Written by: Caroline Ramseyer, Account Executive
Imagine embarking on a road trip out west. Sounds fun! You packed your bags and filled the car with gas, BUT you haven’t plotted how to get there. And you forgot to water your plants. Poor house plants.
Your ultimate goal is to reach the Grand Canyon, but without a specific address to plug into your GPS or circle on a map, you’re traveling blind. You’ll end up wasting time, running out of snacks, and using way more gas than you budgeted for.
Imagine instead that you know exactly where you’re going, and you have a plan. You know what interesting pitstops you’d like to make, and you have a rough idea of when you’ll reach them.
Now that sounds like a successful road trip. And bonus, your neighbor will water your plants!
Plan a successful marketing road trip
A road trip is a pretty accurate analogy for an organization’s marketing journey. And just like a trip to the Grand Canyon, in a marketing journey, you visit spots along the way.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) behave a lot like those planned stops. They help measure success along the road to reaching your business goals. They are a precise measurement, but also allow for adjustments when the road gets bumpy.
Your planned stops should be personalized to your needs. The KPIs that suit one organization may not be the right fit for another. You prefer to stop at Starbucks for coffee, I prefer a local joint. Make sure your stops are specific to the needs of your company.
The SMARTer—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely— they are the more effective and meaningful they will be.
Start by examining your target audience(s) and its specific industries. Then determine the appropriate tactics to connect with those key audience groups.
You likely already know whether your customers are other companies (B2B) or individuals (B2C). Knowing that will influence which tactics you use. But understanding HOW to implement those tactics can be tricky.
Many companies opt to partner with a communications agency to help develop a strategy and execute a plan. A marketing and communications plan (marcom plan) aligns specific marketing tactics and KPIs to your business goals and objectives.
Use clues to guide and navigate
To come up with an effective plan of attack for setting KPIs and milestones, we recommend you look to the data.
One potential goldmine of data is survey results (we have a few words on the topic).
Surveys are a great way to learn the buying habits of your customers, marketplace perceptions, and customer sentiment about your product or service.
Another way to gain insight into the behavior of your target audience(s) is through Google Analytics. Data gathered on your site over time shows you where people are coming from, what pages they visit the most, how long they stay on your site, and whether they click call-to-action prompts (sign up for our newsletter, submit a contact us form, engage with an online chatbot).
Using Google Analytics, you’ll discover:
- Are there any spikes in traffic to the site?
- What is your visitor behavior?
- Which pages are being visited the most?
- What keywords do visitors use to find your site?
- Where are the visitors coming from?
- How long do they stay on particular pages?
Plot the stops (KPIs) along your route
Armed with sound data and web analytics, you can now identify KPIs to help you reach your business goals.
Here are some general KPI guidelines:
Focus on 3-5 KPIs at a time.
Anything more than this will dilute the level of focus and tracking needed to see your business progress.
Set up long and short KPI milestones.
Your end goal may be to increase sales on a new product line by 15% over the course of three years, but consider adding sales goals for the first six months, the first quarter, or first year, too. Short-term KPIs keep progress in check as you journey toward your end goal.
Review KPIs regularly.
If your business is constantly evolving, and your sales process is changing to accommodate it, why would your KPIs remain the same? The worst thing for a KPI is neglect. Review them regularly to ensure they’re still attainable and meaningful. If you don’t, you just might veer off course.
Know when it’s time to say goodbye.
During your review process, you may realize that some of your original KPIs are no longer applicable. Resist the urge to hold onto them. Drop them in favor of new, more relevant ones.
Build your KPI roadmap for lead generation and nurturing
As noted earlier, there are many types of KPIs that businesses find helpful for different reasons. And the best KPIs are the ones unique to your organization and its goals.
Let’s drill down specifically into KPIs if your goal is lead generation and nurturing. Lead generation is a key priority for B2B organizations especially.
Many organizations think the number of leads they get is the only important metric, but we’ve found others to be helpful. Below is a list of general metrics with example KPIs listed below each.
- Increase the number of product inquiry form submissions by 10% in the first quarter.
- Reduce on-page bounce rate from 75% to 40% over the next six months.
- Increase traffic to our website through retargeting campaigns by 15% in the first year.
- Increase call-to-action (CTA) click-through rates to “learn more” about a new product line 5% month over month.
Email conversion and engagement
- Increase the open rates for new product announcement emails by 10% over six months
- Increase our newsletter opt-in list by 15% in the first quarter
- Improve the click-through rate to “find a rep in your area” CTA
- Decrease opt-outs by 10% in six months
- Increase the number of sales calls in the first quarter by 10%
- Follow-up on website inquiries with 24 hours of submission
- Reduce the sales cycle by 5% in the first year
Social media engagement
- Increase our social media followers by 10% in the first 30 days
- Increase post engagement by 5% each month
- Improve the reach of our promoted post by 10% in the second quarter
- Improve the number of post shares by 5% in the first 30 days
It’s clear there are many ways organizations can measure progress toward business goals. The KPIs you choose should drive your company toward its own definition of growth and success.
You’re ready to hit the road
Your journey now has a clear direction, identified stops along the way, and an end destination in sight.
It requires established business goals, pinpointed target audience(s), accurate data, and effective KPIs.
Along the road, you’ll encounter potholes, detours, and plenty of “are we there yets.” Simply adjust course and get back on the road again. And don’t forget your plants!
ddm can help you navigate every step of your journey.
From helping you with your research needs, to setting up a marketing plan with clear KPIs, we want you to arrive at your destination with plenty of gas left in your tank.