to these queries is a good way of tracking the effectiveness of your customer service team. Replying to negative reviews is important, as it shows that you as a brand are willing to deal with issues and take the team to help customers. You won’t be able to please everyone, but you may be able to win back some of these disaffected customers. Additionally, these negative reviews may flag up possible issues to resolve.
Customer Lifetime Value
Measuring the average lifetime value of a customer is a good method of evaluating your customer retention tactics. If this value is increasing, it’s a sign that customers are spending more with you during their time as a customer, either from spending more on average, or by simply staying longer as a customer.
Additional Work/Repeat Orders
Another good metric to look at is repeat order rates and additional work ordered on top of the original deal. These additional revenue streams show where customer expectations have been met or exceeded and the customer was happy to do more business with you. This can show the effectiveness of follow-up email campaigns, as well as efforts to reach out to existing but lapsed customers to get them to order again.
Measuring the value from upsells is a good way to see if your efforts to increase the size of sales are performing. This may be a more sales-focused metric for products and services with a higher value (such as extras when buying a new car, or additional services as part of a contract) and more marketing-focused for lower-value products (such as deals offered in the shopping cart of an e-commerce store) and it’s important to attribute these accordingly.
If you have a number of conversions, but want to improve the average order value, improving the number of upsells would be a good way to achieve this. Conversely, if your average order value is high and customers seem to be take up the offer of upsells, you may want to invest in increasing the number of sales.
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These are just some of the marketing metrics you should consider reporting on - ultimately, it’s important to decide what matters for you as a business and which metrics best inform you about how you are performing in those areas.
It’s also important to consider how these metrics relate to your customers, what they suggest about the customer journey and where you might need to investigate further. For example, if the metrics you’ve measured suggest customers aren’t converting on your website at the rate you’d like, you could use Hotjar to see how users are interacting with your site, or interview existing customers to get suggestions as to some of the barriers they faced.
This approach allows you to identify the best measurements to make and allows you to see where you should be investing your marketing efforts to get measurable results.