Understanding the success and failures of Inbound Marketing efforts is crucial to businesses when planning and directing any future marketing campaigns. You are most likely to experience improved results when diving deeper into your analytics to determine which components were effective (and can be repeated), and where your tactics can be tailored to add more value and yield better results. That’s the true beauty of marketing reporting done right.By tracking your overall campaign performance - in real-time - you can be proactive within the campaign period, going to work on lagging areas and making adjustments to encourage better results.
So, to help you ensure your marketing reports are efficient, here are three steps to work through when planning, executing and reporting on your inbound marketing activities.
Three Steps to great Marketing Reporting
Step 1: Establish SMART Goals
Reporting should always get measured against a goal and a timeline. Setting SMART goals that bring together tactics and analytics is key to developing and progressing through an action plan to reach your desired business results. In other words, you need to set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely), and then hold yourself accountable for those results.
For example, you might set out to increase website visits by 20% in the next 60 days. Or perhaps, you'd like to secure 500 qualified leads by 30 November 2018.
Bear in mind that, whatever they may be, you need to measure the success of your goals on a weekly basis. Use a tool like HubSpot’s new analytics engine to review your progress.
Step 2: Identify Key Marketing Metrics to report on
If you're using HubSpot's marketing dashboard, you'll have access to heaps of insightful metrics all in one place. The dashboard provides proof of the success or failure of specific tactics, sources and campaigns. The metrics you report on should be relevant, aligned with your overall business objectives and show a return on investment that management can relate to. Though you can set up your digital marketing analytics dashboard to view granular data on everything from social media to sales, the following metrics are the bare minimum to keep track of:
By reporting on your sources, you're identifying which channels are performing the best for your business. By performing, we mean those channels that are delivering the most qualified visits, traffic, leads and ultimately, customers. By determining this information, you're highlighting areas where your business should be allocating more time and resources.
As a marketer, it's important to analyse how well the traffic you're generating with your efforts is converting into contacts across the various channels you're employing.
# of Marketing Qualified leads
Reporting on the number of marketing qualified leads, or MQLs, helps you keep track of the volume of people who visited your site and did more than just a little browsing, but downloaded an eBook or offer, or perhaps attended a live webinar.
It's a good idea to pull marketing and sales together and establish mutually agreed definitions of MQLs and SQLs. To be classified as an MQL, your lead will need to check the relevant criteria boxes. Considerations include job role, industry, geography, size of business, number of interactions and engagements - any element that's important to your business and would mark a lead as one viable for marketing follow-up.
Contacts by conversion
Content is king, as any inbound business or marketer knows - but there's no point in creating hordes of content if it's missing the mark and not helping you generate leads! By reporting on the conversion rate of your CTAs or content pieces, you're able to pinpoint how well your audience is responding to your topics, how well you're tailoring to your buyer personas and which types of content are your biggest lead generators.
Contact lifecycle funnel
As your contacts progress through the different lifecycle stages, from leads straight through to customers, it's possible to gauge just how qualified they are by measuring the percentage that goes on to the next lifecycle stage versus those that merely stay fixed in place. If you do not see the kind of progression you hoped for, it could be indicative of a gap in your marketing where you're missing the opportunity to guide MQLs to the position of SQL, or that you might be in need of improved collaboration with your sales and marketing teams.
Step 3: Create A Reporting Habit
Creating comprehensive marketing reports allow you to take a step back to assess how your strategy is panning out. The most important part of your data analysis is the ability to pull out insightful information and take the necessary actions to do more of the same, revise your strategy or incorporate your findings into current or future campaigns. Now make sure you create a weekly or monthly routine and honour it.
Measure everything you can, as often as you can, and you will always learn from your customers as well as finding better ways to improve your business. By setting realistic goals, asking the right questions and developing a routine, you will be seeing your efforts paying off in no time! Making sure to get into a reporting habit is an excellent way to stay on track with progress and identifying any problems with enough for corrective, preemptive action. What kinds of reports should you focus on creating, and what should a marketing report include?
Now you've got an idea of how to get your reporting in check and the importance of having a strategy in place. It's not only vital to make sure that you're on track with metrics but also is a means of proving to management or C-Suite that your efforts are paying off. Talk to us about how to get your marketing metrics on track and how to benchmark, calculate and report your efforts. We've also got a great guide with marketing report templates/samples for you to download.