on December 31, 2021 (last modified on December 21, 2021) • 18 minute read
When it comes to growing a business through inbound marketing activities such as content marketing, blogging, SEO, and email marketing, reporting can basically be used as your blueprint for success. But only if done right.
So, where’s the catch? Although data is available 24/7 for all inbound marketing activities and is easy to track, the problem is that the amount of available information easily puts marketers in analysis paralysis.
So, which areas should you focus on? Which metrics should you include in your inbound marketing report? How often should you report on different inbound marketing activities? Here’s everything you need to know.
Inbound marketing reporting is vital for understanding how our marketing strategy performs over time. Since there are many moving parts in almost any inbound marketing activity, it can be difficult to track the impact of each separately. But that’s where inbound marketing reporting comes in. Inbound marketing reporting can help us see how all of our marketing activities relate to each other and work together as a system.
Marketing reports include information about marketing efforts, including marketing initiatives, goals, results of those efforts, and recommendations for future actions. These three elements are key to include in your inbound marketing report:
A successful marketing goal is SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound:
The purpose of goal setting is not to write down some arbitrary number, but rather to focus your efforts in a specific direction. In order to do this, you need metrics that will indicate whether you’re on target or not.
This is where KPIs come into the game.
The right KPIs make it easy to identify where you should focus your efforts. They can tell you if you’re reaching the right people and converting prospects into customers, and whether or not you’re keeping them around long enough to get a return on your investment. KPIs also help you determine the effectiveness of your current marketing campaign to generate new leads, sales, and customers.
The KPIs in this article are primarily related to inbound marketing, including landing page optimization, lead generation, SEO, and social media promotion:
These key performance indicators will allow you to track your marketing programs, campaigns, and tactics so you can continually improve the effectiveness of your inbound marketing strategy.
Marketing analytics helps you determine if your marketing efforts are working. This can be done by tracking pre-defined goals or by measuring the metrics that most closely relate to goals.
Conversion metrics measure how many people you’ve persuaded to do something as a result of your marketing efforts. Increasing conversions is essential if you want to grow sales or traffic. You can do this by A/B testing your website, implementing marketing automation software, and testing out new channels such as social media and PPC.
Search engine optimization refers to all the on-site and off-site activities that influence organic search rankings. These include building backlinks and optimizing content with keywords for improved rankings on search engines. The higher you rank on Google, the more web traffic you will receive from organic searches.
Related: SEO Analytics and Reporting: Tips, Best Practices and Tools to Get Started
This is a measure of how many recipients opened your emails. It’s usually expressed as a percentage, so if you sent out 2,000 emails and 400 were opened, that would be 20%.
A lead is someone who has provided contact information in exchange for something. For example, a visitor entered his contact information into a contact form in order to download a free e-book.
Related: 24 Best B2B Lead Generation Tools for Getting More Targeted Leads
This is one of the key metrics in measuring the impact of an inbound marketing strategy. It’s why many marketers continue to invest so much time and effort in developing and posting content on various social media channels.
Paid traffic includes paid search, paid social media, display ads, and any other form of online advertising. A lot of people think that if they can’t measure it, it doesn’t count. But the reality is, the majority of your website’s visitors will come from paid traffic at some point.
Related: Clicks but no Conversions? 19 Tips on How to Convert Paid Traffic into Qualified Leads
This is the amount you spend to generate a lead. You can calculate this by dividing your total investment on a specific activity by the number of leads generated. However, it’s important to consider other factors such as lifetime value and conversion rate.
Should you include page views or bounce rate? Perhaps it should be comments or social shares…
The list of possible metrics goes on, which is why it’s so important to determine which metrics you need to include before creating your inbound marketing report. Based on more than 1.000+ analyzed inbound marketing reports, we have singled out these metrics as the most valued.
If you want to impress your boss, focus on the “top-level metrics” like goals and conversions. Some reports highlight the top five most-viewed blog posts, but that doesn’t mean much without knowing how and why users came to your website. For example, if your website is an e-commerce store, then it’s probably better to pay attention to the number of visitors who have left their phone numbers by analyzing the call tracking feature.
All other things being equal, you can optimize your campaign around calls rather than clicks because it’s a better measure of success. You can even focus your efforts on making sure that people actually click through to your website from the content they’ve read. If you do this consistently, then you’ll soon be able to see which pieces of content are most effective at driving traffic to your site. You can provide a list of best and worst-performing content with links to each piece. This helps you determine whether you should continue to invest in a specific type of content.
