It is very easy to get bogged down with your content marketing, leaving yourself unable to see any sort of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. There are so many aspects and strategies involved in creating and delivering content that just getting through the day alive makes you feel like a success. Although, it really doesn’t matter how many days you successfully get through if all your efforts can’t be measured. So, truly, how successful of a day, a week, a month was it? You can find out if you are able to prove your content marketing ROI.
Have you had any new leads? Were there any conversions at all made from last month’s content? What are you using to measure your progress? Superficial results, such as how many likes you have on a Facebook post or how many shares you had of your blog, don’t really tell you much at all. It is the cost of the creation, the distribution, the engagement, and the outcome that matters. In other words, you need to be able to measure the results of your content marketing efforts in real actionable numbers that your CFO can grasp. But, how?
Get ready to discover everything you need to know about proving your content marketing value.
Develop a result-driven focus
Generating ideas, team collaboration, and brainstorming are wonderful – and necessary – tools for content marketing. And, while it may seem that this is where you should start when developing your marketing campaign, you may want to reconsider. Any healthy, measurable content marketing needs to start with your focus on the end goal.
It is imperative that you take time to develop a clear vision of the bottom line metrics that will not only yield results but also represent growth. For the purpose of successful content marketing, these metrics are part of the buyer’s journey: attraction, engagement, and conversion.
Let’s have a closer look at these metrics.
Defining your KPIs
Many marketing professionals seem to have their own idea as to what Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are the best to measure a successful campaign. Each end goal may present you with a specific approach. But, it all boils down to the KPIs that make up each of the foundation metrics stated above.
As you know, the first step in the journey, attraction, is where you attract your intended audience. The content you present them must be one that is going to grab their attention and allow you time to swoop in and engage them. In other words, you want the consumer to come to you and show interest in whatever you are selling. So, your marketing campaign needs to be geared toward the right party and using the proper tools.
But, how can you quantify the amount of attraction you are getting?
There are a couple of Key Performance Indicators that you are not going to want to miss.
Impressions of your content. Impressions are the number of times your content has landed in front of someone. For content marketing, it may be the number of times your content appeared in a social media feed.
Reach of your content. Impressions may appear in a feed, but they may never be seen. Reach, however, is the number f people who see your content, whether they engage with it or not. In metrics, impression and reach often go hand-in-hand.
The number of unique visitors to your website. This metric counts each visitor that comes to your site once. So, whether they visit your website once or five times, they are only a unique visitor one time.
Your total number of visits to your website. If you are wondering how many people come to your website, regardless of whether they are new or return visitors, then this indicator will be your go-to. It can give you an idea of just how busy your site is each day throughout the month.
Bounce Rate and time spent on your website. You can get all the traffic in the world to your website, but if you cannot hold readers’ attention, you will have a high bounce rate. And, this translates to an unwanted situation.
Once you’ve attracted the potential buyer, you can’t not follow the attraction up with something. This is when you need to engage with your persona. Think about it – if you smell a new flavor of coffee as you walk by your coffee shop, they got your attention. You could keep on walking. Or, you could take them up on their offer of a free sample that will leave you wanting more. The same applies to online marketing.
Simply put, strong, healthy engagement leads to a conversion.
Not every person that reaches your site is going to convert on your CTA, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all hope is lost, does it? There are many different ways you engage your persona, but you need to know how to determine these ways – and how to calculate them.
A couple of KPIs to consider at this stage are:
Social media metrics, such as clicks, likes, shares, followers, and so forth. Each of these gives you solid numbers to determine what impact your content marketing efforts are having on your followers. Are you reaching the right audience? Are they interested in your content? Which content seems to get more attention? Which content doesn’t seem to be well-received? These are all things that you can quantifiably see when it comes to social media.
Social media is a great place to be able to reach and engage with your potential buyer.
Page views per session. Great – your site has visitors, but, do they stay? This key indicator can give you an idea of how long people are staying on your page reading the content you have to offer and clicking internal links.
Lastly, the conversion metric is going to give you an idea of how well your entire buyer’s journey funnel is working. How many in your targeted audience were converted into actual buyers? What methods did you or will you take to convert them? You have to be able to measure the outcome of your campaigns in order to determine if what you are doing is working.
The KPIs you choose to calculate the success of your campaign is going to be specific to your goal. However, you should be paying attention to these:
Click-through rate. Of all the impressions your content makes, this rate is capable of giving you a quantifiable answer as to how many readers engage by clicking on your CTA and such. In fact, this rate is calculated by dividing the number of people who click your CTA by the total number of impressions.
End action rate. This is the very last action taken by a visitor when it comes to your website and your content. Did you get the response you were looking for? Did they complete your form, follow through with your CTA, contact your company, or share your latest blog?
