Data, data, data — it drives every business.
At first glance, a company’s marketing department may seem wholly situated on the creative side of the business, but it’s also made up of many different data points. These data points, called KPIs, analyze marketing activity to show the success and worth of your endeavors.
Here are the 9 marketing KPIs your small business should be tracking
- Cost per lead
- Sales revenue
- Marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads
- Customer retention
- Unique web visitors
- Organic traffic
- Form conversion rates
- Customer lifetime value
- Social media reach
Overview: What are marketing KPIs?
It’s easy to say KPIs are essential data, but they are a bit more detailed.
KPIs track the behaviors and actions of an intended audience set. You want to know how your marketing is doing, so you can adjust and improve, track goals, and prove success.
KPIs are specific marketing metrics that relate to your campaigns in terms of reach, engagement, and other aspects.
The best marketing KPIs your small business can track
There are many metrics you can track, but when it comes to checking the best and most impactful data for your business, there are a few you should focus on.
1. Cost per lead
How much money does it take to bring in each lead? The lower the cost, the better, as it means you are doing more with less, which means you’re saving money, and your marketing efforts are performing efficiently.
Bringing in more leads for less money proves the worth of your work and grows the business itself. At a glance, a campaign may seem too expensive, but it may show more leads than a cheaper one, meaning a higher potential conversion rate.
To track this, divide the total cost to run the campaign by the total number of leads it generates. If your expensive campaign brings in exponentially more leads, you can justify a greater expense thanks to a low cost per lead.
Tips for tracking cost per lead:
Measuring cost per lead doesn’t have to be a headache:
- Set up tracking goals in your CRM software: Establish goals right in your CRM from the very beginning to make it easier to track the lead source down the line, when more campaigns are active.
- Narrow your demographics: Casting too wide of a net will result in less interaction from an audience. Filter your campaign to target who’s most likely to interact with your content.
2. Sales revenue
In order for a campaign to be successful, your sales revenue (money brought in from a campaign) should be more than the cost to run that campaign. You can show profit simply by subtracting the sales revenue brought in from the cost of the campaign itself.
Tips for tracking sales revenue:
You can look into sales revenue as a whole or in more detailed tiers:
- Break it down: While looking at total sales is good, you can get a better picture of true sales revenue potential when you look at sales by demographic.
- Set a regular cadence: Don’t let the fear of seeing a negative stop you. Setting a regular schedule for checking sales revenue growth will ensure it gets done, and it also helps you see measurable growth over time.
3. Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to sales qualified leads (SQLs)
There are two types of converted leads.
Marketing qualified leads are more likely to become a customer, thanks to demographics and engagement. Sales qualified leads are leads that your sales team has identified as target customers.
You can use email marketing to attract MQLs with strategic and trackable campaigns (email marketing software such as Constant Contact or Sendinblue offer easy ways to schedule marketing and see results) and measure their likelihood to convert to SQLs.
Tracking at this level provides a deeper value, as these are prospects most likely to buy from you.
Tips for tracking MQLs to SQLs:
Some ways to make lead tracking easier include:
- Understanding ratios: Having a goal of converting MQLs to SQLs can guide your campaign. Dividing the number of leads you receive by the number of leads closed gives you a current ratio upon which you can aim to improve.
- Not spamming: You need to hit that sweet spot between enough messaging to stay top of mind, but not enough to annoy. Be strategic in sending follow-up emails to those on your email list so as not to spam.
4. Customer retention
It’s cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones, and a high rate of customer retention also proves you’re delivering quality content. It shows true value in your marketing and makes your customers feel that sticking with you is worthwhile.
Tips for tracking customer retention:
See how much of your audience remains captive at a glance with:
- Social media ties: Tie in your retention to social media measurements to get a broader and more accurate reading on your retained audience.
- Reviews: Indicators such as customer satisfaction scores and positive reviews are all good indicators of a loyal following, but the inverse is also true.
5. Unique web visitors
A step beyond total web traffic, unique web visitors show you how much of your traffic is individuals. For example, if 250 of your 500 monthly site visits are repeat visitors, your audience is only about half as big. However, if 350 out of 400 monthly visits are unique, that indicates a broader audience of leads generated.
Tips for tracking unique web visitors:
You can take an uncomplicated dive into unique traffic by:
- Utilizing web analytics: Tools such as Google Analytics let you see your total monthly traffic versus unique visitors.
- Analyzing surrounding metrics: Get a complete view of your unique visitors by also taking into account things like average time on page and top pages.
6. Organic traffic
Almost every business’s goal is to drive the most traffic from organic searches versus paid promotion. Organic traffic refers to customers who find your site on their own, thanks to its ranking and authority, and it keeps costs down since you’re not paying to promote.
Tips for tracking organic traffic:
Get direct insight into your organic traffic growth and help it grow with:
- SEO: Organic traffic and SEO are linked. Do keyword research to build your content, refine, and measure.
- Ads: Even though you want the majority of your searches to be organic, set aside some money for paid promotion. Paid ads put your brand in consumers’ minds, which can lead to later organic growth and recognition.
7. Form conversion rates
Specific forms can track specific content. By having your marketing efforts link directly to certain landing pages, you can track the rate at which these forms are viewed and filled out.
Tips for tracking form conversion rates:
You can get a handle on which forms are converting best with some simple actions:
- A/B testing: The best way to test the effectiveness of content is to compare it to other content. Test two similar forms to see which one yields higher conversions.
- Analyzing results: Just because you have a winner from your first round of A/B testing doesn’t mean it won’t go stale, or tastes won’t change. Be ready to test and adjust continually as conversion rates fluctuate.
8. Customer lifetime value
How much is a customer worth to your business in total? Knowing this can set out budgeting parameters for marketing. It can also help prevent attrition and let you see opportunities to increase that value.
An easy formula for calculating is:
(Average sale amount per customer) x (Average number of customer sales per year) x (Average retention time for a typical customer)
Tips for tracking customer lifetime value:
Make the math and planning easier by:
- Setting time parameters: Decide early on if it makes more sense to track customers by month, quarter, or year so your formula is easy to plug into.
- Evaluating initial costs: In order to get an accurate read on a customer’s total worth, subtract the initial cost of acquiring them from their worth. This will give you pure profit.
9. Social media reach
No list of digital marketing tips would be complete these days without social media. You aren’t just acquiring customers via your emails — social media drives a lot of lead traffic, so knowing your followers and engagement numbers across platforms is crucial.
Tips for tracking social media reach:
Thankfully, social media is almost tailor-made for marketing these days, and you can track results by:
- Monitoring built-in analytics: Keep it simple. Most social media sites have built-in analytics for business profiles to easily track follower growth, reach, post engagement, and more.
- Selecting the right platform: Not all platforms work for all businesses. If your company doesn’t lend itself well to Instagram, don’t waste your time there, and instead focus somewhere else, such as LinkedIn, that may drive higher engagement.
KPIs: Friends, not foes
The idea of tracking data doesn’t have to be a headache. KPIs are an essential part of measuring marketing performance as they not only help you tweak campaigns, but they also showcase your marketing wins — thus highlighting what’s working well for your business. KPIs are knowledge, and knowledge is power.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Facebook, HubSpot, and Twilio. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.