What are the essential marketing metrics?

Marketing metrics are important for any business to track. That’s why large corporates have entire teams dedicated to tracking and measuring their marketing efforts.

But as a small business owner, it can be difficult to know what to focus on with marketing measurement.

Because the truth is, you can’t track everything.

If you have a small marketing team, you probably have them focused on tactical execution. Even though you know marketing metrics are important, you don’t want (and likely can’t afford) too much of their time dedicated to measurement.

But if you don't place any measures around your marketing tactics, you'll end up wasting money. You'll have no idea what works and what doesn’t. You can’t make smart or informed choices about where to invest further and where to scale back.

So What Should You Measure in Your Small Business Marketing?

For small businesses, my strongest recommendation when it comes to marketing measurement, is always to keep it simple!

The best place to start in deciding on your metrics is to look at the steps a prospect takes from being completely unaware of you or your brand, to becoming a customer, and then an active promoter of your business.

The Buyer Journey is the framework we use. Once you’re clear on how you guide customers through these steps and have documented that process, you can use that framework to determine your metrics.

Example Metrics for Various Stages of the Buyer Journey

Exactly what metrics you choose, will depend firstly on what steps there are in your ideal client’s buyer journey.

Here are some example metrics for each of the eight stages:


Number of networking referrals, Google page rankings, Unique pageviews, Number of speaking opportunities, New LinkedIn connections


Time on site, Click through rate from social media, Bounce rate, Social interactions, Blog comments, Cost per click


Leads generated, Lead magnet downloads, Email subscribers, Webinar sign-ups, Tours booked, Cost per lead


Email click rate, Event attendance, Meeting attendance, Sales call bookings

Conversion / Purchase:

Number of sales, Total revenue, Sales call show-up rate, Landing page conversion rate, Lead closure rate


Welcome email click rate, Log-in rate, Percentage of new customers joining social community (eg. Facebook group), Newsletter click rate


Upsell take-up rate, Follow-up email click rate, Frequency of purchase, Repeat purchase rate, Customer lifetime value, Average order size


Social mentions, Number of Reviews, Number of Referrals, Value of Closed Business from Referrals

Guidelines for Choosing Your Marketing Metrics

It can be tempting to want to measure everything. But you need to strike a balance between having enough data to make good decisions, and the time investment to gather your metrics.

When you’re just getting started with your measurement efforts, just choose 1-2 metrics per stage.

It’s better to measure a small number of very important metrics consistently, than to try to measure ‘all the things’.

Over time, you’ll get a feel for which actions create the biggest wins and returns for your business. You can then adjust accordingly, trimming or adding metrics as needed.

3 Key Considerations

When deciding what to measure, ask yourself these questions:


How easy is it to gather this information? Who in my business can do this? How long will it take them to do it? It’s important to weigh up how difficult it is to gather a particular data point versus how valuable the information is. In some cases, if it’s very time consuming to capture a certain metric it might not be worth it.


How regularly do I need to be looking at this metric? A very rough rule of thumb - If I ignored this for a month would it matter? If yes, then measure weekly. If I ignored this for a quarter would it matter? If yes, measure monthly. If I ignored this for 6 months, would it matter? If yes, measure quarterly.


Is this really important? Does this tell me something important about how prospects are moving through the buyer journey?

Where and How to Track Your Metrics

Again, keep it simple. Once you’ve decided 5-10 key metrics, set-up a simple spreadsheet.

Create a row for each of your metrics, sort them into groups of metrics you’ll track with the same frequency. ie All of your weekly metrics in a section together, monthly together, etc. Then categorise each one by journey stage.

Include in your tracker who is responsible for gathering that data and entering it into the spreadsheet and where they will get the data from.

Each time a new data point is added, the status for that metric should be updated. You can use a simple traffic light system, where Green is on target, Yellow is close to target, Red is short of target.

Also allow space for any notes related to that metric or actions that are planned or underway to address any issues.

A note for the nerds among us: It may be tempting to try and automate the data gathering process. I get it! I'm the Zapier queen and a total geek when it comes to automation.

But it's important to wait until you know you're measuring the right things before you invest the time needed to automate the process of tracking your results - and that can take some time to dial in.

PLUS, the process of manually checking and inputting results is a surprisingly powerful step for keeping your attention on your numbers. Try it and see.

Next Steps

Download this template that you can adapt to track your metrics.

If you have questions about how to use this or are still unsure on what you should be tracking, contact us.

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