Rather than determining how many conversions take place, this rate gives you a broad view of your campaign – and every possible outcome. To calculate, you would divide the outcome by the number of people who started the process. In other words, if 1,000 people visit your site and 300 of them subscribe to your newsletter and 700 schedule consultation, then your end action rate will be 30% newsletter subscription and 70% consultation.
Conversion rate. This is, perhaps, the most important metric. The conversion rate will tell you just how many prospects you attracted, engaged, and successfully converted into leads. You start your campaign with a goal. The more people who reach that end goal, the higher your conversion rate. And, a high conversion rate is synonymous with a successful content marketing strategy.
To calculate your conversion rate, you will divide your total number of conversions by the total number of people involved. For example, if your end goal is to have individuals complete your website’s contact form, then your conversion rate would be the number of forms completed / (divided by) the number of unique visits to your website.
Analyze the proper metrics
Remember, the idea is that you should start from the end – and work your way back to the beginning. Once you have a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve, you will have a better idea of how to get there. Using the appropriate metrics at each stage of the funnel, especially attraction, engagement, and conversion will allow you to see just how well your campaign is doing along the way. By monitoring the progress, you should be able to determine whether it will yield the results you are hoping for. Keep a clear focus on that end result at all times.
Determine which metrics can give you the information you are seeking for your campaign – and follow them. Because you know the results you are trying to obtain and you are working your way toward them, the only metrics you should be concerned about are the ones related to that end goal.
Develop a clear content strategy
How can you measure something if you don’t know what it is? Plain and simple – you can’t. Therefore, if you don’t clearly define your content strategy, you will never be able to measure it. And, since you are all about learning how to prove your content marketing ROI, you need to be able to take some measurements.
Anyone can believe that they have a great strategy. Just as anyone can believe that Instagram is their best-used tool for conversions. Truth is, you don’t get paid for believing – you get paid for proving. And by developing a clear content strategy, you are putting yourself in a place to be able to prove the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of your campaigns.
As we have stated, you absolutely must know where you are going and what you want to achieve before you can determine how to get there.
Calculating your ROI
Dust off those calculators and brush up on those old math skills. We’ve got some ROI to calculate.
You have a clear content strategy and you have a list of metrics that you are monitoring. But, how do you translate all of that into a legible, clear answer for questions looking to determine whether or not your marketing efforts are profitable? You can try and persuade others and make a great argument for your marketing strategies and ideas. But, without the numbers to prove it, you may find yourself back at square one. Therefore, it is important that you know how to calculate your ROI.
Ok, no – we aren’t going to be doing any real number calculations today. We’ll let you save that for checking the ROI on your latest content marketing efforts. Though we will shed some insight into how you calculate your ROI.
There are 3 elements that work together to give you a better definition of your ROI. These are your investment, the utilization, and the performance of the content.
1. Calculating your investment means you need to focus on the money invested in getting the campaign rolling. Factor in any in-house or outsourced content generation, promoters, etc.
2. Make sure that you are using the content you are creating. Right off the top, you will be facing a negative ROI if you are under-utilizing the content you are paying for.
3. Examine how well (or poorly) your content marketing campaign did. Did you have any lead conversions? How high was your calculated conversion rate? (Remember, you divide the total number of conversions by the total number of people involved)
Be sure that when you are examining the performance of your content that you isolate your conversions. Remember all of those metrics we talked about? Use them to make sure that your calculations are being based on real data and not just assumption. Here’s an example: If you generate a few content articles focused around a specific topic and then you suddenly find that your number of site visits have increased dramatically. Is it a result of your articles? Or, is the result of something else?
Report your ROI to those in the know
Once you take the time to calculate and measure your marketing impact, it is time to present your case. By providing a clear presentation showing your best effort you can prove your content marketing value. Top executives, investors, the board, and anyone else who has ties to the company or monetary interest, is going to want to see how well the content marketing is going.
Keep your spreadsheets of raw data to yourself. You’ve worked hard on your content marketing campaign so don’t slow down now. Your ROI should be something that you are proud to display. So, when presenting it, do so effectively – and boldly. Paint a picture of what the numbers mean, rather than just throwing out numbers in general. For example, use graphics that compare the increase of site traffic versus the decrease in bounce rate. Then, make use of a marketing funnel to represent how this is directly related to more leads that could be closed into customers. In other words, compare the traffic increase with current conversion rates and the decrease in bounce rate as the result of more engaged customers.
There are many options for graphs and digestible presentations that can take your reports to the next level. Present proof of your ROI using the content marketing metrics we’ve discussed in a way that provides a real-life result.
It all starts with your end goal
If you have ever dreamed of having a streamlined content marketing process, now is your opportunity. By choosing to focus on your end goal, you can purposefully create your content stepping stones for every step of the way. As you know, once you know where you are going, you will have a better idea of how to get there. Not only will this organized process allow you to have a better flow, but it will also help you measure your marketing impact and deliver quantifiable results of every campaign to prove your content marketing ROI.