Key performance indicators are quantifiable measurements of an organization's success in various areas. Though used mainly in the retail world, when properly understood, KPIs can allow you to benchmark your progress. For example, when it comes to your inbound marketing (including your website, e-mail, and social media) KPIs can help you determine if your efforts are succeeding, and if you are receiving an adequate return on investment for the time and dollars you are spending.
THREE KPI GUIDELINES
1. Stick to one definition for a KPI. Say that you are setting a KPI for new clients generated through social media marketing. Define clearly what you mean by that, and then stick to that same definition month after month. You will be able to tell if you are really making progress in that area.
2. Set a clear target for the year. Say that you currently have 200 followers on Facebook and Twitter. Can you double that number this year? Once you set a target number, “back-solve” the issue to determine how many new followers you will add each month, and then each week. Once you have that, set some content objectives that will draw those followers in.
3. Use industry benchmarks. Though it is a relatively new area, if you keep your eyes open you can find indicators of how financial professionals are succeeding with digital marketing. For example LinkedIn just published a white paper detailing how their site is being used by financial advisers.
Now that you have an overall approach to KPI's, here are three areas where you should track response, analyze data and set some clear objectives:
A successful website involves a combination of unique visits, page views and user engagement. You want an ever-increasing number of new users (UVs) and you want those users to view several pages on the site (PVs.) In addition, you want visitors to become interested enough in your content to show evidence of some kind of engagement (UE). The best indicators of engagement include sharing a page or adding a comment. So take a close look, not just at how many people visit your website, but at how they behave once they are there. If you really want to dig deep your website user experience, there are more sophisticated analytic tools like Crazy Egg that offer such interesting tools as heat maps.
As an adviser, your e-mail campaigns generally are designed to generate new leads and/or referrals, or to get current clients to increase their level of business with you. So it is important to keep track of the number of sign-ups or forms filled out. By factoring in the average return per new client, you can arrive at a VPA (value-per-action) for each form fill. If your e-mail response is weak (meaning you have a lot of bounce-backs or your open/click-through rate is low) you can raise it by improving the quality of your e-mails. Here are some good guidelines.
SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS
It is easy to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter without seeing any quantifiable results. But social media profiles can be tracked, and their success can be analyzed, so set specific goals for followers and reader engagement for each of your sites. Remember to respond to comments within 24 hours and link your social media followers to your e-mail list, blog and website. Your social media profiles offer a rich opportunity to interact with your clients and prospects, and build trust and credibility.
Key performance indicators take your marketing effort out of a fuzzy, indefinite outreach and into a more sophisticated, results-oriented realm. In the first weeks of the new year, it will be well worth your while to set KPIs for inbound marketing. Then track your progress, and enjoy an increase in your bottom line as you improve your marketing expertise.
Craig Faulkner is chief executive of FMG Suite, offering a complete inbound marketing solution for financial professionals. You can follow him @fmgsuite on Twitter.