We once met with a client who told me that one of their organization’s initiatives for the next year was to increase site traffic by 20%. We asked how they decided on that number, and they didn’t know. Someone just decided. 20%. Go!
That 20% doesn’t actually apply to anything in reality for this organization. You could go on fiverr.com and buy some visitors for $5! Of course, those visitors won’t do anything or buy anything or bring actual value to your organization, but there’s your 20% increase.
Determining real benchmarks that reflect real value from your online marketing is a lot more difficult. When we sit down with clients for the first time, our first question is usually “what are your goals?” Not soft goals, but real goals that result in that organization making more money. Not how many likes you have on your Facebook page or how many visitors you got. Real stuff, like how many people called you, or filled out your quote form, or bought your products.
Those are the metrics that matter.
Usually, these metrics lead exactly into the ways that your business makes money. Companies who sell products and services online have it easy — did they sell anything? Great! What’s harder is if you don’t have e-commerce. Here are some ideas:
- Do you have a physical store? Track visits to the contact page.
- Do you have a newsletter? Track subscriptions.
- Do you have a request or contact form? Track how many visitors fill that out.
- Do you have links to your social networks? Track how many visitors click on those links.
Don’t have any of these things? Find a metric that turns browsers into buyers, whatever that may be.
Tracking all of these things is entirely possible using Google Analytics and some custom goals. Goals and custom reports will dramatically improve the way you make business decisions. Real numbers in easy-to-read reports that make it simple for you to draw insights about your customers will make your marketing spend much more effective.
With real metrics, you can start making goals that matter based on patterns that you find. For example, do your visitors from LinkedIn fill out your quote form more often than everyone else? Focus on LinkedIn and make more of those visitors happen!