[Webinar recap] The Top Inbound Marketing Metrics for B2B Marketers
With dozens of metrics out there, it’s critical that you cut through the noise and focus on those metrics that prove your inbound programs are driving high-quality leads and growing your sales pipeline. On June 26th Optify teamed up with MarketingProfs for a Webinar to help B2B marketers discover:
- Which marketing metrics prove the success of inbound programs
- Which metrics are great indicators of future success
- How to calculate inbound marketing ROI
Webinar speakers were Morgan Stewart, CEO of Trendline Interactive and primary research leader for MarketingProfs and Uri Bar-Joseph, marketing manager and inbound marketing metrics expert at Optify.
Questions and Answers
- Why would you consider PPC an outbound tactic, isn’t it still people finding you?
There is definitely some grey area when it comes to categorizing outbound versus inbound. I categorize PPC as outbound as you are paying for your ads to come up in search results. I also put paid content syndication in the same outbound bucket as you are paying for a third party to promote your content. My definition of an inbound tactic therefore is one where a visitor finds your site through organic (unpaid) means.
- What are some good standards to target as far as these KPIs – bounce rate, time on site etc.?
That’s a hard question to answer as what’s a good standard varies a lot between industry and business model, and how your website is set up. The best way to approach this is to ensure that you set a benchmark for where you are today and then consistently measure those metrics over time. That way you’ll be able to tell if you’re making improvements.
- I’ve always found that creating good keywords and climbing the rankings is a Herculean task with limited returns. Any tips on doing this better or should I focus elsewhere first?
Getting more visits and leads from SEO does not happen overnight, but with a strategic approach the right tools and systematic execution there is no better way to drive more high-quality leads for your business. Here are some links to content that can help you with your SEO efforts – the B2B marketer’s roadmap to SEO success, 5 steps to building a strategic keyword list.
- On the ROI inclusion of “time”, I’m assuming that includes the hours of social monitoring and active participation. Have you found that tips the balance of investment versus true return, especially in larger companies?
When calculating the costs that go into your ROI equation for inbound programs, it’s important that you can make an ‘apples to apples’ comparison between other programs. We recommend that for inbound programs you include costs of employees, contractors or firms dedicated to PR, social media or SEO. If you follow that approach for inbound then you also need to do the same thing for your outbound programs to be able to compare the relative efficacy of the different program types. When calculating ROI some companies take into account total sales and marketing overhead and attribute that across programs. Others only include direct vendor or media costs. Whichever approach you take the key thing is to be consistent so you can truly compare the results of your different programs.
- What methodology are you using for attribution for leads, sales etc.? Is it first touch or a more sophisticated attribution model?
The easiest, and most popular model is first source (or first touch), and some systems provide last touch as well. More sophisticated systems will provide you with all the touches, including the visit history prior to becoming a lead (the anonymous visitor history), and the most sophisticated systems will tell you what was the “tipping point” that converted the visitor to a lead and what activity converted it to an opportunity. If you have a dedicated marketing analyst, or if you’re very good with data analysis, you can use all of this data, but most companies don’t have the resources and the need for such sophisticated analysis. So I recommend you start with first source and conversion point – you want to know how people initially find you, and what source they used to convert to a lead.
- It’s hard to drive revenue if your audience are laggards. Web metrics sure, but social media ..tough. If this is the case which metrics are best?
Like with any marketing tactic it’s critical that you know your audience and where they go for information at every stage of the buying process. If you know that your audience for the most part does not engage on social media channels, then it’s not worth investing time and resources in that area. That’s why we always recommend doing detailed research upfront on your target audiences and business goals. Check out the B2B marketer’s roadmap to SEO success for more details on how to approach this. Always remember to keep checking in on your assumptions as audience dynamics can change very quickly.
With regards to website effectiveness metrics, it’s critical to understand visits, leads and sales by each of your inbound and outbound campaigns.
- In your experience, which of the emerging social media channels yields the best performance for B2B?
This will depend on your audience. As Uri mentioned in the question above you need to know where your audiences go to get information and validate their choices. We’ve seen success for B2B customers with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, but which one works best for your business will depend on your specific audience.
- For companies with a long sales cycle (12-18 months to close a deal), it’s harder to calculate ROI. Any advice?
This goes back to the ROI calculation question and what you want to include in the cost (Investment) part of the formula. If you decide to include the “fully-burdened” cost in your ROI calculation (overhead, employees, etc.), then you need to do it consistently so when you compare the ROI across channels and campaigns you compare “apples to apples.” To simplify your work, I would exclude overhead and employee costs from any marketing ROI calculation you do and calculate it purely on clear marketing expenses. You can later add the total overhead and employee costs and divide it by the number of deals you closed to get the cost per deal (customer acquisition cost) and add that cost to each deal you include in the ROI calculation.