You have just deployed your first content marketing strategy. Now what? Maybe you’re an experienced blogger, sales professional or marketer, but are still struggling with finding the right balance between helpful content and acquisitions.
ROI is the endgame for any content marketing strategy, so it’s important to be able to measure your efforts appropriately and adjust as necessary for future campaigns. While your benchmarks for measurement might vary between campaigns, the principles remain the same.
We took a closer look at content marketing and ROI and came up with a short list of tried-and-true tips. Whether you’re a blogger with a dream of making profit, or a business laser-focused on lead generation, these tips should help you on your way.
Set your strategy
This might seem a little obvious, but the first step in measuring your output should be breaking down your initial strategy. What has worked in the past? What hasn’t? How much effort did you put into your strategy? Don’t feel bad if things didn’t go exactly as planned. This is how you learn to set better key performance indicators (KPIs) so you’ll be well prepared for the future.
It’s also important to get acquainted with the identity of your brand and with your customers’ profiles. Knowing what value your enterprise offers and, as much as possible, about your target audience, can help you better predict consumer behavior. And this may present opportunities for more out-of-the-box marketing ideas. In retrospect, you can look at your initial understanding of your target and see if it positively impacted your return. If it didn’t, you now know where to focus your attention.
Know what metrics are most important
This is subjective as it depends on what your objectives are. Nonetheless, qualitative metrics provide an easier way to aggregate and interpret raw data, therefore it’s vital to be able to differentiate them and decide which ones you’ll be using to measure your success. Possible metrics could include:
– Pageviews – a pageview occurs each time a browser receives a request to load or reload a specific webpage. This metric shows you the total number of viewed pages. From a practical standpoint, more is better, because it means the viewer is visiting more than one page on your site.
– Conversion rate – let’s say you post a well-thought-out blog post, come back to it in a day and have tons of likes, comments, and shares on it. First, congratulations! That’s positive engagement, and a core element to content marketing. Depending on what your objectives are, your metrics for measuring conversion could hinge on this type of engagement. For example, if you have a newsletter, you may want to measure your conversion rate starting with the percentage of people who signed up after reading that stellar piece of content.
– CTR – click through rate refers to the ratio of users who visit a particular page to the number of total users who view an email, advertisement, or social media post. This is a great way to measure the success of a specific ad, especially boosted content on social media platforms like Facebook.
– Bounce rate – an often-misunderstood metric, bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who leave a site after viewing only one page. Taking into consideration what we discussed about overall page views, keeping bounce rates low is usually preferable. Since bounce rate is one of the most highly ranked SEO factors, understanding the normal levels for your industry will help you determine if you need to adjust your content strategy to lower your bounce rate, or whether you’re actually ahead of your competitors.
It might be helpful to set specific goals for each metric you’ll be measuring. That way, you’ll have something to compare it to, instead of reading seemingly arbitrary numbers on a Google Analytics report.
Analyze lead quality
Not every lead is created equal. That being said, what is a lead? Let’s say someone downloaded a resource from your site but stopped just short of contacting you or purchasing your service. That person is a lead, someone who may become a customer but hasn’t committed yet. Prospective leads may all be at different stages of the sales funnel, and some may be dead-ends or even spam.
Part of measuring your ROI should be separating the idea of link quantity from link quality and making sure you organize your leads accordingly, so you have a better idea of your output, and who is a priority.
Understand how to interpret social data
The popularity of influencer marketing has exploded in recent years, but with its growth has come the understanding that content marketers often struggle with qualifying and interpreting social media campaign data.
There are metrics that are directly tied to lead generation and conversion rates for your business, and then there are vanity metrics that don’t contribute to ROI at all. The key is to focus on the important numbers, so metrics like impressions, website clicks, paid and unpaid likes, reach, and engagement count a lot more than just follows and likes that aren’t tied to specific actions on your site.
Figure out your total content cost and usage
Simply put – what’s your budget? How did you spend it, divvied it up across social media, content, and SEO efforts? This is helpful especially as a one-person team because it puts your spending into the context of direct results, which is a major driving factor behind ROI.
If you spend too much on Facebook advertising but not enough on content creation for the blog, it could be beneficial to hire a freelancer to write posts and to take advantage of the positive momentum.
The tricky thing about content marketing is that it involves juggling a lot of moving parts, which can get overwhelming and frustrating. The key thing to keep in mind is that each campaign is a learning experience. Building a business in the online age is tough, but if you can successfully measure and adjust your strategy to reflect both the data in front of you and the industry trends around you, you’ll be well on your way to content marketing triumph.
About the Author: Maddie Davis is the Co-Founder and Editor of Enlightened-Digital, an up-and-coming tech magazine. An avid web designer, she writes about trending tech and business topics.