How do I know if my marketing is working? What does success look like to you and your business?
Is there a single answer to this question?
Unfortunately, measuring marketing success is time consuming and extremely difficult.
I’ve heard both sides of the argument. One side says “There’s no way to tell what made that customer purchase” the other says “Marketing is an investment, understanding the ROI of each activity allows you to scale”
“The most common measurement of success for content marketing programs is Total Sales.” (HubSpot, 2020)(Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
Should total sales be the number one key performance indicator for marketing success?
What if not all content is directed to closing a sale? I would argue that more than 75% isn’t about closing, it’s about getting the customer to the next stage in the buying process.
I’ll admit in a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) world that percentage changes. But for those of us dealing with Business-to-Business (B2B) the purchasing process can be anywhere from immediate to years.
This requires matching your marketing objective to your marketing activity to specific key performance indicators that have clear implications. The below steps aim to take this “it depends” answer and turn it into a more quantifiable concept.
This is How You Know Your Marketing Is Working
- Identify the goal of your marketing within each phase
- Setup foundation to track success
- Identify the key performance indicators according to your marketing activities and objective
- Create a closed loop of tracking where possible
Identify The Goal Of Your Marketing Within Each Phase
This step is not about you saying; my goal is more sales. We know that’s the end goal. The task here is about identifying the immediate goal at each phase of the process.
Within the awareness phase, the user has just seen us for the first time. What do we want from this outcome?
Perhaps it’s a link click, website traffic, a social media follow so they see future content.
After we have interest our goal becomes a little more demanding. Now we want the user to engage; download, subscribe.
The key concept here is that each stage has a different goal and each piece of content should aim to achieve said goal.
Here’s a very quick example of Tactycs’ buying process and the goals associated with it.
|Stage||Marketing Activity / Channel||Goal|
|Awareness||Blog, LinkedIn||Website traffic, following company page|
|Consideration||Website, Value Content, Remarketing||Email trade-off or discovery request|
|Decision||Email Marketing, P2P Selling||Request a demo, Purchase|
Setup Foundation To Track Success
Now that we have a better idea of what we want our customers to do with our content we need to set ourselves up for success.
Some of our content will be tracked for us by default (social media analytics per platform). But we want to make the most out every encounter. That means setting our website up with Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Search Console, conversion tracking, perhaps even some heatmapping.
The most critical component here is setting up Google Analytics. This will allow you to monitor how much traffic you have, where they are coming from, what they’re looking at, for how long they look at it, and much more.
Beyond that we want to use a combination of Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics Goal Tracking to create a custom goal funnel that aligns with the objectives we laid out in step 1.
The most basic form of tracking we want to see is a website contact form being submitted. For majority of businesses this is the ultimate conversion from the website. Here is a quick step by step guide on how to track contact form submissions:
- Setup Analytics tracking on your website
- Create a /thank-you/ page
- Setup a redirect after a form submission – Dependent on how you build your form but most plugins have the capability built right in
- Now go to Google Analytics > Admin > Far right column > Goals > New Goal
- See Photos Below
- Then test the conversion by going to Real Time > Conversions (of course go submit a form for this to work)
Identify The Key Performance Indicators According To Your Marketing Activities and Objective
Look at the table in step one and then identify the KPI’s that are critical to measuring success within each marketing activity.
Continuing the example from the table, in awareness we are using LinkedIn to get website traffic and share news. To reiterate, our goal is to educate and intrigue users enough to visit our site. That means that our primary KPI or measurement of success for LinkedIn is ‘Clicks’. Our secondary goal is anything that might improve the primary, in this case shares or impressions would likely be the next most important as they imply more eyes on content. And then finally we have a KPI that is dedicated to measuring the success rate of said LinkedIn Post; the Click-Through Rate (CTR). A quick way for us to see the ratio at which our post is successfully converting on our primary KPI.
By understanding these three key performance indicators and what each of them means we are able to gather implications from the data and ensure we are focusing on the right measure of ‘success’.
Our posts will always be asking users to visit links, check out more, etc. Why waste any possible attention on anything but the primary goal.
Furthermore, if the click-through rate is steadily declining over the past few months we know there is an issue with either total impressions, followers, or quality of content.
The same method of thinking should be applied to all marketing activities. If done correctly, the implication of each KPI and it’s inherent data becomes significantly more concise and actionable.
Create a Closed Loop Of Tracking Where Possible
The fabled attribution model that shows exactly where customers engaged all the way from start to finish is still impossible. But, we can get a clear picture of how each individual stage is performing on it’s own specific goals and then attempt to look at the flow or stream all the way through.
Identifying weak points and distributing more resources accordingly.
There are a few other little tips and tricks you can use to quantify where traffic is converting from:
- Ask users where they learned about you in the form or on a call (relying on the customers to know whether your marketing is working)
- Tag Manager / Google Analytics custom reports of acquisition & conversions provides the closest tracking of where and what the user did (ie. LinkedIn user visited site and submitted a contact form request or remarketing advertising traffic led to a download of value content)
As a marketer I should be able to say “The two activities in the awareness phase are performing well, we just aren’t converting once they’ve visited the website”. Allowing us to identify a gap in the buyer process, poor content, imbalanced value or missing activities entirely.
Alternative to all of this tracking there are tools that can help out. Tactycs just so happens to be one, we not only remove the tracking mentioned above but we have built-in machine learning that makes continuous improvements based on the KPI’s. A huge time saver that ultimately leads to a lower cost of acquisition. Better strategy, more time on content, improved results. How do I know if my marketing is working? Jump on a 15-minute call to see how you can avoid that completely!