In Measuring Metrics for Success (SearchNewsCentral), we wrote about the standard business funnel of Awareness, Acquisition, Engagement, Conversion and Retention. We also covered how satisfaction is an integral part of each funnel stage. For the next few posts on the Level343 Article Archive, we’re going to go more in depth on individual stages of the business funnel, as well as the Key Performance Indicators of each stage. We’re excited and we hope you are, too. Let’s get started!

Awareness – Stage 1 of the Standard Business Funnel

First stage of the business funnel - catching their attention

Psst… I’m in your business!Image via Dave Sizer on Flickr

SearchSOA defines Awareness, or Reach, like so:

“In Internet marketing, reach is how many different people visit a Web site to see an ad and also what percentage of these people fall into the audience to which an ad is targeted. A common measure of reach for a Web site is its ‘unique visitors per month.’ “

-But is this true reach? We don’t think so. To be honest, we agree more with the Business Dictionary’s definition:

“Estimated number of the potential customers it is possible to reach through an advertising medium or a promotional campaign.”

Let’s pull out some important parts of this definition.

Estimated number – The number will never be exact. Why? Here’s an example: even if you have a group of 30 people where 10 are not your target audience, this doesn’t mean the 10 won’t buy. It just means they aren’t likely to buy.

Potential customers – You have current, loyal customers. You love your customers. They pay your bills. However, current customers only play their part in reach by how many people they come in contact with. In other words, reach looks at that big, exciting “potential” pie.

Promotional campaign – This is important because of the word promotional. When you think promotional, you might think advertisement as well. However, we live in the digital age of communication. If you’re using Twitter and Facebook to build your audience and customer base, they are promotional campaigns. So are:

  • Newsletters
  • Ads on other sites
  • Guest blogging
  • Social media activity
  • Offline flyers
  • Newspaper ads
  • Direct marketing

Market Segmentation and How It Applies

Target. Market.

If you’ve done your marketing research, you should already know who your target market is. What if you’re trying to reach a broad audience, though? Well, this is where segmentation comes in. Segments can include:

  • Age (kids, teens, adults, elderly?)
  • Gender
  • Education (high school, Associates, Bachelors, Masters?)
  • Income level
  • Marital status (single, married, divorced, significant other?)
  • Family situation (newly married, married for a long time, kids, no kids?)
  • Lifestyle (conservative, trendy, thrifty, on the edge)

Example:

You sell a wide variety of sports and athletic equipment. Your entire audience, then, has only one thing in common: the urge to be athletic. Note that they don’t actually have to be athletic; they just have to want to be. However, you already have segmentation: those that are athletic, and those that want to be. Within these two segments, you might have:

  • Young, newly married couples with a medium income level, who enjoy rock climbing, cross-country skiing and extreme sports
  • Moms/dads with school age kids who play sports. This can further segment into things like:
    • Married or single moms/dads with low incomes who are thrifty
    • Married or single moms/dads with medium or high incomes who look at quality over cost
    • Single/married men who want to buff up
    • Single/married women who want to lose weight

How it applies

Once you’ve segmented your target audience, you need to find them. Where are they? Where do they hang out? For example, if your market segment is single men and women who want to tone and lose weight, you can increase your market reach via ads on:

  • Dating sites
  • Health and nutrition sites
  • Niche exercise sites

Facebook is a great place for the family-oriented. Twitter is great for business and family. Google + is great for business-minded IT folks. LinkedIn is all business. YouTube is fantastic for “how to” videos and other viral goodness (thrifty or DIY people often visit here).

Key Performance Indicators – What Metrics Do I Track?

tracking metrics - so many metrics, so little time

So many metrics, so little time to track…Image via RVWith Toto on Flickr

When you’re tracking KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), you want to make sure you have the right metrics. Tracking the wrong metrics can give you such inaccurate data that you’d think a campaign was failing when it was succeeding and vice versa.

The first question when defining KPIs for any stage of the funnel is, “What do I expect to happen from this activity?” In other words, what’s the hoped for result? Awareness is at the beginning of the business funnel. The hoped for result is that your target audience takes the next step of Acquisition:

  • Follow you on your social networks
  • Visit your site
  • Call your number

Based on these three, your Key Performance Indicators would be:

  • Increased number of followers on social networks: Generally, we wouldn’t recommend follower numbers as a metric. However, the purpose of the Awareness stage isn’t to engage. Not yet. The purpose is to increase the potential level of engagement. The more followers you have on your networks, the wider your potential reach is, if you use social wisely.
  • Number of unique (new) visitors to your site from your chosen referral: In your analytics dashboard, mark the sites you’re actively using to reach your target market. For example, if you’ve posted a guest post on LiveStrong.com, you’ll want to mark the URL. You’ll want to mark visits from social networks, the niche exercise sites and so on. Keep in mind, however, that you’re looking at new visitors, not return visitors. The purpose is to increase, not maintain, your reach.
  • Number of people who call: Call tracking is a booming business for one big, whopping reason. It helps businesses keep better track of where the sales are coming from. It can be expensive, but with call tracking solutions such as ReachLocal, Twilio, and CallTracks (among many others), there are plenty of options to choose from.

The Tip of the Metric Iceberg

We hope you enjoyed the first installment of metric measurement info morsels. Of course, not everyone sells sports equipment, and not everyone has a broad audience, so this article is a guideline, not a systematic guide.

Take the time to exercise critical thinking; how would this process work for you and your business? How far can your market be segmented before it ceases to make sense? Where can you target each segment to gain the best reach? What places have you missed that might bring high returns?

Stay tuned for Monday’s installment, where we’ll cover step 2 of the business funnel- Acquisition and the KPIs to Track It. Until then, add the measuring metrics RSS feed to your inbox!