In common with many businesses you may be coming to the end of your financial year and planning your marketing for next year. You will no doubt have some clear marketing objectives and be thinking about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help you monitor your marketing, and the likelihood of you achieving your marketing goals.
What are KPIs?
As the name suggests, KPIs are indicators of performance. They are not the marketing goals themselves, but signposts along the way, indicating whether or not your goals are likely to be achieved. They can’t be woolly, they must be, as the acronym goes, SMART:
Simply, if you can’t measure your KPI quickly and accurately, it’s not a KPI.
Why use KPIs?
There are a couple of good reasons, the first being understanding. Let’s say a goal is to obtain 20 qualified leads from your website each month. That’s the final result of potentially quite a bit of work. You need to know what the indicators of successful goal achievement may be, so that you can understand which aspects of your marketing are working and which are not. For example, do you have enough site traffic? Where is your traffic coming from? Are site users successfully making their way through to enquiry? These kind of indicators will help you understand the journey, the likelihood of goal success and where you need to make improvements.
The second main reason is justification. You need budgets for your marketing and you may need to build a business case to justify the spend. KPIs can be a very helpful ally, helping you to explain why you know, for example, that a spend of so much on email marketing will result in so many more visits to the website and so many more enquiries as a result.
What kind of KPIs should you be using?
KPIs should be specific to your requirements, but there are some marketing KPIs that we use regularly to help us understand how our clients’ marketing is progressing, here are a few examples:
- total unique users
- new users
- returning users
- traffic sources
- number of followers
- number of posts/ tweets
- interactions (sharing, commenting, liking, reposting)
- audience size / signups
- emails sent
- % opens
- % click throughs
How do you monitor your KPIs?
The most important thing is that you do monitor your KPIs, and take action based on what you discover!
How often you monitor depends on the KPIs themselves and your goals. As a minimum we like to make sure we issue a KPI report once a month for our clients. It can be time-consuming to gather your KPI information together and there are some very useful tools out there that you can use. For example in social media; Buffer & Hootsuite. For your website; Google analytics or other analytics programmes. Many tools have reporting functionality, so you can set up regular reports, or set up a dashboard. You may even have a custom online dashboard created so that you can view your KPIs whenever you want.
So good luck with your marketing for next year, remember to use KPIs to guide you, but one final thought… remember they are indicators of success, don’t become a slave to them, they are the means to an end, not the end itself.