​Tying digital results to business impacts

There are more metrics to track than ever, but they’re mostly vanity metrics. Increasing your email open rates by 10% may feel good, but will it have any measurable business impact? If you can’t answer this question, then you’re focusing on the wrong metrics.

Tracking time on page, click-through rates, and unique visitors is tempting. However, these details alone aren’t relevant to your overall marketing health. To understand the business impact of your efforts, you need to look at the big picture.

Think of what leadership cares about

Your leadership doesn’t care about increasing email open rates; they care about the increase in customers. This is the disconnect between traditional digital marketing metrics and what leadership expects from the marketing team.

Meaningful metrics show how changes to your service, product, and marketing impact the company’s overall health. When the business impact is clear, it’s easier to gain support and funding.

Tying every marketing metric to revenue is impossible. Even if a customer buys after clicking on an email link, their true motivator may have been a blog post they read 6 months ago. In this case, you would falsely assume the email made the sale and discount the effect of the blog post. The truth is that you needed both to close the sale. In the next section, we’ll show you how to fix this.

Quick points

  • Leadership cares about impact metrics, such as your website conversion rate, net promoter score, and cost per customer acquisition
  • These metrics focus on the big picture to show how changes to your service, product, and marketing impact your business.

Shifting your focus

The conversation with leadership needs to change and fast. Old-fashioned metrics don’t cut it anymore. What metric should you be using instead?

I recommend using a conversion metric as your focus. These metrics help you see the percentage of individuals that are becoming customers. There are 3 metrics that will help you understand your conversion rate:

  1. Visitors to lead – The visitors that turn into verified leads.
  2. Leads to opportunity – The leads that go to the sales team.
  3. Opportunity to win – The opportunities that turn into happy customers.

Knowing your numbers at each stage will show where you’re excelling and failing on the customer journey. For example, if you got 10k visitors each month and only 5 leads, then you’d know that your consideration stage marketing needs work.

To improve your conversion metrics, think about the touch points on your customer journey. If too many customers put items in their cart and leave, then you might have a broken touch point. A round of user testing and a few client interviews will help you understand if the problem is in your design or business model.

Improving customer touch points helps you create brand promoters. In the next section, we’ll explain how to track and improve your Net Promoter Score (NPS).

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Quick points

  • Tracking conversions in 3 stages (visitors to lead, leads to opportunity, and opportunity to win) shows the effectiveness of your overall digital marketing and helps you identify where your marketing is broken.
  • Reviewing your customer touch points helps you identify usability, messaging, and business model problems that are hurting your bottom line.

Voice of the customer programs

Voice of the customer programs help you understand what your customers care about, so that you can enhance business impacts. These programs require you to collect and analyze feedback at different touch points, and use it to shape your marketing efforts.

The most popular option is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It’s a simple survey with two questions:

  1. How likely would you be to recommend [company] on a scale from 1 to 10?
  2. What’s the main reason for your answer?

The first question is used to calculate your NPS by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. This gives you a snapshot of your company’s health. The second question offers deeper insights on your product/service.

Having a specific purpose when reading replies to the second question, is key to making a real difference. This feedback is divided into 3 categories:

  • Promoter responses (scores of 9-10): Look for the top reasons customers choose you. Make these reasons obvious in your marketing and try enhancing what you’re already doing. For example, if promoters love your product’s simplicity, then find ways to make it easier to use.
  • Neutral responses (scores of 7-8): Find the key improvements that will turn neutral respondents into promoters. A single new feature could get many to increase their rating of your company.
  • Detractor responses (scores of 0-6): What do detractors dislike about your product? Eliminating their main complaints could reduce your customer turnover rate, while drawing in new customers.

Ask yourself, what changes can I make to my service/product to improve my NPS?

To gain even more insights, speak directly with a few customers. A conversation can bring valuable data that may not come to light otherwise. Asking thought-provoking questions and giving them time to express themselves will ensure they’re not just repeating their survey response.

Quick points

  • Review NPS feedback with a purpose, seek out trends, then make changes that improve customer opinions.
  • Speak directly with your customers over the phone to gain a deeper understanding, ask open-ended questions, and listen closely to find new ways to improve your NPS.

Tracking business impact is hard, that’s why it’s worth it

Knowing what really motivated your customer’s decision to buy is impossible. Tying digital marketing with its business impact takes comprehensive customer analysis, so most brands don’t even try.

This is a huge opportunity for you. If you’re willing to track the business impact of digital marketing, you can innovate and pull ahead in ways that other brands simply can’t. Digital is here to stay. The earlier you adapt, the easier it will be for your brand to grow and succeed.

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