The idea of a marketing dashboard is nothing new. In fact, it’s quite popular in marketing theory and with many major corporations like IBM, Citrix, and Intel, who use them to monitor marketing activities. The concept of an Inbound Marketing Dashboard (Get yours here) is geared towards the specific activities that go into Inbound Marketing, such as Content, Social, and SEO.
Most marketing automation software provides you with some form of a marketing dashboard. Hubspot, a leader in Inbound Marketing Automation, is one software solution that provides analytics and dashboards that will give any business leader an instant snapshot on leads, content and overall campaign performance. Marketing automation can be a great option and is absolutely required in some instances. However, purchasing software is not always the best option (and let’s be honest, it can be pricey).
Why you should build an Inbound Marketing Dashboard
Leads are not generated and awareness is not created by machines and code; they are a means to an end. Brainpower, due diligence, and experience are the key inputs that go into creating compelling content and calls-to-action that deliver awareness and leads. The machines and code track it all and provide us with a standardized platform in order to measure results.
If you are starting at ground zero or you want to revitalize your lead generation and sales efforts, it’s understandable that you may not want to pay hefty subscription fees for a software license. Not to worry though; you can do it all yourself. By creating your own Inbound Marketing Dashboard, you’ll be able to collect data, analyze data, and provide better advice on strategic decisions about the growth of the business.
How to use an Inbound Marketing Dashboard
The idea is simple: segment various marketing activities that are measurable. At echogravity, we like to document our data first thing every Monday by entering the data row by row. It gives us a snapshot of our performance over the last week and the areas we need to focus on for the upcoming week. At echogravity, we use the inbound marketing dashboard to measure the outcome of client projects, as well as our own inbound marketing activities.
For example, we may publish a whitepaper that we also package into a blog post. We then distribute the whitepaper over social channels and look to attract visitors via targeted SEO keyword terms. In this scenario, we would make note of the content published and look for spikes (or declines) in our web traffic, social activity, and lead generation week to week. Over time, we analyze trends in the topics of the content, in addition to the types of activities that get us closer to our desired goals and milestones.
The inbound marketing dashboard holds us accountable to the ideas we implement because the proof is in the numbers – i.e. unique visits, downloads, leads, and/or qualified leads. It allows us to answer, “This is all cool stuff, but is it really helping us?”
Take advantage of free tools
There are thousands of free tools and ways to take the pulse of your inbound marketing efforts on $0 budget. Most of these tools are web based (i.e. Google Analytics, SugarCRM, Open Site Explorer), so you can place a link to the URL/Data Source directly in the dashboard. This is a huge time saver. It should only take about 20 minutes to fill out the various data points.
What to measure
The specific metrics may vary depending on your business and sales/marketing activities you are capable of executing. This dashboard is meant to evolve with business intricacies and inbound marketing needs. The components and metrics we like to measure include:
- Website: Your website is the main hub by which your inbound marketing activities function and where your target audience engages your content. Are we increasing our unique visitor traffic? How many people are bouncing off our site? Analyzing the click-stream data (we use Google Analytics) of your website is an absolute must in tweaking your approach and making strategic decisions.
Key Metrics – Unique Visitors, Engaged Visitors Length of Visit, Unique Page Views, Bounce Rate and Referral Traffic.
- Calls-To-Action: This component of the Inbound Marketing Dashboard is designed to track the types of web visitor actions and how effective you are at getting your target buyer to download or engage your content.
Key Metrics – # of content downloads, # of Buyer Personas who Downloaded content.
- Lead Generation: We look to these metrics to tell us the origination of leads and where most valuable leads are are coming from. Sources of leads vary in most companies, you may want to tweak your dashboard to better understand specific points of lead conversion.
Key Metrics – # of Leads from Website, # of Leads from Email, # of Contact Us Forms Filled out, and # of qualified leads acquired.
- Social Media: The numbers of people with social media profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are still rising. We look at these metrics because they are great distribution channels for content and building awareness. We want to see how these numbers change as we implement new marketing programs and campaigns.
Key Metrics – # of twitter mentions, # of followers, # of click thru’s on links shared over SM, # of RSS Subscribers, # of Leads from Website, # of Leads from Email, # of Contact Us Forms Filled out, and consider adding # of qualified leads acquired.
- SEO: We are mainly concerned about organic search when referring to SEO in the dashboard. We want to see what marketing activities are raising our SEO profile. The SEO metrics will tell us about how well linked our site is, and how well our keyword strategy is working.
Key Metrics – Page Authority Score, Keyword Rankings, Linking Domains, # of External Blog Comments, % search traffic
- Content: The content being produced can be tied directly to spikes and declines in the dashboard numbers. We measure the type of content being produced and the frequency in order to gauge its impact on other metrics.
Key Metrics – # blog posts, # of comments, content created, New report/study created,
- Email: Email is way underutilized because of the negative stigma. However, we’ve found that crisp messaging to highly targeted contacts (whether opt in or sales focused) can deliver incredible lead generation. Play around with copy and links and check your open rates and click thrus to see what sticks.
Key Metrics – Open Rate, Click Thru Rate, Email Calls-to-Action Completed
- Contact and Account Data: Your target market (segmented) contact data is the lifeblood to revenue. In order to build a database of buyers, contact data is gathered through inbound marketing and data gathering. It’s important to continue building these numbers higher at all times.
Start creating your own dashboard and download the echogravity Inbound Marketing Dashboard!