This article originally appeared on PR Daily in July of 2017.
Many PR pros cringe at the thought of measuring their efforts.
However, gathering analytics and measuring your strategies and tactics will enable you to know how your business development program is driving revenue.
Focus on seven ways to measure your campaigns’ effectiveness:
1. Domain authority
Your website’s domain authority is updated by Moz once or twice per month. If you are diligent and consistent about publishing content, you can expect a slow but steady increase each month.
You’ll see this number increase more quickly when you are starting out. After you move above a domain authority of 40, you’ll see slower growth. On average, you can expect about six points per year—or half a point every month.
2. Visitors from owned and earned media
How many of your website visitors are drawn in by the contributed content you’re placing? Which websites are sending you the most traffic? Are any sites not sending traffic?
Use these data to refine your media relations list. As long as your media placements and contributed content pieces all include a link back to your website, you can track this metric.
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3. Number of email addresses
Your email list is the cornerstone of your business development efforts. If your contributed content is doing its job, it should generate a steady stream of email addresses.
If you are getting click-throughs to your site, but those visitors aren’t signing up for your email list or providing an email address in exchange for a lead magnet, it’s time to rethink your target media list. No matter how popular the media outlet, if it’s not driving qualified traffic to your site, it’s not a good fit.
If you link to a landing page with an email collection form, or if you have an email subscription signup as the call to action in your PR content, you can track how many new email addresses were added to your list as a result of your efforts. To track this over time, it’s helpful to use a unique URL with your links, so you can get an aggregate number through Google Analytics.
How many results do you have on page one of Google results for your primary keywords? Track this at least quarterly, and adjust your content maps accordingly.
To measure your ranking in Google for your top 10 keywords, open an incognito window for searching in Google. Use the Google Chrome browser, go to File in the navigation, and choose “new incognito window” from the dropdown.
This will enable you to see search results that are not affected by your personal search history and contact lists and thus provide a more accurate reflection of how a prospective customer might see you (or not see you) in results.
5. Number of qualified leads
Getting people to join your email list is important, but many on your list will never buy anything from you. That’s normal, but they’re considered unqualified leads.
Qualified leads are viable prospective clients. How many people became prospective customers upon looking at your content?
Track all the media outlets with whom you are placing content, the resulting traffic to your website from those placements, and the conversion of those visitors to potential customers.
6. Sales conversions
How many sales came about as a result of your proactive business development efforts?
It’s easy to get discouraged by seeing conversion rates in the single digits. Here’s the thing: Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics, and a 3 percent conversion rate for an email is very good.
Ideally you will be able to set up a report to do this in your marketing automation tool or customer relationship management software.
7. Google Analytics metrics
To track these metrics, use Google Analytics to identify:
- Bounce rate . Is your content attracting and keeping the right people on your site, or are they coming because of an outside link and then retreating, never to be seen again?
- Goal completion. Set your email subscription thank you page, your contact us form, and other lead-submission pages as goals, and you can track those conversion rates.
- Keywords leading to your content . Although you no longer get the depth of search data from Google Analytics, you can with Google Webmaster Tools. This will also help you with content creation.
- Pages per session . Are your visitors exploring your site? If you’re attracting qualified traffic and you’ve created compelling content for that audience, they’ll be staying to read more on your site.
- Referrals . Where are your new visitors coming from? Which media outlets send you the most relevant prospects?
You can choose any format you’d like to track your progress against these metrics. I typically rely on a spreadsheet. Though old school, it works.
The point is not to make it super complicated, but to dig into the data you have at your fingertips. Google Analytics and a spreadsheet will get you started, and as you become more comfortable with measuring your business development activities, you’ll find new data points that work for you—and ditch those that don’t.