Building a resilient marketing function: putting website analytics at the heart of marketing decision-making

In a recent MPG Insights article, we covered why having a high-performance marketing website is essential to success when it comes to building a resilient marketing function. 

If your business has a well-designed website, with well thought-through and carefully mapped out customer journeys, as well as efficient back end/CMS functionality – you’ll be in a good place when it comes to building resilience into your marketing function.

An important aspect that should not be neglected, is how you evaluate the performance of your website – and thereby also your marketing.

Website analytics reports are critical for understanding your customers, and how they interact with your site, as well as your other marketing channels. This is the #1 marketing priority, as stated by MPG Founder & CEO Helen Coetzee in her blog from 1st January 2022 – In 2022, the most resilient organisations will have relevant and resilient marketing”.

Having a website analytics tool and a reporting dashboard set up and integrated into your marketing process is the only way to make evidence-based decisions to feed into marketing planning and overall business strategy.

Getting value from your website analytics requires going beyond basic stats from your Google Analytics report. Analytics dashboards should be set up for a deeper dive into what you need to know about your website visitors – going well beyond just the number of visitors, pages per session, bounce rate etc.

You need to use the right tools to collect and analyse the data available, so you can understand how your audience is engaging with specific pages on your site, as well as the marketing channels, campaigns, and tactics that brought them to your website in the first place. 

Getting the right setup and process in place for your website analytics helps build a resilient, growing business in 7 ways:

  1. Allows you to see what is driving people to your website.
  2. Enables a good overall customer experience when they get to your website.
  3. Allows you to create personalised customer journeys that deliver the most relevant, compelling, and engaging content to your customers.
  4. Delivers more conversions at an optimal conversion rate – so more web visitors do what you want them to do when they are on your website.
  5. Helps you identify the website content your customers most value, and therefore build strategies and operational plans to create more of the most valued and engaging content.
  6. Means you can leverage your best advocates and create a strong referral engine.
  7. Gives you visibility of which marketing approaches, channels, tactics, and specific campaigns are working best, in terms of driving high numbers of relevant people to your website; and then the specific ROI of each of these, based on website conversions and ultimate revenue these conversions deliver.

Quite simply: if you don’t have website analytics set up in the right way, you can’t know how any of your marketing initiatives are working, what return your marketing investment is delivering, how to improve the return, or how to invest more for growth.

So, if you’re unsure of whether your website analytics is set up correctly and you’re not seeing marketing reports based on these, we recommend you focus on this as your next area of marketing investment. Investing much more in marketing campaigns before their performance is visible to you is not a smart move.

In our next MPG Insights resource, we will be providing a practical guide on which metrics and KPIs you should be monitoring via our website analytics. Subscribe to MPG Insights to make sure you don’t miss out on the next resource, and future useful resources after that…

And in the meantime, if you’d like to speak to MPG about how to get your website analytics properly set up to help your business grow, please get in touch. Team MPG includes website and analytics specialists who can help you get great visibility of your marketing performance and ROI.

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The 15 metrics that really matter in digital marketing for B2B

To be truly agile and perform well, marketers need to embrace the power of analytics. This is often easier said than done, especially for inbound marketing initiatives such as website optimisation, social media and PPC (pay-per-click).

You may have previously tried to track and analyse too many metrics and ended up wasting valuable time with little show for it. This can create ‘analysis paralysis’, where analysis takes endless hours and decision making is paralysed because of the sheer volume of data available.

To be effective, marketing performance measurement and analysis must be a constant and ongoing process so that you can back your winners and stop wasting time and money on things that are just not working. The longer you wait to find out what is and isn’t working, the more you’ll not only be throwing good money after bad, but underinvesting in areas that will give your business a boost.

Below are the 15 key marketing performance metrics MPG recommends every marketer should measure and analyse. We do not suggest these are the only metrics you track and analyse, but if you have limited time and want to get a high-level view, these are the ones that matter most and should definitely be scrutinised closely on a regular basis – at least weekly.

To determine how well your digital marketing is doing, MPG advises that for all these metrics, you use internal benchmarks based on relevant, historic performance, and where possible, also relevant external benchmarks (to find out what ‘good’ looks like in terms of digital marketing benchmarks for your organisation, please get in touch with MPG via the form on our website) or email info@mpg.biz.

