This post was originally published in 2014, practically the dark ages! Much of the content is still relevant, but we've updated the post and added a section on how to use Google Data Studio to create an awesome monthly marketing report, for free. Enjoy!
Your monthly marketing presentation is coming up and it's time to step up your game.
What are the metrics you should be tracking? What does your CEO or board really care to see from the marketing department each month? How can you demonstrate that your digital marketing program is bringing in the leads and sales each month?
To answer these questions, I will take you step-by-step through the process of putting together a kick-ass monthly marketing report using a few different tools. Prepare to impress your CEO.
1. Design a Presentation Template
We present our monthly reports in a Keynote presentation (which can be made into a PDF for sharing). You can use PowerPoint if you like. Creating a well-designed presentation gives your report some professional flair and a standard template for plugging in all the necessary data each month. It can be as simple as your organization's logo in the footer and a matching color scheme for the heading text. Keep it clean, with a white background and nothing too distracting. In your report cover, include the date and agenda items, as well as who will be presenting the report. Remember, you may not need every item that I present here. This is just the way SpinWeb does it, and you can use our formula as a starting point.
2. The Agenda
The Agenda lists the main points you'll cover each month in your report. They may change slightly some months, but you should have at least 3-4 basic agenda items that stay the same from month to month.
Our agenda items are typically the following: monthly progress review, monthly performance report, and discussion items. I will now cover all of these items in detail.
3. Monthly Progress Review
The progress review section of the report, for us, is typically a list of all our completed tasks or projects for the month. We also include upcoming projects and "To-do" items for our clients. In your case, you might include your upcoming projects and any items you need from your CEO or board before you can complete a project. Go through each item in detail to show what you've completed for the month and your goals for the next month. This section includes:
Monthly projects and tasks completed
Upcoming projects, campaigns
To-do's for your CEO or board members
4. Performance Report
Now that you've shown your CEO all the "stuff" you've been working on this month, it's time to show the results. This is where you can really prove the value of your marketing. We use a combination of tools, like HubSpot and Google Data Studio, to help visualize the data.
In the next step, we'll show you how to set up Google Data Studio, which will help you create charts and graphs for a more professional presentation.
What does the performance report include? I'll give you a list of all the metrics we follow. Your own might vary depending on what your CEO wants to see, but these are some of the most important metrics to follow in order to see how your Inbound Marketing is working. I'll list them first, then show a few example slides below.
We like to look at trends, so our charts always show the last 12 months so we get the big picture view. I've bolded the big three metrics (Visits, Leads, Customers).
Sessions: Monthly trend
Organic Search Traffic
Social Media Traffic
Leads: Monthly trend
Customers: Monthly trend
Blog, other content performance
Paid advertising (PPC, social ads) performance
Leadsare the contacts that come into your database through yourlanding pages. These leads are either downloading a case study or an ebook, or filling out a contact form on your website.
This is a snapshot of new contacts coming in from 2013-2017. You can see how over time, the number of leads from organic search (green) grew significantly. This is the result of a very consistent, long-term inbound and content marketing strategy.
Your "customers" might be new members, patrons, clients. Can you track where new customers come from? If you can tie them directly to your inbound marketing activities, that is golden. In the above chart from HubSpot, we can tell which customers came in through social media, email campaigns, organic search, direct traffic, and paid ads/PPC.
Your CEO might not particularly care about how many new blog subscribers you got this month, or which blog post performed the best. But these are important data points to look at, at least within the marketing department to evaluate how effective your blog posts are.
When we present this data to our clients, we look at three main big picture points:
Visits -----> Leads -----> Customers
The bottom line is always, "did we get new customers?" More traffic, means more leads, and more leads turn into more customers. Period. Follow that line and you'll be able to show your CEO that your marketing program is effective in bringing in new business.
5. Using Google Data Studio
Google Data Studiopulls in data from Google Search Console, AdWords, and more. You can start with a template and customize from there to create impressive charts and data visualization.
Data Studio provides:
A visual editor, no coding required to create reports and dashboards.
A library of visualizations, no designer needed to tell your brand story visually.
Custom design and style controls.
Reusable templates for fast, professional reports.
Dynamic and interactive report controls based on time periods, geographies, segments, or any other dimension available in your data.
Seamless integration between data, analysis, and reporting for easy workflows.
Take some time to dive into Data Studio and play around with the canned reports. You'll find something you can use to get started, and more than likely you'll get sucked in quickly into customizing and creating dashboards that you can then export into your presentations.
Another thing we do at SpinWeb is to simply pull up the Data Studio during our client meetings. This lets us give quick, interactive updates or answer questions about something we may not have included in our presentation.