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How to Find Your Top 5 Marketing KPIs
Key Performance Indicators (otherwise known as KPIs) are vitally important for measuring business performance over time.
Even the smallest business will rapidly gather vast quantities of performance data that can become incredibly confusing to parse, and among that data will be countless metrics that are either ambiguous or completely meaningless.
But even if you focus only on metrics considered to be natural KPIs by the broader business world, you might have issues staying truly focussed, because there are quite a few of them.
One reason for this is that every business is different, with different priorities, operational procedures, and general goals. A stat that’s useful to one company may be vital to another.
As such, you shouldn’t just import a generic list of KPIs: you should identify the KPIs that really matter to your business, and use those as the cornerstones of your performance strategy. In this piece, we’re going to cover how you can find your top 5 marketing KPIs.
Let’s get started.
Set Out Your Ultimate Business Goals
Naturally, almost every business in existence has profitability (or at least the ability to keep operating indefinitely) as a primary goal. That will factor into your KPI selection, but it’s incredibly generic and not worth thinking about.
What you should think about is what’s unique to your business. Do you aspire to anything higher? Perhaps you want to be the most successful company of your kind in a certain area or even the world.
Start by noting down all the things you want your business to have achieved in your lifetime. Make sure that they are achievable, but don’t commit too much thought to how realistic they are. It’s better to aim high and fall short than have very limited aspirations and never find out if you could exceed them.
Identify The Targets That Will Help You Achieve Those Goals
With your ultimate goals set out, you now need to establish a KPI hierarchy of sorts.
Essentially, take each goal and identify the targets you’ll need to reach to achieve it, then the steps you’ll need to hit to reach each of those targets, and so on. It won’t go on indefinitely, but you might go down three or four tiers before you hit your fundamental metrics.
Let’s look at an example:
If your ultimate goal is to, say, have the most social media followers of a company in your niche, then the targets for that will be obvious: having the most Twitter followers, and the most Instagram followers, and the most Snapchat followers, and so on.
And for each of those, you can break things down even more: to have the most Twitter followers, you’ll need to achieve a strong posting frequency, and hit strong levels of engagement, and get follows from influencers.
If you break your goals down until you reach metrics that you can directly control, then you’ll have a comprehensive plan for how you can turn a goal that might feel impossible and somewhat arbitrary into a matter of step-by-step consistency. Will your plan deliver guaranteed success?
No — there’s no such thing as guaranteed success in business. But it will get you as close as is realistic.
Review Your Existing Analytics Performance
Before you get into actual KPIs, it’s advisable to take a close look at your analytics history. Whether your site has been around for five months or five years, you should be able to draw something from your existing data — even if you never thought to configure analytics, you might have them ready to view if you use a modern CMS.
Any up-to-date hosted CMS will have Google Analytics set up by default, for instance. This is one of the reasons why today’s online world has excellent places to buy a website — the familiarity and reassurance of analytics make it practical to treat websites as digital assets.
If you somehow don’t have analytics set up, then skip this step (but be sure to configure them right away — you’ll need them if you’re going to make good use of KPIs).
When you look into your traffic history, keep your established goals in mind. What progress have you made over the tracked time?
Can you notice any interesting correlations?
Many of them will be purely coincidental, but it’s a good exercise because you might see you’ve unknowingly been tracking something quite meaningful to your targets.
Draw from lists of typical KPIs (but improvise if needed)
If you’re looking for lists of KPIs, they’re not hard to find. Using everything you’ve done so far (setting out your goals, breaking them down into achievable targets, and reviewing your existing analytics data), run through the sets of KPIs you can find and pick out the ones that are most applicable to your strategy.
If you’re planning to become established as an authority in your field, you might pick out KPIs related to content marketing: average blog post reads, average comments left, number of social shares per day.
Remember that a KPI doesn’t have to be a preset option — if you can devise a formula for something that relies on trackable elements, you can make it a KPI. Just make sure it’s something you can actually use to improve in the long run!
In the end, you should be able to note down your top 5 KPIs to go at the top of each performance report. With a supportive set of minor KPIs that are also worth tracking but don’t need to be given prominent positioning.
That will keep you focussed on what matters while ensuring that you don’t miss anything significant.
To Give You Some Inspiration, Here Are Top 5 Marketing KPI Contenders
- Website Traffic – Unsurprisingly, the goal of marketing for an online business is typically to get more people to visit the website. The more visits you’re getting, the better (provided they’re relevant)…
- Visitor-Lead Conversion Rate – A visit in itself isn’t too valuable. You need to get that visitor interested enough in your business to take some kind of action to learn more, such as sign up to your newsletter. The more frequently you’re turning a visitor into a lead, the better you’re doing…
- Lead-Customer Conversion Rate – Qualified leads don’t always end up becoming customers, so this rate tracks how frequently you’re getting them all the way to the end of your sales funnel. If you’re getting lots of leads but not converting, that’s a sign that you’re not nailing your final message…
- Marketing Email Open Rate – Marketing to existing customers via email is crucial, but email inboxes are very active, and emails often go ignored. If your emails aren’t being opened, then they’re not being read, and there’s no point to them…
- Inbound Links – As you spread the word about your business online and produce some happy customers, you should start to collect backlinks which will be valuable for your search rankings. If no one is linking to you, think about why… What can you do differently?…
Your KPIs might be entirely different, of course, but these are all useful KPIs that apply to most types of online business. Take a look and see how well they apply to your business.
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