Is it time to revise your marketing metric tracking?
With all the various forms of data you have at your disposal in planning your online marketing, it's easy to get misled. Some metrics look great on paper, but don't really indicate much in reality. Others might have been important a year or two ago, but have since become red herrings.
So, today, let's talk about metrics you shouldn't be using... as well as a few you should!
Problematic Metrics You Shouldn't Rely on
Generally speaking, the 'acid test' for any SEO or online marketing metric is "does this actually indicate money being made?"
The problem with online marketing statistics is that they're spectacularly easy to "lie" with, or at least unintentionally deceive. We all love to see that our raw website hits are going up, for example, and it makes for a great bar chart to show the President or Chairman of the Board. But, if those visitors aren't converting into sales, they aren't actually helping your bottom line.
So don't attach too much importance to these metrics, by themselves, and avoid online marketing companies that push them as important:
Raw website hits: Realistically, this is only useful as a baseline for establishing the percentage of your visitors who convert. Visitors who don't at least become leads are likely just wasting your bandwidth.
Number of website pages: Quantity is nice, but quality is far more important. Content is king, as we like to say. Hundreds of repetitive blogs no one reads are a waste of resources.
Google keyword rankings: When Google introduced its "Hummingbird" algorithm last year, with its natural-language focus, keywords were depreciated to the point of near-irrelevance.
Pay-per-click ad interactions: Again, like with website visitors, this number is only meaningful if a large number of those clicks actually convert.
Social media followers: Taking Facebook as an example, even if you have 100,000 fans, only a tiny fraction of those will even see your posts unless they're actively engaging with you. If they aren't interacting, they're irrelevant.
Klout: Klout scores are almost entirely vanity. The only use we see in Klout is for finding social media figures worth targeting with personal approaches, not in tracking one's own stats.
Raw online mentions: Contrary to popular belief, there really is such a thing as bad publicity. Just because people are talking about you, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing. (see: Amy's Baking Company)
Three Metrics That Demonstrate Results
1 - Your visitor-to-lead ratio.
If visitors aren't at least converting into leads, you've got serious problems. This is why it's useful to know your basic website statistics, even if they are only a starting point.
To get your leads up, try implementing more calls-to-action and premium content gated through landing pages. Putting these offers on your most popular pages should help guide new visitors into the funnel.
2 - Your lead-to-customer ratio
Of course, you need those leads to actually convert into sales. However, in some ways this is less important than lead generation when you're looking at the success of your website itself.
It's your sales team that will generate most of your sales, one way or another. The website is only a helpful factor, not the whole story.
3 - Customer cost vs their lifetime value
This is the real meat of the matter: When you add up your various expenditures, from bandwidth to expensed sales lunches, what are you actually paying to generate a customer? And then, how much value are you getting from them in return?
For successful online marketing, it's vital you ensure you're not spending more to obtain your customers than they're spending on your services.
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