 

15 key digital marketing metrics:

Website performance – engagement and conversions

 

Your website is your most important marketing channel – by a long way! The ultimate purpose of all other marketing channels and activities is to drive potential customers to your website, and it is on your website where you will properly engage them and convert them to become leads and customers.

Key metrics:

  1. Conversion rate (%) = number of web visitors that fill in a form or ‘sign up’ to become a lead or subscriber, or complete a purchase on your website and become a customer. A higher percentage indicates a more effective website, but if it is too high it means you’re not driving enough traffic to your site.
  2. Sessions (#) = your session count indicates number of visitors and engagement, and should increase or at least remain steady over time. If you’re looking for overall growth in engagement, customers and revenue, then an increase in # sessions is definitely needed, roughly in line with the growth you’re looking for.
  3. Bounce rate (%) = the percentage of people who ‘bounce’ (leave without clicking anything) off your website. A lower figure indicates more engagement with your website as they’re visiting two or more pages after arriving on your website. However, if bounce rate is too low it may indicate you’re not attracting enough visitors to your site in the first place.

 

Website performance– SEO (search engine optimisation)

The higher your website ranking is in search engines, the more traffic you will get to your website. And this isn’t about paid for rankings with Paid Search in Google. It’s about getting your website to rank well organically. It’s very important to monitor your ranking as this will also inform and help you determine the impact of future improvements you choose to make to your website.

Key metrics:

  1. Organic search (#) = the number of people coming to your website from search engines. A steady increase indicates effective SEO implementation, especially an increase in new visitors via organic search.
  2. Bounce rate (%) = definition as above. The reason this is important for SEO is that Google favours a lower bounce rate when ranking sites.

 

Email marketing performance

Email is your most important outbound channel and is essential to proactively drive the people with the right ‘profile’ to your website. This ‘profile’ should be based on their demographics indicating they are a good match for your value proposition, and also ideally behaviours that indicate they are engaged with your brand and interested in your product. It is essential to closely monitor your email performance as this can tell you a lot about how positive your target market is about your brand and product.

Key metrics:

  1. Deliverability (%) = the percentage of people you have sent the email who have received it. A low and/or falling deliverability is cause of concern and indicates your database needs cleaning.
  2. Unsubscribe rate (%) = the percentage of people receiving your emails who are unsubscribing. A high or increasing rate of unsubscribes means your audience is not only become less engaged, but they’re telling you quite explicitly they are not interested in your brand or products and don’t want to hear from you anymore (or they’re telling you that your emails are annoying and/or not adding any value to their lives).
  3. Open rate (%) = percentage of people opening your email. This typically indicates the overall level of engagement with your brand and quality of your email list and also how well your audience is responding to your subject line, sender name and pre-header text – usually a combination of all three.
  4. Click to open rate/CTOR (%) = percentage of people who open your email and then also click on it. This is a more important metric than the more basic ‘click through rate’ (CTR) as it is tells you how relevant your messaging is to your engaged audience.

 

PPC performance

Often broadly called ‘digital advertising’ or sometimes even ‘performance marketing’, PPC (pay per click) allows you to pay only for every click on your online advert. If you are not closely monitoring, analysing and benchmarking the metrics below, do not spend any money on PPC or it will be wasted.

Key metrics:

  1. Conversion rate (%) = the rate at which people who click on or see your ad convert to a lead, subscriber or registrant by completing a form or purchase on your website. It is essential to have the full tracking set up all the way through to conversions to understand how your PPC is performing. Don’t let your PPC agency tell you otherwise!
  2. Influenced conversions (#) = PPC is just one touchpoint. This metric helps you understand how often PPC influences conversions that happen via other channels e.g. email or social media. A ‘must measure’ data point to ensure you understand the full ROI on your PPC spend.
  3. Click-through-rate/CTR (%) = the percentage of people who see your ads and then go on to click them. A higher CTR typically indicates a strong ad and/or good targeting.

 

Social media performance

Almost 4 billion people worldwide use social media and more than 4 in 10 consumers use social media to research new brands and products. To understand which of your social media platforms is performing best and which ones are a waste of time (and money) – make sure you track – even at a basic level – the following metrics:

Key metrics:

  1. Social traffic (%) = the percentage of total web sessions that are generated by social media. If this is growing in line with an overall increase in web traffic, it means you have a strong marketing engine working well across your whole funnel.
  2. Engagement (#) = the number of clicks, likes, shares and comments your social posts are achieving. Steady growth over time is only a good thing!
  3. Follower growth (%) = percentage growth of followers of your social accounts. This should see consistent growth over time, before hopefully kicking in to an exponential growth curve when your social media hits the tipping point of becoming amplified and achieving growth via followers themselves doing most of the sharing of your content (as opposed to you having to do most of the sharing…).

