You run a business – and it seems pretty successful. Your employees show up every day, you’re turning a profit, you handle very few customer complaints, and someone has planned a potluck for Friday. But how good is business really? And, if it is good, how much better could it be? Without metrics you don’t really have any idea. But what should you measure to know – and how do you know if your metrics are good? Fret not. Here are some important metrics to measure and why.
First, you have to have a plan
You can’t – or you shouldn’t – run a business based on a wish for success. If you don’t have a proper marketing plan that includes objectives, success measures and milestones, then that’s exactly what you’re doing. And, without a marketing plan, you won’t be able to determine what metrics are important. To find out more about the importance of marketing plans, metrics and milestones, have a look at this blog.
Sales and operating metrics are basic for every business
Whether you make hats, offer legal services, or install corporate security systems – and regardless of whether your business is large or small - there are some things that every business should measure. These are some of the standard business metrics that organizations have based decision-making on for years.
- Sales revenue
- Customer loyalty and retention
- Cost of customer acquisition
- Operating productivity
- Gross margin
But marketing metrics are also key
In today’s digitally enhanced business world there is so much more information available to help you determine how successful your business is, what you can do to make it better, and where your success barriers lie. Here are 5 key digital business metrics you should consider measuring:
1. Website traffic
Your website should be the hub for your company’s communications - but if no one is visiting, it’s not doing your business any good. Ensure your website has analytics built into every page so that you can see how many people are visiting, what pages they’re looking at and for how long, where they’ve come to your site from, and if you can link increased website traffic to particular marketing executions, business announcements or changes.
2. Website Visits vs Leads Generated
There are many ways to generate sales leads – and all those leads should find their way into your CRM system for ease of tracking and to provide in-depth analysis of your sales leads throughout the entire pipeline process. However, understanding how effective your website is at converting visitors to leads will help you to make site adjustments that will drive greater lead volume and quality. With today’s potential customers educating themselves during the buying process, an effective website is one of the most important business tools in your arsenal.
3. Digital Advertising Click-Thrus
Often built into marketing plan tactics, digital advertising is generally a lower cost, higher return form of advertising than more traditional platforms such as print ads and billboards, for example. In addition, it’s much easier to measure their effectiveness. Digital advertising can include display ads, PPC ads, social media ads, blog and social media posts, online content, and any other form of digital messaging that can be clicked to drive traffic to your website. The goal of digital advertising is to have as many click-thrus as possible from the digital content to your website – preferably to a landing page on your site that is completely relevant to the digital content from which your visitor has clicked. These metrics will not only tell you how effective the content is, but they also represent the start of your website lead creation process and are used as website traffic drivers to facilitate more interaction with your business’s messaging, products and benefits.
4. Email Open Rates and Click-Thrus
Email marketing is an effective way to target customized messaging to specific audiences you want to reach. By monitoring the email open rates (the percentage of those who open the email versus the number of emails sent in total), you’ll know how effective your subject line, brand, or company name is at getting your audience’s attention. By measuring click-thrus from links included in your email to your website, you’ll know how effective specific content or messaging is. Email marketing can include newsletters, special offers, product announcements, and email messages that are triggered by your CRM system throughout the lead generation, pipeline management and sales conversion process. If you’re emailing in Canada, don’t forget about being CASL compliant as well.
Understanding your reach is an all-inclusive exercise and not just limited to your digital marketing efforts – but with so much attention on digital marketing, it’s worth mentioning it as an important overall business metric. Your reach is the total number of people in your business audience. This includes the number of contacts in your email database, the number of prospects in your pipeline, the number of customers you’ve invoiced, and the potential audiences of your various marketing efforts. Reach is the supporting metric of “the numbers game” in sales and marketing. While the quality of your audiences is also key – marketing a product or service to an audience that has no use for it is irrelevant – you do need to have enough potential customers in your reach to make the numbers work from audience to lead to marketing qualified lead to prospect to sales conversion to closed won. Part of your marketing plan should include tactics for increasing your reach in order to grow your sales potential.
Benchmarking for future success
Determining your particular business success factors will allow you to create meaningful business objectives and measure your performance against them. If you haven’t paid much attention to your metrics in the past, take your first year of measurement as a starting benchmark. Use those measurements as your YOY comparison for your second year of measuring success. Your benchmarks can be changed as your business continues to grow, and the elements of success that you measure may also change over time. But one thing is for certain – if you don’t measure your performance you really don’t have any idea of how good business is or how much better it could get – regardless of how great your Friday potluck is.
Do you run a B2B business and need help creating a measurable marketing plan? The Mezzanine Group are the B2B marketing experts. Contact us today.