It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of details when it’s time to start working on your 2018 inbound marketing plan. Many marketing directors find it difficult to prioritize all of the moving parts and soon find themselves trying to master an ever-expanding set of tools, activities, line items, and resources that might be valuable next year. It’s like trying to stuff a glut of high-tension springs into a tiny box and not getting the latch hooked in time—it’s all under a lot of pressure and it explodes into a big mess.
So Much Data, So Little Time
Today’s online marketing tools provide so much data! Gobs and gobs and gobs of data. The question then arises: of that ton of data, which should you look at and why?
Your next step, then, is to figure out what to track. To help you, we’ve put together a short primer on how to get your data ready for creating next year’s marketing plan.
You can’t sell to someone if they're not aware of you. So take a look at how your prospects learn of your products or services. Start first with how people come to your website.
- Organic: Are they arriving via search engine after a keyword search? If so, which keywords are they using? Do people who eventually buy from you use certain keywords? What top 5 pages are they landing on when they go to your website? Remember, these may or may not be the pages you planned as their entry point.
- Social: Which of your social channels are bringing in the better prospects? That is, is your data showing that your personas use LinkedIn? Or are your personas engaging with you on Facebook?How are they engaging with you? Are they reading your long-form LinkedIn posts, or are they more engaged with your regular updates? Look at the data that shows the number of impressions, your reach, link clicks, and more. (And, speaking of link clicks, track your click-throughs as well as the all-important bounce rate.)
- Paid: If you're paying for ads on search engines, which keywords are bringing you the better prospects? What time of day are they clicking?
Which of your marketing channels is bringing you prospects that convert? Don’t look just at those who eventually buy from you. Dig into the nitty-gritty: which channel brings you the most new visitors? Which channel brings you actual buyers? Which one has you enjoying multiple visits from the same person?
To collect this information, the HubSpot sources report should be your first stop, followed by even more drilled-down data via an attribution report, which helps you learn about the journey a visitor takes from his very first look at your website to buying from you. This report analyzes what actually contributed to a prospect becoming a customer.
If your marketing efforts are bringing in a number of prospects, make sure they’re actually qualified. If not, or if you’re not certain, make sure your sales and marketing teams work together to create a service level agreement (SLA). Creating an SLA means both departments will understand each other’s needs, ensuring that all of your marketing efforts bring in legitimate leads that your sales team can then work on to close.
The SLA also helps you better track how well your marketing qualified leads (MQLs) convert to sales qualified leads (SQLs). You'll need to ensure that your customer relationship management tools integrate correctly with HubSpot so that transitioning data from one to the other is seamless.
By the way, HubSpot has a free CRM that fully integrates into your HubSpot marketing database.
Data is powerful, but only if you have the right tools to track it. Tracking, reading, and understanding this data is critical to having a strong case when it’s time to argue for your 2017 digital marketing budget. Embrace your data!