How to calculate return on marketing investment: Top 10 inbound marketing KPIs

Every business needs clearly defined goals, and every strong business works tirelessly to meet and exceed those goals.

To do this effectively, businesses rely on key performance indicators, or KPIs. These are specific, measurable metrics that can be implemented and tracked, allowing you to stay on top of your marketing successes and marketing duds.

With the right KPIs in place, and with a responsive approach to the results, your business can adjust strategy and reallocate budget to drive business growth across strength areas.

There are so many possible metrics to measure that it can all get a bit anxiety-inducing. To keep it simple, here are the top 10 key marketing KPI’s you should be keeping an eye on…

1) Visitor to lead conversion rate

The number of visitors your channels are generating is important, but the key success indicator is the number of visitors that are being converted into leads through content offers and landing pages.

You need to understand where your visitors are coming from, and at what rate they are converting into leads. This insight will allow you to recognise which of your channels are performing well, allowing you to target these areas with extra content and additional conversion routes.

 2) Lead to­ customer conversion rate

Knowing how many leads you are generating, it is then vital to track how many of those leads are being converted into real customers.

Tracking this KPI gives you the opportunity to see which of your campaigns and offers were effective in generating new business. This process of matching marketing efforts to customer acquisition provides clear insight into what is working well for your business and what isn’t, giving you a clear understanding of the type of engagement your customers want.

 3) MQL and SQL generation and conversion rates

As a business, it is essential to understand the difference between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified leads (SQLs).

MQL – Leads who require further nurturing to move them along the buyers’ journey before being passed on to sales

SQL – Leads who are considered ready to be approached by sales

Knowing how many of each kind of lead you are generating allows you to allocate your internal efforts and resources appropriately, creating a more efficient and holistic sales approach throughout your business.

TIP: By combining your CRM with a marketing automation tool, you can track and record the intricacies of this process. Sales and marketing should share the same goals, and by defining the conditions for each stage of the sales journey, and the ways each type of lead is handled throughout, your sales process will quickly become more streamlined and effective within the parameters of the goals you have set

4) Cost per lead and customer generated

This KPI takes into account all the costs associated with generating a single customer.

When you use an integrated campaign approach leveraging marketing automation and CRM, you are able to automatically track the costs throughout the entire process, gathering insight into how much you are spending to generate a single lead, and how much you are spending to turn that lead into a customer.

With this insight, you can ascertain where your money is best spent, and on which channels and types of campaign you should be focusing in order to establish the right balance for your business.

5) Pay-per-click: customer acquisition

PPC campaigns are often overlooked by smaller businesses, however, by targeting appropriate and realistic keywords, they can prove to be an extremely effective way to boost lead generation and marketing ROI.

The ins and outs of PPC are easy to measure, and you’ll quickly be able to see how well your targeted ads are performing. Knowing how much money is needed to generate a given number of leads in this way offers great data to present to clients, and should be considered as an alternative to traditional marketing efforts.

Working in tandem with the cost per lead KPI, the ROI on PPC can be easily determined. With the date, you can quickly ascertain whether PPC is generating a greater ROI for your business and if so, change your marketing approach where necessary.

6) SEO effectiveness & keyword rankings

Keyword ranking is the top KPI within SEO, meaning that for any inbound focused business, this metric is pivotal to increasing marketing ROI.

The purpose of implementing SEO content is to allow the online presence of your business to rank on search engines, letting more people organically find your services even if they don’t know who you are.

Done right, a keyword optimised approach to content creation is a great way to generate business, without spending much money at all. Once the content is out there, tracking, measuring and adapting your approach to keywords using the KPI data will allow you to stay on top of your SEO practices, keeping your content production fresh, relevant and most importantly, ranking in the top 10, or even the top 3 for your targeted keywords.

 7) Email performance: click rate

Having a large contact list for your email output is not by itself a good thing, what’s important is the engagement your emails are triggering.

An essential aspect of making email work within your inbound strategy is tracking key metrics, such as…

  • open rate
  • click rate
  • conversion rate
  • list growth
  • unsubscribes

For example, if your subscriber list is growing, but engagement and conversions rates are stagnant, then work needs to be done to drive interaction and click rate. Whatever results these KPIs throw your way, you can adapt your approach to create a more tailored email output for your buyer personas.

8) Website engagement

No matter how fresh your website looks and feels, your design efforts will have been in vain if you aren’t keeping track of key metrics across your user experience.

To fully understand the success of your website you should track, amongst other things…

  • Bounce rate
  • Pages visited
  • Time spent on site

To deem your UX successful, engagement is key. If most of your visitors are leaving your site after viewing only one page, or having spent less than a minute with your site, then your user experience needs to be changed in order to maximise the strength of the interactions you receive.

9) Social reach Vs post engagement

When it comes to social media, the information gained from KPIs can be a little confusing.

While vanity metrics (such as page and post likes) may indicate a surface level interaction with your product or service, metrics like post engagement are more indicative of your outreach and success across social channels. In general, these interactions mean people are spending more time with your brand whilst also increasing the visibility of the post to other users on that channel.

Again, tracking engagement specifics in this area will allow you to refine your output, building a stronger relationship with your followers whilst drawing in plenty of new ones at the same time.

10) Inbound links

The number of inbound links your website or blog is receiving is a great indicator of the success of your content. Being heralded by other businesses or sector influencers in their content is a strong suggestion that your inbound marketing efforts are on the right track.

Knowing how many inbound links you are receiving, where they are coming from, and most importantly which pieces of content are generating them, allows you to optimise your content production to target these key areas and offers a great foundation for new business relationships to be developed.

Using these key KPIs, the success of all your inbound marketing efforts should be considered in terms of their ROI. Those that are proving to be ineffective should be left by the wayside, whereas high performing areas should be backed up by strategy and budget changes to push growth in these areas.

Without these KPIs in place, a huge opportunity for growth is being missed. The simple act of measuring and tracking these metrics allows for an informed and dynamic approach to your online presence and output, and with thousands of businesses all vying for the limelight, any advantage could be key to the success of your business.