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How to Define Your Key Web Marketing Performance Indicators

Goals are based on specific metrics that drive your web marketing business and website. These metrics — what make or break success — are key performance indicators, or KPIs. KPIs track the health of your online marketing efforts, for the good (success KPIs) or for the not-so-good (warning KPIs).

A KPI is not the same as a conversion goal! A KPI is a general measure of success for your business. It can be applied to your business’s online efforts, offline work, brick-and-mortar store, website, or anything else. A conversion goal, on the other hand, is a specific event: an online sale or an in-store sale. You measure KPIs in terms of conversion goals. Don’t confuse the two.

Before you go any further, write down your KPIs.

The ideal KPI will

  • Give you at-a-glance insight: This gives you information as to how your website is performing.

  • Stand on its own as a measure of success or failure: You shouldn’t need to look at other data to get a basic idea of site performance.

  • Make business sense: Interpreting a typical KPI won’t require an expert web analyst.

  • Be long-lived: KPIs can change, but not often. You want to be able to compare KPI data day by day, month by month, and year by year.

Success KPIs are those that, if they increase, indicate you’re doing well. They might include

  • Number of sales

  • Number of leads

  • Conversion rate for leads or sales

  • Number of E-Mail a Friend submissions

  • Number of e-mail newsletter sign-ups

  • Number of white paper (or other) downloads

Warning KPIs are those that, if they increase, mean something could be wrong. They might include

  • Cost per sale

  • Cost per lead

  • Form abandonment rate

  • Complaint frequency

  • Bounce rate

No two businesses are exactly alike, so chances are you’ll have some unique KPIs. The most common KPIs are

  • Cost per sale

  • Cost per lead

  • Revenue

  • Return on investment

Write down at least two (and preferably more) KPIs for your website. After you have your KPIs, you’re ready to move on to the next step — setting your conversion goals.

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