I recently posted a question on LinkedIn asking what is your biggest digital marketing Challenge? After I read through the answers, which I am very grateful to have received, and thought about them for a very long time, one of the conclusions that I came to is that you can gauge success or failure of your strategy only when you have set measurable goals.
Here are two of the responses that I found quite interesting to share with you. The first one was from Sheila Jacaman, the founder and creator of Divina Natural which has a wide range of 100% pure, natural and organic skin care products.
"Digital marketing has been difficult for us as a new skin care company committed to natural and organic. We have relied completely on third party companies for our web site and marketing strategies. This part has been most challenging and unfruitful. The challenges we face in a very competitive market of skin care is obtaining the search engine optimization needed for successful eCommerce to be developed. Being a small company and preferring to focus on eCommerce is difficult without the back links and search words. eCommerce is a costly venture. "
Sheila Jacaman Divina Natural [fa icon="quote-right"]
The second response was from Raoul Didisheim, who owns a boutique and online store in Madisson, that features his wife's own curated selection of fine, semi–precious and costume jewelry.
Raoul Didisheim Mariana Antinori, Inc.
The way to measure success, ROI, or measure the effectiveness of your strategy is by setting measurable goals. Some questions to ask yourself are:
- How can I measure the success or the failure of the strategy I am currently using?
- What are the key performance indicators to look out for?
- What do I expect the 3rd party that I am working with to deliver?
- How can I measure the deliverables from 3rd party against by goals?
- How do I know if they are worth the investment I am making or if their efforts are not working towards my goals?
There are two crucial steps that I follow when I work with my clients on setting expectations:
Starting to work on a strategy without setting your S.M.A.R.T goals (SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely), is like getting into a canoe without paddles. Nobody wants to do that because you wont move very far. SMART goal setting brings structure and trackability into your goals and objectives. Your goal should be specific, focused and meaningful. A goal without a measurable outcome is like a sports competition without a scoreboard or scorekeeper. Your goal should be attainable - not too far or impossible to reach. Also your goal should be realistic or relevant to the current realities of the market of your industry. For example, you can’t set a goal to double revenue in a time of recession. Finally your goal should be timely, as in have a specific time period for it to be reached. An example of a SMART Goal would be I want to increase our online marketing qualified leads by 50% from 100 leads per month to 150 leads per months by the end of Q3 2015.
2. Planning and Blue Print Creation
Now that you have your Digital Marketing SMART goals in place, the next step is to plan how you are going to achieve these goals, and creating the blue print on how to do this. Here are the steps that I follow when I work with my clients:
- Create your buyer personas based on customer research
- Current content audit to assess existing offers
- Develop an editorial calendar to suit the buyer personas in different stages of the buyer journey
- Analyze your current digital marketing techniques to find out what is working and what is not working
- Analyze your competition use tools like marketing grader, Search Metrics, and PR Checker
- Define your Value Proposition
- Set strategy to generate leads online by publishing remarkable content that your website visitors will be willing to give their contact information in return of downloading your remarkable content
- Not all leads are created equal, so set your strategy to score your generated leads and go after the ones with the highers score
- Use Customer Relationship Management, to manage your sales opportunities pipeline and delight your existing customers,
Without these two steps, Digital Marketing can be very frustrating.
Going a step further, after your Digital Marketing Smart Goals are defined, your planning and blue prints are ready, and your strategy is in place and ready to rumble, it becomes the time to start implementing and crucially tracking results. Results I hear you say. Yes. Results. The best way to measure results with the 3rd party that you are working with, is to agree on key performance indicators (KPI’s). Here are my favorite bunch:
1. Sales Growth
Sales Growth metrics measure the pace at which your companies sales revenue is increasing or decreasing. This is an essential key performance indicator that needs to be monitored by every company as it is an essential aspect of growth projections. Make sure to monitor this metric over several time periods (weekly, monthly, quarterly etc…) so you have a clear indication of growth trends, be them positive or negative. Don't forget to have the the time periods agreed on with your 3rd party before you start. In addition, sharing your results with your entire sales team is a great way to keep them in the loop with progress.
2. Marketing Qualified Leads
According to Hubpost, “A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead judged more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on lead intelligence. MQLs are those people who have raised their hands (say by downloading an eBook or whitepaper, attended a webinar or browsed more than a handful of pages on your website) and identified themselves as more deeply engaged, sales-ready contacts than your usual leads, but who have not yet become fully fledged opportunities”. How many do you have weekly, or monthly, or quarterly?
3. Sales Qualified Leads
As defined by Hubpost, the leaders in Inbound Marketing, “A sales qualified lead (SQL) is one that your sales team has accepted as worthy of a direct sales follow up (source). SQLs on the other hand have been vetted much further and indicate a prospect that is ready to make a decision.” How many do you have weekly, or monthly, or quarterly?
4. Social Media Reach and Engagement
Reach and engagement are the most important 2 metrics when it comes to social media KPI’s. Vanity metrics, such as page likes, number of followers, post likes, etc are not as important as calculating the reach and engagement percentages. An example of this is, say I have a Facebook fan page that has 15,000 likes and only 6 people are engaging with the content, versus a Facebook fan page that has 2000 likes and 650 people are engaging with the content. Obviously the latter can generate more leads, or drive more traffic to your website. As the famous saying goes, it is not about quantity, but more about quality. I like to measure my social media efforts with my clients by focusing on the reach and engagement. What is the percentage of engagement on my social profiles, versus the number of people I am reaching. It is this number that is the one to be calculated - not how many likes or followers.
5. Website Traffic to Website Lead Ratio
This KPI is as clear as it reads - what is the percentage of website visitors that convert into leads. Do not only look at the amount of traffic you are getting on your site, unless one of your Digital Marketing SMART goals is x amount of traffic. What is more important is how much of this traffic coverts into leads. The reason this is so important is because it lets you know what the quality of your website traffic and conversion rate are like. So again, similar to the social media reach and engagement, it is not about how much traffic you have, it is actually about how much of that traffic turn into leads, and eventually sales.
6. SEO: Keyword Ranking
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the most important metric to be looking at is your keyword ranking, and not bounce rates, number of visits, pages visited, and time spent on site. Keyword ranking is the position in the search result by searching specific keyword on search engine. Research shows that almost half of all search engine users click on a result on the first page, and the higher you rank on that Search Engine Results Page (SERP), the better off you are. There are several tools available on the internet to help you with this.7. Email: Click RateThe most valuable metric to your reporting when it comes to email marketing is the click rate. What is the percentage of emails that were opened, followed by clicked throughs. Open rate alone wont provide you with sufficient information to indicate your progress because some email clients, will automatically open an email. However, measuring click rate shows you who engaged with your content. If you are seeing high clicks rates, then this means that your content is resonating with your buyer persona and inspiring them to engage.