Are you happily working away at your new content marketing strategy, writing blog posts and creating lead generating eBooks, but you’re not sure if it’s actually working?
You’re seeing rising activity on your website using Google Analytics because of all the new keyword rich content you’re publishing, and every day you’re getting new subscribers to your monthly newsletter.
But for some reason you’re not sure if you’re content is actually driving any bottom line activity. You’re not sure if you’re creating more qualified leads, especially the kind your sales people like to talk to, and you’re not even sure if the new customers your firm has acquired have even read your latest eBooks or blog posts.
That’s exactly the situation I was in a while ago.
I was writing blog posts, publishing eBooks, sending newsletters, adding calls-to-action to our blog’s sidebar, and even setting up email automation triggers so our new email subscribers would be presented with cool messages like: “you might also be interested in this recorded webinar…”
I thought everything was chugging along like a well-oiled machine.
But I had no idea if it was working.
If that’s the same situation you’re in, you need to make sure your content marketing is driving ROI pretty quickly. And if it isn’t, then you’ve got to adjust your efforts to make sure it is driving ROI.
How to Track and Drive Content Marketing ROI
Here are 3 steps you can take right now to make sure your content marketing efforts are contributing to the bottom line:
1. Make Sure You’re Attracting the Right Prospects
The first step to any successful content marketing strategy is to create your ideal customers’ target personas, and direct all your content marketing efforts to those targets.
And then you need to make sure you’re actually attracting your correct target personas. How do you do that?
In your analytics program (whether you use Google Analytics, or a paid tool), determine the sources of your traffic.
- Are the referral links sending readers to your blog posts links from the publications your target personas typically read? Or are they clicking from sources that refer low quality traffic? Are the keywords driving traffic to your blog posts the type of keywords your ideal customers type in, or are the keywords the kind that drives people looking for freebies instead?
- When your visitors are converted into leads by filling out a form to get one of your free eBooks, what are they filling out for title, company and goals? Do they have the right title, such as CTO or VP of Technology? Are they interested in your type of services, or are they just looky loos?
Pay close attention to the referral sources for your site traffic, and how converted leads are answering questions on your conversion forms.
2. What Are Your Conversion Rates?
We touched on leads above, but let’s examine this a little closer. If you’re doing content marketing right, you should have at least one, if not two or more calls to action for each blog post. One at the end of the blog post, such as a related eBook or kit, and a one or two on the sidebar, such as “Talk to Us” or “Attend This Webinar.”
- For each individual blog post, do you know what the conversion rates are for the eBooks, webinars, contact forms, etc.?
- Are your blog posts converting the right prospects? (see #1 above)
- Which blog posts are driving the most leads? Which blog posts have the lowest conversion rates? Knowing this information can help you create more of the kind of content that converts, and can help you avoid writing the kind of content that doesn’t generate leads.
Pay close attention to conversion rates for your individual pieces of content. Don’t limit yourself to blog posts: look also to product pages, FAQ pages, and other content pages.
3. Does Your Content Create The Right Type of Leads?
There are leads and then there are leads. I’ve had people say to me: “sure, we were converting lots of visitors into leads, but the leads were worthless – they didn’t convert into sales.”
For your leads to be worth anything, they need to become qualified leads. There are Marketing Qualified Leads, and then there are Sales Qualified Leads. You want the latter.
- Are your leads engaging with more “salesy” content? Track the leads to see if they start to consume less “how to” or generic types of content, and are starting to read things such as comparison charts, case studies, product/service descriptions.
- Are the leads clicking on the “contact us” or “product demo” calls to action after a while?
The more you can track whether your leads start to become “sales ready” leads, the better you can track ROI.
How to Set This All Up
Tracking and measuring ROI so you can adjust your efforts to drive bottom line results is one of the hardest part of content marketing. It’s so much easier to keep writing those informative blog posts and create those beautifully designed eBooks.
The types of reports you need are not easily found in one package. You need to track visitor sources and conversions with Google Analytics, conversion quality and continuous interaction with your content using a paid tool or your automation system, and sales with your CRM system.
But there are other alternatives, such as tools that provide an all-inclusive set of functionality that includes web analytics, tracking individual prospects, and sales conversion (HubSpot, for example).
We’ll discuss this in a future post.