We all understand that inbound marketing techniques add value. But, while we can track content traffic fairly easily, it is more difficult to track Inbound marketing ROI. In this post, we will look at how you can more effectively measure how much value your inbound marketing is adding.
To start off with, it is extremely important to properly define your goals and objectives. Sure, you want the campaign to bring you new leads but how will you measure success? Start by clarifying exactly what qualified leads and opportunities are going to look like.
While we tend to think of leads as a numbers game, the truth is that we need to consider the quality of the lead and the likelihood that it will convert as well. Say, for example, that you are selling a high-end product.
It might be easy to get people interested, but if they cannot afford to pay for the item, it is not going to matter how interested they are. That is a complete waste of time and impacts on the cost of your campaign.
It is also important to get more specific about the results that you want to achieve. To say, “More leads” is very nebulous. You would consider your campaign a success whether you got ten more leads than normal or a hundred.
Rather try and put a figure to it – say a hundred more leads than normal, or double the amount we have at present.
Your goal does not have to be about increasing the number of leads at all, if you don’t want it to. You could also set the goal of increasing the number of subscribers, or social media followers, etc. Again, just make sure that you understand what the goal is exactly.
Finally, put a date on it. Without a date, a goal is no more than a wish. Inbound marketing does take time to start gaining traction, so view it more as a long-term goal. Aim to give it at least six months to reach your final goal.
That said, you do need to ensure that you see some improvements along the way. You might not be able to get that extra hundred qualified leads over the next month, but you should see an increase in traffic.
This is more difficult to establish accurately, but you can make headway by accurately tracking all interactions with the client. You can figure out how much a basic email costs, how much a phone call costs, etc.
You will need to factor in how many emails, calls, etc. it took to get each new customer on board.
While you can account more exactly for costs in terms of actual emails, advertising costs may need to be averaged out. Say, for example, that you spend $100 on social media advertising, and it netted you 50 more followers, your average cost per follower would then be $2.
You will also need to factor in costs for your CRM software, and other similar costs. Again, the cost per customer for these will need to be averaged out. The next thing to consider is the creation of content. How much are you paying in this respect?
Finally, factor in the cost of the time spent on the strategy.
There are a couple of ways to track phone calls and emails. You could create your own system and manually update it. This is likely to cost you the least in terms of outlay but is very labor-intensive. You might save a few bucks up front, but the cost of updating the system will soon outweigh that.
A more modern approach is to use a CRM system. You will have to pay a monthly management fee for this, but the potential benefits make this well worthwhile.
The system will automatically record calls and emails to customers. The systems available today are able to track things like email opens, when a link is clicked, etc. enabling you to more accurately determine the success of a campaign.
Most systems will also enable you to make notes, diarise follow-ups and generally manage client interactions a lot more efficiently.
What is most valuable about a CRM tool, though, is that it gives you access to a wealth of information. You can see at a glance which campaigns worked better and drill down to the details of each to replicate successes.
You could also use the system to identify buying patterns and use these to predict future behaviors. There is a vast range of data available within these systems, and it is all at your fingertips.
Now you have an idea of the costs involved in new client acquisitions, and what strategies are worth replicating. Now it is time to start tweaking your campaign to optimize results.
Examine your CRM system to identify which campaigns were most successful and see what made them different. What time of day did they run? What kinds of mailers did you use? What was special about the email header?
Analyze the successful campaigns minutely and then work out where you can improve on these. This can be a slightly laborious process, but it will pay dividends over time. The idea would be to do one thing to improve the campaign and see how that impacts the results.
So, try changing up the header in your emails, for example. Do you get more opens? Or, more importantly, link clicks? If not, revert back to the old format. Now change a different factor, maybe try sending the emails out on a different day, for example. Does this improve the open rates?
Maybe you could schedule your follow-up call two days after the email went out instead of the next day.
The key is to only change one aspect at a time. That way, you can be absolutely sure of what made the difference to the campaign.
It will take a while to do things this way, but patience will be rewarded over the long haul. Say, for example, that you find out exactly what made your last content posting go viral. You could replicate that result. Your posts in future would go viral as a matter of course, rather than by accident.
Or, you could find out that the golden time to call clients in is within an hour of 8 in the morning.
The advantage of understanding these factors is that you get to optimize future campaigns. This enables you to take a lot of the guesswork out of your inbound marketing, and your ROI naturally improves.