Inbound marketing is many things. Content creation, search engine optimization, digital marketing, social media…the list goes on. But the backbone of inbound marketing could actually be less creative and fun, and more about the numbers. Analytics is key to inbound marketing. Without analytics, you’re just filling the web with junk.
Analyzing your marketing efforts not only helps your business, it helps your potential clients. Without anayltics you’re in the “spray and pray” world of marketing. That’s not a good place to be. You’re essentially throwing money at a problem in hopes that something will payoff someday. With hard numbers – the right analytics – you’re able to see which marketing efforts pay off in views, contacts and sales.
Let’s look at 5 reasons analytics are key to inbound marketing.
1) Analyzing views will help you build an audience. Views are a good metric to start with as you build your inbound marketing strategy. However, they’re a vanity metric (good for the ego) and should be only one of many things you look at in your marketing efforts.
Views – and where they come from – will help you narrow down your focus to relevant sources, and help you begin to figure out the weak spots for your content. If your views are coming from organic search results (where a viewer types in a search term and finds your content) then you know your audience is growing naturally. If you see views coming from social media, you know your content is shareable.
Analyzing your views can help you build an audience because you’ll know what content people are finding and reading and sharing, and you’ll know what content is driving people to give you information like an email address.
2) Without a click-through measurement, you’ll never know what material drives leads. Moving on from views to leads, you need to understand what content resonates with people enough to get them to give you an email or phone number. A good way to turn views into leads is to offer them something of value in return for an email address.
As a business, you have valuable information potential clients could use for their buying decision. For instance, if you’re a lawn care company you may have a dozen tips to share with homeowners to help make their lawn the envy of their neighborhood. Put together a short guide and offer to email it to them. This gets you a lead you can nurture and turn into a possible client. But if you’re not measuring click through rates on links, buttons and other elements, then you’re never sure of what’s effective.
3) Social sharing proves you’re trusted. Retweets, Facebook shares and LinkedIn updates all point to the fact that someone trusts you, and wants to tell their friends, family or networks. Social has become a powerful tool in SEO. Search engines like Google readily admit that social signals like retweets, shares and likes have become a powerful SEO tool. Analyze which tweets are shared and clicked, which Facebook posts are shared or liked and which Pinterest posts are re-pinned. These are the kinds of content you want to use. the posts, tweets or pins that are ignored can go in the “never again” file.
4) A billion views is cool, but if you’re not measuring referral traffic you’re missing out. Links are one of the tried-and-true methods of driving search engine results (getting found in Google or Bing) and building an audience. Guest blogging is one great way to build links, as is creating useful or engaging content on your own website.
Measure which content gets linked to, and create more content like that. If “this versus that” articles garner lots of link love, then find more versus material to create. If infographics are a hot ticket item for links, then make useful infographics for people to share. Analyizing your efforts will help you scale your marketing.
5) Analyitics help in A/B testing. Finally, A/B testing. this is the method of testing this-versus-that in your marketing. It could be testing an email subject line with “Free” in it, and one without. You might test the color of a call to action button, red or blue. What you’re doing is testing the effectiveness of your marketing. Analyzing these efforts will help you become a more efficient marketer.
Because of these 5 reasons, your inbound marketing team or person needs to have analytical skills, either naturally or learned. While you don’t have to track everything you do in marketing, it’s certainly helpful to track as much as you can.
Want to know how I went from a journalism career to a marketing career? Want to find the right inbound marketer for your business? Download the free eBook below. It’s a 30-page guide to help businesses and journalists connect.