4 Essential Online Marketing Metrics to Know

Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!

There’s so much information on online marketing. You can easily find yourself pulling your hair out in a desperate attempt to figure out what to pay attention to.

No worries. We have you covered.

Here’s what you should actually care about:

  1. Sales Conversion Rate

You hear this most often referred to as “conversion rate.” It refers to the percentage of customers who actually do what you want.

This technically doesn’t have to be an action that results in a sale. But for our purposes, that’s what we’ll say “Conversion Rate” refers to. Because, that’s what finally matters to your business.

Conversion rates for service-based businesses typically run in the 1-3% range. So, it’s important to know that just a few more website visitors could result in 50% more sales.

You can always track conversion rate. It can be difficult. But it must be done.

  1. Revenue by Referring Source

Who helps you get the most revenue out of all the different possible channels that drive customers to you?

Does in-person word-of-mouth drive the most sales for you? Google? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Paid search? Other unknown sources?

When you know this information, you can identify where to spend more time marketing, and where you can shore up weak areas.

  1. Social Media Engagement

Size doesn’t matter. At least, in social media anyway. If you have a large audience who doesn’t engage with what you post, it doesn’t matter how big you grow your audience.

You’d rather have an engaged audience, who, when you post, takes action in droves.

So, you’d rather know the engagement rates of your audience, right?

That means measuring things like comments, likes, shares, and mentions. Those metrics carry much more meaning than the size of your audience.

  1. Email Open Rates

This is the engagement metric to measure for emails. It tells you how interesting your content for your email list is.

Again, a smaller more engaged audience is more important than a larger, less-engaged one. You only need a couple hundred subscribers.

More is always better. But, just a couple hundred can result in more sales that mean a difference to your bottom line.

Your email list subscribers love to purchase because they’re the best customers you have. Only your most devoted customers join your email list.

Plus, this is such an easy metric to track. And it also tells you what really interests your audience. So, you can learn what to talk about on your website, in your social media profiles, and even in person!

That keeps interest and results in more sales.

For any small business, those are key metrics to know. And as you improve them over time, you’ll certainly notice a difference in your bottom line.

How to Create Sign-Up and Contact Forms That Win Customers at High Rates

Believe it or not, there is a science to contact and sign-up forms. Assuming everything else on your website is the same, you can get dramatically more (or less) customers depending on the design of your sign-up or contact form.

So what should you do or not do?

Well, it depends on your goals.

If you want to talk to as many customers as possible, for example, you make your form fast and easy to fill out. You use the fewest fields possible.

But, perhaps you want to talk to more of a certain kind of customer. This would most likely be the case for more business-to-business companies. Then, you make your form longer and include more fields.

Not only do you understand more about your customer, but only customers who really have a stronger interest in what you have will actually take the time to fill out the form.

So, you spend more of your time talking to the right kind of customer rather than weeding through and trying to find the one you want.

Let’s talk about some of the specifics:

  1. Less than 5 fields = more customers

Forms with fewer than 5 fields to fill out result in a nearly 20% conversion rate. If you’re business-to-consumer, cut your form to fewer than 5 fields.

  1. Offer Rewards for Signing Up

This works for both business and consumer customers. The incentive may vary, but the concept works.

In both cases, those who join your email list will become your best customers. Only people and businesses who really love what you do join.

In other words, lists are a reliable source of recurring profit (usually for years to come).

For consumers, you may offer a 10% discount on their next purchase, or free shipping. For businesses, you might offer content with exclusive data or a guide on how to get more value from your products or services.

With incentives, there’s actually dozens of approaches. And you never know which one works best until you test and compare.

What does not work is saying,”Subscribe to our blog!” or “Join our email list!” Neither motivates your website visitors in any way.

  1. Make Sure Your Form Allows Autofill

Regardless of the length of your form, the customer doesn’t want to waste their precious time filling out their information if they don’t have to.

Do you know how many times they do this a day?

So, make sure your form allows the browser to autofill information. It’s a small thing.

And in fact, all these suggestions are small. But paying attention to the small stuff makes a big difference with forms and the business you win from them.

How B2B Buyers and Decision Makers Engage with Content

B2B types are savvy, well-researched individuals. But the face of who makes buying decisions is changing.

