Marketing is marketing, right? Wrong. Outbound marketing and inbound marketing are entirely different ball games. Outbound marketing is all about getting in front of your potential customers – whether they want you there or not – and inbound marketing is all about bringing your potential customers to you.

Can you guess which approach is more effective? [Hint: That was a rhetorical question!]

In order to be a successful inbound marketer, you need to recognize that success with inbound marketing cannot be measured in the same way as the success of outbound marketing. I mean, think about it – unless you’re running an additional outbound advertising campaign, very rarely will you be considering traditional outbound metrics such as your cost-per-click (CPCs) as benchmarks for success.

Instead, with inbound marketing you have so many other indicdators to consider, from website visitors, to lead acquisition, to conversions, and more.

So… The question is, if you’re not measuring what you previously considered a key indicator, what should you be measuring?

New Business from Inbound Activities

This where the rubber meets the road when it comes to inbound marketing. Point blank – have you generated new business as a result of your inbound marketing activities?

Unlike many outbound marketing activities, you can actually measure the ROI of inbound marketing in a way that is concrete and objective thanks to the magic of the internet. There are plenty of ways to do this manually using tracking URLs, Google Analytics, spreadsheets and the like, but why go to all that effort when today’s marketing automation software platforms make this so simple? Here at Quintain, we use HubSpot to measure the impact of our inbound marketing activities. With Hubspot’s Sources Report, this is very easy to understand. You can see exactly how your website visitors found you, including who’s coming in from organic search, from social media, from email marketing referrals and even direct traffic.


The beauty of the Sources Report is that it doesn’t just tell you where your visitors came from, it also tells you how many of those visitors converted into leads, and then into customers – and it breaks it all down by channel. If you’re doing your inbound marketing effectively, you should be seeing inbound results under all sources but direct traffic.

As your business makes its transition from outbound to inbound marketing, it will start seeing results, specifically in terms of the quantity of leads and the cost of customer acquisition (COCA). According to Demand Metric, inbound marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, yet each dollar spent on inbound marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.


Website Traffic to Lead Ratio

It’s fair to say that if your website traffic is increasing, and you’ve strategically included numerous calls to action (CTAs) around your site, you should be seeing your leads increase as well. If you’re not satisfied with your overall visitor-to-lead conversion rate, take a look at the conversion rates of individual pages on your website. Start with your best performing pages – the ones that attract the greatest number of visitors. Ask the following question:

  • Do these pages have calls to action?
  • Are the CTAs related to the topic of the page on which they are placed?
  • Are they appropriate given the various stages of the buyer’s journey?
  • Are they placed appropriately and designed with eye catching colors?

Understanding which CTAs to offer visitors is critical. You don’t want to place your Bottom of the Funnel offer on a Top of the Funnel page, regardless of how heavily trafficked it is.

Landing Page Conversion Rates

This may sound redundant – after all, aren’t landing pages the pages that convert your website traffic into your leads? Yep, that is true. But landing pages are in many cases more powerful than typical website pages. I like to think of landing page visitors as members of a captive audience. After all, according to Marketing Sherpa, 42% of offer-related graphics on landing pages aren’t clickable and 16% of landing pages don’t have navigation bars. That means that when your visitors are on your landing pages, they’re kind of stuck there, unless they choose to actually exit your page or they convert on your offer.

So use that real estate wisely:

  • Make your landing pages easy to read
  • Make them colorful – interesting not gaudy
  • Make them direct

Essentially, do what you can (test, test, test!) to see what leads to the highest visitor-to-lead conversion ratio.

Lead to Customer Conversion Ratio

This seems to be the hot topic lately, and it goes back to the fact that outbound and inbound marketing are so different. Outbound marketing, though annoying if you’re on the receiving end of the efforts, ensures that a company’s salespeople are going only after qualified people – it’s whether they want the product or service that is unknown. Inbound marketing is the opposite; you know your audience interested, and you can watch them gobble up the content that you’re producing… But you don’t know that they are qualified or they’re even planning to purchase in the next few months.

Or do you?

If you’re not happy with your lead to customer ratio, make more of an effort to qualify or even score your leads (use this template to set up lead scoring). Understand whether they’re Marketing Qualified (MQLs) or Sales Qualified (SQLs), and begin to nurture them. After all, According to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.

Marketing-Influenced Customer Revenue

While it’s great that inbound marketing is growing your site traffic and boosting your gathered leads, is inbound actually bringing in revenue? After all, at the end of the day, that’s what marketing – whether outbound or inbound – is all about. While marketers (myself included) will say that marketing’s all about satisfying the needs of the consumers, it’s not. Marketing is all about growing your business through an increased customer base. So unfortunately, at the end of the day, it really all comes down to revenue. But lucky for you, businesses that blog (the core of inbound) are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.

The inbound marketing metrics outlined in this post are the best ways to get started. From here, there are plenty of other metrics you can track – but getting the basics established is the most important part.