Imagine you are an aspiring athlete seeking some sponsorship for an upcoming event. What is the first question a potential donor would ask, “How good are you against xyz competition?” Presenting details on how you stack up against other players is a classic case of benchmarking.
Google defines benchmarking as “the process of comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to industry bests or best practices from other companies. Dimensions typically measured are quality, time and cost.”
However, sometimes, you might be an industry pioneer and won’t have competitors to benchmark against. But this doesn’t mean you don’t practice benchmarking altogether. Smart marketers know the importance of benchmarking and they compare the effectiveness of their campaign against metrics that matter.
Benchmarking allows you to measure yourself against the competition and presents opportunities for improvement. It also helps organisations break out of complacency and visualise path to success. But benchmarking isn’t simply doing “ new or innovative” things just because your competitor is doing them. Benchmarking has to be strategic and purposeful, even when you talk about inbound marketing. It helps identify both loopholes and opportunities for growth in your business without having to start from scratch. In such cases, you can benchmark and learn from proven methodologies used by competitors. After all, there is more to inbound marketing than just monitoring web traffic and page views.
Continue reading this blog to find out what areas you should be tracking in your inbound marketing strategy. Tracking these metrics will help you gain more leads, engagements, and the all-important, sales!
Track how many landing pages you need to increase leads and site visits.
Why? Because increasing the number of landing pages increases the chances of you popping up higher in SERPs. If your goal is to increase site visits, then you need to have 51-100 landing pages (Woah!). Now because there is such a range in this statistic, benchmarking yourself against competitors will give you an accurate perspective on what works for your industry. How to increase your landing pages? Ensure that every single offer or campaign has a landing page.
Understand how frequently you need to blog in order to drive site visits.
Why is benchmarking blogging crucial? Well, the more you blog the more fresh and informative content will be present on the site. HubSpot reports that companies which blog 15 times per month get 5x more traffic than companies that don’t. Furthermore, smaller companies (1-10 employees) tend to witness the biggest gains with blogging initiatives. This content gets picked up by search engines that zooms you to the top of search results. Bottom line is that frequent blogging makes it easier for Google and customers to find you. If you are already doing 3-4 blogs per month, consider doubling that number to witness an immediate growth in your leads.
With multiple social media platforms, is the impact of social media diminishing? Actually, no. Keep a tab on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter impact. You don’t need to have millions of followers to make an impact. Companies with 50-100 genuine followers on Twitter drive traffic by 106% than those that have fewer than 25 followers (HubSpot Marketing Benchmark Report). Many B2C companies witness a jump in traffic after they have developed a base of 1000+ Twitter and Facebook followers.
Here are a few social media metrics to pay attention to:
What is the end goal for ALL marketing activities - more conversions! Start by tracking how many leads it takes to convert. You can dig deeper and track conversions at every stage of the funnel. The following metrics show all the various closing rates you can benchmark.
Start with tracking these metrics for 6 months and then expand to capturing data for 1-2 years. Read more about increasing your MQLs through inbound marketing here.
Ever open your inbox and just see emails on emails from companies vying for your attention? Yes, that scenario is all too familiar to most of us. How many of these emails do they actually open? Now look at it from a business perspective. As marketers, getting customers to open an email and engage with you is a mighty challenge. But that is exactly why benchmarking email open rates is a must.
If your email open rates are not impressive, then you can do some of the following things:
When customers are genuinely interested in your product or service, they will spend more time on your website doing their due diligence. A low bound rate indicates that your content is working and your pages are hitting the bull’s eye. According to TechWyse, a good bounce rate is typically between 26%-40%. If your bounce rate is higher, we recommend sitting down with a content marketer or content strategist to understand whether there is a clear-cut conversion path or not.
There are reasons why marketers stress click-through rates. The more engaged a lead is, the more likely they are to click on the CTAs. It is also an important benchmark to understand the effectiveness of your PPC campaign. Higher click-through rates indicate that your CTA and content is pulling traffic to your website. Poor click-through rates could possibly indicate that your ad copy isn’t compelling enough. However, there is not a “golden” number for a good click-through rate as it varies across industries. Therefore, it becomes necessary to benchmark this number against your network and competitors.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a pro or a newbie at benchmarking, having solid awareness and understanding of industry benchmarking standards is a must-have. Using our recommended benchmarking metrics will help you maintain continued success for your inbound marketing programs. Stay up-to-date with your competition, so you can determine your current performance and plan for the future.
Which benchmarking metrics are you tracking? Share your answers in the comments below.