Content marketing isn’t a black-and-white investment like you pay for a stock and get back a certain payout (or loss).
Your content marketing strategy is multi-faceted and can be quite complex. The return you get isn’t necessarily in increased sales. Sometimes it comes in increased traffic, increased conversions or even the intangible increased awareness.
Your payoff can be immediate, or it can come years later.
Meanwhile, you are juggling a lot of data, looking at multiple spreadsheets, monitoring mentions and more. It can all be a bit overwhelming.
You need to streamline the process so that you have a better understanding of your content marketing ROI and you can focus on the factors that matter most.
Audience and Reach
Unless you grow your audience, your reach will only be to the same 50 people who always read your blog. (Unfortunately, your mom can’t help you reach your business goals.)
The more people that are reading your blog, the more shares and engagement you will get and you will start to see more traffic.
An easy way to know if your content marketing is having an impact is to look at your reach. That includes looking at the organic traffic you get to your blog and specifically the unbranded keyword traffic you are getting.
If you are including video in your content marketing, you’ll also need to look at how many views your videos are getting. Looking at page views is not enough unless you have included a transcript of accompanying article for the video.
Visitors are just one measure of reach. If users aren’t staying on your site then your content marketing isn’t very effective. You either aren’t reaching the right audience or you aren’t engaging your audience.
You need to look at engagement on your site, as well.
Comments, links and social shares are all great indicators of user engagement. So are email and RSS subscriptions.
Sometimes, engagement isn’t so obvious. People may be completely engrossed in your content, but they may not be moved to share. Therefore, you need to look at the average time spent on your site and your bounce rate. The higher the engagement, the more time people will spend on your site.
Effective content marketing should result in high levels of user engagement. Your marketing should be targeted at the right audience, and it should be compelling enough to convince users to click through and to stay on your site.
The bottom line for most marketers is whether visitors are turning into leads or sales.
Content marketing without a focus is not going to lead to conversions. If you want to get a fair picture of your ROI, you need to be sure you are putting the right strategies in place first.
That means promoting offers within blog posts and on various pages throughout your site. That means creating a sales funnel so that visitors can easily move through the steps you want them to take, becoming email subscribers or customers.
If you have gated content, you can measure the cost per lead that you get. Otherwise, you’ll just want to look at the overall increase compared to the time frame for the specific content marketing campaign. If you are using video, you can track conversions through specific apps and software.
Your content marketing strategy shouldn’t just be focused on new customers, but also on making old customers into repeat customers.
You need to create a specific strategy for encouraging repeat visits to your site and for repeat sales. You can do this by mining the data you get from your customer interactions to find out what problems or questions they have and then creating content that provides answers or solutions.
The offers on your gated content or the landing pages you send to pass customers in your email marketing can include special discounts or loyalty rewards.
You can use some of the same metrics for measuring the success of your marketing focused on retention as you do for your general content marketing campaign.
If you aren’t getting the results you want from your content marketing, you can look more closely at any of these metrics to find out where you might need to focus more effort. For example, if you are not getting the shares you want, you might need to revise your content plan or you might need to advertise on different channels where you are more likely to find your audience.
If you aren’t getting enough engagement on your site, you can try user engagement tools to increase time spent on your site and to lower your bounce rate. Our tools put the right content in front of the right customers to ensure that they get the information they find most helpful or interesting.
Using the right tools and following up with the right metrics will ensure that your content marketing plan is a success and you get the ROI you want.