For some B2B business leaders, digital marketing can seem mysterious and unpredictable. How do you know if it's working? And how do you track its progress?
The answer to these questions is in the metrics. The three key metrics every business leader needs to know are: 1. Visitors, 2. Leads and 3. Customers.
Many B2B businesses only invest in marketing when there’s extra fat in the budget. However, digital marketing is now a critical piece of the B2B marketer's arsenal because it matches how buyers buy.
Your prospective clients are now doing their research online. So, often they've ruled you either 'in' or 'out' before you even know they exist.
The main goals for digital marketing are:
- Reach your audience (be found!)
- Engage your audience (provide useful content that helps your prospects solve a problem)
- Obtain a measurable outcome (get a lead in the form of an email sign-up or better yet a sales enquiry)
You need metrics for measuring the impact of each of these goals. Rock-solid, reliable and accurate data is the key.
So what are visitors, leads and customers?
Your website is the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy and should be the main point of contact for clients and potential clients. It is the place where you start or continue to build trust with your prospect.
Your website needs to be ‘sticky’, a buzz word meaning the site content captures and retains an audience. It must not only stand out from your competitors, but it must work for you like a 24/7 salesperson.
Sites that do this successfully include features like a responsive layout, an active blog, the ability to share information on social media and engaging content.
Tracking the number of visits to your website will give you an idea of whether your new digital marketing strategy is creating traffic. A drop in numbers suggests aspects of your campaign may not be working. The goal is to see traffic to your site increase steadily month by month.
You can track visitors to your website using Google Analytics. While there are some awesome stats you can, and should, gather about your site, the top line statistics on the number of visitors and how long they stay on your site are a good start.
It’s not good enough to just get a visitor to your site, once they’re there you need to convert them into a lead. This means offering them something in return for their email address. This could be as simple as a subscription form to your blog, a sign-up to your newsletter or, even better, a piece of valuable content that meets their needs. In short, you need 1) offers that are valuable to visitors and 2) Form, Forms, Forms!
A lead is generated after a potential client visits your website. If they're greeted with great content and like what they see, they'll take that interaction further (for instance sign up to receive newsletters or make contact via email).
Now you have contact details for the potential client. Contact details are like gold. And should be treated as such.
To measure leads look at your visitor-to-lead conversion rate: How many leads you're generating as a ratio to your site visitors per month. A rate of 1% or higher isn’t bad, but you should be working to increase this ratio over time by increasing the number of content offers on your site for your different services.
Nurturing leads is the process of taking them through a trust journey or the buyer’s journey from awareness, through consideration to a point where they’re ready to make a decision. If you can build trust like this - they’ll come to you! ...finally a customer.
Converting leads into customers is the end game.
If your customer has been nurtured with valuable content, chances are they’ll call you. Building trust online aims ultimately that prospects will be willing to provide you with their phone number and request a call. If not, your sales team need to be aligned with your marketing so they can follow up every lead. Aligning your sales effort and your marketing activity is critical to maximise your hit rate. This comes down to successful sales strategies.
To measure your success converting customers from your digital marketing efforts look at your lead-to-customer conversion rate, or how many customers you close a month from the leads you generate on your website. This ratio will be different for each industry so it’s worthwhile seeking a benchmark and seeing how you can better you ratios over time.
Your buyers are building trust online, not with your sales team. Your job is to turn them from visitors to leads to customers.
The conversion of visitors to leads to customers equals a successful marketing campaign meaning more sales and increased revenue.
There’s nowhere to hide with digital marketing - everything is transparent. Checking in regularly with the metrics of visitors, leads and customers will help you refine your efforts and is the key to digital marketing success.