No matter what kind of marketing tactics you are using, it’s important to consistently measure the results of your efforts to determine if the time and money spent are giving you reasonable ROI. The challenge is, sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly HOW to measure results for the work you’re doing and if those “results” really equate to a return. Content can be the toughest to measure, so we decided to present a few ways on how to better track the ROI of your content marketing efforts.
What would be considered content marketing?
We get this question a lot! It’s best to understand what you’d consider content marketing so you can accurately and consistently measure it. In the most basic sense, content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. Content Marketing Institute defines it as including things like educational articles, e-books, videos, entertainment, and webinars that answer specific questions people have and provide them with something they can’t get elsewhere. It’s informative and useful, not sales messaging. Most companies’ content marketing includes blog posts and newsletters at the very least, but again, any kind of useful, helpful content is considered content marketing. The goal is to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience.
Why measure the ROI of content marketing?
As anyone knows who has done any kind of content marketing like blogging, blogging is hard. Content marketing is hard. However, if you can see the fruits of your efforts, you’ll be encouraged to stay with it if not expand your efforts. Your small business marketing can and should go beyond blog posts and monthly email blasts if you’re seeing good ROI so it’s important to track that ROI to know where to focus your efforts.
Measuring content ROI through SEO rankings
As we review clients’ traffic in Google Analytics, we’re always pleased to see how a client’s blog post often shows in the top 10 landing pages for the website. That means that people are finding their content and visiting their website based on that blog post. Awesome! Google is a great way to measure the success of your content. If people are looking for content that helps educate, inspire or entertain them, and your content not only caught their eye but brought them to your site, that’s a big win! Be sure to use Google Analytics to track how your content is performing each month. Go to Analytics, click behavior >site content >landing pages to see which pages brought traffic to your site.
Measure ROI through engagement
Many people complain that when they first start content marketing, it doesn’t feel like anyone is listening but give it time! As you build an audience, whether that’s through videos, blog posts, email blasts, whatever, you’ll slowly start seeing engagement as your content continually resonates with people. If you’re providing useful content (not a sales pitch!) engagement and conversations will follow. It’s important to track that so you can see which kinds of content, and which topics, resonated with your target audience. For videos, blog posts and other content pieces, that’s views, shares, and comments. For email marketing, it may be open rates, click-throughs or sharing/forwarding your email content. Really watch to see how your content is performing to understand the ROI you’re getting for your efforts. You’re reaching people, impacting them, and making them interested. They’ve moved from awareness to the next part of the buyer’s journey – consideration!
Connecting content to actual sales
Of course, at the end of the day, everyone wants to see the ultimate ROI of content marketing: sales! Have you set yourself up to ensure you can connect your content pieces to sales? You can! Here are a few good first steps:
- Always create content that can directly lead to one of your products or services (not a sales pitch, but a natural path from a need to solution).
- Have a strong call to action in your content. If people like what you’re saying in your content, you need to tell them what to do next. Otherwise, they might simply take the information and go elsewhere. Tell them to call you. Offer them a free trial. Show them how they can contact you. Make it easy to get them to the next step towards a sale!
- Keep track of how you get leads. If you aren’t using a system to keep track of lead sources, you may want to consider it. Even a simple CRM like HubSpot CRM can help you keep track of lead sources, and allows you to see how many leads are coming from blog posts, videos, email marketing, etc. You can always dig deeper into Google Analytics to connect a lead to a content piece. If you’re not sure how to do that, work with a small business marketing professional to help you.
It’s important to track the ROI of your content marketing so you know what works and what topics and content pieces to continue creating. If you need more information on content marketing, we’ve created a whole library of blog posts on content marketing! You’ll see how effective content marketing really can grow your small business.