The FIRST (and MOST Important) Thing You’ll Need to Consider When Creating a Successful Inbound Marketing Plan

The first (and most important) thing you’ll need to consider when creating a successful inbound marketing plan is to evaluate the current performance of your sales and marketing activities.

Understanding your current performance will help you know important areas that need improvement, and concentrate on inbound marketing techniques that’ll actually help you generate more returns on investment.

So, how to get started?

While inbound marketing is just one important part of your overall business strategy, nonetheless, it’s still necessary that you know how your current marketing efforts are contributing to an overall growth and revenues of your business.

Many of us make the mistake of judging our performance by looking only at marketing metrics such as clicks, page visits, unique visitors, and followers, rather than assessing our marketing performance on business metrics such as customers, sales, and revenue.

Mike Volpe, the former CMO of Hubspot, says, “The important marketing metrics to look at would be the overall marketing cost, including salaries for each person in the team, program spendings, and overhead costs, and then relate those expenses with the results that are truly important to you – i.e. customer acquisition and revenue.”

Other useful metrics such as cost per lead, cost per page view, cost per follower must also be analyzed, as they can help you where you need to focus your marketing efforts and which parts aren’t functioning working. But, most CEOs today are only concerned about the overall cost and the revenues, and not the crucial middle steps,” concludes Mark sadly.

Among all these 12 step development process for inbound marketing strategy, you’ll see that we’ll only cover business metrics and not marketing metrics. You see, developing a result-oriented marketing strategy allows you to keep your eyes on the “prize” – generating more customers and more revenue for your organization.

Basically, you need to focus on 3 key areas of sales and marketing when developing an inbound marketing plan:

1. Website traffic performance and conversion

Do you know how many visitors are currently coming to your website? How many of those visitors are turning into leads?

2. Efficiency of your sales and velocity

How long does it take you to nurture your leads into paying customers? How effective is your sales cycle?

3. Generating new customers and retaining them

How cost-effective you are when creating a new customer for your business? And, how long does it take for you to make profits from that customer? How often they make repeated purchases from you?

Once you have a clear understanding of these three key areas, then you are ready to use your inbound marketing strategy.

Let’s start by looking at how you’re working with attracting traffic and converting them into customers.

First of all, we highly advise that you go and insert your website URL into Marketing Grader – a HubSpot assessment tool – to easily and quickly check your website’s performance from an inbound marketing point of view.

Marketing Grader is an assessment tool (free) that quickly scans your website and displays a score based on several important factors, including blog posts frequency, on-page SEO, the total number of landing pages, social media integration, and whether your website is mobile friendly or not, among other important things.

If you haven’t already, you can try this amazing free assessment tool right now.

While this free assessment tool is definitely a great place to begin your assessment, however, an automated tool won’t be able to give you everything you need to know. You’ll have to go even much deeper to analyze and understand how your inbound marketing plan and your website is performing.

And, as you begin to review the performance of your website and inbound marketing effort, you should also consider other important things. Essentially, you’ll have to know: the number of website traffic you’re driving to your website, the current conversion rate of those traffic into leads, and how effectively are you able to nurture those leads into loyal buying customers.

These are 6 key traffic performance and conversion metrics that you need to analyze:

1. How many new visitors are you driving to your website every month?

New visitors means the total number of different users visiting your website around a specific time period, despite how regularly they visit your website. While only concentrating on this individual metric could be misleading, nonetheless, you’ll at least have an idea of how many traffic are currently visiting your website.

To do this, HubSpot’s analytical tool offers cool sources report feature that’ll allow you choose the time period you’d like to see the reports on your current marketing efforts:

Sources Report Screenshot

And, if you aren’t usingHubSpot, you can use Google Analytic’s traffic report feature.

2. What’s the current conversion ratio of your website traffic to lead?

Basically, a conversion happens when your visitor takes an intended action. Depending on your website goals and your business model, a conversion could be anything – from registering to create a new account, subscribing to your newsletter, downloading a file, making an online purchase, or something different.

To know your current website conversion rate, you need to divide the overall conversions on your website with the total visitors on your website. For example, if your website gets 1,000 visitors and only 10 people take action, that means your website has a 1% conversion rate.

