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If you’re reading this post, one of two things has likely happened:

  1. You’ve taken the leap to get a handle on your Internet marketing, did your initial strategic work, built your home page in WordPress, and developed your first Lead Magnet. But now you may second guessing yourself, wondering if it’s working, or proactive enough to realize that you need to have some basis for judging the efficacy of your work.
  2. OR, you’ve done some or most of those things, but you’re stuck now, trying to figure out what to offer as a Lead Magnet and doing “just one more piece of research” (which, let’s be honest, is code for procrastinating) before jumping in with both feet.

If that’s you, here’s your kick in the butt: read this post for the full breakdown on Lead Magnets, then click over and grab the Checklist of 5 Top Tips for Lead Magnets and get started.

For the sake of both types of people, parts of this post will cover some familiar ground, but just the edges of it, so keep those other links handy.

But first, let’s answer a question that some of you may be asking…

Why Do I Even Need to Measure My Internet Marketing?

At this point in my career, the answer to this question seems obvious. But it didn’t until the day I first did some training with the Grow The Dream Team (then known as Epiphany Marketing).

We were going over various aspects of setting up your website, strategic work and developing methods of attracting customers. And in the midst of it, David Johnson said something to the effect of, “Without measuring the performance of your content, you can’t really tell whether your marketing efforts are actually successful or not.” At the time, it felt like a lightning bolt hit me.

Of course, if you don’t have some way of measuring whether or not your work/content/marketing is working, how can you know whether or not it’s working. But you’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs and small business owners run their hearts out day after day after day, never knowing if they’re truly moving the ball forward or which efforts are having the most impact.

If You Can Measure it, You Can Improve it

The next notable benefit of measuring your efforts is that the smaller the element that you measure, the more precisely you can fine tune your efforts and pinpoint just what is working and what isn’t. And by knowing specifically what isn’t working leads to making it better.

Marketing based on guesswork and speculation just doesn’t work!

Measuring the performance of your content: blogs, emails, Lead Magnets… is critical to creating or fostering better content for your audience. When your content is guided by your strategic work and the metrics of performance, it is more likely to connect with and be useful to your target audience. And, as you might recall, the better the content, the more qualified your leads coming out of it. More on that in a moment.

So What Metrics Should You be Watching?

While my approach to this is going to be specific to Lead Magnets, hopefully you’ll see that these metrics will be among the top ones to track for all of your content marketing.

  1. What is the percentage of visitors who come to your site that exchange their email address for your Lead Magnet?

While I listed this first, as I have presented it here, it is one of the least effective metrics for you to track. But I want to get some misconceptions out of the way first, then you can see how I rework the minutiae of this metric to get more actionable data.

The popular concept of Lead Nurturing teaches us that the higher your QUANTITY of leads, the higher is the chance of converting more customers!

I couldn’t disagree more. Mostly. Allow me to explain. You know the old adage, “Practice Makes Perfect”? We learn this as children, but as we get older, we realize that there’s a built in caveat – Proper practice makes perfect. If you’re practicing the wrong way, you’re never going to improve.

By the same token, yes, the more leads you have the higher chance of converting some. But we don’t have time for “some.” The whole point of the Lead Magnet is to grab as many actual potential buyers. Otherwise, why not just go around the mall or a sales conference, collecting as many business cards as you can, then email every single one of them, regardless of their business or trade and hope that “some” of them are interested.

The caveat here is Quality Leads. The higher number of qualified leads you have, the higher (and it should be much higher) number of them convert into buyers. Don’t throw spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks, serve it in an Italian restaurant to people who are likely to be interested in eating spaghetti.

  1. What is the percentage of people who signed up for your Lead Magnet who actually followed through the 2-step process and downloaded it?

If they’re not following through, it may be taking too long or is too complicated for them to download, or they may be self-qualifying. But if your Lead Magnet is laser focused, as we’ve discussed, they shouldn’t even be interested if they’re not planning to open it. I know this one’s a little vague on what your action step should be, but you’ll have to determine for yourself, based on how well you know your target customer , if your Lead Magnet is too broad or your delivery system is flawed (you DID do your strategic work, right?)

