Marketers have struggled to zero in on truly meaningful metrics for years.
Before technology made it possible to track and analyze the performance of your marketing efforts, assessing marketing’s impact on sales was extremely difficult if not impossible.
Even with today’s suite of powerful digital management tools, many franchisors still find themselves in the dark when it comes to metrics that matter.
While it may seem trivial, looking at the wrong numbers can mean sticking to ineffective strategies or failing to realize marketing successes when they happen.
Let’s look at how to focus on the right metrics and examples of which ones most franchises should be tracking.
Measuring marketing success from the wrong angle
Today’s marketing tools are sometimes so powerful, the sheer amount of data to wade through can distract franchisors away from marketing’s ultimate goal: creating franchise revenue.
While having a grasp on metrics like website visits and leads generated are important in certain contexts, website traffic and leads aren’t necessarily what matter the most to your company’s bottom line.
First thing's first: pick the right metrics
Track metrics that measure progress toward your goals
Key performance indicators are metrics that help you track progress toward specific marketing goals (in turn tied to business goals) or help you determine when you've achieved those goals.
That means the best franchise KPIs for you to track may not be the same as another franchisor.
For example, where it might be helpful for a service franchise to track service estimates, this same metric would be completely useless for a franchise with a different sales process.
Following this approach means when it comes time to discuss marketing performance with management, you can draw a clear connection between business goals, bottom line results, and marketing activities.
Track different types of KPIs
Particular metrics are suited to different applications. Here are four types you may want to track:
1. Quantitative KPIs
These provide hard, objective data that tell you what's happening. For example, you might find that people, on average spend only a few seconds on your site, this measurement (average session duration) is a quantitative KPI.
2. Qualitative KPIs
These provide subjective information that suggest why you got certain outcomes. For example, if you survey customers about whether they are satisfied with your site, and they overwhelmingly select "moderately dissatisfied," that sentiment would be a qualitative KPI.
3. Leading indicators
These help you predict the results of your marketing strategy. For example, if you are a service franchise and offer free quotes (facilitated by a form on your website), a leading indicator of future revenue might be quote requests.
4. Lagging indicators
These tell you whether you achieved your marketing goals. For example, the service franchise above might use jobs completed as a lagging indicator to measure how many sales they made.
To diagnose problems, make informed strategy adjustments, and accurately measure campaign performance, it can be useful to measure all four of these types of KPIs, depending on the needs of your business.
Basic franchise marketing metrics that focus on results
To get a better pulse on the effect your marketing efforts have on your bottom line, here are some marketing metrics to pay attention to. Some may be useful KPIs for your marketing strategy, while others may provide insights for running your business more effectively.
1. Marketing return on investment (ROI)
This should always should be your number one marketing metric since it calculates whether your program is cost-effective and profitable.
marketing-generated revenue / marketing & advertising spend = Marketing ROI
To find it, you'll need to know:
marketing-generated revenue: The revenue you are able to attribute to marketing
marketing and/or advertising spend: How much you've spent on marketing and advertising
It can also be helpful to find the marketing ROI of a specific channel, like pay-per-click advertising (PPC), to help determine whether it's a viable channel for you.
Particularly if ad spend is the only real expense associated with your PPC campaign, you might find it useful to calculate your return on ad spend (ROAS).
PPC-generated revenue / PPC ad spend = PPC ROAS
For example, if you gained $1000 in revenue from clicks on PPC ads and spent $100 on those ads, you would get an ROAS of 10.0, or 1,000%
($1000) / $100 = 10.0
As Search Engine Watch notes, other PPC costs might include those associated with e-commerce (if applicable), like credit card processing, order fulfillment, customer service, product manufacturing, returned items, and website and staffing costs, like marketing automation, servers, equipment, tech support, and in-house marketer salaries.
If an agency handles PPC for you, you would factor in agency fees, like campaign setup, maintenance, and/or monthly retainer costs.
If these costs apply to you, you might be better off calculating PPC ROI:
PPC-generated revenue/(PPC ad spend + PPC costs) = PPC ROI
So if you made $10,000 in PPC revenue on $700 in ad spend, and you calculated your total PPC costs to be $300, then your PPC ROI would be 10.0, or 1000%.
$10,000/ ($700 +$300) = 10
2. Marketing-generated sales
This metric refers to the number of sales, checkouts, and/or closed-won deals attributable to marketing channels.
