Creating a measurement plan for your business

By Guy Anderson

In our recent Content Kitchen video we gave you 3 handy tips for What should I measure on my website? In this post we dive deeper into how you should measure the marketing for your business. Why? Because:

Why should I measure my marketing?

The purpose of your marketing activities is to increase awareness and credibility of your business. Your marketing campaigns should directly or indirectly lead to an increase in sales.

Of course, it goes without saying that the best way to grow your business is to do a brilliant job for your existing customers so that their positive experience turns into repeat business and referrals.

A word of warning!

As Guy mentions in his Content Kitchen video, there’s so much you can measure on your website that it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the data. That’s why it’s so important to stay disciplined by setting primary and secondary goals.

The rest of the data that’s available can be very useful as a diagnostic tool to help figure out why your website and marketing are not performing as well as you’d like. But to begin with, stick with your primary and secondary goals only and avoid vanity metrics – let’s get those out of the way first.

Vanity metrics

Both business owners and marketers alike commonly fall foul of vanity metrics. It can be all too easy to use these tempting numbers to give you a false sense of security that things are headed in the right way. Here are some examples of vanity metrics:

Total No. of website visitors

Why? Because it’s what people ‘do’ on your site that matters. Instead of feeling good about big numbers continuously rising, you need to set a primary goal for your site and then measure how many people convert each month.

Size of your email list

Why? Because the key metric for engagement is the click-through rate of individual emails. This indicates that people are opening your email and are interested enough to take action – by clicking a link.

Social media likes & follows

It might feel good to have lots of Facebook likes and Twitter followers, but this is merely another vanity metric. Social media is a great tool to get more traffic to your website, but it’s not the end goal. When we create a measurement plan at Wildheart we don’t focus on social media; we only focus on the website. For some useful tips about using social media for your business, check out our video What social networks should my business be on?

Setting a primary goal for your business website

The ultimate goal of every business website is to generate revenue. If you sell products then this revenue is directly generated by product sales – either digital or physical – through your site. If you take payments through your site then it’s best practice to set up a goal in Google Analytics showing your monthly sales total by revenue on your site.

What about consultancy businesses?

If your product is a service that’s paid for offline, then your primary goal is a little more complicated, but certainly still manageable. Your primary goal will be the number of business enquires through your site that convert to paying customers in any given month. In order to keep your data accurate, it’s best to review invoices at the end of the month and add up the total of those invoices that originated from a website enquiry. You’ll most likely need to manually update a spreadsheet each month to track your primary goal.

The power of a primary goal is it helps you answer the most important question: How much revenue is our website generating each month? The next question for almost every business will then be: What do we need to do to increase this number? The answers to this question lie in your secondary goals.

Setting secondary goals for your business website

Secondary goals track your progress towards that all important primary revenue-generating goal. Here are some secondary goals that measure the engagement of your website audience:

No. of email signups

This is one of your most important secondary goals if you care about growing your audience and therefore your potential customers – that’ll be all of us then! Building your email list is still by far the most effective way of growing your audience of potential customers. In fact, it’s “a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined” – McKinsey & Company.

Bounce rate

A bounce is when someone visits a page on your website and then leaves without visiting any other pages. So, a 70% bounce rate means that 70% of your website visitors only looked at one page and then left your site.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a lower bounce rate is good and a higher bounce rate is bad, but that would be a dangerous assumption to make without considering other factors. As an example, let’s take one of our clients who runs a restaurant with a daily lunch menu. We weren’t surprised to find that most of their visitors were only checking the menu page and then leaving the site. In this case, the lunch menu page had a high bounce rate of around 90%. So, it really does depend on what you’re asking people to do on your website.

Average session duration

This is the total number of visitors divided into the total time they spent on your site. It’s a good indicator of whether people are reading, watching or listening to your content and how long they’re spending on this.

Average number of pages per session

This is the total number of visitors divided into the total number of pages they visited. It’s a useful metric to see if people are flowing through the content of your site as you would like them to.

No. of exits

Exits are measured as a percentage and this metric shows you the percentage of visitors who exited from specific pages. It’s a useful indicator of where people are leaving your site.

