Most marketers seem convinced that their job is effective: only 35% of marketers think it is “very important” to know the return on marketing investment (ROMI), according to a survey by HubSpot. However, the same survey found that 91% of marketers are confident that their campaigns will affect sales.
If marketers don’t understand the ROI of their marketing efforts, there is no way they can know that those efforts will benefit the bottom line.
This is especially true for content marketing, which is by nature a long-term investment: a single piece of content doesn’t necessarily lead to a direct increase in sales, so there is no simple formula for determining content ROI.
But just because measuring content marketing ROI isn’t always easy doesn’t mean it is impossible.
If you start a campaign with an end goal in mind, you can both measure success and optimize the campaign to get more leads of higher quality. That way, when someone in your company asks, “What are the benefits of content marketing?” You have both an answer and the receipts to back it up.
Four steps to better content marketing results
Before I get into the content marketing metrics you might want to use to track your results, let’s take a look at some steps you can take to get better content marketing results.
1. Make sure search engines can find your content
When was the last time you saw how your website appeared in search results?
Take a moment and do it now. Type “site: yourdomain.com” into the Google search bar and see what it shows. You should see the sections and pages of your website one by one without a break.
If you don’t see your content, create an updated sitemap that Google can index and make sure that any important information like headlines and subheadings is in text rather than images.
2. Select a few keywords that you want your content to rank for
Use a keyword research tool – such as Moz’s – to find relevant keywords that people are looking for.
When you’re just starting out, look for keywords with relatively low competition that are still generating some search volume. That way, you don’t start out with a huge downside. Once you have a few selected, begin to incorporate them naturally into your content.
3. Assess your lead scoring
Define what makes someone a qualified lead for your company. Take advantage of the automated lead scoring that most marketing automation systems offer.
The automatic lead scoring system examines the demographics of the leads and their activity on your website. A positive or negative rating is provided for each feature or action based on the settings you choose.
If you already have a lead scoring system in place, check it out to see if your parameters are still correct.
4. Establish a streamlined sales funnel
Think of an effective content marketing strategy as a chain: Each link leads from one piece of content to another and the chain ideally ends with a sales pitch. Set up a sales funnel to reflect this process.
The sales funnel should contain at least the following:
- Off-site content that reaches a large audience and directs them to a blog post with a high conversion rate
- An engaging and educational blog post that offers a relevant call-to-action and thus encourages you to learn more about your products or services
- A call-to-action that leads to a landing page where readers can download high quality proprietary content such as a white paper, checklist, or template
- An email sequence that readers will be inserted into after exchanging their contact information to download your gated content – the goal of which should be to provide enough value that the lead wants to get in a sales pitch
After following the previous steps, you are ready to accurately measure your content marketing results using content marketing metrics.
Three content marketing metrics to measure your progress
Now that you’ve set up Google Analytics or any other analytics solution, you can start measuring three key content marketing metrics that will help you understand how your content strategy is performing.
1. Analysis on site
On-site metrics include the total number of visitors to your website, the most viewed pages, and the time spent on your website by visitors. They can help you keep track of how effectively your content is engaging your audience.
Content that attracts, engages, and engages a target audience helps you build a pool of marketing-skilled leads that you can nurture further.
2. Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Qualified Leads
The more leads you generate, the more Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) you are likely to have. From there, you can nurture those leads with content to move them into Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) – i. H. ready to dive into sales pitches and eventually become a customer.
To decide which leads are qualified to sell, use the BANT (budget, authority, need, and schedule) method. When MQLs begin to demonstrate that they have budget available, the authority to make a purchase decision, a tangible need for your offering, and the urgency to get it done quickly, those leads have been turned into SQLs.
3. Lead conversion rate
The lead conversion rate tells you how effective your content marketing efforts are in converting leads into paying customers. If you generate a lot of leads, but only a few of those leads turn into customers, you may need to target your content around different audience issues.
Actions after measuring your content marketing metrics
These three metrics will help you create benchmarks that you can further measure against over time. After that, before you take any action, you can decide what you want to improve.
For example, if you get a lot of visitors to your website but only a few of them are converted into leads, then you need to work on improving the MQL metric. Or, if you’re generating a lot of leads but having a low conversion rate, the first thing you need to do is work on improving the lead conversions metric.
By taking the right steps to measure your content marketing metrics and making regular adjustments based on your results, you can ensure that your content marketing investments are demonstrably paying off over the years.
More resources on content marketing metrics
How to Measure Your Content Marketing Efforts [Infographic]
Here’s how to tailor your key metrics to your content goals
Beyond Content Marketing: 10 Steps to Real ROI with Content Operations