Inbound Marketing Tips and Tricks

How to measure ROI of your Inbound Marketing Campaigns ?

If you are an inbound marketing agency or a small business running inbound marketing campaigns you want to measure your effort and results to see the campaign performance. Unlike individual email marketing campaigns, social media campaign, usability testing or conversion rate optimization, it is more difficult to measure ROI of inbound marketing campaigns as it will always involve way too many inter dependent parameters and you really can't accurately measure many of them, not to mention the goals are often different campaign to campaign. In this post, I will be talking about what metrics you can use to measure ROI of your Inbound Marketing campaign and some tools which you can use. 

Targets and Goals of Inbound Marketing Campaigns

Here are some of the most common objectives and goals set by clients/agencies for campaigns 

1. Increase in Page Views - Most of the time, your campaign will end up giving increase in page views and though this doesn't show improvement in quality of traffic, increase in traffic, page views and unique visitors will always be a metric. 

2. New Signups and user Registration - for a SaaS product or an e-commerce site, what is the increase in number of registered users to the site (specially if there is free trial period which nowadays every web product has). 

3. New Paid Customers and Sales - How many registered users turned into paid customers or resulted in sale 

4. Increase Social Media Activity - Some of the common metrics to measure increase in social media activity are - 1. Overall improvement in social media activity for the site ? 2. How many pages got shared in social media ? 3. How many new users followed the company through social media ? 4. What is the User engagement through social media ? 

5. Increase in User Activity - Though this is not directly related to campaign, what is the increase in user engagement with the site ? is the total time spent on the site per user has increased ? is the number of session duration has increased ? is the total number of user session has increased ? 

6. Revenue Growth - This again is not directly related to campaign but still can be put as a metric. What is the revenue growth during the campaign period ? what where the sales channels ? 

7. How is customer finding us - What is the increase in customer finding us through organic channels ? 

8. Conversion Rate Optimization - What is the increase in conversion rate ? What is the performance of landing pages ? 

9. New Media Mentions - What is the increase in media mentions ? are we covered organically by news media and blogs ? 

10. Performance of Email Marketing - How is our email marketing campaign doing ? What is the performance of our drip marketing campaigns ? 

11. Increase in brand visibility and authority - What is the overall increase in brand visibility of our product ?

How to Measure the metrics of your Campaign

Most of these metrics are simple percentage growth which you can easily calculate. 


1. Increase in Number of Visitors Lets take the average page view of 3 months and call it Old_page_views and then lets call the page views during the inbound marketing campaign (of 30 days) New_Page_views, so Increase in Page Views (IPV) will be

 IPV = (NPV - OPV) /OPV * 100 

2. Increase in Number of Signups

If you want to know increase in new signups, you obviously want to check your database for new user registration. If NS is New signups and OS is old number of users, you can calculate increase in number of signups with this (make sure you are standardizing this so make sure time period is one month)

 IS = (NS - OS)/OS * 100 

3. New Paid Customers and Sales 

To calculate new paid customers and increase in sales, you can calculate increase in paid customers by 

IPC = (NPC - OPC)/OPC * 100 where OPC = Original Paid Customers and NPC = New Paid Customers 

4. Increase Social Media Activity 

Metrics to measure Social Media Activity
1. Number of shares, likes, retweets etc
2. Number of Comments
3. Number of visitors to the main site 

There are plenty of social tools as well as now Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Analytics, twitter analytics, Google+ and pinterest allows inbuilt analytics for their platform which you can use. You can pull the data (simple percentage growth is good enough) from these tools and put in your report 

5. Increase in User activity 

This is a difficult one, we want to measure user engagement as well as increase in user engagement. To measure this, you can use google analytics. Here is a nice post by Ian on how to measure user activity. Measuring user engagement itself is a huge topic which needs a separate post though you can look at this post of youmoz and this post at Q/A to understand what parameters you can use for user engagement.

6. Revenue Growth 

If one of the goals of the campaign is revenue growth, you can simply measure it with following

 Growth(%age) = (Revenue during campaign - Previous month revenue/Previous month revenue) * 100

 Again this is very simple way to measure revenue growth and if you want to make more advanced report including financial and statistical data, you probably want to talk to someone in finance since these revenue stats often become part of company auditing reports too. 

7. Conversion Rate 

In case you are confused, conversion rate is how much percentage of the input got converted into desired goal and is calculated like this 

Conversion Rate = Outcomes / Unique Visitors * 100 

So if I am selling a SaaS Marketing software to small business and gets 10,000 unique visitors per month and 200 paid subscriptions, the conversion rate will be 200/10,000 x 100 = 2%. 

You can compare the conversion rate of your campaign with previous data to see the improvement. 

8. New Media Mentions 

Getting organic mentions on the web has to be part of inbound marketing campaign. It can be anything big like being mentioned on some large news site or getting covered in a decent blog or something small like getting mentions at Quora. 

