If you are working to improve your online presence with Google AdWords, Google display ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, and working on improvements to your web site, you probably recognize how many variables affect your success, and you have probably wondered – what is helping us and what is hurting us? Are we spending too much money or not enough money in one channel or another?
This article is intended to help you distill key aspects of your advertising data, site analytics data, and revenue goals into some key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you to make smart choices regarding your small business digital marketing strategy. At the end of this article you’ll find a helpful spreadsheet available for download that will make an excellent starting point for your very own digital marketing KPI dashboard. Once you get familiar with each measurement topic and the KPIs within, you can start to make progress with your overall digital marketing strategy, and then you can devote a couple hours each month to analyzing your digital marketing strategy’s progress.
For small businesses, I prefer a simple spreadsheet to full reliance on any one of the tools out there, because I think it’s the least expensive and least time-consuming way to get a tailored analysis tool that encapsulates every aspect of digital marketing measurement. If you spend time looking through the tools available, you may find a lot of great gadgets for automation and you may even want to use some for your digital marketing KPI dashboard data collection, but in my experience, taking the time to plug in each number in a spreadsheet helps you to build a vital connection between your data and your decisions.
Download the spreadsheet now:
Sample Digital Marketing KPI Dashboard
For the purposes of this article, we are talking about digital marketing KPIs that make sense for a strategy focused on delivering inbound leads to the business.
Start with the big picture. What are you hoping to accomplish? At what traffic volume, at what conversion rate, and at what close rate?
#1 – Anticipated Revenue
Let’s say that your new site could generate 18 deals a year at an average deal size of $5k. The site could do that if all of the digital marketing KPIs are met. If it’s effective, the site will gross $90k in revenue. After we establish all the KPIs for measuring the effectiveness of our digital marketing strategy, we’ll have the formula necessary to determine how much money must be spent to achieve this anticipated revenue goal.
Something to consider: If your business nets 30% before marketing costs, how much margin are you willing to devote to ensuring that $90k revenue goal is met? What are your other costs involved in new customer acquisition? Does the business growth increase your operational expenses?
Anticipated Revenue is a factor of average deal size and number of deals. Decide on these two numbers based on your existing sales data and plug them into your spreadsheet. As I said, this number will be critical as we determine your digital marketing spending plans.
#2 – Traffic Volume
This is relatively simple, but as we build up to the more complicated KPIs, traffic influences every other number in our calculations. As we look at the big picture, we need to know how much traffic is visiting your web site in total. We will break down the sources of that traffic later on as we work to adjust our spending plan.
You can grab basic traffic data from your WordPress site dashboard within a wordpress.com hosted site, or you can install Google Analytics on your site and gather data there. For the purposes of a KPI dashboard, I would recommend looking at this data on a monthly basis unless you have an extremely high traffic volume and need more granular detail.
#3 – Conversion Rate (Total Number of Inbound Leads from Digital Marketing)
Conversion is everything to a digital marketing strategy, and is the key measure of success for the whole digital marketing strategy. For the purposes of our discussion, conversion will be counted when a web site visitor gives their name and contact info via a form on your web site. This simple act is the bread and butter of a small business digital marketing strategy. There are countless articles and videos discussing measures you might take to increase the conversion rate on your site, vital among those are killer, relevant landing pages. Nonetheless, conversion is a component of several factors including audience relevance, user intent, site load speed, visual appeal, colors, button size and placement, word choice, social proof, and the establishment of expertise.
I would highly recommend utilizing a digital marketing KPI dashboard to centralize data about each of your efforts in improving your conversion rate. The trick here is waiting for traffic to come through before analyzing your efforts. Otherwise, you won’t know if it was the first, second, or third improvement you made that helped improve conversion.
#4 – Close Rate
Take the number of leads received by your website last month and divide that by the number of deals closed to come up with a close rate. If you’re just starting out, take the number of leads you got from other sources over the past few months to get a one month average. You can use this number to adjust how many leads you need to meet your revenue goals. In this section, record deal size and total new revenues.
With all of these big picture variables established you can find out how much traffic is needed to meet your revenue goals using the simple calculator included on my spreadsheet available for download here.
Analyze each component of your digital marketing programming from ads to the site’s ability to convert.
#5 – Traffic Sources
For a data hungry nerd like myself, this is one of the most fun things to analyze. At the end of the month, take some time to plug this data into your digital marketing KPI dashboard. How much traffic did you get from Instagram? From ads or a link on your page? How much traffic came from people typing your name into a search on Google? How much traffic came from people typing in your address and visiting the site directly? How much traffic came from your display ads and your search ads? How much came from people typing keywords into a Google search? How many of each source bounced? Take a snap shot on Google Analytics at the end of each month and plug this data into your spreadsheet with other relevant details to build a history of what has worked and what has failed.
