Measures of inbound marketing success

Many marketing “captains” go down with their ships before reaching land. Quite shocking, most of them fail to realise that their ships will sink if appropriate measures are not taken. To keep your ship afloat in today’s stormy economic waters, it is very important to learn how to use your inbound marketing strategy as a displacement hull.

What are we talking about? Simply put, staying afloat in the current business climate is impossible without having a lucrative inbound marketing strategy in place. For an inbound marketing strategy to be effective, one thing you need to do is to track and analyse a series of metrics, which can help ensure the success of your marketing efforts.

What to Measure and Analyse?

Basically, there are two categories of metrics you need to analyse: content marketing and profit performance indicators. To help you out, we have compiled a list with the most essential metrics you should check to gain a comprehensive view of how well your content is performing online and – finally – reach your financial goals.

Website Metrics

When it comes to content performance, the best tool you can use is Google Analytics, shortly referred to as GA. Specifically, GA allows you to track and analyse important metrics, such as:

  • direct traffic – direct traffic comes from the people who access your web pages directly, either by entering your web address into a browser or by coming from a source that is not a referrer;
  • pageviews – the number of pageviews indicates the number of times Internet users have accessed a specific web page;
  • time on site – time on site reveals the average time all visitors have spent on your site; this metric does not include visitors who leave immediately after they arrive; to find this information, you need to check the bounce rate;
  • lead conversion rate – the lead conversion rate indicates the number of people who filled in and submitted your sign-up forms;
  • inbound link – with Google Analytics, you can also track the inbound links your are building across the Web;
  • unsubscribe rate – (Not a GA metric) a high unsubscribe rate means that your readers do not like what they get in their inbox.

Once you get comfortable with these elements, you can analyse other metrics, such as visits with search, entrances and exits, sessions, mobile traffic, etc.

Social Media Metrics

GA does a great job at tracking traffic from social media channels. Under the Traffic Source tab, you can find the traffic referred by Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, reddit, and other social networking platforms. You can also set up GA to track social interactions, record likes, dislikes, and shares your content receives from Facebook users, track tweets on Twitter, and determine different levels of interaction, such as reach, engagement, participation, and enthusiasm. Additionally, when your referral traffic increases, you know that your content has value, people like what they read, and many of them are sharing your posts.
Now, it is time to talk about profit performance indicators. According to experts, profit metrics deliver some of the best success measures a marketer can use to analyse the effectiveness of inbound marketing.

Profit Performance Metrics

By checking and calculating the following metrics, you can determine whether or not your current inbound marketing strategy delivers the expected results.

  • revenue per user – this metric gives you information about the amount of money each subscriber spends on your products or services each month;
  • cost per lead (CPL) – to establish CPL, you need to divide the total cost of an inbound marketing campaign by the number of leads generated throughout that campaign;
  • cost per customer acquisition (CPA) – for this metric, calculate the amount you have spent to convert leads into customers and divide the resulting value by the total number of customers achieved throughout that campaign;
  • lifetime value of customer (LTV) – indicating the total revenue you will receive from your repeat customers, LTV ca be calculated by multiplying the gross margin by the average retention rate and number of transactions anticipated;
  • return on investment (ROI) – to calculate ROI, deduct CPA from LTV and then divide by CPA.

Though you can use a series of tools to get information about the real needs, wants, priorities, and behaviour of your target audience, the real trick to develop a successful inbound marketing strategy is figuring out what works best for your business.