Measuring the ROI of Content Marketing

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You’ve finally launched your first content marketing campaign and you’re waiting to show your boss all of the success metrics of the campaign and prove the ROI of content marketing. But, what metrics are you going to show? Downloads? Form fills? Leads? Conversions? How can you track if this one download caused someone to become a customer? How can you really measure your content marketing efforts? I am going to show you a few tips on how to measure and prove the benefits of content marketing to your boss.

Before we get started on that, let’s explain that the content marketing we are talking about can include: white papers, gated resources, blog post and/or interactive resources. You know, content marketing like this.

Outline your Content Marketing Goals

We’re going to talk a lot about results in the next few sections, but you can’t really determine if those results are good or bad if you haven’t outlined your ultimate goals for content marketing. As you’re developing your ideas and your marketing strategy, be sure to discuss what goals are important to your team. Are your goals:

  • Increase overall website traffic
  • Grow your email subscriber list
  • Get more leads
  • Higher engagement
  • Increase brand awareness

Now, based on those goals you have to realize that the first four are measurable through different platforms. But, the last one “increase brand awareness” is not necessarily easy to measure. You can track social follower growth and people talking about your brand, but the number isn’t as tangible as saying “we’ve had 50 new leads this month!”

Once you have your goals outlined, you can move on to proving to your boss that the investment into content marketing is really worth it.

Assign a Dollar Value

If your boss is a numbers guy or gal, then this is a critical step in proving ROI.  Your ultimate goal is to get new customers. Yes, you may want higher engagement or more subscribers, but both of those goals have an end game of the user becoming a loyal customer. So, what you should do after you outline your goals is to assign a dollar value to a customer. How much is one customer worth to your business? If you’re an e-commerce clothing site with relatively affordable garments, then a customer to you may be worth $50 if they’re a one-time buyer, or possibly $1000+ if they become a loyal customer. If you’re a B2B technology software company, a customer to you could be in the millions of dollars for a one-time contract. It really depends on your industry and how much of an investment your customer will make when they purchase.

Once you know how much a customer is worth, then you can better determine how much you are willing to spend to get them to become a customer. If they’re a million dollar customer, then your budget should be drastically higher than a customer who is worth $50 to a business. As you plan your promotion strategies, keep that budget in mind. And remember to track your spending. It will come back to help you later.

Understand the Long Term Value

The one drastic difference between digital marketing efforts like PPC versus content marketing is the fact that PPC results are nearly instantaneous, whereas content marketing can take months or even longer than that to show results. The key here is to not give up or abandon your content marketing efforts. It will work – you just have to keep consistent with your posting and publishing schedule. Eventually you will start to see results of your content marketing efforts.

If your goal is to increase overall website traffic, be sure to track your monthly growth and see how it grows. You can test out publishing one blog per week versus two and see if that increases your traffic.  Again, content marketing may not drastically increase your traffic, but year over year, you should see an improvement.

Track Everything You Do

This is probably one of the most challenging parts about content marketing because it has so many steps and things to remember. But as soon as you launch your piece of content, whether it’s a gated white paper or blog post and start to promote it, it’s vital to track each method.  Some platforms make it super easy to assign each promotion method to a campaign, like HubSpot. But, for those who don’t use a management system – then you can rely on tracking URLs to help show the results of your promotion efforts.

The key is to remember to keep a spreadsheet of your promotion efforts, your total spend and the results! Whether you do it on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis – go back and look at all of your promotions and see what results came from them. Did they generate more traffic? Did they cause someone to fill out a form? Did they subscribe to your newsletter? You may have to enlist a developer or someone who is savvy with ensuring the right tracking codes are in place on your website to ensure that you can track form fills and conversions properly.  It’s crucial to make sure you have the right tracking set up on the back-end this way you can clearly see in analytics what your audience is doing while on site and if your efforts are successful.

Get to Work!

Overall, it can be quite challenging to track every effort when it comes to content marketing. Someone can download a white paper and then email it to a colleague who then eventually becomes a customer. There is no way to track that conversion path digitally. But, when your boss wants to see how your content marketing efforts are going – at least now you have a few tips to get you started on proving the value.

Guide to Inbound Marketing

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Vicky Simpson

Director of Content Strategy
Vicky Simpson is the Director of Content Strategy at Customer Magnetism. Her days are filled with brainstorms, content creation and promotion. When she's not being creative for CM, she is baking cakes or walking her dog!

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