Millenials are now gaining a strong role in the decision-making process. Some are the decision makers. And many do the research which later gets presented to all involved in the process.

So, as research happens, how does it actually occur? What should you do to make sure you garner interest?

Here’s some tips to guide your content creation:

  1. Write About Technology

Research has proven technology is the single most popular topic consumed by online B2B buyers.

It’s what they want to know. So give it to them. Show buyers how your company uses technology to deliver additional value your competitors don’t offer.

What if you don’t have any great technological advancements on the horizon?

No worries. Discuss industry updates and future trends. Your content doesn’t need to be about you. It simply has to be useful.

  1. How to Maximize Social Media Effectiveness

Consumers browse through social media aimlessly, not looking for anything in particular. They really want to find something of interest, but they’re not even sure what that might be.

B2B buyers’ minds work differently.

They look for something useful and actionable. And they use LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube to find it. They use other social media too. But your time and money are best spent on these social media channels.

  1. Email Marketing Still Works

You’d think B2B buyers get so many daily emails that they go nuts and probably don’t really care for email communication.

It’s partially true. They do get a lot of email. Around 120 emails daily.

However, 77% of B2B buyers still maintain they prefer email communication.

It’s the right way to contact them. So, they key lies in standing out.

That means learning how to write subject lines and message bodies that immediately capture interest.

  1. You Do Need Proper Optimization

Yes. Just like consumers, B2B buyers also use Google searches to find products and services they need.

71% of B2B buyers begin their research with a generic Google search.

So, you need to be found. And you must have an interesting, valuable search listing that’s worth clicking on.

That’s a brief overview of how B2B buyers engage with content. Now it’s up to you to give them an experience so valuable it would be stupid for them not to choose you!

How to Recover from Google’s “Medic” Algorithm Update

Did your site lose rankings and traffic in August and/or September?

Google rolled out an intense algorithm update.

And you might wonder what you should fix.

Well, here’s what Google’s Danny Sullivan had to say about it:

Doesn’t that seem like the world’s greatest non-answer?

What is this a guy? A politician?

So, you lose rankings and traffic…but you can’t do anything to fix it?

Believe it or not, Sullivan’s answer is a good one. And, it’s the right one.

Why No Specific Fix Will Restore Your Rankings and Traffic

When you try to find a specific fix…when you go down that mental avenue…here’s the problem:

you’re trying to please Google.

Yes. Pleasing Google is not what your website is all about.

That’s because Google exists not to put the sites it thinks should be at the top of the search rankings. Rather, it exists to put the sites that people want to use in first place.

That keeps people using Google (and not other search engines). And it keeps the company making billions of dollars.

Google doesn’t want to lose either.

So, What Do You Fix?

Your website can never again be a one-time or occasional thing you look at and make fixes to. If you go that route, you’re sure to lose your rank in search.

It may come slowly. But it will happen.

Rather, you want to constantly tweak your website to give your visitors a better experience. You do the same at your brick-and-mortar location.

You must also do this with your website.

So each day, simply ask yourself, ”What’s the number one thing I can do right now that will make the greatest impact on how much people like my website?”

…And that can lead you to lots of decisions like improving content, increasing site speed, creating more appealing marketing messages, changing code to improve performance, tightening security, and scores of other decisions.

The Number One Thing You Can Always Do

Ultimately, people visit and stay at websites with the most useful content. So if you’re a naturally talented writer, create the most in-depth blog post of its kind that answers a question, dispels a myth, or sheds light on an issue of concern to your audience.

If you’re not a writer, create a video, upload to YouTube, and post it on your website.

Add a podcast to your website.

The more helpful you can be with your content, the better.

Why?

People get all sorts of lame, and sometimes just downright wrong, answers on the internet.

So when you make it clear helping your visitors out is your number one priority, and they get information they can’t get anywhere else, you win attention.

They remember you.

They share your content with their friends.

And when they finally need your service, they choose you (and not your competitor).

In a nutshell, “sharing is caring.”

And that’s how you keep Google happy and maintain a nearly impossible-to-disrupt hold on your traffic and rankings, regardless of the changes Google throws your way.

via GIPHY

 

New Google Speed Update Increases Importance of Mobile Load Speed

 

Google’s been using the speed at which your website downloads on desktop/laptop computers as a ranking signal for some time.

