Imagine how frustrating it would be to run a business if you never checked your KPIs. Imagine how difficult it would be if you didn't even know what your KPIs were. Talk about shots in the dark.
So why would it be any different for your marketing success? Much like you want to limit your reject ratio and optimize your take time, you must have a go-to set of KPIs to monitor and optimize your marketing.
The following KPIs are broken down by stages of the inbound marketing funnel.
Marketing KPIs for Attracting Visitors to Your Website
1. Website Traffic
Why Monitor Web Traffic: Growing website traffic means growing B2B brand awareness, and more opportunities to generate leads. If your website traffic isn't increasing, you're probably not reaching prospects. That means you need to tweak your strategy.
Website traffic is a very basic, but very important KPI. Website traffic is a sum of the visitors that visited your website in a given period of time. Tools like HubSpot and Google Analytics will give you a this data.
You need to monitor your overall website traffic to make sure you're improving month over month. With an effective inbound marketing strategy, you should be seeing at least a 10% traffic increase every month.
2. Blog Traffic
Why Monitor Blog Traffic: You need to monitor your blog traffic so you know if you are improving on reaching your prospects, and if you are writing the right topics to attract them. If blog traffic is poor, it's time to rethink topics or keywords.
Why differentiate blog traffic from overall website traffic? Regular website pages tend to promote your products and services, along with highlighting your history and principles. Your blog is for educational content that will help your prospects and customers.
Blog content reaches your prospects when they're researching a problem your manufacturing company solves. So, your blog traffic tells you whether you're attracting prospects that could be converted into leads.
3, 4, 5. Search Engine Metrics: Keyword Impressions, Rank, and Click-Through Rate
Why Monitor Search Engine Metrics: You have a set of keywords that you want to rank well for in Google. These keywords could open the floodgates for high quality visitors and leads. The following KPIs will tell you whether you've chosen kick-ass keywords or shitty ones.
- Keyword impressions - the number of times your website showed up in search results for a given keyword, whether your site was visited or not.
Google Analytics is the best resource for tracking this KPI. If you want to get clicks, you need to know your website is being displayed. This KPI is more important when your site is listed beyond page two of search results.
- Keyword rank - is as straight forward as it sounds. How far up does your website rank for a given keyword? Position one (or zero) is the coveted spot! Everyone wants to rank first for their best keywords.
This KPI is especially helpful for identifying keywords that are drastically improving or under-performing. Identify a valuable keyword to give it more focus and push it higher. Identify keywords that you once ranked well for to figure out why they slipped, and correct the issue.
- The click-through rate (CTR) indicates the percentage of searchers that saw your website (an impression) in their search results, and then actually clicked on it and visited your website.
A lower CTR can suggest a few issues. One, your page may not be relevant enough to the user's search, and therefore won't appeal to the searcher. Two, your page title and/or meta description may require some fine tuning to entice the searcher to click.
6, 7. Social Media Metrics: Reach and Engagement
Why Monitor Social Media Metrics: Social media is a content producer's best friend for attracting visitors to their website. The KPIs for social media will directly impact the KPIs outlined above. Monitor these to identify opportunities to succeed in social media and improve brand awareness.
- Social reach - measures your social media following. The bigger the following, the bigger the audience to consume, share, and promote your content.
I'm a firm believer that most manufacturers won't see success on all of the social channels. I think it's necessary to test all of the major platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIN, but there will probably be some clear winners when it comes to social reach. The focus should then be placed on the more effective social channels.
- Social engagement - measures how much social followers interact with your social activity. You should monitor and optimize your social activity to improve the number social shares, likes and comments. Do so will really take advantage of the 'networking' effect of social media.
The best tool for monitoring these KPIs and publishing to social channels is HubSpot. There are other options as well, but HubSpot is my favorite.
