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ROI for Inbound Marketing | Measuring KPIs for Digital Marketing Results

ROI for Inbound Marketing | Measuring KPIs for Digital Marketing Results

By Jeremy Flinn, Chief Marketing Officer

With the aggressive increase of companies investing in digital marketing, the question is what is my return on investment (ROI) on these inbound marketing services? Before we start to break down the different metrics to determine the success or failure of digital marketing services, we have to discuss what was collected or measured from the dominant marketing actions prior to exploring the digital marketing realm. This typically leads us to print and TV. Once the question is reversed on a company’s marketing team, the ability to measure anything marketing related comes into question. The fact is TV and print are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to gauge the detailed analytics such as impressions, direct actions taken, and associated sales. This isn’t a bash article on TV and print, in fact, some specific arenas have some of the most effective TV and print campaigns ever! Think of TV shows like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, and the almost cult following they have created. What has slipped is the ability to reach consumers with brands through these channels. Take for example this year’s Super Bowl. How many commercials can you actually remember as impactful? Turn back 10-20 years and you can easily recall the first time seeing the Budweiser frogs or FedEx Cavemen. Things have changed and thus companies are looking to digital engagement for more impactful marketing. In order to determine something as impactful, you have to be able to measure the results. That’s where the various digital marketing “key performance indicators” or KPIs are sought out by marketing and analytic teams.

ROI for Digital Marketing – Defined

When most business-minded people think about the term ROI, they instantly gravitate towards a monetary attribute. That could be anything from gross sales to cost per acquisition of customers. These areas are incredibly important KPIs when evaluating the success of any inbound marketing campaign. However, with the increase popularity in strategies such as social media marketing and content marketing, there is a myriad of other metrics that can be monitored and evaluated to determine successes of the digital marketing campaigns. When discussing the KPIs of social media marketing we can discuss organic growth (likes), total impressions, total reach, and total engagement. Those all are very relevant and important but don’t be afraid to expand on that to include what is the true “means to the end” for social media – getting people to your website. How many people came from Facebook to your website? Twitter? Instagram? Of those, how many navigated more than one page? When you evaluate a marketing campaign’s success you must look at it holistically with regards to your end goal, which on inbound marketing, is getting in front of potential consumers and sending them to your website, products, or services. Each of these attributes can tell us a lot of the success or failure of the campaign, as well as tell you a lot about your customer and their behaviors.

Digital Marketing Measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Measuring KPIs in arenas like digital ad buying (display ads) and search engine marketing (Pay-Per-Click), are a little more standard than some of the other inbound marketing services. Standard metrics are noted like impressions, click thrus, click thru rate (CTR), and contributing sales. A note to be cautious on with display advertising KPIs, is to make sure to cross reference what your advertising platform provides in terms of numbers with your Google Analytics account. Hopefully you have created a trackable link when you created the campaign so that you know where the traffic is coming from. Often you will receive “inflated” numbers, particularly clicks to a website. This is an easy metric to cross reference with Google Analytics and determine the number that truly reached your website, content, and products. The same is said for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising thru platforms like Google AdWords and Yahoo/Bing. You can easily pull data on all of the above and even conversion rate and cost per conversion, if you set up conversion code on particular pages of the website. It will sound like a broken record, but Google Analytics will become your main source to pull KPIs, you just have to know what to look for in the complex, informative system.

Determining Digital Marketing ROI “Success”

With all that said, what the hell do we consider “success” for these metrics of digital marketing? I mean if it’s not directly generating dollars in the account; how can we really say we are succeeding, let alone say there is a ROI, on the inbound marketing services implemented? You’re right, at the end of the day you aren’t paying the office rent/mortgage with pageviews, and last time I tried, my employees were not a big fan of direct deposit of visitor sessions. OK, maybe that was a horrible attempt at digital marketing comedy, but the fact is cash is king, right? It is, but all of those KPIs lead to money in the bank! In other words, all of the indexes (in the form of KPIs) that we are tracking and working so hard to improve are the means to an end. That “end” is a customer for our service or product. The more customer visits (sessions) to a website, the more they look at the brand, services, and products (pageviews), and longer they are impacted by our company content and products/services (time on site) the more likely they will become a customer! In the end, the stronger your digital KPIs are, the stronger revenue flow will be. It doesn’t matter if you make revenue via advertising, eCommerce, or at retail, the bottom line is nearly 70% consumers are starting the buying process online. This initial step may be a long (or short) way from the end (buying) depending on the purchase, but it very much is true about “the first impression is everything.” Those with little unique content to engage with, will lose customers on the brand, products, and services and fall short ending up a Plan B or C. You only come to success if Plan/Company A falls through! Don’t be second fiddle.

The world of digital and inbound marketing is unbelievable, and primed for attack if you know what you are doing. No matter the size of your company, you can be competitive. It’s so much more than who has the most ad presence, it’s about who is the authority in their niche. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Focus on your areas of interest, and then record and analyze your digital marketing KPIs. Let the numbers do the talking, and lead you to greater revenue in the bank account.

Jeremy Flinn is Chief Marketing Officer of Stone Road Media, and an entrepreneur. Founding several successful companies in the outdoor industry, Jeremy works with over 15 companies in the outdoor industry to improve their digital marketing KPIs and increase revenue streams.