 

We’d love to hear from you about your digital marketing performance measurement achievements and challenges. MPG has developed a dashboard that means we track all these metrics (and more) for our clients on a weekly basis – comparing to internal and external benchmarks. If you’d like to find out more please get in touch via our website or email info@mpg.biz.

 

The in-house training, consultancy and outsourced marketing MPG has delivered for Bauer over the past few years has been brilliant. We’ve enjoyed working with various MPG marketers and specialists – they’ve become part of our team!

Chris Lester, Event Director, Bauer Media Group

 


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What marketing skills do you need in your business?

We predict that marketing will be more important than ever in 2021. Many organisations will rely on digital marketing to drive their businesses forward, and the rise of digital events and community-oriented models will favour those with skilled and flexible marketing.

Over the past 3 months, I’ve had numerous conversations with business leaders who considered my first article on the topic a watershed moment for how they view and invest in marketing skills. Product and sales are usually the focus areas of senior decision makers, with marketing often not receiving enough attention or investment to ensure the investments being made in product and sales will pay off. Organisations cannot afford this approach anymore.

In a past blog, we’ve spoken about the hidden costs of an internal marketing function, how outsourcing marketing can work well for your business and how a hybrid approach (combining internal and external resources) can also be a great solution – if approached in the right way.

This post focuses on the key people – with specific skill sets – that you need in your marketing function, regardless of whether our marketing is in-house, external or hybrid.

Here’s what I believe to be the optimal mix – based on how we’ve built MPG’s high-performance marketing team that works with a range of clients globally to grow their B2B revenues:

Type 1 – The Marketing Generalist

This person is strong on marketing strategy, project and stakeholder management, messaging, content creation and partner/advocate activation strategy and execution.

Another key responsibility of The Marketing Generalist is ensuring the marketing team delivers an engaging customer journey across all touchpoints. Their unique high-level view of marketing efforts makes them ultimately responsible for ensuring your customers are delighted.

As project manager and the link between other areas of the business and important external partners, they also need to be adept at reading and understanding marketing performance data – not only so that they can provide actionable direction for improving marketing performance, but also to share valuable marketing intelligence with all key stakeholders.

Type 2 – The Data, Tech & Analytics Specialist

This person’s focus is on martech, database and data flow setup and optimisation. They know how to source and integrate the most appropriate systems and work with internal and external stakeholders to build a ‘fit for purpose’ tech stack and also put in place the processes to make tech and people work well together.

In short: this role is about ensuring all elements of marketing technology are fully integrated and automated as much as possible. For virtual events, this can mean automated data flows from the event platform directly to your database, which are then fed appropriate emails and other comms – all without the need for manual marketing activity.

The Data, Tech & Analytics Specialist also needs excellent project management ability and strong communication skills to ensure all tech and data flows are well implemented, understood and embedded.

Type 3 – The Digital Marketer

The Digital Marketer is focused on getting the most out of a range of digital marketing tools. They should be familiar with email and email automation platforms; social media platforms and scheduling tools; design tools like Canva or Adobe CC; and website platforms like WordPress.

The Digital Marketer supports The Marketing Generalist in executing the marketing plan. They should follow a messaging strategy created by the marketing generalist to create emails, social posts and other comms. Updating website content and supporting on advocacy marketing can also be part of their day-to-day activities.

The Digital Marketer needs to adaptable, efficient and good at technical problem solving and creative thinking to get the most out of each digital channel.

Type 4 – The PPC Expert

PPC (Pay-per-click) advertising is growing in importance for B2B. The technical nature of this channel – as well as the ever-changing functionality and techniques – makes a dedicated resource essential. The PPC Expert should be well versed in Google Ads, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and understand how to achieve marketing objectives with these platforms.

PPC is much more than fire and forget: PPC experts must frequently monitor and optimise campaigns to deliver the best ROI.

Specialists in this role should be committed to self-learning, be data and results driven and be able to think creatively to achieve marketing goals.

Type 5 – The Designer

The volume and level of quality needed in design work is often beyond the scope of The Digital Marketer. That’s where internal or external design expertise comes in. The Designer is a resource you can draw on for heavy duty pieces like brochures or website re-designs.

