How to measure the ROI on your business content marketing campaigns.
Updated: Mar 24, 2019
More and more businesses are seeing the benefits of content marketing. OK, it's still not on the radar of every business, but the benefits can be significant in terms of awareness, lead generation and actual sales – if you know what is working and what is not.
Basically B2B content marketing aims to:
1. Boost traffic to a site
2. Convert that traffic into high-quality leads
3. Convert those leads into sales
So, why measure? Exactly as I mentioned above, you need to know what is working and what is not.
If you are spending your hard-earned cash on a new website, you need to see if it is generating enough traffic, and you need to know which pages are of interest to your visitors and which are not.
If you are paying for a content provider, you need to know that your target audience is seeing this valuable content on as many channels as relevant so you will be sharing on social media, using it in your email marketing and perhaps using it as a printed piece as well. If you are not, it undoubtedly will not lead to the results you want to look at. If you are offering a more measurable discount or perhaps a time-based sign-up offer on your services, you need to know how many new clients were generated by each piece of content you produced.
Everyone makes mistakes with content, but it is vital to see which channels work best for you and which are resulting in leads – you can then spend more of your time and money working with them.
How do you set your metrics?
First things first, decide upon your goals and specific objectives.
Are you looking to increase your reach, raise your brand awareness, position yourself as an influencer in your sector, or are you just interested in leads, leads and more leads! Jot them down and move on to the next step!
Measuring your audience:
To measure your audience you need to know who is your audience? What channels do they use to gain the information they want? How often do you find they engage with your content and how? Where are they based? What are their job titles likely to be? How old are they?
Exploring Google Analytics is a great first option. It’s relatively simple, well known and is fantastic for measuring demographics and the behaviours of your current audience.
The fundamental data you will look at will be:
Average time on page
Track the progression of each of these metrics over a few months to help you get a feel of your current situation, and once you have an established flow, you can track month on month or year on year, depending on your goals. You will also see what content resonates best with your audience – take a look at the landing pages and exit pages data.
Measuring the success of social!
The essential elements you should be monitoring your social media platforms for are:
Comments – interaction, hopefully positively shows how people are interacting and embracing your content. If it is negative, it might not be too much of an issue – just judge your own response carefully!
Shares – shares show that people feel your content is of value and worth reading. It could be a retweet on Twitter or a share on Facebook. If you use a content management platform, you will be able to track the content which is shared via your various platforms.
Growing your followers – follower growth rate is sometimes more important than the number of followers. Try a little task – double your content for a month and see if you find your followers increase during that period. It’s a good indicator that your content is valued and effective.
Likes, loves or smiley faces have value but are not as valuable as the three metrics above.
Your leads will come from anyone who has kindly handed you their email address. It is likely they will do that by engaging with the content you are providing in some format. They could have downloaded be an e-book, a tips sheet, taken up an offer or just filled in your website sign up form. These are called marketing-qualified leads or MQLs.
When you are producing content, it is likely that you will be creating a number of different pieces. You could be sending out regular emails, loading up blogs, delivering guest blogs, offering 'how to' videos, producing infographics, sharing social content or offering downloads.
Identify them and put them into pots. You can then measure what is working, such as your email newsletters, specific discounts or offers, podcasts, videos, blog posts, paid for social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn advertisements.
Decide on the metric you want to measure for each option. If you send out emails, are your open rates high and are you getting queries from each email, or specific emails? If not, tweak the subject lines or change the delivery time with a few and see if they work better. A little A/B testing goes a long way!
If you are running paid for advertisements on the social channels, which works best for you? Which channel has higher click-through rates, number of leads generated? Which channel offers the best value regarding the cost per click or lead generated.
When you get more used to measuring and have a process, you can look at the seven metrics marketers use for measuring content marketing success and are signals that people care about your content. They are ranked below from high to low and are, according to HubSpot research:
4. SEO rank
5. Time on site
6. Customer feedback
7. Subscriber growth
Determining your costs
Depending on the scale of your content marketing campaign, there can be numerous factors involved in determining the value, including...
• Production costs: for writers, artists, and photos
• Distribution costs: for PPC advertising, paid social
• Cost of specialised tools: for producing or distributing content
You can attach a cash value to each element you want to measure (traffic, conversions, brand awareness, etc.).
As you will have determined your parameters or objectives from the right at the start this will allow you to focus on which ones to measure so your ROI might not be hard sales, it might be an increase in website visitors or click-through rates.
Therefore the cost of production should be in keeping with your objectives. Remember that at it's most basic level, the purpose of content marketing is to drive website traffic and convert your leads into sales. However, if your objective is to capture quantitative data, then conversions are an excellent benchmark for tracking your ROI.
A long-term view
The biggest myth in content marketing is:
1. You write and publish a blog article
2. Someone reads your article
3. They fill in a form/call you
4. They buy from you
We all know it does not work like that. You write, you film, you find images, and you publish, print, write, write some more, distribute, and over time your prospective audience read many pages on your website over a period of time. Then they fill in the form and make an inquiry.
It is crucial to view content marketing as a long-term game, so don’t panic or stop if your ROI is small or even negative when you start. Keep going and keep tweaking your content as the data you are collecting suggests and you should soon begin to see returns.
Content marketing also adds long-term value that traditional marketing methods can’t achieve. It relies on organic traffic continuing to grow over time - from your evergreen content such as infographics, articles, blogs and your videos.
TIP: If you are not convinced your content marketing is working for your business, try increasing your content production by 50% and then by 75%. Quality remains key, but playing about with the amount of content you produce will allow you to judge the optimum amount needed to meet your objectives.
If you would like help with your content marketing strategy or content creation, please do get in touch. We can help you product a strategy which will work for you and your resources and can provide your business with regular or ad hoc content. Should your project require specialist writers or require large quantities of quality content, I have a number of expert associates to drop in and out of projects as needs be.