OK, big question coming at you:
How will you make your marketing strategy a success this year?
A lot of plans and strategies probably come to mind. And you might wonder which marketing goals will pay off the most.
One surefire way to organize your objectives into one cohesive strategy is by asking this question:
How can I make my entire sales funnel strong?
More and more, marketers need to lead the marketing funnel. And if you only focus on one part of your funnel — for example, attracting new leads, or only worrying about closing leads into customers — your inbound marketing strategy will suffer.
Choose these marketing objectives examples that cover your entire funnel for 2017.
Marketing objectives to attract new leads
Your sales funnel will suffer if its not fed with new leads all the time.
At the top of your funnel is the "attract" stage.
This means getting more eyeballs on your content, generating buzz, and prompting that first, important lead conversion.
The focus here is traffic. Your KPIs here should focus on getting people (and the right people) into your funnel.
"Increase organic traffic by _%"
Organic traffic is a like a goldmine, because it brings in people who are already seeking out your solution.
Organic is a good focus to attract new traffic and leads because it's sort of like a traffic freebie.
Yes, you need to invest time into content creation and SEO optimization... but once you spark organic traffic, it will continually draw in leads months or even years later.
For example, at SparkReaction, we still drive traffic from old ranking blog posts, and that traffic usually comes in highly qualified. It maintains itself even when you step away to other strategies!
HubSpot tip: Isolate your organic traffic in your Reports > Sources report to see how organic has grown over time. Opt for steady growth. If you see any continued drop off, you should dig into your Keywords tool to find the specific source.
For many marketers, in fact, organic traffic is the most qualified and ready-to-buy.
When you set an objective to attract organic traffic, you're ensuring long-term funnel success.
To fulfill on this objective, you'll need to perform keyword research and create consistent content marketing plan to rank for those keywords.
"Improve call-to-action click rate to _%"
Your sales funnel will not grow on traffic alone.
Once you've got views on your website, you must turn those views into business leads.
Focus on call-to-action click rates to make sure you're acquiring leads and gathering contact information from your visitors.
Wondering where to start?
HubSpot has some good suggestions for analyzing your calls-to-action.
You must be tracking:
- Number of clicks and views of your CTA
- Percentage of views that lead to clicks
- Percentage of clicks that lead to landing page form submissions
Set a goal for your CTA click rate, and continually test and optimize. This graphic shows a slight conversion optimization test we ran, which improved click rate significantly.
What's a good click-through rate?
On a blog post, you can opt for 5-10% click-through. On a targeted landing page, this could be 20-30% or even higher.
Focus on improving conversions by continually updating your blog posts with relevant CTAs.
For example, when you release a new offer that has more relevance to an old blog post or website page, swap it out.
You should also be implementing smart CTAs (very easy with a platform like HubSpot) to dish up new offers when your leads are ready for them. We have seen this increase call-to-action click through rate by 10% or more.
For example, segment your CTAs by customer lifecycle stage, which tailors the offer a lead sees based on their current place in the funnel.
Marketing objectives to nurture leads
If you're setting all your objectives around traffic, you're neglecting the middle of your marketing funnel.
Here are examples of marketing objectives to nurture leads down the funnel.
"Improve lead > MQL conversion rates by _%"
Here's the big question: You have leads in your system... now, are they moving down your funnel?
You need to convert leads into marketing qualified leads at a solid rate for your business needs. MQLs are both a good initial fit for your business, and have raised their hand to say "I'm interested!"
Your lead > MQL conversion rate tells you how much quality traffic you're pulling in.
If website traffic is booming, make sure those conversion rates are in shape.
If conversion is low, you need to revisit your traffic strategy and make sure you're targeting the right keywords, lead generation channels, and people... or, start creating more lead nurture workflows into your mix.
HubSpot tip: In HubSpot's workflow tool, make sure you're setting up "Goals" to track conversion rates between the lifecycle stages.
A whopping 68% of B2B organizations have not identified their funnel yet, according to MarketingSherpa.
If you haven't defined your customer lifecycle stages you're putting the cart ahead of the horse... so get that done first.
Once you've defined leads, MQLs, and SQLs, you'll can easily track conversions between the stages.
Marketing objectives to close customers
We all want to close leads into customers.
If you've already set up objectives to attract traffic and convert traffic leads into leads, you're off to the right start.
Now, it's time to analyze your close rate and set objectives to improve it.
The bottom of funnel is a good opportunity to see how lead generation affected your bottom line — how much it cost to attract, convert, and close leads through the funnel.
These objectives will make sure your funnel gets the job done, start to finish:
"Increase lead-to-customer conversion by _%"
This conversion metric is super important: It tells you if your funnel has successfully guided prospects from beginning to end.
AKA, this percentage tells you the real success of your inbound marketing strategy.
By increasing this percentage, you work on tying your funnel together entirely.
HubSpot tip: With HubSpot's reporting dashboard, you can see how leads moved through your customer lifecycle funnel. Opt for a "funnel-shaped" report that decreases steadily from lead > MQL > SQL > Opportunity. Enabling this chart shows you where you might have a "bottleneck" in your funnel.
To improve this rate, you must effectively nurture leads with email marketing and set up content throughout your entire funnel. You must also encourage website revisits and reconversions.
You also need to ensure a smooth handoff between marketing and sales — not too early, not too late.
"Lower cost per SQL by $_"
I see many marketers investing in dead-end tactics, like paid advertising, which bring unqualified leads into their funnels.
You should calculate the cost per SQL by comparing how much you paid per lead generation channel with how many sales-qualified leads that channel produced.
This number tells you how well you're investing your marketing efforts, and it speaks to your marketing ROI, too.
(This article has good calculations for important inbound metrics — see "presentation to purchase close ratio" — for some guidance.)
By setting a cost-per-SQL objective, you start to lower the cost per lead, meaning you're marketing and spending smarter, not harder.
To improve this metric, look back on the purchase paths of your most successful conversions:
- How did you initially attract these prospects?
- Which content offers did they open and read?
- Which special promotions did you offer them, if any?
The contacts panel in HubSpot will make this analysis easy, because you can track back events the first triggered your best customers and opportunities.
This year, invest further marketing and sales dollars in your strongest converting areas.
Let go or shrink the resources of sources that aren't delivering qualified leads who make it through your entire funnel.