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You can’t improve what you don’t measure. You’ve heard it a million times. But too often, we rely on instinct or gut feeling when it comes to marketing. Measurement in marketing is just as important as measurement in product testing or financial management. You need to know what’s working and what’s not. Seth Godin says, “Good marketers measure. Metrics are critical to ensuring that your marketing is aligned with your business objectives.”

There are many metrics that are common sense. Website conversions. Lead-to-close ratio. Cost-per-lead. But some of the most valuable metrics often go overlooked. Here are five of those marketing metrics that will help you make better strategic decisions.

  1. Advertising Cost vs. Revenue Per Sale — Cost-per-lead is a good metric, but it doesn’t tell you how much revenue is generated by those leads. If you’re just looking at cost-per-lead, you might choose an advertising solution that has a $35.68 CPL and generates $694.00 in revenue per sale, instead of the solution that costs $74.93 per lead but generates $1,970.00 per sale.
  2. Top Revenue-Generating Emails — If you use email marketing, click-through rate isn’t only what matters. When you look at the amount of revenue that resulted from each email, you’ll learn which types of emails deliver the best ROI.
  3. Website Visits Referred from Social Media — Many marketers waste time and money on social media, “building relationships.” While building relationships is essential, those relationships have to be tracked and measured. Most website analytics programs will tell you which traffic is being sent from your social media pages. Knowing how many visits you’re getting from which social media platforms will help you to know where you should invest. Further, look at which of those website visits resulted in conversions to know which platform is sending the most valuable traffic.
  4. Customer Retention — It’s easier to keep an existing customer than to gain a new one. We all know that. But when we think about marketing, we often focus on the quest to get new customers and overlook the ones we already have, who could be spending more money with us if we marketed to them. Measure how many of your customers stay with you, over what period of time.
  5. Customer Lifetime Value — Customer lifetime value is closely related to customer retention, but it looks at the amount of revenue a customer delivers over the entire time that he or she remains a client. When you look at this metric, you can learn which types of customers will deliver more revenue over the long haul, so you know how much you should spend to keep them.

Marketing relies on numbers just as much as any other area of business strategy. When you know what your numbers are, you know how to make smart decisions, and you know what will make you successful.

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