You need analytics. Without careful attention to key indicators, you’d never know if a marketing tactic or overall strategy is accomplishing its intended aim. But reading your marketing automation analytics incorrectly will only frustrate your marketing goals.
For B2B marketers, especially those integrating marketing automation with social media management, the right metrics are the only ones that matter, and the wrong metrics should be disregarded. With social alone, ROI gains are hard to measure without carefully-wrought execution. Even with automated marketing that ensures personalized brand messaging and lead targeting, you’ll need to know whether the interest your brand attracts on social networks translates meaningfully into increased sales.
Here are some metrics you can afford to ignore, and suggestions on what to pay attention to instead.
Ignore Likes and Follower Counts, Listen to Engagements
Having a few hundred Facebook likes on your Business Page or a thousand Twitter followers is impressive. But unfortunately, it might all be meaningless. The critical question is this: how many of those Likes and follows will come to represent true leads with engagement and purchasing intent?
Instead of trivial numbers, look at engagements. Even if your automated marketing attracts social followers in droves, you need to know how much engagement is resulting from it. Consider:
- Comments that prospects leave on your Facebook and LinkedIn posts.
- Retweets you get on interesting stats and sayings you publish on Twitter.
- The number of conversations your prospects are investing in with your brand in social media communities.
Once you assess your campaign’s ability to garner high-quality engagements, you’ll know how to refine your marketing automation to produce even more of the same. In addition, if you’re integrating your marketing automation with social, you’ll see which networks are producing your most highly-engaged leads, and you can revisit valuable conversations to determine what makes those small relationships special.
Businesses using marketing automation to nurture prospects see a 451% increase in qualified leads, so B2B marketers should focus on improving the experience for prospects wherever possible. The end result? Sharper and more effective campaigns.
Ignore Lead Volume, Listen to Traffic-to-Lead Ratio
Lead volume can be important. After all, sales can’t happen without enough leads coming into your fold. But high lead volumes alone don’t necessarily translate into increased ROI.
Look instead at traffic-to-lead ratio, or how many website visitors are turning, eventually, into qualified leads. Once you get a sense of this, you’re empowered to assess where improvements can be made, whether it’s the trigger (be it a LinkedIn update, a Tweet, or a Facebook post) or the destination (a landing page).
Your traffic-to-lead ratio is especially informative in the context of integrated social and marketing automation. If, for example, you’re trying to optimize the ratio for a specific social network (let’s say, LinkedIn), you might engage in social listening to understand industry hot topics, design LinkedIn updates and blog posts around those things with links to your website, and create customized landing pages within your marketing automation software for the LinkedIn traffic you’re now targeting. From there, it’s easy to test variations in LinkedIn posts and/or the landing pages to ensure that more and more of those visitors are the ones who will eventually convert.
Ignore Social Web Traffic and Downloads, Listen to Conversion Rates
You want prospects to visit your website. You want them to download your material. But the fact remains that they don’t all convert to paying customers.
69% of B2B marketers use social media to increase web traffic, but it pays to make sure that traffic is of the highest quality. That is, it’s essential to know how many of your web visitors—including those who download your whitepapers, case studies, and other gated content—are actually converting to customers. If the conversion rate is low, any number of issues might be the cause. Perhaps web visitor demographics show that you’re attracting the “wrong” leads, or they haven’t been nurtured well enough to act on the content served up by your automated marketing. And, you’ve perhaps missed nuances in the social media relationship that would indicate those things.
Here’s where lead scoring comes into play. If you’ve scored your leads properly on certain variables, especially those coming in via social, you’ll know ahead of time two things:
- Whether certain social leads, by their business demographics and behavior, are likely to convert at all, and
- Whether they will respond to the material presented to them throughout the sales funnel.
Conversion rates, simply and broadly, tell you what works—that is, which social networks, what kind of social and other inbound content, and what type of landing pages and downloadable marketing collateral help convince your leads to become customers. And when conversions do come about, you can use those results to both refine your lead scoring and use your social media marketing platform to publish more of the same effective content, in the right place and at the right time.
Ignoring the “surface” metrics, and diving deeper into analytics that matter, make all the difference when implementing an integrated social media and marketing automation approach. By carefully watching metrics that will indicate a healthy ROI, you’ll know exactly how to tweak your campaigns to maximize revenue and secure an evolving, profitable social presence for your brand.