By Kristen Patel

Just last year, over 40 percent of companies surveyed as a part of HubSpot’s State of Inbound initiative shared that one of their top marketing challenges was proving the ROI of their marketing activities.

I’ll be honest—I was floored. After all, within the world of inbound marketing, there’s certainly no shortage of information, analytics, or KPIs. In fact, back during monthly reporting week, I found that I’d more often run into the opposite problem: There was often an overabundance of information about each specific piece of an inbound marketing campaign, and I’d pull all of it.

(Well, maybe not all of it, but a lot of it.)

Here’s what I look at to determine the effectiveness of inbound campaigns:

How Visitors Reached the Campaign

Although no two inbound marketing campaigns are the same, I would often rely on a similar framework to help visitors reach our super awesome piece of premium content.

The content lives on our clients’ websites and is either accessible on a landing page, gated by a form, or it lives on the website, ungated and waiting for the world to find it.

Now, although the same KPIs shouldn’t be copied and pasted from one campaign to the next, there are reliable elements that should always be included. These elements are email, social posts, and calls to action (à la related website pages), and each element has its own measurements of success:

Emails

In order to demonstrate the success of your promotional emails, you’ll want to take a look at …

  • Deliverability rate: This is the percentage of emails that didn’t hard or soft bounce, but actually made it to your recipients’ inboxes.
  • Open rate: Although many brush off the open rate as a metric purely dependent on the email’s subject line (or subject lines, if you’re testing), there’s quite a bit more at play: Day of the week, time of day, sender name/appearance, and recency of engagement with your brand, just to name a few.
  • Click-through rate (CTR), or more indicative of how the content and calls to action encouraged visitors to click through to the landing page: click-to-open rate (CTOR).
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Social Media

  • Clicks: Did people click on your post and redirect to your landing page?
  • Interactions: This metric includes clicks, mentions, likes, shares, and retweets. Although this doesn’t necessarily measure the effectiveness of your campaign, it helps gauge the effectiveness of your messaging.
  • The success of your messages: If someone clicked on your post, did they convert on your offer and ultimately become a contact?

CTAs

Once visitors make it to your site, specifically to relevant pages on your site, how do you get them to your offer landing page or website pages? You use calls to action, of course! As you measure your CTAs’ success, you’ll want to look at:

    • CTA Views: Are these calls to action getting enough traction to successfully direct traffic to your content offer?
    • Click Rate: This metric indicates the percentage of visitors that click through the call to action, out of all those who see it.

Looking at these three components, we’re able to see how visitors get to your content, but what about once they’re on the right page?

How Visitors Convert on the Campaign

It’s time to measure the success of your landing page, and the true lead generation capabilities of your content offer. Assuming that your content offer is gated, you’ll want to look at …

  • Page views: How many pairs of eyes did you get to this landing page?
  • Submission rate: Out of your visitors, how many submitted this form and obtained the piece of content?
  • New contact generation rate: How many submissions were first-time submissions?  

So, to put it mildly, there was a ton of information included in each of our reports on an inbound offer or campaign.

Do you report on your inbound campaigns this way?

You’re allowed to say yes. In fact, if you’re looking at the performance of each of those components, I daresay you’re doing a very thorough evaluation of your campaign’s ability to generate leads. But is that enough?

For many B2B marketers, it might be. After all, 85 percent of B2B marketers say that lead generation is their most important content marketing goal. But is measuring your effectiveness at reaching a content marketing goal the same as measuring the effectiveness of your inbound campaigns?

Measure That ROI

Let’s take a step back. If you are measuring your campaigns in this manner, are you able to see how each campaign impacts your overall business goals? Can you attach ROI to a specific campaign?

If yes, pat yourself on the back. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

If not, well, that’s okay. Although you’re certainly not alone, it’s time to up your reporting game. After all, at the end of the day the effectiveness of your inbound campaign can be measured by whether or not it contributed to any ROI.

Luckily, HubSpot’s updated Campaigns tool makes it easy for you to see these big-picture metrics, specifically deals closed with contacts that were influenced by a particular campaign, and the dollar revenue associated with them.

At the end of the day, for many organizations, the success of a campaign often comes down to not only the number of leads that were generated, but also the deals that were created and the revenue that was earned.

Report on what’s important for your company, and demonstrate that ROI.

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Kristen Patel

About the author

Kristen Patel is SmartBug Media's CRO Strategist. She joined the team with years of inbound agency experience under her belt, and two Bachelors of Science in International Marketing. While technically based in Maryland, she's often on the move (2018 will bring her to Guatemala, Belize, Mexico... and that's only through February!). Read more articles by Kristen Patel.

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