  1. How soon do they open it after downloading it?

Again, if you’re giving them a laser focused Lead Magnet that promises (and delivers) specific answers to the pain they’re feeling, they’ll want to open it immediately. If not, drill down deeper.

  1. Does it provide them with immediately actionable and useful information?

Are you overdelivering? This may seem counterintuitive at first, but people are judging your authority and credibility from the second they click on your website. When they discover that you will give them more (actual) value in exchange for their email than other companies will give them for a fee, that increases the likelihood that they’ll remember and buy from you when the time is right. You want them to be shocked you’re giving it away for free. THAT’s how much you want to overdeliver.

  1. Are people finding your site because of the Lead Magnet?

While some folks would call this SEO, I call it making sure your Lead Magnet is tightly focused to attract the kinds of customers who need your product or services. This is the ultimate expression of the strategic work – they searched for an answer and Google brought them to your doorstep. Plus, Inbound marketing is generally 60% less expensive than outbound marketing but exponentially more valuable.

  1. Are people telling other people about your site (sharing on social media, etc.), especially because of the Lead Magnet?

This one’s less important, but a nice confirmation that what you’re doing is right. Too often Lead Magnets are created to appeal to the lowest common denominator – trying to grab the masses instead of the qualified few. As you can see, I don’t think that’s helpful at all. Lead magnets fail when they only generate subscribers. They should be something that attracts lifelong customers. Even if your product or service tends to be a long-term or even single time purchase, you want the customers who buy from you to become fans. Telling other people about you, becoming an evangelist for your business? That’s the highest compliment, and most effective marketing you can’t buy.

Is That All? (Silly Question!)

There are a lot of other little metrics you can look at like Return On Investment (ROI) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Conversion Rates, Cost Per Visitor, Revenue Per Visitor, Dwell Time and Bounce Ratio.  But here’s the thing. You’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, which means your time is valuable as well as limited. So you can only keep track of one or two things at a time – trust me, I’ve tried to do more.  That means for each step of the process, you need to only pay attention to the metrics that matter the most to that part of the system.

And here’s another hint – for most of the additional Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), I listed in the above paragraph? You’re probably already tracking them and may be unaware. Google Analytics, MailChimp Reports, and Infusionsoft monitors all of this for you. Most CRM (customer relationship management) systems will track some or all of your customer’s journey. By integrating everything, you can just bring up the appropriate report when you need to look at it.

Another analytic that Infusionsoft handles well is determining your customer’s Lifetime Value (LTV). One of the metrics you’re going to have to track at some point is what percentage of visitors from any source return to your site to buy? By tracking your customer’s journey, you can see each step as they descend through your sales funnel and pinpoint the exact content that ‘flipped the switch’ in their brain to buy from you. But that’s a discussion for a later post.

Taking Everything to a Higher Level

Remember, the things you must measure for your Lead Magnet – or any other content – is not what you hope or expect to happen, but what actually happens. You need to track outcomes. You need to measure RESULTS.

If you’re still unsure of where to start, work backwards. You’ve done the strategic work, you know what your ideal customer wants. You want to give them a good taste of how you can deliver that to them in exchange for their contact information so you can continue building a relationship with them.

That’s step one.

Of course, your ultimate goal is for them to buy from you. No matter how great your Lead Magnet is, it’s unlikely that the one piece of material, in itself will sell them. It’s fine, you expect that. So what happens next?

Did you know you can build a Lead Magnet inside a Lead Magnet? This is when it starts getting exciting.

When you’re ready to take everything to the next level, you can map out the steps it takes to get the final commitment from a prospective customer. This will be based on the strategic work and honed by the data you’ve collected from WordPress and your CRM.

Then you can go through each step, identifying what action or commitment you need from a prospective customer at the level below to elevate themselves. You can even nest decisions within one another, for a faster process. Then you can track for each step whether or not they take that action – and how close they got before they dropped out.

By analyzing that data and adjusting your Lead Magnets and content appropriately, you can get the maximum effect from a limited effort. Especially if you’re automating the process.

And that’s when your business starts to skyrocket. I’m assuming you’d see that as a good thing.