Their expertise is often overkill for day-to-day activity like social images – so it’s better to leave these with The Digital Marketer. You should, however, employ a designer for template and asset creation, allowing digital marketers to work from a framework and with assets provided by an expert designer.

This full skillset within your marketing team should be enabled with a strong project management tool, well mapped-out processes and a disciplined team culture to tie everything together. It’s important you foster collaboration and a results-driven outlook. A team that works together will deliver better results and progress faster than one that operates in silos. This very important area of skills development and team culture is covered in one of our most read past blogs.


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Delivered by our expert practitioners, we provide training via our Masterclasses and bespoke in-house training.

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Fill your skill gaps with expert outsourced support

MPG also offers direct marketing support and consultancy to fill your skills gaps. Work with a team who have helped some of the world’s leading brands improve their marketing and grow their businesses.

“I cannot recommend MPG highly enough. Their commitment and unique expertise in data-driven, digital and integrated marketing has been very valuable to Social Media Week. They’ve been instrumental in helping us build our brand and community online and offline, and their product marketing performance has also been very strong. We’re delighted MPG has been on our team!”

Toby Daniels, Co-Founder & CEO, Crowdcentric Media

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The Marketing Mix | September Newsletter

Newsletter • September 2020

Database top tips • Next MPG webinar • Most read MPG insights

The experts warned that coming out of lockdown would take much longer than going in. Anyone with a logical mindset could understand more or less what was meant by this.

But I don’t think anyone was prepared for the ‘intensity of uncertainty’ we’re all living with right now. Trying to make good decisions and create solid business plans with so many unknowns pressing down on us is incredibly difficult.

So, this month’s newsletter is focused on the ‘knowns’, most notably:

  • The importance of having a strong marketing database
  • How to proactively grow revenue from sponsors and clients – with marketing lead generation programmes producing visible and strong returns

Let’s get going!

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VOICES

“We’ve worked with MPG since early 2019 and I cannot recommend them highly enough. The MPG team’s commitment and unique expertise in data-driven, digital and integrated marketing has been a key success factor for our business – across various products and facing a range of challenges and opportunities. We’re delighted to have MPG as part of the SMW team”

Toby Daniels, Co-founder & CEO, Crowdcentric Media, Founder & Executive Director, Social Media Week

Toby Daniels


INSIGHTS

What has been keeping your peers awake at night?

At times like this, we’d all love to have a strongly retained, high value subscriber base. This is a worthy end-goal to strive for and one that every brand should be taking very seriously.

But, there is still a great need and important place for events – whether digital, hybrid or in-person. Most organisations that have traditionally had events as a strong and growing revenue stream continue to invest in their events through these tricky times.

So, it is not surprising that MPG’s second most popular insights article this year is all about how to make sure registrants tune in to your digital event. This was published in early May and, as we head into a very busy and crowded events calendar in September, it is more relevant than ever.

Interestingly, MPG’s #1 most read insights article in 2020 was published in April and is focused on our advice and predictions for overcoming the crisis and winning in the new world. The guidance we gave five months ago still stands, with the following 6 points being critically important to any B2B community-focused organisation:

  1. Make understanding the shape, size and needs of your community your #1 priority.
  2. Don’t think about your events just as events. ‘Events’ are just a format. Think about what goes into your events and what makes them valuable.
  3. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Keep your valuable content and networking opportunities you can facilitate, in-person or online, front and centre.
  4. Only choose your tech once you’ve worked out what your new value proposition needs to be, based on what your community needs.
  5. Double-down on marketing. Invest in the skills you need to make content marketing, marketing data and marketing technology work in the way you need it to.
  6. Help your clients – sponsors and exhibitors – understand and realise the value of digital event formats.
  7. See the full article here.

READ MORE MPG INSIGHTS


WEBINAR

Marketing to Grow Revenue from Sponsors and Clients – MPG’s Top 10 Tips

Marketing to Grow Revenue from Sponsors and Clients – MPG’s Top 10 Tips


MPG Founder and CEO Helen Coetzee shared how marketing can (and should!) support revenue growth by:

  • Identifying and reaching out to potential new sponsors and clients who will gain value from sponsoring your events and/or content packages
  • Effectively communicating the value and ROI you can deliver for them
  • Persuade prospective sponsors and clients to qualify themselves as leads for your sales team
  • Increase the volume and quality of these leads over time to feed a strong sales pipeline
  • Efficiently nurture and manage leads so that marketing and sales are ‘joined up’ in driving revenue growth

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SPOTLIGHT

Virtual events: common mistakes to avoid when preparing your database

Virtual events: common mistakes to avoid when preparing your database

It’s easy to focus on ‘shiny new things’ when planning for your virtual events: the clever tech platforms, exciting new formats for delivering content, unique networking opportunities – to name a few.

