An excerpt of this article was printed in The Reading Eagle Newspaper, Print Edition
Having an effective marketing strategy isn’t only about creating brilliant and compelling visuals with educational and impactful data, it’s about understanding what numbers you should track to grow your business, or if you work for a business, how to effectively communicate those numbers to stakeholders in order to drive high level decision making.
Key Performance Indicators for Bloggers
Marketing strategists often use the acronym KPI, which stands for Key Performance Indicators.
In its most basic form, marketing KPIs are a series of numbers that are tied to a company’s overall goals. When KPIs are properly established, a company can measure its progress toward their goals by associating this number (a marketing metric) to the outcome of an intrinsically defined target.
Here's an example for a small business owner or blogger. Imagine you are selling a digital product such as an ebook or a digital course. You might decide to run an online ad in order to drive traffic to your offer. Perhaps you set your budget at $100 per day. Imagine your ad is seen by 2,000 people and you've got a 60% click rate, but only a 10% conversion rate.
What exactly does that mean?
First off, it means you'll make a profit because you are selling an average of 120 books per day, each for $10. It also means your ad is very good and your audience targeting is on point because it's driving a lot of clicks. But even though you are making $1,200 per day, how do you determine whether whether your Return on Investment (ROI) for this campaign is actually good?
The answer is that you need to assign a KPI that is important to you. Although you are quite profitable and it may seem like you have a high ROI, a 10% conversion rate is actually quite bad, which means something could be better optimized for conversions.
Perhaps it's your sales page, maybe it's the copy, the imagery, or even the advertisement. Understanding what metrics to look at can help you better determine what can be tweaked in order to get a higher Return on Investment.
Now imagine if you tweaked your sales page and it started producing a 40% conversion rate. In this example, you would not likely change the ad because 60% is a really good click rate. So with a good click rate and a good conversion rate, instead of making just $1,200 per day in revenue from this campaign, you're now making $4,800 per day. That is a significant difference. Knowing what to “tweak” is the key to optimizing for conversion, but you can only optimize if you establish the performance metrics that you plan to track.
Many leadership teams (as well as small business owners) monitor the performance of these numbers over time and use them to adjust their plans, their programs, and their products to support and improve their overall strategic goals.
It's always a good idea to start with one performance metric and split-test it. Split test means that you only change one thing, such as a Pin image, to determine which one is producing the best results. Then you can tweak other pieces such as the headline copy, the sales page, or the target audience. Each of these can be considered a KPI.
How to use KPIs to Plan Goals for the New Year
In the past, most people associated financial metrics with the classic example of measurable indicators, however using only past performance to forecast marketing results no longer yields a good prediction about whether to keep, reject, or try out a new marketing strategy.
Buyers have changed; today’s buyer is highly informed, and their journey from first hearing about a product or service until they actually buy it is not linear.
Today’s modern buyer researches products and services online at any time of the day or night, on any device, and consumes information from multiple sources. They compare and contrast reviews, seek out recommendations, and educate themselves more than ever before.
The good news for bloggers and small business owners is that we can measure these actions and behaviors in ways that we couldn’t measure before, and this is a captivating source of information when tied to a KPI.
1. Choose a KPI that is specifically tied to a metric that will ultimately grow your revenue
Bloggers often follow the classic online business model; they start their email list with an opt-in freebie, also called a Lead Magnet. But most people miss the most important part of the methodology: your opt-in needs to have a direct correlation to the product or service that you will ultimately offer…even if you're not offering it for sale yet!
Lets take a quick look at an example. If you're offering a subscription to your weekly newsletter, you need to give people a reason to opt-in, otherwise you won't gain much traction. Instead, if you plan to sell an ebook about gardening but the ebook isn't finished yet, perhaps your freebie is a checklist on how to get started composting. When you use this methodology, you measure you opt-ins and it logically leads to the next step of the journey…the offer of the book.
2. Invest in your audience up front, and pay for ads to your Free offer
I know it sounds crazy, but stay with me here. Most of the time, I actually pay for ads to my freebie instead of my offer, so that I can attract my ideal client on to my email list. This is called “attraction marketing” and it's such an important part of online marketing. The goal is to over-deliver on value.
