Guest contributor – Alex Embling, Director of Strategic Internet Consulting
How many Inbound leads do you need to reach your financial targets and provide real ROI? For Inbound marketing campaigns to be successful and manage internal expectations, it’s crucial to plot out your goals and lead gen targents and define exactly how strategies will deliver on financial goals at the planning stage.
Clearly, it’s common sense to align Inbound campaigns against financial targets. But it’s also a step frequently forgotten by marketers and, if skipped, results in campaigns that cannot deliver.
5 Financial Mistakes To Avoid To Ensure Successful Inbound Marketing Campaigns
1. Not Identifying Realistic Revenue and Customer Targets
Everything in an Inbound campaign works towards generating that underlying revenue target.
Directly linked to lead generation capability, revenue targets are influenced by multiple factors, from retention rates to average order value. Your revenue target sets the baseline for the number of leads, opportunities and customers you need to achieve throughout your campaign.
But is your target realistic?
To find out you’ll need to identify:
- Your yearly revenue target figure
- The type of customers/ personas you need more of
- The value of the products and services you want to sell to those best-fit customers
- Your average best-fit customer lifecycle value
- Your average order value
- The timescale you need to achieve revenue
Using the above data, you can establish exactly how many best-fit customers you need in order to achieve the target. This can be complex process, but Inbound revenue calculators are available to simplify the process.
2. Not Mapping Sales Cycle Lengths To Campaign Timescales
The length of your sales cycle determines the timescales it will take to achieve ROI.
For example you may know you need 20 customers to achieve your revenue target. But if you have a long sales cycle, and only expect to close 5-10 customers in a year, your Inbound campaign timescales should reflect that to manage internal expectation.
3. Not Defining The Percentage Of Revenue For Which Inbound Marketing Is Responsible
What does your marketing mix look like? How much of your total annual revenue target will Inbound marketing be responsible for?
When planning Inbound campaigns it’s important to decide at the outset what percentage of total revenue the strategy will be responsible for. If Inbound tactics are just one part of a wider marketing approach, this must be accounted for during planning – it will influence figures across the board from Inbound lead generation and conversion targets to timescale expectations.
4. Not Considering Conversion Ratios Throughout The Purchasing Funnel
Do you know how many leads you need at the top and middle of the funnel to generate your customer target at the bottom? After you’ve identified the revenue percentage that Inbound marketing will be responsible for and the number of customers your campaign must generate to achieve revenue, you can establish the ratio of leads, marketing qualified leads (MQLs), and sales qualified leads (SQLs) you’ll need.
As leads progress through the purchase funnel, only a certain percentage will qualify as good-fit, or be ready to move towards a decision. Understanding the conversion ratios between each lead stage will outline the total number of opportunities you need at the top of the funnel (and the volume of site traffic you need to generate enough leads) to create enough customers at the bottom.
5. Not Defining Digital Channel Lead Responsibilities
Identified the number of leads you need to achieve your customer target? The next (often forgotten) step is to split lead generation responsibility and resource between your digital channels.
Think about the digital channels an Inbound campaign uses. Different digital channels (from organic, to email, social, paid, referral) will deliver different lead qualities and volumes. So, if you know that certain channels consistently deliver a high proportion of MQLs, you can allocate a greater percentage of resources to those channels.
Planning Effective Inbound Marketing Campaigns
Effective Inbound marketing campaigns that achieve goals, expectations and ROI are always based on data, realistic targets and achievable timescales.
Marketers who fail to outline realistic financial targets during the planning stages are setting themselves up for a fall, regardless of how well implemented and monitored the rest of the campaign is.
Author Bio: Alex Embling is Director of Strategic Internet Consulting, a London-based Inbound marketing agency with a raft of major public and private sector clients. Alex helps businesses large and small generate qualified leads via Inbound marketing and sales, social media and open source web development. He tweets at @StrategicIntC.
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