measure-online-influence1In today’s digital world there are more channels than ever to reach your consumers; blogs, videos, tweets, webinars, podcasts… the list goes on. But how do you know the hours on end you put into content creation result in more sales, or customer loyalty? How can you guarantee the people you want to engage with your content are finding it amidst all the clutter?

You have to measure your online influence.

The problem with measuring your online influence is that we care too much about likes, plus ones, re-tweets and follows without knowing what it all means. Why do you want 200,000 Twitter followers? How does that number contribute to your bottom line? How is that number helping you fulfill your purpose?

A measurement is pointless if it can’t be tracked back to a meaningful outcome.

Next time you’re assigning measures to your online marketing performance, set appropriate goals by asking yourself these questions;

  • Will achieving this goal move us toward fulfilling our purpose, or is there a more relevant outcome we could aspire to?
  • Does this goal align with those set by other parts of our business?
  • What are the measures that will track our progress toward this outcome? How do these measures interact, and are they complimentary?

Once you know the answer to these questions you can set more meaningful goals that lead directly to achieving your desired outcome. This will help you cut through the clutter and breakdown exactly what your online activity is achieving.

A great way to help you create meaning out of all your likes, tweets and shares is to use a hierarchical approach to measuring your online influence.

Hierarchy of Online Influence

Measure 1:
How many re-tweets, followers or likes result in 1 new person reading your blog?

Measure 2:
How many people reading your blog results in 1 person signing up for your e-mail newsletter?

Measure 3:
How many people signing up for your e-mail newsletter results in 1 download of a white paper or e-book?

Measure 4:
How many white paper or e-book downloads result in 1 sales enquiry?

Measure 5:
How many sales enquiries result on average in 1 new sale?

In this scenario I have used ‘1 new sale’ as the ultimate goal, but you can apply this same approach to whatever the desired outcome is from your online marketing efforts.

Of course there is no exact science to how you measure your online influence. However, what this process achieves is to create a line of sight to a desired outcome, and helps you set more meaningful and relevant goals around your online marketing activity.

Having a clear line of sight to the outcome you are looking to achieve will significantly improve your online influence.

Yes, online marketing is a great way to influence your customers. But know WHY you are doing it first, and set goals accordingly.

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Image Source: I made this one myself!