Metrics to make content marketing pay

Content marketing can be an extremely powerful strategy for generating leads and sales. At its essence, content marketing is about providing people with something of value (content), rather than directly attempting to sell them something.

It could be any number of things… from quality content on your website that educates or helps people, to e-books, whitepapers and other downloadable materials exchanged in return for an email address lead. In this way, good content can get a lot more ‘air time’ with a potential customer than an even the best ad ever could. Because content marketing is ‘non-interruption’ in style, people consuming it are less guarded and more interested in what you have to say – they have virtually asked you for it.

A content marketing approach is perfectly suited to complex products or services because as long as you keep people engaged, you can take as long as you need to get your message across. Of course then, the key to effective content marketing is all about keeping your audience engaged with compelling material. And better still, motivating them to do something you’d like them to do.

Here are some simple tips to help you measure and improve the effectiveness of your content.

Know who is reading your content

Most of the information you need to determine how your content is being consumed can be found in Google Analytics.

Unique page views tell you how many people have arrived to read your content. Along with the number of content downloads (PDF or Video for example), this information provides a starting point to begin your ROI tracking. Leads you generate through content downloads can be carefully nurtured through an automated email campaign designed to continually point them in the direction of a signup or purchase.

Do people like your content?

One of the best ways to determine this is to track click-through rates or any other action your content invited (perhaps it was a phonecall or a Facebook Like).

Your click-through rate is a fairly good indication of how interested your audience is in what you’re providing. It can also be an indicator of how well directed your content is and how effective your calls to action are. You may provide interesting material but if you don’t make it as easy as falling off a log for someone to subscribe, sign up for something, register their interest, book in, request something or purchase something, you won’t get the response you want.

Keep track of the percentage of unique visitors who click on your links and aim to boost this conversion rate by adjusting elements such as your calls to action, button placement, as well as the flow and direction of your copy. Links that are working better than others can provide a clue to what’s working for you. Likewise, understanding why links aren’t being used can also provide valuable insight.

Do people share your content?

Like click-through rates, social media can also provide you with an excellent measure of how engaged people are with the content you’re publishing.

Perhaps more importantly though, social media is ideal for expanding the reach of your content. Quality content that encourages engagement through comments and sharing can be powerful in generating new interest in your product or brand. Most social platforms enable you to track the amount of activity your posts generate so keep any eye on this.

Tracking this information through to your own CRM can give you an indication of the effectiveness of your content marketing in generating new leads or sales.

Do people spend time on your site?

The time people spend on your website pages can tell you something about how well your content is performing.

If most readers frequently ‘bounce’ before they could have taken in what your page is about, take a look at your headlines and subheads and see if they fit well with the link text you used to land people there. More time spent on your website is sometimes, but not always an indicator of success. The only real arbiter of success is your ROI.

Calculating ROI on your content marketing

Content marketing may not be the last link in the digital marketing chain that is credited with making the sale, but that doesn’t mean you can’t measure its ROI.

SME’s and large organisations alike are using content marketing to generate a constant stream of new leads, a percentage of which can generally be relied upon to ultimately become new customers. Reaching this level of certainty around your content marketing strategy is easy when you pull together the important metrics outlined here.

Let’s say you want to generate new leads for your sales people. You might develop a piece of high quality downloadable content on a topic that your typical client will find irresistible and promote it through a broader online marketing campaign. As time goes on, you’ll know precisely how much it costs to attract one lead (download), how many of those end up becoming clients and what it cost you to acquire a client.

From here, focusing intently on improving each of the metrics outlined here can help you reduce your cost-per-lead and increase your conversion rates. With compelling, useful content in the form of blogs, e-books, whitepapers, slides or video, businesses have an amazing opportunity to build trust, credibility and relationships with potential clients.

iFactory is a full service digital agency recognised for our innovative approach to digital marketing and web design. If you’re looking for cost-effective, measurable strategies that can drive leads to your business, drop us a note – we’d love to chat.

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