Avatar photo Michael Cooney
Apr 15, 2015
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    Measuring Marketing Signals vs. Business Value

    Jeff and I decided to meet at the golf driving range to hit a bucket of balls while we discussed Jeff's marketing mystery: how can he stop losing clients? (No one seems to have the time to play a full round of golf anymore; no wonder the golf industry is struggling!) I was hoping this would be enough to get Jeff to relax a little bit.

    Jeff took his first swing; he hit it so hard, I was surprised he was still standing! Maybe golf wasn't the best idea?

    "Woo-hoo!" Jeff shouted. "Hey, Michael, this was a great idea! Did you see that shot? Wow, I need to do this more often!"

    "Well, it's good to step away from the daily grind every now and then and come back fresh," I said. His enthusiasm was pretty inspiring.

    Jeff put his golf club down and faced me. "Sorry to jump right into this, but yesterday you told me about the dark side of the SEO plateau, when website traffic growth stagnates. This is when I typically am in danger of losing a client. It got my mind thinking about how I could get my clients to value my services based on business value, rather than website traffic."

    "Ok, let's get down to brass tacks," I said. "When you get a new client, tell me…what do they want from you?"

    "They want their website to get higher on Google. They're paying us for Search Engine Optimization."

    "That's great," I said. "And why do they want to rank higher on Google?"

    Jeff paused for a second, thinking. "Well, they want to get more people to their website, so they can get more leads, make more sales, and get more customers."

    "Bingo," I said.

    Search engine positions are a great way to get a client in front of targeted prospects. It's easy to prove traffic growth, and as long as traffic growth continues, you keep the client. The problem many agencies run into is that their relationship with their client is being valued on something that they ultimately don't have control over—their position in a search engine.

    Put yourself in your clients' shoes.

    The case file:

    Imagine that you are the client. It's the end of the year and you're sitting down to evaluate marketing fees and you discover that you're paying $3,000 a month. Next you have to figure out whether or not you want to renew the contract.

    • Client's Marketing fees: $3,000 a month for SEO and related services.
    • Client has been with this agency for 3 years, service is good and you like working with them.
    • Year 1 and 2 there was tremendous website traffic growth.
    • Year 3 the growth stalled.

    Let's investigate! Should the client continue paying $3,000 a month?


    In order to measure Jeff's marketing value, we are going to look at this case using the same scenario, but with different sets of data.

    Data 1: Measuring Marketing Fees Using Google Analytics

    Google Analytics provides us with a lot of information. Below, you can see how many visitors arrived to the website from search engines, how long they stayed on the site and what their bounce rate was. By setting goals, we can also see how many leads were generated. This is the data we have to examine and decide whether the marketing was worth it.


    Findings with data 1: $3000 a month for marketing delivers 1,809 visitors to the website, and the engagement is okay. Client believes the website is generating 3 to 5 leads per day.

    In this example, the clients' choice is not obvious. He would have to push the marketing company to figure out what they are doing to justify his spend. Or maybe he should try another firm that promises great results.

    Data 2: Measuring Marketing Fees Using WhatConverts

    Let's take this same scenario and reevaluate the marketing fees with WhatConverts data. The client has spent $3,000 and received 124 leads with a total quoted value of $680,188. These quotes generated $89,000 in sales. With gross margins of 40%, this equals $35,600 in gross profit, making the marketing fees 8.4% of the gross profit total.

    Reporting Findings

    It's much easier in this second set of data for the client to evaluate the marketing fees versus the business value being given.

    The decision here is simple - great ROI! Can I get more?

    Case Results:

    Clients' needs are simple; they want a good return for their spend.

    Jeff teed up another ball and connected it at the end of a long smooth swing. "I hear you," he said. "The more clearly I show the client the actual leads, quotes, and sales, the easier for them to recognize the value of our marketing."


    "I'm not sure I can get my clients to give me that kind level of information, though. How do other agencies do it?"

    "It's a journey, take it step by step," I said. "Start by communicating more with them and talk about creating business value. It will strengthen your client relationship."

    The 5 Levels of Marketing Data:

    • Level 1 is web and visitor traffic
    • Level 2 is lead tracking the number of leads by source or campaign
    • Level 3 is where the client can rank leads as quotable leads or not quotable
    • Level 4 is when the client adds a quote value to each quotable lead.
    • Level 5 is adding the actual sales value

    "Each step builds trust and demonstrates marketing value, as you increase the marketing picture they see. When you get to level 5, your fees will be measured against the business value your marketing fees generate, rather than the growth in website traffic."

    Jeff nodded his head vigorously.

    "But I need to warn you about the downside of this strategy," I said. "If your marketing delivers results, then both you and your client benefit. If you marketing doesn't work, then it becomes very clear very quickly. It's a win-win situation or a lose-lose situation, but either way you both get a complete marketing picture based on business value."

    "Thank you so much," Jeff said. "You solved the case!"

    Solve your own marketing mystery. Get started, it's free.

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    Michael Cooney

    Michael Cooney is a co-founder of WhatConverts. Connect with him on Twitter or via email at michael.cooney@whatconverts.com.

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