Hubspot Dashboard Screenshot

If you’re using HubSpot analytics, you’ll find the conversion rate of your website on a number of places. For example, to get a quick overview your website overall conversions, you can use HubSpot’s dashboard. However, if you need more details about which pages are best-performers on your website, you should definitely refer to the landing page analytics and/or the sources report.

You can also use Google Analytic’s conversion tracking tool instead of Hubspot. If you don’t know where to start, check out this resourceful post written by Glen Gabe.

3. Where is your traffic coming from?

Once you’ve measured your website traffic and conversion ratio, you must also know where your website traffics are coming from. Do you know how people are finding you on the web? Is any one particular medium attracting more traffic than others? Does a specific traffic source convert traffic into customers more than the others?

This “insider” information is what Sources Report generates for you.

As displayed in the screenshot below, HubSpot traffic source report breaks down your overall traffic into:

  • Organic traffic
  • Social
  • Paid traffic
  • Referrals
  • Direct
  • Email
  • Other

Source Screenshot

In Hubspot, the above functionality is called Source Report, while Google Analytics has a feature known as Acquisition reporting that will give you similar “insider” information about your website.

4. How many email subscribers (opt-in) do you currently have?

As an inbound marketing company in Singapore, we’ve worked with all email lists of all sizes and shapes over the past several years. To be honest, some of the email lists were awesome. But, regrettably, others were terrible.

To make a long story short, today we understand not all emails are built identically.

Relying on purchased email lists for your marketing campaigns is a good idea, but you also need to focus on building an email opt-in list. To do that, we highly recommend that you check your existing email list now and find out how many people actually opted-in.

5. How engaged your subscribers are currently?

No matter how small your opt-in email list, if they aren’t used to getting emails from you then it can be quite difficult to recapture their attention.

To know how engaged your subscribers are, consider these three things:

  1. How often do you send emails to your subscribers (frequency of emails sent)
  2. How often those emails are delivered (email deliverability), and…
  3. How many of them really open and read your email and click on the desired call-to-action.

Email Screenshot

HubSpot offers the email analytics dashboard that allows you to easily analyze the performance of your email list. This reporting feature is also available on other popular email marketing platforms, such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, among others.

6. How much money (revenue) are you actually generating from your inbound marketing sources?

You see, in order to measure how effective your inbound marketing plan are, you’ll need to consider one important thing: returns on investment. Do you often make more money out from inbound marketing than you what you put in?

Most inbound marketing platforms, including Inbound Marketing Singapore, today provide CRM integration. When your marketing software is directly linked to CRM, it becomes super easy to evaluate the effectiveness of each campaign, channel, and content in generating revenue for your organization.

In case you aren’t already using HubSpot’s new CRM, then you can still use their native integrations for different popular CRMs such as Zoho, Pipedrive, Zoho, SugarCRM, Base, and Salesforce.

Let’s now look at few important metrics that is connected directly to the effectiveness of your funnel.

If you can tell how your sales funnel is performing now, then you also explain how your inbound marketing strategies will help boost the flow of new leads and customers to your website. Then, you can also accurately predict the impact it will have on your returns on investment.

While you’re creating your inbound marketing plan, you want to ensure you’re always explaining and measuring your plan in metrics such as customers, leads, and revenue.

Here are few metrics you want to always measure and incorporate into your inbound marketing plan:

  • How many leads are you working currently every month?
  • What are the sources of those leads?
  • What is the current lead to customer conversion rate?
  • How many new customers are you bringing each month?
  • How effective is your current sales cycle?

Lastly, you should also check how effective you’re in attracting customers and retaining them.

  • What’s the cost of generating a new customer?
  • How much you spend to generate a sale?
  • What is your existing customer retaining rate?
  • How long is your sales life cycle?

Key points you just learned

  • First thing first: know how your current marketing efforts and sales are performing to create an overall inbound marketing plan.
  • Three areas of marketing and sales performance you need to consider:
    1. Attracting traffic and converting them into customers
    2. Efficiency of your sales funnel and its velocity
    3. How many customers are you acquiring and retaining
  • Once you understand these fundamental metrics, you are then ready to discover key parts for improvement.
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