Congratulations! You’ve got a brand new website for your B2B business, you’ve set it up beautifully, you have the right content (you think) in the right places (you hope) — you’ve got a user friendly design (as far as you know), all the marketers are telling you you’ve done a fine job, and you have some sense of what you should be doing to increase your search presence.
You feel really positive about it all.
Six months later, and you’re not feelin’ so positive.
Because that beautiful, gorgeous, amazing website that you put all that time and effort into, that website isn’t generating leads for your business like you expected it to.
Where Did You Go Wrong?
I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt on this one — I’m going to assume, if you did all that super important stuff listed above, that you set up some sort of analytics system to track a few key marketing metrics for your business.
But if you’re not seeing results, I’m guessing that one or more of a few things happened:
- You didn’t actually spend any time making changes to your website based on the data you’ve collected
- You’re tracking the wrong metrics
Now I’m going to give you a few more benefits for a few more doubts.
First, I’m going to assume that you have an understanding of the importance of ongoing content, that you’re keeping your website fresh and updated with new, valuable pieces of content that can draw in leads.
I’m going to also assume that your content is engaging, that everything you’re creating, written or video or visual or otherwise, is both awesome in quality and filled with suggestions and links to get folks to move from that piece of content to something more valuable (to them and to you).
Speaking of more valuable, I’m also going to assume you’re creating lead magnets regularly as B2B marketing practically requires quality lead magnets for your website to be effective.
Finally, I’m going to assume that you’ve got an excellent SEO process and you’re optimizing all this awesome content you’re creating.
So if you’re doing all of that and you’re even looking at the marketing performance metrics you’ve chosen, yet you’re still not getting the ROI on your marketing that you’re looking for, that only really leaves one problem…
You’re not seeing an ROI on your online marketing efforts because you’re tracking the wrong metrics.
The Key to Marketing — Metrics That Have Meaning
If you’re pouring all this time and effort into marketing, yet ROI remains frustratingly elusive, you’re probably tracking the wrong metrics.
If it’s in any way comforting, rest assured that you’re not alone — truly, most folks, even professional marketers, suck at this kind of stuff. It’s easy to get lost in the slipstream of content creation and forget to actually track what you’re doing.
But even when you are paying attention to your analytics, if you’re tracking the wrong numbers, you’re just wasting time…
Or even worse, moving in the wrong direction for the wrong reasons.
Marketing ROI often seems difficult to demonstrate, but the right numbers can help you prove that your marketing efforts are ultimately generating leads.
Here are just a few of those potential efforts you might be engaging in:
- Content marketing and content creation
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Organic and paid social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Offline efforts that drive traffic online (outdoor advertising, radio/TV, direct mail, etc.)
All of these efforts are expensive and time-consuming — if they’re not generating leads, they’re a waste of time and money.
Worse, if you’re tracking meaningless metrics, you might have a completely incorrect conception of why those leads aren’t being generated.
The Metrics to Track to Increase Marketing ROI
While this is going to vary from marketing effort to marketing effort and business to business, here are some general metrics you should be tracking:
- What marketing efforts are sending traffic to your website that then converts to a lead?
- Of those leads, how many are actually sales-qualified (that is, how many of those leads move beyond the first stage of the funnel?)
How many of those sales-qualified leads make a purchase?What content is generating the most valuable traffic (traffic that eventually turns into a sale)?Of all your sales/lead-gen pages/landing pages, which have the highest conversion rates?How many of those leads are sales-qualified?How many turn into sales?What elements on the page are driving clicks by sales-qualified leads?What lead magnets are most effective at converting?What lead magnets generate sales-qualified leads?What lead magnets actually generate sales?Which content creators are creating content that results in sales?
I’ll stop there as I think you’re starting to get the idea. For contrast, here’s what many marketers and business owners waste their time tracking:
- Highest traffic pages
- Sources of traffic
- Time on page
Now that all sounds awesome, right? More traffic is great! Knowing where your traffic is coming from is great! Learning how much time people spend on pages is great!
And conversions?! How is that a vanity metric? Don’t we want those?
Look at that first list, and you’ll see why.
What good does a high-traffic page do me if that traffic doesn’t convert?
What good is a conversion if the leads aren’t interested in buying?
What good are sales-qualified leads who never actually buy?
Honestly, I could care less if I have a high-traffic page that people are spending a ton of time on if that page doesn’t convert. Similarly, I could care less about a high-converting page when those leads are never willing to buy anything.
Knowing where my traffic comes from is only important if I can use that information to identify where my most valuable traffic is coming from — the traffic that turns into a lead that turns into a sale.
This is the worst way to measure marketing ROI for your website — judging the value of your efforts by mere traffic volume or time on page.
When Judging Marketing ROI, Measure Value, not (Necessarily) Volume
Let me give you a simplified example of what I’m talking about here to make it as clear as possible.
Let’s say I have three main sources of traffic:
- Radio ads that point to a landing page
- An ebook landing page
And let’s say I have my analytics set such that I’m tracking where all my traffic is coming from, and let’s say I have something like IntelligenceWP set up for visitor tracking.
In this example, here’s what my vanity metrics are telling me:
- The radio ad landing pages are low traffic and rarely convert
- Adwords is generating a lot of traffic, and that traffic stays on the page for a really long time
- The ebook landing page converts really well
If all I cared about were my vanity metrics, I’d have a clear winner and a clear loser. Adwords and ebook stay, radio ads go.
So let’s take it a step further, and let’s say I use that information to drive my efforts — I start investing more in AdWords and creating ebooks by the truckload…
Only, to my great dismay, to learn that my sales numbers are dropping. All that money I was investing in radio ads is now going into these other efforts, but sales are not reflecting this additional investment.
Worse, all my numbers look right! The ebooks are still converting, and the AdWords traffic is still on the page for an enormous amount of time.
Here’s the Answer — The Only Traffic That Held Any Real Value Came From the Radio Ads
But I didn’t realize it because I wasn’t looking at the value of those conversions.
Instead, I was looking at the vanity metrics — what pages converted the most, what pages drove the most interest and traffic — and I completely ignored the only thing that really mattered:
Which conversions actually held the most value.
It turns out those radio ads didn’t drive much traffic, and that traffic didn’t convert very often, but the traffic that did convert generally turned into a valuable sale.
This could be for a number of reasons — maybe radio was reaching the right audience, but that audience was very small, to begin with (which is common in B2B) and very few were actually willing to pull the trigger.
Compare this to those high-volume pages. In the B2B arena, it’s often the case that articles draw tons of traffic that never intends to ever make a purchase. In this case, these are people who want free information or are doing research (literally high school and college students) and will never buy anything.
But those radio ads are reaching the right folks.
That traffic is low. Those conversions are low.
But they hold a lot of value.
Too bad I read my metrics wrong and tanked my most valuable marketing efforts…
Marketing ROI only increases when you’re measuring the right metrics.
For that, you need something like IntelligenceWP.
Measuring Vanity Metrics Leads to Trouble — B2B Businesses Need to Measure Metrics Tied to Sales
The exact metrics you’re measuring are going to change from business to business, but they must go deeper than the stuff Google Analytics starts you out with if you’re going use that data in any sort of meaningful way.
That’s why we built IntelligenceWP — It’s built to help you easily set up tracking on the metrics that mean the most to your business.
We’d love to show you how easy it is to set up.