An effective inbound marketing audit should address the motivations of your readers while applying key metrics to guide your improvement efforts.
How do you measure success?
If you’re like most marketers, you likely measure it based on achieving specific benchmarks that indicate the quality of your material. Unfortunately, the Internet isn’t a static environment—and even though your content may stand the test of time, your benchmarks are constantly changing. An analysis of your marketing efforts may be necessary to keep up with the evolving trends of the marketplace.
A quality inbound marketing audit will address 3 questions:
- What ways are readers finding your material?
- What do readers do with the material that they find?
- Do the actions taken by your readers contribute to your business goals?
The ROI emphasis pressures marketers feel, as found by Adobe.
1. Create Objectives
According to a marketing survey by Adobe, 68 percent of marketers these days feel pressured to show a better ROI for their marketing spend. This can be a challenging goal to achieve, but without a structured plan to guide your improvement efforts, it becomes nearly impossible.
Create goals as you analyze your inbound marketing that are simple, measureable, and actionable. Cross-reference metrics associated with user engagement, traffic, and conversions to see how effective your current efforts are at meeting your benchmarks. Remember to update your goals from time to time—your business is growing, and your priorities may change.
2. Reader Intent
Many marketers get caught up gathering as many metrics as possible without understanding how they factor in to the big picture. Metrics should be tied to KPIs that relate to your pre-established business goals, usually in the form of conversions, subscriptions, or revenue generation.
Examine your audience and try to understand their needs and motivations. They’re reading your content for a purpose, and knowing what their intentions are when proceeding through your marketing funnel can help you learn what metrics will be the most effective at measuring their experience.
3. Traffic Tracking
The next step of your inbound marketing audit is understanding where your traffic comes from and the behaviors of your viewers. The Content Marketing Institute performed a study in 2014 that showed 63 percent of B2B marketers viewed web traffic as one of their most important metrics to measure.
Track how many users on your site are first time visitors with unique IP addresses. A strong inbound marketing plan should generate a steady flow of new eyes on your material. This is a cornerstone concept for creating a viewership that will take action on your content and contribute toward your business goals. Don’t neglect your returning visitors, though—a loyal following of repeat visitors is essential to building qualified leads, conversion to customers, and repeat business over time.
Aside from segmenting new viewers from returning fans, you should have an idea of how these viewers are finding your content. This is usually a combination of organic search, social outreach, and inbound links from relevant pages.
Knowing the source of your traffic can help you tailor your marketing outreach more specifically to the channels that provide the best impact on your business goals. Contact to customer conversion rate is the KPI you’ll want to measure here, as simply gathering more contacts isn’t always enough—you need to know how many contacts are converted into actual customers for each channel you use.
4. Measuring Engagement
Your audit shouldn’t stop with traffic assessment—you must measure their engagement with the content you produce. “Engagement” is a concept often defined by how many viewers take action on your content—a survey by Marketo revealed that 63 percent of marketers viewed the concept of engagement as customer renewals, repeat purchases, and retention.
While customer actions like purchasing are easy enough to measure, tracking engagement also involves knowing where you’re losing the majority of your viewers. While your bounce rate is impossible to reduce completely, a low bounce rate is a sign of an engaging and value-driving site. Monitor the traffic flow of your site to determine where your user’s sticking points are and how you can optimize your site to prevent losing views and potential revenue in the future.
The Big Picture
Analytics are great for measuring long-term trends, but are subject to day-to-day fluctuations that make daily measurement ineffective and impractical. Don’t bother with daily measurement—stick to measurement intervals that allow enough time for noticeable change to take effect.
Your inbound marketing audit should answer the question “What’s working for my website, and what needs to be changed?” When you have an answer backed by the right metrics, your inbound marketing improvement plan will be well on its way. What other metrics have been effective for your business when performing an audit of your material? Tell us about it in the comments below!