Going deeper

While site-wide secondary goals are very useful, you’ll also want to drill down into the nitty gritty of specific pages where you’re asking your visitors to take action. These are called sales pages and should always have a very clear call-to-action. These pages sit one step before the final conversion in your sales funnel.

“What’s a sales funnel?” we hear you cry!

Are you creating a sales funnel for your visitors?

Your business website should be organised in a way that leads people down a funnel. The last step of the funnel is called a conversion. This is the point when someone makes a purchase and converts from being a potential customer to a customer.

Our sales funnel

On the Wildheart website we currently have several main sales pages at the end of our funnel: our individual packages pages. These pages then direct visitors to our final conversion page: Book a Free Consultation.

Using your website analytics to help you decide what marketing campaigns to run

One of the most powerful uses for your website analytics is to give you clues as to where your visitors are coming from and how engaged they are. In marketing speak we call this segmenting your audience.

Why would you want to do this? Because choosing the source that has the best chance of leading to conversions is important when you run marketing campaigns.

Segmenting your audience

So, the next step is segmenting your content by source. What does this mean? Well, traffic to your site comes from multiple sources, including:

  • Direct (people who know your web address or who have bookmarked your site)
  • Search (traffic from search engines)
  • Email (traffic from your email campaigns)
  • Social (traffic from social networks)
  • Referral (websites that link to yours)

When you look at your top performing content by source you’ll be able to see where your audience is engaging with your content. This gives you a good insight into where to focus your marketing efforts.

An example from our own site

Since our relaunch in June 2016, if we look at our blog page we see the following top 5 sources:

  1. Direct traffic – visitors stay on average 56 seconds with a bounce rate of 55%
  2. Twitter – visitors stay an average of 1 min 13 seconds with a bounce rate of 59%
  3. Drip – visitors stay an average of 38 seconds with a bounce rate of 16%
  4. Google – visitors stay an average of 57 seconds with a bounce rate of 16%
  5. LinkedIn – visitors stay an average of 57 seconds with a bounce rate of 10%

(If you’re wondering what Drip is, it’s the awesome marketing automation software we use.)

You can see from these stats that our welcome tweets are driving good new traffic to our blog page. You’ll also notice that our audiences from Drip, Google and LinkedIn are highly engaged and most go on to view at least 1 other page after visiting our blog page (low bounce rate).

When we change our perspective from a specific page and instead look at these sources on a site-wide level we see that:

  1. Direct traffic has a bounce rate of 47% with 3 pages/session with a 3:43 average session duration from 71% new sessions
  2. Google traffic has a bounce rate of 46% with 2.6 pages/session with a 2:01 average session duration from 73% new sessions
  3. Twitter traffic has a bounce rate of 44% with 2.3 pages/session with a 1:26 average session duration from 78% new sessions
  4. Drip traffic has a bounce rate of 54% with 3.2 pages/session with a 5:45 average session duration from 15% new sessions

The new sessions metric is interesting because it shows that Direct, Google and Twitter are all bringing in over 70% new sessions from first time visitors to our site.

The other standout metrics are the average session duration and pages/session for both Direct and Drip. This is where our most engaged audience is and tells us we’re creating content that resonates with them.

Don’t get lost in the numbers!

Creating a measurement plan for your business website can seem overwhelming at first, but try not to get lost in the numbers.

The important thing to remember is stay disciplined! And make sure you:

  • consistently measure your primary and secondary goals,
  • pay special attention to your key sales pages and conversion pages,
  • measure bounce rate, time on page and exit rate on these key pages.

Final thought

Pulling all this data together every month can be really time consuming. So, once you’re sure you’re measuring the right metrics, you’ll want to take the next step which is to automate your reporting. This means all your data will be pulled into one handy report that you can share with your team each month.

If you need help creating a measurement plan, why not sign up to our SEO Package? We’ll get you set up with Google Analytics or review your existing settings if it’s already installed on your site. As an add-on we’ll work with you to create a measurement plan that fits your business and gives you meaningful insights into how you can start attracting more customers and generating more revenue.

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