To calculate its ROI, you need to ascertain the cost of running this campaign which would include time and resources invested to run the campaign and compare it with the impressions made via tweets and RTs as well as the direct traffic and possible sales. Measuring ROI for this will be tricky but to simplify it, you can just calculate number of new users, registrations and conversions. 

You can use site like socialmention and google alerts to find such mentions. Do check some tools listed under brand visibility too as they can also be used to track new media mentions. 

9. Email marketing campaign 

You have made the effort of writing a compelling copy and send out bulk emails to your prospective clients. Now how do you measure it ? One simple way is to provide a landing page link that is not used in your other communication so that you know exactly how many visitors have come through your email marketing campaign. You need to further check their movement to other pages as well as the bounce rate per visitor to know whether they could be potential lifetime customers. 

In terms of ROI, let’s take an example. 

Say, you are selling apparel online. In order for you send a compelling email you will incur a certain cost (including writing a copy, getting a subscriber’s list and hiring someone to send those emails). Let’s take that cost as 50. Then you track the sales generated through emails. This can be done by simply putting a question asking the purchaser about his source of awareness OR you could track it through analytics. 

Let’s say that sales is 300. We are assuming here that your profit margin is 20% so your effective profit will be 60. Compare this with your cost and calculate your ROI as follows : 

Effective profit - Cost / Cost * 100. 

In this case, your ROI comes as 20%. 

Few metrics which you can use to calculate performance of Email Marketing are -

  1. Open Rate
  2. Click Rate of links
  3. Conversion rate
All these metrics are often given as part of analytics of email marketing software package. Here is how these are calculated 

Open Rate = mails open / mails sent * 100 

Click Rate = number of mails whose links were clicked / mails sent * 100 

Conversion rate = number of mails which got converted / mails sent * 100 

The industry standard and average of open rate is 30% and click rate is 3.3%. Conversion rate depends on various factors so it is difficult to measure it. You can know more about email marketing stats from these benchmarks from this post 

10. Increase in Brand Visibility. 

Increase in Brand Visibility is an important aspect of inbound marketing as this what helps in brand retention and eventually conversion. You need to take into account all of the above parameters to know where your brand stands vis-à-vis your marketing campaign. Here, planning in advance is the key. Your various touch points, especially on social media, need to be identified quantitatively in terms of customer base, engagement rate etc 

How to calculate and Measure ROI of Brand Visibility campaign ? 

Aspects of brand visibility in terms of paid media can be done as follows : Let’s say you have spent 1000 on AdWords and other banner ads. You can measure it’s ROI either in 3 ways : 

- In terms of impressions (awareness): If your goal was to make 1000 people aware about the campaign and 500 people saw it then your ROI is (50%) and if 1200 people saw it then your ROI is 20% 
- In terms of click-through (interest) : If your target was to have 1000 people visit your landing page and 1500 people clicked then your ROI is 50% 
- In terms of purchase (sale) : If you aimed to make a sale of 1000 units and only 800 units were sold through it, then your ROI is (20%) 

Hence, depending the metric you use to evaluate your visibility against, will determine your ROI. Another way of testing visibility is by using qualitative techniques like surveys and organic searches. 

Surveys are done once the campaign is over and the users are asked certain questions pertaining to the campaign to measure the recall value of it. 

Organic searches about your campaign keywords can be found out using analytics to gauge the awareness level of the campaign. 

Additionally, Here are 3 tools to measure brand visibility

  1. Klout
  2. HowSociable
  3. TweetReach
How to Calculate overall ROI of your Inbound Marketing Campaign

The simplest formula to calculate ROI is

 ROI = [(Gross Profit – Marketing Investment)/ Marketing Investment] * 100 

There is also Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) which you can use instead of Gross Profit (which sometimes make more sense for SaaS companies). CLV is the amount of profit organization made from a single user till the end when he left. 

CLV = (Customer Lifetime Value – Marketing Investment) / Marketing Investment 

Lets say you have budget X of the Campaign with A, B and C goals 

Apart from the above, you can compare the number of unique visitors to your website post the campaign. The metrics would be as follows : 

- Increase in traffic 
- Conversion of traffic to sales. 
Let’s say the marketing investment to generate more visits is x and the conversion of traffic to sales is y. 
So you take x-y/x * 100 to find out your quantitative ROI 

Finally, how well you are executing your marketing efforts and campaigns will depend on your overall comparisons. In order to calculate your ROI deduct the cost per customer acquisition from the lifetime value of the customer and then divide that number by the cost per customer acquisition. 

ROI = (Customer Lifetime Value - Cost per Customer Acquisition) / Cost per Customer Acquisition 

In the end, ROI will always depend on the goals of the campaign and how you measure the metrics. As long as you are not changing the way you are measuring the metrics, your ROI measurement will not be having too much standard error deviation.


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