By Paul Parcellin, Staff Writer
June 11, 2014

Marketers often tout the importance of metrics for measuring success when using marketing leads. Metrics play an important role in all aspects of marketing, and that includes running a marketing lead campaign. Marketers reason that online content should attract a growing number of visitors who are likely to return to their sites. Each visit can offer a new opportunity to develop a fresh marketing lead. But gathering and analyzing statistics is not everyone's cup of tea. Just hearing the word metrics may make your eyes glaze over, and if that's so you're probably not alone in the Internet marketing leads world.

The sad truth for non-math-oriented site owners is that metrics do count. Without them it's difficult to know whether or not you're attracting the number of visitors you'd like to reach. You also don't know whether or not you're attracting the kind of prospects that you need to develop solid Internet marketing leads. Metrics can tell you how well you are doing compared with your competition. That's really one of the most important guiding factors that will inform you whether or not you're hitting the marketing lead targets you aim for. You are undoubtedly working hard to create content and promote your site, so it's important to make sure you're getting the kind of traffic that you are seeking.

Certainly, a lot of Web data has already been collected. But some analysts say that data can make a significant difference in a firm's bottom line and a marketer's success in collecting marketing leads. Marketing metrics firm McKinsey offered the following startling conclusions:

• The total amount of available data increases 40% each year.
• Companies that use blogging metrics and analytics are, on average, 5-6% more profitable than their competitors.

For a number of reasons, including consumer behavior and quickly evolving technology, small business strategy and content marketing are a good deal more complex than they were not so long ago. Current day marketers have found solace in Web-based analytics. When you use Web metrics, however, you can gain a sizeable lead over your competitors in the Internet marketing lead business, according to McKinsey.

If you've decided to begin tracking your site's metrics, the question is where to begin, and more specifically, which number to start paying attention to. If your firm is like most companies that are beginning to collect metrics, you don't have the resources to constantly monitor your site's performance by watching a few key indicators.

A good place to begin is to hash out what your goals are and how you expect that your content will help you hit the marketing lead target that you are aiming for. You can then choose a few crucial metrics that will likely provide the information you need to optimize your content.

Here are some of the most important analytics and some ideas of how to use them to your company's advantage when generating marketing leads:

Visitors -The most basic metric related to a website is the number of page visits it receives. This metric measures the number of times visitors came to your site over a defined period.
This metric provides an overall count of visitors and doesn't distinguish between return and one-time visitors, and it does not offer any insight into what brought the visitor to your site. Another important metric is Page Views, and it reveals how often each of your pages has been visited.

Once visitors read one of your pages do they look at other articles on your site? Average page per visit is a metric that measures whether or not visitors find your content engaging enough to sample more. Blogging expert Wendy Piersall states that 3-4 pages viewed per visit is considered excellent. "Growing these numbers is evidence that your readers are increasingly satisfied with your content and makes it more likely they'll recommend your site to others," says Piersall. "Your readers are probably finding what they're looking for on your site instead of elsewhere on the Web, which means they'll likely return in the future."

You can learn your average pages per visit count in the Dashboard of Google Analytics. Quality content has a bearing on site popularity, but there are other measures you can take to boost your metrics.

A Chartbeat study indicates that the average blog visitor reads only about 40% of any article. One way to capitalize on that knowledge is to create easy-to-read, visually stimulating content that the reader can easily scan. Bullet points, short paragraphs and sentences, and numbered lists do some of the reader's heavy lifting for him or her. That can make your pages more reader friendly and less time intensive for the reader who wants to get your message quickly and move on. It can also encourage visitors to come back to your site, which will increase your crucial metric counts and your lead generation capacity.

Minimize Bounce Rate: When visitors leave your site after just on page view, that's called bouncing. Attention grabbing headlines can help attract readers, but remember to write headlines that accurately reflect the content you are providing. Some readers will naturally leave a site after reading just one article. But if your articles don't deliver the content that the headline promises you'll likely see a higher than normal rate of visitor bounce. That will affect your lead generation capacity.

Traffic Sources: This metric defines how your visitors arrive, whether it be via a Twitter link,. a search engine query or any other means. Learning where your visitors are coming from can help you determine the strength of your social media campaign and the keywords that visitors plug into search engines. You can get this data via most marketing metrics tools, including Google Analytics and HubSpot. 

Conversion Rate: If visitors come to your site and purchase products, leave their email addresses or download information you've posted, in short, they've taken the action that you hoped they would, these visitors have converted. The number of conversions that your site makes may be the most crucial of all metrics. With this data you can determine your site's overall effectiveness in marketing lead generation. And for most of us, that's the main reason for posting a site online. Watch that number carefully, and tweak your site until you get the numbers you want.

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