After a number of conversations lately around questions such as “How is my online marketing doing?” and “How do I know if I’m doing a good job?” I think it’s time to introduce the concept of using scorecards to measure your online marketing progress.
A scorecard comes from the practice of Open Book Finance. In essence, it’s simply another version of the old axiom “what gets measured, gets done.” In Open Book Finance, you take the time to figure out what numbers will make an impact on your business if you focus on them, and then report on them in regular team huddles. Your online marketing benefits from the same focus and rigor.
Once you decide to create a scorecard, the next logical question becomes, “What should be on my online marketing scorecard”?
If you are not already collecting data about your online marketing, the most basic place to start is by measuring visits. While I typically wouldn’t keep visits on the scorecard long term, if you don’t have anything, it gives you an easy number to grab from your Google Analytics and get started. I believe it’s more important to get started and build the habit of “keeping score” than to get caught up in finding the “right” metrics, as they will evolve over time anyway.
As I am most often working with B2B clients with long sales cycles, the key metrics I recommend next are usually leads and sales.
How you define a “lead” and a “sale” also tends to evolve over time. In the beginning, start by tracking whatever method you are currently using to receive online leads. Leads often come through an email link, or contact form, which makes adding them to the scorecard a simple matter of counting the submissions received each month. (Bonus points if you are able to track by week vs. month as you start your scorecard.) If some leads also come via phone calls, counting those phone calls would be an eventual goal, but is rarely easy enough to consider incorporating into version 1.0 of your scorecard.
If you are thinking that you have leads coming in at different stages, and want to capture that information – congratulations! You are already ahead of the game. We’ll tackle those kind of details in a later post. If you can start tracking leads at all, that’s a win, and we’ll call it good enough for version 1.0.
What good will tracking leads and sales do, you ask? Well, grasshopper, that right there is the magic of online marketing.
We talked earlier about how what gets measured gets done, right? More to our point, we might say what gets measured gets improved. The more data we have about what influences a sale, the better we can influence further sales. Every single point in your online sales process is a step to be improved, and a step that can ultimately lead to more sales.
Two of the biggest end points in the online sales process are leads and sales, making them key numbers to track. Eventually, you’ll work you way forward in the process to measure where leads came from so you can also start spending more effort in areas that are generating leads, and less effort in areas that aren’t.
Good luck creating your online marketing scorecard!