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Measurement: always know where your web marketing stands

October 31st, 2012

By Daniel Smith

In our first three articles from Boostsuite’s “How Anyone Can Get More Results from a Business Website series, we discussed how to create, optimize and promote new content for in order to attract more visitors. Today, we will talk about key numbers you should be measuring to see how your efforts are paying off.

You are writing new content on a regular basis, you are making sure that content is optimized for your keywords and you are promoting your new content all around the web. You probably want to know how you are doing at this point.

There are lots of things you could measure about your website, such as time a visitor spends on a page, how they navigate around, the most common entry and exit pages, etc. Tools like Google Analytics, or your web hosting company’s statistics interface, will give you all of this information and more. Probably lots more.

But I’ve found that you really only need to track four numbers to know how well your content marketing strategy is working. Focusing on these four values will save you hours of time that you would otherwise spend trying to analyze confusing charts, graphs, and tables of web analytics data.

Here are the only four numbers that you need to track over time to know if your web marketing efforts are delivering results.

1 – Visitors

A visitor is a person who visits at least one page of content on your website. We usually like to look at the number of “unique” visitors your site gets within a given period of time, usually a week or a month. Its more important to know 100 different unique people visited your site than to know that 200 total visits occurred on your site, since 100 of those visits could have been you checking to make sure your latest blog post didn’t have any typos once you published it!

Unique visitors is probably the single most important metric in website marketing so you will find this number available in all website analytics and website optimization tools.

2 – Conversions

This is the number of visitors who met at least one of the marketing objectives on your website by responding to a call-to-action such as buying something or adding something to a shopping cart, downloading a whitepaper, filling out a form or subscribing to a newsletter. In order to measure conversions you need to define conversion points on your site. An easy example of a conversion point is a Thank You page for a sales lead form. When a visitor reaches that page, a conversion has occurred.

Follow the instructions for your preferred website analytics or website optimization tool to set up conversion points so that you can track the marketing results that matter to your business most.

3 – Conversion Ratio

This one just requires some math. Conversion ratio is the percentage of your unique visitors that become conversions on your website. For instance, a website with 50 monthly unique visitors and five conversions has a 50/5 = 10% conversion ratio. This number is important because it tells you if your new articles are attracting the right type of visitors for your marketing goals.

If your conversion ratio is increasing then you’re getting better visitors than you used to. If your conversion ratio is decreasing then you need to change the topics that you’re writing about.

4 – Conversion Value

The is the dollar business value of your conversions. For example if the average e-commerce purchase on your site is worth $35 and you had 10 conversions over the last month, your conversion value is $350. You can do this for sales lead forms and other non-monetary conversion points too by dividing the average value of a new customer in your business by the number of leads it usually takes to produce a customer. If you usually close a sale with 10% of your website leads, and an average customer pays you $1,000, then you can assume that your average website lead value is $1,000/10 = $100.

You can now track your content marketing efforts with these numbers. For example, lets say you continue to publish new content on keywords about your business. This should attract more visitors to your site. Even with a fixed conversion rate, you should see an increase in total conversions and conversion value.

Alternatively, lets say you have been working for awhile on new content and your unique visitor number has really increased, but your conversion ratio is less than 1% or is falling. You can then spend your time improving the calls-to-action on your site so more of your visitors are pushed into becoming conversions.

As we mentioned before, many tools can provide these raw numbers for you to track and analyze.

Some website optimization tools can track these numbers for you automatically so you spend less time chasing down data and more time creating the new content that your business needs in order to get more website visitors and conversions. By keeping an eye on your key numbers you will know if you are improving or if you need to spend more time on your website marketing efforts.

In the next issue we’ll talk about choosing the right keywords for your content in order to attract not only more visitors, but the right visitors who will become customers. This will help you keep your conversion ratio high and ensure that those marketing conversions keep rolling in. Stay tuned.

Boostsuite’s founder and CEO, Aaron Houghton is among the entrepreneurial thought-leaders participating in the two-day Startup Summit in Raleigh, Nov. 6-8, where he’ll discuss how to drastically lower the risk you take when you launch your new startup.

Daniel Smith is co-founder and CMO at BoostSuite.  Daniel is a car enthusiast, world traveler and wanna-be wine snob. When he’s not at BoostSuite helping small businesses succeed you can find him skiing, wake-boarding and driving fast cars.

BoostSuite is a web marketing optimization product for small business owners. Unlike current products that bewilder and discourage small business owners, BoostSuite allows novice web marketers to build more website traffic and convert more online visitors into customers and leads for their businesses. BoostSuite is free and takes only one minute to set up, is easy to learn, and can be used by anyone.


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