Most sales and marketing managers are guilty of living in the moment. The more proactive among you will also have one eye on the future. But how many of us can confidently claim we're keeping the other on past activity? Regular inbound marketing analysis is key to driving repeatable, sustainable growth.
The fast-paced, high-pressure nature of sales and marketing isn't always conducive to reflection. When activity is reviewed, it's often on a weekly or monthly basis, the result of needing to create a report.
The tyranny of the immediate is real, and because of it, many organisations are missing out on vital insights they could be using to inform their inbound marketing strategies, more reliably hit their targets, and fuel tangible revenue growth for their businesses.
Customer data key to understanding your target buyers
Every aspect of your company's digital presence, from its website and all of its content to its various social channels, is full of buyer signals.
"The pages your visitors hit and move between, how long these spend on those pages, and where they click all leave evidence that you can use to better understand what your visitors value and what they find engaging."
Accessing this information comes in many ways. Google Analytics is traditionally one of the quickest and easiest ways of gaining visibility over your website's performance, while increasingly sophisticated sales and marketing automation platforms such as the HubSpot Growth Stack offer much more granular insights into prospect behaviour.
If you made the time to review your activity more frequently, you could be using these signals to help you to improve your marketing and the results from it.
Inbound marketing analysis reveals key performance trends
Frequent, timely data analysis is key to marketing success. Without a close eye on performance metrics, strategy and the tactics underpinning them veer dangerously close to guesswork. Aside from placing a great deal of risk on your campaign, you're setting yourself up to fall when it comes to reporting on how the campaign is performing.
To put it another way, you could be growing organic traffic every month without realising that your average conversion rate is holding steady or declining. When your head of marketing inquires as to why you haven't hit the quarter's conversion rate goal, you can only declare ignorance.
Getting into the data analysis habit: my story
Let me single myself out as a bit of an oddity here: inbound marketing analysis excites me. The reason for this is that for all the content we create, the number of followers on Twitter we have, or the number of leads we generated, the data running in the background is a gold mine.
"I'm aware that not everyone feels this way about data analysis, but I hope I can help to change that and break the habit of living in the present and not reviewing our campaigns after they’ve run."
Whether you'd prefer to carry out a comprehensive monthly review, or half a day each week to keep on top of things, figure out what makes sense for you, schedule out the time in your diary, and stick to it.
Data analysis advice for marketers and salespeople
I’m a big advocate of the idea that to get anywhere you just have to start. The same goes for getting consistent visibility over your marketing efforts.
Now, I could give you a long list of things you must do as part of your review. But a definitive list could never truly be definitive when every business is different. What you can do is focus on the basics and work from there.
Here are three example questions you should be able to answer:
✓ Do you know what your top source of leads is?
✓ What effectively converts people on your site? What doesn’t?
✓ What happened to all of the leads you passed to sales this year?
Don’t forget to keep an eye on some of the smaller things, too. There are often areas that get put to the bottom of our to-do list but that could make a real difference.
Again, here are a few examples:
✓ When was the last time you cleared out your unsubscribes and bounces? This is particularly important if you pay extra for a certain number of contacts. These contacts are just sitting there, useless, so why keep them?
✓ When did you last run a broken link check on your site? You don't want broken links damaging your carefully thought out SEO. Do a Google search for a programme that can check your site for you.
✓ Is every piece of content on your site relevant today? There shouldn't be a CTA for an event that happened weeks ago. The same goes for a piece of content specific to a product you no longer sell.
Questions are one of the most powerful tools you have. Whether you're reviewing your marketing activity or digging deeper into your challenges and what makes your business tick, here are 31 question to ask yourself.
Your inbound marketing performance secret weapon
With visibility over your inbound marketing performance comes the flexibility to make changes. Iteration is without a doubt the biggest weapon in a marketer’s arsenal. Suddenly, you're able to react to the demand from those buyers and keep up with their rapidly changing journey.
Iteration also means that you also don’t have to completely pull the plug on a ‘failing’ project. Spot it quickly, figure out what's not quite working, and then implement the changes to your tactics, strategy, or activity that drives the improved results you need.
To find out more about how to use data to generate leads that close and drive ROI from your sales and marketing, download our free ebook below.