Increasing your company’s visibility in the marketplace should be on every industrial marketer’s to-do list. Potential customers want to do business with brands they recognize. Contacts and inquiries come in faster when prospects are aware of your company and products. And broad visibility provides more opportunities to engage with your audience.
However, measuring how visible your company, products and services are to the industrial marketplace requires that you pay attention to many factors and metrics. Measuring visibility is not as straightforward as, for example, measuring the results of e-mail marketing, where it’s easy to track sends, opens, clicks, and conversions.
Programs that Promote Visibility
The first thing to do in measuring visibility is identifying those marketing programs you implement that do a good job of promoting visibility. You should have some mix of these tactics in your marketing plan:
• Banner ads — Your banners that appear across a network of targeted industrial sites offer high visibility to your audience.
• Directory listings — Your company name, logo, description, products, and services in relevant industrial directories help increase brand awareness.
• E-newsletters — Advertisements in industry-focused e-newsletters will help promote your current offers and new products and services while also building your brand and driving traffic to your Web site.
• Media relations — PR efforts such as pitching stories, writing by-lined articles, providing quotes for current newsworthy topics, and sending press releases can increase the number of mentions your company receives.
• Online events — Sponsorship of respected online events offers strong branding and high visibility to targeted prospects.
• Social media — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs provide opportunities to engage and interact with your audience and increase your company’s visibility and influence.
• Video — Many people prefer to watch than read. Branded videos with keywords posted on YouTube and SlideShare can be found by your audience.
Metrics that Help Measure Visibility
Depending on what marketing programs you use, a variety of metrics can help you measure your brand’s visibility. However, keep in mind that a snapshot of these metrics at any given point in time really doesn’t tell you much. For example, let’s say you have a company blog and last month it received 43 comments from readers. Is that a lot or a little? It’s hard to say.
What’s important is to choose the metrics that are relevant to your marketing programs and track them over time. Those 43 blog comments gain meaning and context if last month you had 20 comments — and if next month you get 70 comments. You’ll know that your blog efforts are paying off because your audience, and therefore your visibility, is growing. So as you track visibility metrics, look for positive growth over time.
• Online banner ads — impressions, or the number of times your ad is shown, is a good measure of visibility.
• Directory listings — the number of visitors to your page on the directory measures visibility. The number of clicks from your directory listing to your Web site measures your influence and relevancy with your audience.
• Online events — track the number of attendees who stop by your “booth.” A good online event producer will be able to provide this metric, along with others related to your presence. Length of stay and content accessed measures engagement and influence.
• Social media — for blogs, track the number of comments, as opposed to the number of posts you publish. For Twitter, the number of follows, re-tweets or “mentions” — other Twitter users that mention your company name or Twitter handle. For Facebook, the number of “likes” of your page and the number of comments and likes on your posts. The more comments, re-tweets, and mentions, the more engaged your audience is with you, the more influence you have over them, and the more they are spreading the word about your company.
• Videos and presentations — YouTube offers analytics for account holders. You can track the number of times your videos have been viewed and the length of the view. If your audience drops off early, you are not engaging them well enough. With SlideShare you can view the number of times your presentation or video is viewed and downloaded and the search terms used to find your presentation. You are also able to see how they are being shared on other social networks.
• Media relations — the number of “hits” in the media, or the number of relevant mentions of your company, products, and services. One effective way to track these mentions is through the use of Google Alerts, a free service that lets you track any set of keywords on the Web and be notified when new content such as Web pages, news articles, blog posts, and YouTube videos with those keywords (such as your company name) is published.
In addition, you are probably already using an analytics package to measure the performance of your Web site. One useful metric for measuring visibility is “new versus returning visitors.” If the percentage of new visitors increases over time, you can conclude that your company’s visibility and presence in the market is increasing, and more prospects are coming to your Web site to check out your company.