Have you ever wondered how you can truly measure the efforts of your inbound marketing campaign? One of the most effective and powerful tools that online marketers have on hand is a little something called “closed loop reporting”. Closed loop reporting not only allows you to continually build and improve upon your marketing efforts, but it also gives you good, hard numbers that will help you build goals and expectations, and allow you to better decide where you should be allocating your marketing budget to attain the highest return on investment (ROI).
What is Closed Loop Reporting?
The term “closing the loop” is really just a phrase used to describe how leads were received and what happened to them. Knowing this information will help you determine which marketing tactics are your best lead sources and which are your worst lead sources
Here’s an idea of how the “closed loop reporting” process works:
1) Visitor arrives on your site (a cookie is set on the visitor which will track how they came to your site, and where they went once they were there)
2) Visitor checks out your site (the cookie tracks where they went)
3) Visitor converts into a lead (i.e. the visitor filled out a form or downloaded an eBook where he or she provided their email address)
4) Lead converts into a customer (the lead makes a purchase)
Get to Know your Audience
Closed loop reporting can be the very best methodology you use in terms of gaining lead intelligence. You can get to know exactly who your leads are by discovering things like:
– What sort of offers they are most interested in
– What action they take after taking you up on your offers
– Why they came to your website
– Where they came from (both electronically and geographically)
Hone in on the Right Sales Channels
Tracking visitor and lead behavior will help you in terms of knowing which sales channels are most worth your while, and which may either need improvement or can be dropped from your inbound marketing arsenal. For example, you may find that your landing page for your free eBook on “do it yourself” roof repairs is great in terms of converting leads to customers, but your “Free Consultation” pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is only bringing in short-term visitors that don’t take any further action in terms of becoming a lead or a customer. You can then either:
a) Try to improve upon your PPC campaign; or
b) Eliminate that sales channel entirely and allocate the marketing budget used for that to a more profitable area (such as landing pages)
Reduce your Sales Cycle Time
When you know what your target audience wants, and what sales channels are working for them, you can then start sending out more intuitive and smarter communications to your leads. As a result, you will start to significantly reduce the amount of time that you spend trying to nurture your leads and, as a result, save time and money.
TIP: Once you begin to track visitor and lead behavior with closed loop reporting, you’ll start noticing marketing trends and buying behaviors that will allow you to segment “types” of leads into different buying groups, and streamline the sales process.
Set Realistic Goals & Expectations
When you begin to keep track of how your inbound marketing techniques typically perform, you’ll be able to set realistic goals for you and your sales & marketing team. By knowing what your conversion rates have been in the past, you can set up certain expectations and start formulating goals that will improve your performance and help make your business more profitable.
What it all boils down to is this: closed loop reporting helps you create a more effective sales strategy which, as a result, both lowers your cost per lead (CPL) and increases your ROI. All you need to get started is some customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing statistics software and you can start “closing the loop” today.