 

 

Outdoor Industry Marketing | How to Spend your Money Wisely

Outdoor Industry Marketing | All advertising is marketing, but not all marketing is advertising

By Jeremy Flinn, COO/CMO – Stone Road Media

“All advertising is marketing, but not all marketing is advertising.”

The statement is a type of logic called transposition. Simply it says if you have advertising then you are marketing, but if you are marketing that does not mean you are advertising. This is actually a good thing for your business!
Why?
Well, advertising traditionally cost money. Historically, the large, dominating forces in the outdoor industry were typically the ones with the largest advertising budget. This money was spent on TV, Radio, Print, Trade Shows, and the like. Because of its “free reign,” the budget was not closely monitored for literal Return on Investment (ROI), but simply to make sure a “consistent” flow of business came in.
Today’s “consumer engagement” specialists are evolving at a rapid pace, and those resistant to change will likely be spent faster than their annual advertising budget. No longer is it appropriate to consider advertisers and marketers one in the same.

Advertisers tend to spend money, whereas marketers tend to make money.

Big difference? Absolutely. But that isn’t to say that advertisers don’t have a role in the consumer engagement process. In today’s outdoor industry, TV, radio, and print are very powerful modes of marketing. However, for the first time in history use of internet driven devices exceeded the use of any one of those platforms. In order to succeed in marketing effectively through the internet, it takes a new wave of thinking…organic.
Like the food, organic in the internet has the same base term – natural. Organic internet marketing, often termed Inbound Marketing, reaches the targeted consumer through natural search methods. Those companies stuck in their ways with paid advertising, have no shortcuts here. Research from Google, who currently owns 90% of annual searches, recently showed over 82% of clicks on their Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) were on organic links, with the small balance on those paid “Pay per Clicks.”

It’s all about relevant, unique content. If you create content the user is likely to look for, then the odds of directing them to your website, and subsequently services and products, is astronomically higher. The traditional advertisers that plan to use “available content” from other feeds and blogs will often fall short again, as content is connected to the original source and your posting is simply a “backlink” for the original page.
In the end it’s simple. Embrace the fact that advertising still has its place; but be fully aware that it WILL NOT provide you a complete marketing strategy.

Advertising spends money, marketing makes money….end of story.

Outdoor Industry Marketing Secrets | Using Inbound Marketing

Outdoor Industry Marketing Secrets | Using Inbound Marketing Strategies to Exploit Small Business Growth Potential

By Jared Prusia, Sr. Manager of Business Development

It’s no secret that the business world is always changing. What is often current or important one day may be completely irrelevant and outdated the next. In some ways, change sets us back; in our progress, our passions, and even our beliefs. In other ways however, change creates opportunity; the opportunity to try, to fail, and sometimes succeed. The outdoor industry has been seemingly-static for several years, but that is changing faster than you can read this blog. While some are able to sense the inevitable change, very few will be able to optimize it. Adaptive inbound marketing strategies that revolve around consumer demands, and create meaningful brand experiences are the secret to gaining a significant competitive advantage. Through search engine optimization, impactful social media presence and content marketing, your growing business can increase sales, improve customers’ experiences and pave the way for a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts in the midst of change. Time, Content, Less Money, Inbound Marketing | loyal Hunting and Fishing CustomersA key component in the current industry shift is the new generation of outdoorsmen and -women rising up to fill the place of those before them. This generational difference is more significant than ever before for one reason: technology. Understanding how consumers use new technologies everyday provides the roadmap to customer satisfaction. Studies show that about 27% of time spent online is on social networking sites; followed closely by entertainment and shopping. Even in the deer stand or turkey blind, almost every hunter has a cell phone in their pocket where social media, Google, and YouTube are just a click away. Effective inbound marketing strategies use technology to build a relationship with the customer via providing exactly what they are looking for, which is much more meaningful than a commercial on TV or an ad in a magazine. For this reason, it is becoming more critical daily to incorporate inbound marketing because it gets your company or brand in front of potential customers each time they use technology. Undoubtedly, as technology continues to progress and become more integrated into our everyday lives; inbound marketing will also progress and become the undisputed marketing technique in not only the outdoor industry, but every marketplace. It was because of these changes, that Stone Road Media was created. The company is the forefront of inbound marketing in the outdoor industry niche. Recognizing the amazing potential for sales increase, website traffic and overall online presence, our team of dedicated professionals is passionate about helping start-ups, small businesses, and growing companies looking to expand their online footprint. We do this by working closely with clients to create a thriving social media presence, optimize search engine results and produce captivating marketing content. As outdoors enthusiasts, our team understands the industry, and customer needs better than anyone else. So before you throw money away on expensive commercials and ineffective magazine ads, consider where inbound marketing can take you and how Stone Road Media can help you get there. It’s time to #BeDifferent! Jared Prusia is the Sr. Manager of Business Development for Stone Road Media. Soon to possess both B.A. degrees in Management and Entrepreneurial Studies from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Penn., Jared excels in creating effective strategies for outdoor industry businesses, particularly with innovative inbound marketing aspects. Stone Road Media | Sr. Manager of Business Development