A strong content marketing strategy can go a long way toward building your brand and increasing sales.
That’s why, according to the Content Marketing Institute, more than 91 percent of business to business and 86 percent of business to consumer organizations use it to connect with their customers.
If you’re starting to dabble in content marketing you may wonder how you can verify that you’re getting a benefit from all of the time, effort, and cost it takes to run the program.
Evaluating the marketing ROI on your content is possible but it isn’t as simple as comparing the money you’ve spent on the program with the total amount of sales.
The benefits of content marketing go beyond how a program directly affects your company’s bottom line.
Along the way, it is possible to perform measurement and evaluation for how effectively your content marketing is contributing to each one of five main areas.
1. Helping your company to be found online
Customers can’t access your content – or your products and services – if they can’t find you online.
The right content skillfully includes highly relevant keywords and valued information that can be referenced by other credible websites.
If your content is accomplishing both of these tasks, you’ll be highly ranked in search engine results.
Test how your content is performing: See how well your content is optimized (SEO) as you search for it on web browsers. Look for how close your company is listed to the top of the page. The ultimate goal is to be listed in the top three places.
2. Giving your company a positive presence on social media sites
Another way for customers to find your content or your site is through social media feeds. Interesting, relevant content frequently gets shared across social media sites and on others’ pages. If you’re lucky, it will even have a link back to your website (backlink).
Test how your content is performing: Keep track of any third-party social media sites that you find have shared your content. You can also use Google Analytics to track where traffic on your site is coming from (referral traffic) and how much of this traffic is directly connected to purchases.
3. Causing people to engage with your site
Once they’ve found your content, it should be interesting enough to keep viewers on the site and to inspire actions such as clicking on links, videos, and other information pieces.
Test how your content is performing: Using Google Analytics you can measure how many people are viewing pages on your site (page views), how long they’re staying on each page (duration) and how many people leave quickly (bounce rate).
4. Lead generation
As you track the progress of users on your site, watch who you are attracting and how they’re proceeding.
Are the people who are coming to your site for your content the right people?
Do they represent the age, geography, and other demographics that will become your customer?
Are they going to the right pages that will most likely lead to a purchase?
Test how the content is performing: Use Google Analytics to track who your visitors are and where they’re going. You can identify what geographies they’re coming from, their age group, and what pages they’re looking at. You can also use metrics programs connected to key marketing functions on your site such as newsletter sign-ups, podcast downloads, video views, or new social media followers.
5. Sales revenue
In some ways, this may be the easiest part of the content to track. In some ways, it isn’t.
While it is easy to look at a bottom-line sales function, where it gets tricky is that the actual sales numbers don’t really tell the entire story.
Test how your content is performing: Track your sales data. Keep in mind that some customers may need several visits to return to your site, or they may have heard about you from your content but are buying through other channels.