You kicked off 2019 with a well-developed and detailed marketing plan, but now that Q1 is over and revenue numbers are in, it's time to take a look at performance. Your first quarter marketing metrics are essential to answering the questions that will help you have a successful Q2. Key questions to ask include:
- Is your marketing plan still on the right track?
- Have your priorities changed?
- Are sales and marketing still aligned?
- Does your original budget account for change in direction?
Based on your answers to these questions and performance results, you can adjust your marketing plan to better serve you in Q2. We recommend taking a close look at the marketing metrics and key performance indicators below.
Metrics that Matter
If advertising was part of your marketing plan in Q1, this is an ideal time to review ROI. Three months of metrics will provide you with insight on which ads are performing well, the keywords that are attracting visitors, and several other key numbers. If you're not getting the desired traffic, make changes to your ongoing ad plan in the second quarter to see if you can better reach your targets. If the metrics produce more questions than answers, this is an excellent time to introduce some A/B testing.
Keep in mind that your mid-campaign changes should focus on specific ad details. If too many variables are changed at once, it is more difficult to determine which specific change caused the fluctuation in activity. Modifying ads is like a science experiment, keep adjusting until you get the perfect formula. Feeling a bit lost on the implementation of Google ads? Take a look at our guide on where Google paid ads fit in your B2B marketing plan.
A key performance metric in any marketing plan is website traffic. The number of visitors coming to your website indicates how effectively your other marketing elements are performing. However, not all traffic is good traffic. It is important that you are reaching the right people and the right organizations. We recommend developing target personas and building all your marketing efforts toward these specific targets. If Google Analytics isn't showing you the granular data you'd like, try using tracking URLs. If your web traffic is lower than the numbers targeted in your marketing plan, the end of Q1 is a great time to re-evaluate the actions you're taking to draw visitors in. Drilling down into the traffic metrics of individual web pages can give deeper insight into what topics are of most interest to your target market.
On web pages where a desired action is available, such as filling out a form, you should be tracking conversion rates. How do you determine your target conversion rate? Use the HubSpot traffic calculator to figure it out and to identify which activities you can change or replicate to get the results you want.
Sales Pipeline and Cycles
The length of sales cycles and the health of a sales pipeline play an important role in your marketing plan. As you mapped your 2019 plan, your sales and marketing tactics should have aligned, but based on first quarter performance, you may need to re-evaluate those activities. There are numerous obstacles between your sales team and their goals, but last year we outlined the 5 biggest sales challenges for engineers which may help you in your re-evaluation of Q1 performance.
Market and product changes have significant impact on marketing program plans. If the timing of your marketing campaigns is misaligned from the sales and business goals, those actions become ineffective. As you review your first quarter numbers, be sure to adjust your marketing timeline to match the cycles you're seeing in sales. Working closely with your sales partner can greatly increase marketing and sales alignment.
Impact of Social Platforms
The performance of your social media channels is another key first quarter metric. Evaluating how well your different platforms are performing can help you determine if your current approach is making the impact you need. Based on performance, your first quarter numbers can answer questions about whether you should change your social media marketing behaviors such as posting frequency, timing, tone, or style.
However, don’t get caught up in focusing on surface-level vanity metrics. Although engagement is something to monitor and it's exciting to see followers, likes, comments, and shares grow, don't put all of your attention on those numbers. Numbers such as account followers are more likely to grow at a steady pace rather than show big increases regularly. Social media metrics traditionally grow with time and targeted campaigns, but traffic and website visitors from social media are numbers you can regularly aim to improve.
Download our KPI worksheet to map out your Q1 metrics and to help ensure you hit your goals this year.
Interested in talking through new marketing strategies to hit your goals? Contact our team!