Converting Website Visitors into Leads
8. CTA Click-Through Rates
Why Monitor CTA Click-Through Rate: It's important to test placement of CTAs, pairing of CTAs with content, and messaging/visuals used in your CTAs. A higher CTA CTR means your CTA is highly relevant to the visitor. A low CTR means it's not interesting.
You should be using calls to action (CTAs) on your website to generate leads. CTAs promote 'offers' or conversion opportunities on your website. HubSpot is hands down the best tool for creating, monitoring, implementing, and optimizing CTAs.
9. Landing Page Conversion Rate
Why Monitor LP Conversion Rate: If someone visits your landing page, you want them to become a lead. Optimize this KPI to increase lead volume.
Your landing pages were created for one sole purpose: converting your prospect into a lead. Landing pages offer something of value in exchange for their contact information.
The KPI for landing pages is conversion rate, or the percentage of prospects that visited the landing page and submitted the form. We want to see a minimum of a 2% conversion rate on landing pages.
Your landing page conversion rate provides several insights, including:
- Whether the value of the offer is explained well enough
- Whether the value of the offer warrants the amount of contact information you are asking for
- Whether the offer is relevant enough to the prospect
- Whether the CTA value proposition is expressed correctly
10. Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Rate
Why Monitor Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Rate: This is an extremely important KPI for any business. Visitors are great, but are they taking the action you want them to take? Are they turning into leads? Converting to leads is a MAJOR step towards making a sale.
I've written previously about calculating your website conversion rate, so I won't get too detailed here. Basically, keep track of your conversion rate and work to optimize it bi-weekly. Boom, done.
11. Lead-to-MQL Rate
Why Monitor Lead-to-MQL Rate: This KPI will have different criteria for each company. You should be steadily improving the percentage of qualified leads to increase sales opportunities.
MQLs, or marketing-qualified leads, must meet an agreed upon level of qualification to get sent to your sales team for further qualification. MQLs may be contacts at companies in the right industry, that are the right size, and have the right number of employees to be a potential customer.
Having more MQLs means you are attracting the right website visitors and converting quality leads. This KPI will be a smaller number than your overall visitor-to-lead conversion rate. Unqualified leads can come from all over the place - there may be students using your ebooks for a paper they're writing, or peers that would benefit from guide you've written.
Closing Website Visitors into Customers
12. MQL to SQL Rate
Why Monitor MQL to SQL Rate: An increasing MQL to SQL rate indicates that your marketing is attracting, converting, and qualifying leads before they move on to sales for further qualification. This means your sales team is focused on real opportunities, not wasting their time on lost causes.
Marketing-qualified leads that move on to your sales team will hopefully end up as SQLs, or sales-qualified leads. A sales-qualified lead is much closer to making a purchase than an MQL. To be an SQL, sales must determine if the lead is BANT (budget, authority, need, and time-frame) qualified.
Like the lead to MQL rate, the MQL to SQL KPI will be an even smaller number. Picture a funnel with all leads at the top, MQLs in the middle, and SQLs at the bottom.
13. Lead to Customer Conversion Rate
Why Monitor Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate: Your lead-to-customer conversion rate simply shows what percentage of overall leads generated turn into customers. As a manufacturer, this will be a small percentage. This KPI tells you how many leads you need to generate to get a new customer. Combined with visitor-to-lead rate, you'll know how much traffic you need per month to get that customer.
Leads mean nothing if a healthy percentage of them don't turn into customers. All of the other KPIs come together to build this number. The work you do to improve the other numbers is the easiest way to boost lead-to-customer conversion rate.
How to Monitor & Improve Your Marketing KPIs
If you're not currently tracking and optimizing these, you really need to start. The things that get measured are the things that get improved.
My first suggestion is to get a technology suite that will make tracking these KPIs easier. HubSpot is my first choice and what we use protocol 80. It has everything under one roof, with dashboards to see the numbers with little effort.
My second suggestion is to learn how you can improve your marketing performance using your skills and resources as an executive:
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on April 05, 2017 and was updated September 24, 2019 to reflect more recent resources and insights.