If you’re like most MSPs, you may find marketing … well … aggravating. There are so many strategies, tactics, and platforms to manage, so it can be difficult to know what is working — or IF your marketing is working at all. And if you aren’t certain something is working, why spend the money?
Speaking of money, let’s talk budgets for a minute. What SHOULD you be spending?
According to the U.S. Small Business Association, businesses under $5 million in annual revenue should spend 7 to 8 percent of their total revenue on marketing each year.
Let’s do some quick math to see what this looks like:
Revenue Annual Budget Monthly Budget
$500,000 $35,000-$40,000 $2,900-$3,300
$1 million $70,000-$80,000 $5,800-$6,600
$5 million $350,000-$400,000 $20,000-$33,000
These numbers can seem daunting for companies that have done little to no marketing in the past, so it’s important to track results and spend wisely.
The Truth About Metrics
Before we get into what to measure, let’s get really honest. The truth is: There is no way to get 100-percent accurate reporting results on your MSP marketing efforts, so if you’re looking for every single dollar to be tracked back to sales, you’re going to be disappointed and frustrated. There are a few reasons for this:
- It can take more than 15 touchpoints to turn a suspect into a qualified lead. Most times, your tracking will count touch point #15 as the one that worked, but 1 to 14 may have played a role to “warm up” your prospect.
- Not everything can be measured. How do measure someone passing by your trade show booth? How do you measure someone speaking highly of your company? How do you measure a good reputation?
- Even if you ask your prospects what caused them to respond, they may not remember accurately, so your data will be incomplete. They may not recall touchpoints 1 to 14 even though they did work in your favor.
My point here is that marketing metrics are not an exact science, so we need to allow for some wiggle room and nuance. That said, we can track and measure more today than ever before, and those abilities are only increasing as digital marketing takes the lead among marketing strategies.
Now that we’ve set the stage, let’s get into the metrics. I’ve broken this down into three categories: website, email, and social media metrics.
Your website contains some of the most valuable data accessible, especially since company websites have become the “home plate” of the digital marketing game. While there are literally thousands of metrics you can easily track through Google Analytics, here are a few of the most important:
- Total Traffic – How many “hits” your site gets each month.
- Total Visitors – How many unique “people” are viewing your site.
- Top 20 Pages – This shows you the most popular content on your site.
- Average Time on Site – Obviously, more time is better and indicates good content.
- Average Pages per Visit – Again, the more the better. More pages mean you’re keeping the visitor intrigued to learn more.
- Conversions – This includes things like newsletter signups, whitepaper downloads, contact forms filled out, and leads.
- Referrals – This shows where your traffic is coming from, how visitors are finding you. Did they come to your site directly, through a Google search, or from a social platform?
- Bounce Rate – A bounce is a visit to one page only. Unlike all the other metrics in this list, we want this number to be low. A high bounce rate indicates people aren’t finding what they are looking for, so they immediately leave or “bounce” off your site.
If websites are the home plate of digital marketing, email campaigns are the runners on base trying to score. The goal of almost every email campaign is to drive traffic back to your site to take an action, such as watch a video, download a whitepaper, or fill out a form. Here’s what you’ll want to track:
- Total Opens – Industry averages are usually 3 to 5 percent, so anything over 10 percent is good and over 20 percent is excellent. Low open rates? The problem may be in your subject lines. (Hint: Write intriguing subject lines!)
- Unique Opens – How many different people opened your email? This is different than total opens because one person could open your email multiple times.
- Click Through Rate (CTR) – How many people clicked on the link(s) provided in the email? This will tell you how engaging your content is for your email list. CTRs are typically lower than open rates.
- Conversions – How many people clicked the link and then took the desired action? This is what we really want out of any email campaign, so if conversions are low, take a look at the content you’re offering.
- Unsubscribes – A high unsubscribe rate means your audience isn’t digging your email content, and they’re opting out. We want this to be as low as possible, but some unsubscribes are normal.
- Bounce Rate – Bounces happen when emails aren’t delivered for one reason or another, typically when an email address is old. It’s important to keep your lists scrubbed so your bounce rate stays low, or you run the risk of getting blocked by some email servers.
Social Media Metrics
If your website is home plate and emails are your runners, social media represents the screaming fans in the stands. Except in this scenario, we want the fans to go from watching to participating in the game.
- Total Followers – How many people have opted in to view your content?
- Increase in Followers – Is your fan base growing steadily? We want to see this increase month-over-month.
- Engagements – This number includes likes, comments, shares, and retweets. It is the most important metric to measure in social because it speaks to your audience’s participation. Having 10,000 “silent” followers is meaningless.
- Clicks – How many people are “going deeper” into the content you post on social and finding great content on your website?
- Conversions – Just like the other two categories, this is the ultimate goal, but it is probably best approached through targeted social campaigns.
As I mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of metrics you could track, but these are a great start. Tracking these stats will help you analyze which activities are working best for you and where you need to improve.
One final thought: It’s helpful to track the same metrics each month so you can establish trends and averages. Numbers in isolation mean very little, so if you know what your averages are, you can better recognize and respond to spikes and dips in activity.
Photo Credit: Christina Welsh via Flickr.com. Used under CC 2.0 License.