I’ve had a lot of questions about the process my team and I go through to plan for a new year of blogging on dPS and ProBlogger, so I’ve put together a bit of an explanation of what happened at our recent planning day:
This guest post is by Johnny.
We have all heard about the traditional advertising campaign that cost thousands and makes almost no impact on sales or turnover. But when was the last time you heard that about a content marketing strategy?
I’ll give you a clue: you haven’t. An effective content strategy can cost as little as the time it takes to create.
However, as more and more blue chip companies are beginning to catch on, questions are being asked about whether this strategy is the right one. Convincing people that it is will almost always require you to show the returns on your investment.
Here we take a look at some tips for content measurement and examine if tracking ROI is actually possible.
Always start from the end
Imagine I am a lost man trying to find my way to the first page of Google. I have no idea where I am and I don’t have any directions to get to the search engine, but I know I want to be there. What should I do first?
Knowing where you want to be should be the first step in your journey with content marketing.
Make the goal achievable and set some bench marks. Do you currently have 100 likes on Facebook, but would prefer 1000? What kind of content could achieve this?
Once you have your achievable goal in mind, set a time scale. Even if the goal is ongoing, having a monthly strategy and aiming to hit benchmarks along the way is essential.
One of the biggest indicators of return on investment relies on monitoring whether you’re hitting your monthly objectives or not.
Analyse and track
The majority of businesses undertaking content marketing will be focussing on one thing: sales. This is where a lot of people become confused and assume that you cannot measure sales from content marketing or social media.
This is completely untrue. It is simple to monitor key performance indicators in Google Analytics.
If you are providing content in order to boost brand awareness, monitor organic brand searches on Google. If this is increasing month on month, the work you are doing is obviously having an effect.
If you are trying to generate leads, monitor new visitors to your website. Use Google visitor path to see where your new visitors are coming from, and how long they are spending on the site. Systems like ResponseTap offer a call tracking solution which allows you to monitor how many people are picking up the phone after visiting your website.
Adding a monetary value to each of your goals is imperative to monitoring return on investment. For example, in your first month, you may be focussed on building a community. Monitor how many more visitors visit your website after the content is published.
If on average $100 is spent for every 500 visitors, and your content attracts an extra 100 visitors, then you can put a value on the content ($20). This is a basic arbitrary measure, but I think it’s important in showing how much top-level, real value you are adding, even ignoring the secondary benefits.
Nurture your leads
People who visit your website may be in different places in the buying cycle. Someone may find your content accidentally and become interested in the products you sell, but don’t know how they could use them. Do you have another piece of content or landing page equipped to show them how to get value from using your products? You should!
Another visitor may be looking to buy a product like yours at that very moment, so it’s essential to make your pricelist easily accessible. To attract more interested buyers, ensure you have white papers or videos showing why your products are the best on the market, and explaining your competitive edge.
Lead nurturing is the new lead generation. Your customers aren’t stupid. They want to come to their own logical buying decisions, so the more you offer them, the more value they will attach to your brand. The real value in content marketing is in building community, so attaching a value to your community is important.
So … is content marketing ROI trackable?
In a word, yes. Monitoring leads and sales value is possible using the various analytical programmes on the market. ResponseTap and similar companies are starting to bridge the gap between offline conversions and online activity, and I see this as the next step in linking content marketing with return on investment.
However at the minute, the secondary benefits of social marketing are not clear to monitor. Comparing new and repeat visitors to your website is a great metric for seeing how well your content is doing at bringing fresh customers to your site, but how advantageous is this in the long run? It is yet to be seen.
Do you have any of your own insights on content marketing and measuring returns? I would love to hear them in the comments below.
Written by Jonny who is interested in how social media and content marketing are helping small and medium sized businesses increase brand awareness online.