For me, I first deliver what I promised (typically a free worksheet or checklist) and then I send a short email welcome series to introduce myself and my business. If all goes well and a person is still on my email list, I will then let them know that I typically send a video once a week on a topic that is helpful to anyone starting or growing an online business. They always have the option to unsubscribe if my content doesn't suit them any longer.
Ultimately, my emails will nurture them and provide so much value, that they will (hopefully) buy something from me at some point. The idea is not to do what most online marketers do…which is bombard them with en email a day (or…gasp…more than one email a day) because that is just going to make people unsubscribe instantly.
It just doesn't work.
No matter what anyone tells you, don't ever break the Golden Rule of Email Marketing…NO MORE than one email a day. In fact, you should never send your general list more than one email a week (unless you're doing a launch which is an entirely different topic.)
First an foremost, you need to serve your customer before you make an offer, otherwise you're just employing the sleezy techniques that don't work. The offer needs to logically follow the freebie and the nurturing, and become an extension of the buyer's journey.
3. Use the right social media platform for your business
Back in 2014, I created my first digital course. Although it was a total bust at the time, one of the modules was solely dedicated to how to choose the right social media platform for your business. Today that topic is even more important than it was back then. Nobody can do it all, not even a large company with an enormous marketing department and unlimited budget can dominate every platform.
Using KPIs to your advantage involves choosing the platform that resonates most with your exact target audience, and focusing on that platform first. If you try to grow your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your YouTube channel and your Pinterest account all at one time, it's likely you won't have much success with any of them. (Trust me, I've made that mistake before!)
Focus on one platform at a time.
Choose the one where most of your audience is and start there. Don't be persuaded by people pushing out vanity metrics. Stay in your lane and focus on the numbers that matter to your business.
The remainder of this article focus' specifically on Pinterest marketing. Here are some metrics to help you decide if Pinterest is an ideal platform for you to market your business. If your ideal customer is interested in:
Animals and Pets
Architecture, Home Decor
Children and Childrearing
DIY, Home Improvement and Crafts
Education (various subcategories)
Food and Drink
Hair and Beauty
Health and Fitness
Holidays and Celebrations
The Opportunity to Leverage Pinterest for Business Marketing
Today, marketing metrics offer guidance that is literally black and white. In the past, leadership teams and small business owners could only make assumptions about the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Consider this: how do you accurately measure the ROI (return on investment) of a billboard or a magazine ad?
Online, however, the numbers measure real data which serves as an impressive way to make decisions about process and improvement.
For example, an increase in a measurable statistic, such as downloads of a Free Checklist, a comparison pricing guide or engagement with a cost calculator, is likely to forecast an improvement in a key indicator such as customer education.
This is just one particular phase in the buyer’s journey, yet understanding this KPI and the process that logically follows (retargeting those specific buyers with a carefully planned ad or funneling them into a specific nurturing sequence at an appropriate time) is what leads to high performing digital marketing campaigns, and ultimately, the conversions you're after.
If your business is in an industry with a target customer who uses Pinterest, you have a really big opportunity!
If you would like more information about using Pinterest for Business, you can get started with our Free Checklist!
Planning for marketing KPIs is a strategic process and involves the collaboration of either your top marketing executive or a seasoned Marketing Strategist. If a company’s key objectives are not clear, that can lead to an imbalanced and incomplete view of the overall strategy.
Modern marketing becomes a powerful way to help drive revenue when the right message is delivered to the right audience at the right time. One of the ways my clients leverage contextual marketing is by using HubSpot (Click here for a 30-Day Free Trial). Note that I only recommend this tool for business owners with annual revenue that is over $250,000 per year, otherwise, your best bet for marketing automation is ConvertKit.
We can help you gain a competitive edge on Pinterest and tie in your marketing automation by focusing on the importance of intelligent data and aligning your KPIs to implement strategic, data-driven decisions about your marketing ROI. Woo, that was a bit of a mouthful!