For each of the advertising sources, we want to look at number of impressions, number of clicks, and cost per click (CPC). High impressions and low clicks may mean you need to rethink your ad’s copy or imagery. Or, it may mean you are targeting the wrong audience.
In addition to just tracking how many site visitors came from organic search results, we want to monitor our rankings. We can track how we are climbing the rankings for a handful of critical keywords and compare it with total search volume data for each of those keywords here in our KPI dashboard since our organic rankings will be influenced by the same factors that influence conversion. I guarantee Google rewards a low bounce rate.
Here, we just want to track how many people came to our site via our social media presences. While you cannot see a lot of information here about impressions vs clicks, you can take a moment to add totals under the headers: posts, likes, comments. If your activity level is quantified, then you can more easily correlate traffic to activity.
#6 – Conversion Attribution
Now you want to know which sources provide better conversion rates right? Yes, that is the golden ticket. Wherever the traffic comes from is the goose that lays the golden egg. Feed that goose more and get more golden eggs, right? Well, truthfully there is a law of diminishing return at play here, but you can do some experimenting to see how to make the most of every profitable avenue. Also, some avenues may not get due credit for conversion. they may play an important role in establishing brand recognition (remarketing ads), serving as a reference check (social media does this well), and establishing credibility (SEO rankings – seriously, do you ever select a company from page 30 of the results?).
There are a lot of ways to connect the dots between traffic sources and conversion rates. You can set up triggers in Google Analytics using Tag Manager. You can pay for software like Hubspot which centralizes lots of marketing data. Or, if you don’t want to invest hours and hours or hundreds of dollars into the more automated options, you can simply ask at the conversion step, “How did you hear about us?” Then offer a simple dropdown allowing them to pick from the sources where you are spending the most resources. Whatever you do, track whatever data you have so you can make the most of the more profitable traffic sources.
#7 – Remarketing Ads
Have you ever felt like a business was stalking you? E-commerce sites like Amazon are masters of remarketing strategy. If you even consider buying those low top gray Converse, you’ll see low top gray Converse ads on every site you visit that supports display ads. You too can leverage this powerful advertising tool. If you have a decent amount of traffic, you can even get extremely granular in targeting people based on what pages they’ve visited on your site. As you gain familiarity with this powerful tool, you should track data about dollars/click, sites where your ads displayed and users also clicked, and various versions of your ads’ popularity as measured by clicks.
Measure how well you are being a good steward of the pipeline. Are you sending enough emails? Is the follow up material increasing engagement?
This is where we analyze efforts in email marketing and lead magnets. It may be difficult to automate the collection of this data, but it’s important to measure every aspect of your digital marketing strategy. It’s especially important to place an emphasis on what happens to a lead once their data has been collected. The ball is not out of our court just yet. In this phase of the game, digital marketing moves into a supportive role, but we can still measure our success.
#8 -Email Marketing
Fill in data on your dashboard for number of emails sent to leads, number of opens (If you use any number of online email marketing tools, this will be easy…), and number of links clicked. Bonus, what was the most popular link clicked? What are your prospects most interested in? Testimonials? Case studies? White papers? Video content? Take this time to hone in on the most popular content in your arsenal. What can you do to make sure that content is persuasive and compelling?
#9 – Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are another powerful tool in your conversion toolbox. When properly used, a lead magnet is a great PDF, video, or audio recording that people want so badly, they are willing to fork over their name and number in exchange for a small portion of your expertise or a sample of your services provided in the deliverable.
When tracking your success with lead magnets, make sure to note the name of each lead magnet currently on offer, how many downloads it’s seen, and how many views the page has seen. There’s an easy way to track conversion for an individual component of your digital marketing strategy. If the lead magnet has its own URL, simply divide traffic to the page by number of downloads, and you’ll have a granular conversion rate. As you analyze the success of your lead magnets, consider if each one has enough meat and potatoes to entice a hungry site visitor. Does the lead magnet landing page offer a decent preview of what’s on offer in the deliverable?
Finally, analyze your spending vs profitability.
#10 – Cost Per Lead
A component of customer acquisition cost (CAC), this number is relatively simple to find. How much did you spend on the site, the implementation services, the ads, the graphic design, the copywriting, etc? Divide that number by the number of leads received from your web site. As you may want to seek benchmark data on this number, remember we are not talking about the full CAC, we are only talking about the digital marketing component.
Use a formula to tell you the % of that revenue being spent on Cost Per Lead. This is the ultimate way to come up with a custom marketing budget. Are you happy with that number? Can you sustain it? We all know we have to spend money to make money, but at what rate, right? If you look at this number in isolation, you won’t be able to tell what’s working and what’s not, but in light of all the other KPIs, you can really make informed decisions about your digital marketing budget.