Since 2010, actually.

Up until now, that hasn’t been the case for mobile devices.

But now it is.

…And it doesn’t work exactly as you’d expect.

For example, Google says that for now it only affects pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users.”

In terms of Google updates, even though this one sounds huge, it actually only affects a relatively small number of searches and websites.

Google also admitted in its public announcement that content still plays a much larger role in ranking. So, if you have amazingly useful content, a slow website still won’t trash your rankings.

That’s Not the Only Reason You Should Have a Fast-Loading Website for Mobile Devices

Yes. It’s going to hurt your rankings (and by extension sales) if you happen to be one of the “slowest” loading sites.

But that’s not the only reason you should feel concerned to make your website download as fast as possible on all device types.

What do you really care about at the end of the day?

Sales, right?

Well, the faster your website downloads, the more sales you get. Hundreds and thousands of case studies have documented extensively the strong relationship between website speed and sales.

Here’s just a few:

  • Amazon loses $1.6 billion per year for each second slower its product pages load
  • One mPulse study found pages that load in 2.4 seconds get a 1.9% conversion rate. At 3.3 seconds, this falls to 1.5% (a 21% decrease). At 4.2 seconds, this falls below 1.0% – or about a 50% decrease.
  • Shopzilla found faster pages deliver 7-12% more sales than slower ones
  • AutoAnything found cutting page load time in half led to 13% more sales

You can read more brief case studies about this at Hubspot. And if you want nearly endless reading on the subject, just Google “how page speed affects conversions,” or something similar.

The point is that page download speed undoubtedly has a noticeable effect on sales.

Give Yourself a Quick Check

Google has a PageSpeed tool that tells you what you can do to improve your page’s download speed.

Don’t worry so much about the score. Look more at what it suggests you do to improve your page’s speed.

Lighthouse also sheds light on the issue.

When you think about it, if you do fix a page download speed issue, it’s only a one-time cost. And then you reap the sales rewards for years into the future.

And you’re absolutely guaranteed Google won’t reverse its stance. The market demands fast websites and instant gratification…and always will!

Apple’s New iOS 11 Will End Cookies and Change Online Advertising Forever

You know what cookies are, right?

In case you’re not exactly sure, they’re small files some websites store on your computer that include information a company has tracked about you. Most commonly, they get used for advertising. Those retargeted ads that seem to follow you around from site-to-site have their data stored in cookies.

Cookies may also be used to store information regarding whether you’ve seen a particular newsletter subscription offer. For example, you get 10% off for joining a website’s email list. Once you sign up, you don’t get shown that ad again thanks to the cookie.

They also may store information about how you like to view a certain website. For example, ESPN lets you select your favorite teams to follow, and that info gets stored in a cookie.

That’s what cookies do. They allow the web to be customized to you in a more personal way.

But now, as is often the case with Apple, they’re changing that. iOS 11 now shifts the web to “intelligent tracking prevention” (ITP).

After 24 hours, advertisers will have their cookie data blocked by ITP. Publicly, Apple says they’re doing this to safeguard user data and deliver even more relevant advertising.

But is that the case? Learn a little more about ITP and what it will do:

  1. The Good For Consumers

You’ve heard about all those massive online data breaches in recent years. Apple’s ITP truly does offer better data protection. That’ll help you feel more at ease.

And, since those retargeted ads will have to disappear and be replaced after 24 hours, that’ll give you more relevant and useful ads. Ideally, this makes shopping online easier and more enjoyable.

  1. The Online Advertising Industry Will Consolidate

More automation and real-time activation will be needed to successfully advertise online. Companies will have to switch their focus to devices and identity resolution, rather than cookies. Any company that refuses to change, or without the capability to do so quickly enough, will fall out of relevance themselves, or have to close their doors.

  1. ITP Technology Won’t Have a Massive Effect

Though groundbreaking and disruptive in concept, only about 15% of mobile browsing happens in a browser, notes an Adage article. And 30% of that 15%, or just 5%, of mobile browsing happens in iOS.

What about all the rest of mobile advertising? It happens through apps.

Why Should You Care about This?

You’ll definitely notice the changes – both as a consumer and business. While it’s not likely to devastate your bottom line (thankfully), it will affect your approach and personal experience.