Some of the underlying fundamentals, however, can be pretty mundane – in the same way they always have been. The most important of these less-exciting areas is your database: the structured data you hold on existing and prospective delegates and sponsors that enables you to select the right audience to reach out to – and then reach out to them, usually with an email address.

We’re seeing many virtual events falling short due to mistakes being made in this most fundamental of things. Your database is the life blood of your marketing – especially for virtual events. Here are the mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: You’re not reaching enough relevant people in your target audience

Typically, in-person events that charge an attendance fee would see an 85%+ conversion rate from registrants to attendees, with free-to-attend events achieving anything between 40% and 70%.

For virtual events, this conversion rate is a LOT lower. With some exceptions, stats we’re seeing tell us that you can expect 30% – 50% of payers to show up and 20% – 30% of non-payers to tune in when virtual events run.

And on top of this, virtual event organisers are typically promising sponsors a much higher registrant and attendance rate than their in-person events achieved.

What is this telling us? It’s simple maths. You need MANY MORE relevant contacts in your database to make this work. By our calculations, your database needs to be at least 4 times bigger for a virtual event.

If your database is not big enough, your virtual event will struggle to hit its numbers. The only antidote here is a huge effort and investment going into inbound marketing, including a combination of content marketing, leveraging advocates, pay-per-click advertising and social media.

We recommend growing your database as fast as you can via a combination of inbound marketing and data acquisition – always making sure your targeting is very strong to reach only relevant contacts.

Mistake #2: You’re not taking full advantage of your global audience

The need to expand your database can seem daunting at first, until you realise there is now a literal world of potential contacts waiting for you. Going virtual opens your event up to an international audience in a way your in-person event did not. Targeted data build and PPC are just two ways you can capitalise on this to quickly increase the size of your database on a global scale.

Mistake #3: You’re too focused on outbound marketing (mainly email)

Outbound is generally more effective and efficient in generating high volumes of registrants fast, but outbound activity only reaches contacts you already have on your database. Incorporating inbound marketing techniques, such as content marketing, social, PPC and advocacy, will enable you to reach new, relevant contacts and convert interested leads through the marketing and sales funnel.

Mistake #4: You’re not introducing newly acquired contacts to your event in the right way

If using research agencies or bulk data purchases to increase the size of your database, you’ll be contacting people for the first time who may have never heard about your brand or event. Slotting them into the existing email schedule will leave them confused, frustrated and looking for the unsubscribe button. It’s also illegal in most countries to do this.

Make sure you have an email campaign built specifically for new contacts, ideally incorporated into a wider automation campaign, introducing them to your brand and your event, explaining why it’s relevant to them and what they need to do to get involved. Make sure you also invite them to unsubscribe at any time.

Also, make sure you don’t add people to your database who are based in countries where data protection and direct marketing rules do not permit this. Here are two useful references for country-specific rules: one which neatly splits by B2B and B2C, and another which covers more countries.


Managing and growing your database in the right way, day in and day out, may not be as exciting as some of the other aspects of digital events, but it is essential. If you don’t invest enough attention, time and money into your database then your virtual event won’t achieve its potential and may even be at risk of failing. So don’t let the shiny new things distract you too much. Ignore your database at your peril!

MPG’s team of data specialists have carefully crafted a host of data management and development strategies for some of the largest B2B media and events businesses globally. To find out how we can help perfect your database so it’s ‘virtual event’ ready, get in touch.


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MPG Academy offers B2B community-focused organisations the opportunity to invest smartly in their marketing function, upskilling marketers who are taking on new challenges in a new world.
Through skills training and team development, we can help you build a stronger marketing function that consistently delivers high performance marketing.

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Times are tough for many. Now, more than ever, we need to keep moving forward positively and with purpose.

In October we will publish MPG’s ‘secrets of success’ in project management – that all-important but often overlooked element in delivering successful marketing programmes.

As always, please get in touch via helen@mpg.biz if you think we can help you move forward in the right way.

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