Lead generation is a hot topic in Inbound Marketing, and rightly so. After all, good leads are the fuel that keeps the machine running. But what exactly is a lead? And how does it differ from other metrics you can measure?
The answer to this question could be tricky.
A lead is different from other metrics you can track and report on because it’s not really something specific and concrete. It’s more of a state of mind: a person who has expressed interest in what you can offer them. For example, some companies will only count a lead if they have been contacted by a potential customer or client at least twice. In other cases, a ‘lead’ means the user has given his/her information for future communication. Be sure to clarify with your boss what you should include in your report on leads generated.
It’s important not to just put all your leads into one bucket, because then you can get lost in the data. If you haven’t broken it down into SQLS and MQLs, earlier mentioned, then there’s no way of knowing what stage each lead is at. The danger of which is that you might go to a client and say “We have 150 leads, but only 10 are SQLs”, when in fact 90 of them are MQLs which you never got round to qualifying. So, break it down into those two buckets and then you can really start looking at what works and what doesn’t.
How exactly lead generation works?
The following 3 metric examples will give you a more detailed explanation:
The problem with including the standard social media metrics in a report for inbound marketing is that they don’t actually mean anything – they’re not actionable. Anyone can find them on social media platforms. One thing that you should be looking at when creating an inbound marketing report is how effective social media has been when used to attract traffic to your website.
In this screenshot, you see two important metrics: Sessions and Contacts. So, when determining how successful your social media strategy has been, you should look at two things:
If you’re not sure what to include in your reports, start by creating reports that show how your social media efforts are contributing to your overall business goals. Don’t overload your reports with too much data. Instead, include only the most important social media data that are relevant to your specific business goals. This will help you easily identify trends and opportunities for improvement. Then, as you gain more experience with social media, you can create more customized reports that focus on specific goals or campaigns.
The number of emails in your inbound marketing report will vary based on all sorts of variables. Let’s say that you sent out an email to 2,000 people and 1,000 opened it. That’s a 50% open rate. If you sent out two emails with similar subject lines to the same number of people and one email had a 10% open rate and the other had a 45% open rate, then you have a big difference there. It is also vital you track your email marketing ROI as well as the open rate and CTR. This will help you learn what works and what doesn’t, which you can use to increase your ROI.
Don’t forget to track your bounce rates too – a high bounce rate may mean something is going wrong with your mail provider or email. You can also track how many people click on a link within the email – this is called an action.
As you can see, email metrics provide a gold mine of useful information, so make sure to include them in your inbound marketing report.
What metrics should you report on every day, every week, and every month?
Are you looking at the right metrics every day?
By “right,” we mean metrics that will help you track your progress toward your goals, but still specific enough that they don’t take up much of your time. It’s not enough to look at leads, conversions, visits, and other numbers that fall under the general heading of “inbound marketing.” You need to make sure you’re looking at the right numbers for your business which you can influence on a daily basis.
Start with monitoring these:
The first step is making sure everyone on your team knows what his or her responsibilities are for the week. If there are any new projects or campaigns that need to be started, make sure everyone knows about them and is working on them. The goal is primarily to find out what’s happening with your campaigns and whether or not they’re having the impact you want them to. You’ll also want to see if there are any new campaigns that need to be put into place or existing campaigns that need to be changed or fixed.
These metrics will help you to understand your weekly marketing efforts:
What to report on monthly?
The answer may depend on the goals of your company. This is the most complex but also the most comprehensive inbound marketing report. If you’re a B2B company, it’s important to know how many leads you generate, but it’s also important to know which source drove these leads — was it organic search, PPC, social media, content marketing, or something else? Goals and key metrics should be discussed during a meeting, along with the overall strategy for the next month.
Although inbound marketing is still relatively young, there are scores of statistics, tools, and benchmarks to choose from when creating your inbound marketing report. This whole process takes time, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Remember, a well-crafted and comprehensive report can be used as a blueprint for marketing success.
Once you have reporting set up, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts better and make adjustments where necessary. This whole process won’t happen overnight, but if you invest enough time and resources to set up a successful inbound marketing reporting process, you will rarely hit roadblocks into the future.
Want to speed up the whole process? Instead of tracking a bunch of different marketing metrics across a bunch of different tools, visualize all of them in one place with Databox.
It’s free. Just create your free account here, connect your data, and build your first inbound marketing report in minutes.
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