The economy has been pretty rough lately and budgets are getting tighter across all departments. This is especially true for the marketing department. CEOs and CFOs want to place hard numbers to return on marketing efforts. As a result, CMOs have to change the way they play the game. In smaller businesses, chief-everything-officers are struggling to find a way to get the most bang for their marketing buck.
With the birth of inbound marketing comes the ability to track the return on investment for marketing dollars. It takes a system and a unified approach. Remember, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it! Here is how it breaks down:
Begin with the end in mind.
The accurate assessment of marketing return on investment starts well before marketing actually begins. It’s important that key benchmarks and actionable goals are set out prior to investment taking place. The goals need to be fair and reasonable to accomplish true change. Talk with your team about the specific growth that you would like to see and put goals on paper.
Set the Funnel
After mapping out the goals and timeline, it is time to craft a plan to get there. This plan is your online sales funnel.
The sales funnel lives on the company website, it is the central hub for content. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and niche social networks can be used to build a relationship with qualified people and direct them to the website.
It’s important to be able to record when a lead first visits your website. That way, if that lead later calls your sales team, you already have the data on them. To capture this data, we often recommend a marketing automation software called HubSpot. Whatever the platform, put systems in place to collect and compile data comprehensively, and in a way that can be easily measured and compared.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system such as Salesforce can be used to track and manage leads as they navigate your sales process.
It’s also important to manage content in an efficient way. Power your website with a robust CMS like the GuavaBox Custom WordPress Installation so that you can easily track, change, and deploy content in a meaningful way.
Collect and analyze lead data.
This is the fun part. All of the planning is done, and you’re ready to launch the campaign and watch your traffic spike. Nice!
The challenge now lies in converting visitors to leads, and capturing identifiable information about them.
By creating offers and collecting basic information through a form, your visitors will engage in an informational exchange (their information for your content). You can then use a tool like Google Analytics (Free, Basic) or HubSpot (Paid, Advanced) to track sources of your leads and attribute them to specific inbound marketing actions (like emails, a blog, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn).
When it comes to measuring success, numbers are key. It’s incredibly important to collect and aggregate data in a way that can quickly be identified as success or failure.
We tend to look primarily at:
- Percent growth in revenue
- Percent growth in leads
- Net new customers
- What percentage of sales originated from social media site?
By analyzing these metrics against the total investment, you can quickly determine cost-per-lead and overall ROI. It is vital to spend time planning out a strategic approach. That roadmap will place you on the road to success. As you go, you will learn from the data and be able to change course accordingly.
Got some questions? Not to worry, feel free to set up a free assessment to find out if inbound marketing and proven ROI is a good fit for you.