Different businesses have different names for this metric and may have minor definitional differences as well. In the end, all businesses sell something to someone. The number of those things is what we're tracking here.
For example, if a certain number of customers entered your franchise website for the first time by clicking on one of your guides from a Google search, then you might be able to attribute those sales to your content marketing program.
3. Leads generated
This metric refers to the total number of people that have demonstrated some interest in your product or service, whether they eventually resulted in a sale or not.
Of course, not all leads are created equal: some are more valuable than others. One common way to categorize leads in the B2B space is by lifecycle stage: leads, marketing qualified leads (MQL), and sales qualified leads (SQL), for example.
How a business chooses to define a marketing qualified lead, for instance, is highly tailored to that business, but at the end of the day, it means that lead has demonstrated a willingness to be marketed to, while the sales qualified lead has demonstrated a willingness to talk to sales.
Even if the traditional lead/MQL/SQL model doesn't apply to your business, it's still a good idea to differentiate among lead types. For a home service business, for example, you might find it useful to track how many leads requested estimates (whether or not those estimates resulted in sales) as a way to differentiate tire-kickers from serious buyers.
Naturally, counting the number of leads generated by particular channels is often worthwhile for evaluating the profitability of different tactics to maximize your marketing budget.
For instance, you might measure the number of calls you received from Facebook ads.
4. Website metrics
These metrics can be helpful leading (predictive) indicators when you don't have a sufficiently large or accurate sample of data for using some of the lower-funnel metrics above, but really shouldn't be used beyond that context.
Some common website metrics businesses track include:
This refers to each time a user visits your site, ending after 30 minutes of inactivity.
It can help you gauge how much traffic you're driving. Note that the same visitor can contribute multiple sessions by leaving the site and coming back, so it's not interchangeable with "unique page views", which is simply the number of pages viewed by all users (maximum once per user), or by "users," which only counts each user once regardless of their number of sessions.
Time on page
This refers to the time a visitor spends on a given webpage.
It can be used to measure how well your content engages visitors.
This refers to the percentage of sessions that begin and end on the same page without the user taking any action.
It's often used to diagnose potential issues, such as a slow load time or a mismatch between user expectations and page content.
This refers to the percentage of views of a given page that were last in a session (in other words, how many people left the site after looking at this page.)
This metric can be used to gauge whether a page includes a clear next action.
Franchise recruitment metrics
Here are three metrics helpful for tracking the effect of your marketing efforts on franchise sales to communicate your successes effectively to decision makers.
1. Marketing percent of franchisee acquisition cost
This metric uses the total cost of a new franchisee to the company to distill what part of that cost is coming from marketing specifically. You may come to find an alarming amount of your total spend being allocated to marketing.
If this percentage increases over time, shifting your marketing strategy to something more effective should be a top priority.
To calculate it, you’ll first need to find out how much it costs to acquire a new franchisee. This metric will be a percentage of that total franchisee acquisition cost (FAC).
To get the FAC, simply add together the total costs of sales and marketing and divide by the number of new franchisees in a given period of time.
To find the percentage marketing is responsible for, simply divide the total marketing cost by the combined sales and marketing costs. The result will be the percentage of the FAC going specifically to marketing.
FAC = (sales cost + marketing cost) ÷ number of new franchisees over a specific time period
Marketing % of FAC = marketing cost ÷ (sales cost + marketing cost)
2. Marketing originated customer percent
This metric is expressed as a ratio showing what new business the marketing team is driving by determining how many of your new acquisitions started as marketing leads.
The formula here is pretty simple:
New franchisees who started as marketing leads ÷ the total amount of new franchisees in a given span of time = the marketing-originated customer percent
This metric is a straightforward way to draw a direct connection between your lead generation efforts and actual new sales being made.
3. Marketing influenced customer percent
This metric considers all of the new franchisees marketing interacted with as leads at some point during the sales process.
It’s a great way to illustrate the ability of marketing’s influence on leads during the often long and arduous franchise sales process.
It’s also extremely quick and easy to calculate:
Number of new franchisees in a given time ÷ the number of those who interacted with your marketing team
It’s important to remember that while these can be important components of your reporting process, you shouldn’t simply ignore softer metrics like site traffic and conversion rates.
Instead, focus on illustrating how your approach is affecting the bottom-line results.
The benefits of tracking the right franchise marketing KPIs and metrics are immense, from demonstrating quantifiable marketing campaign results to determining whether your campaign is on the right track and diagnosing active problems for quicker response times.