Proving content marketing’s worth: ROI calculations
“Think of content marketing as a long-term relationship — not a one-night stand.”
While it is unknown who first uttered these words, they ring loud and true to anyone involved in content marketing. Content marketing is not a marketing campaign with a start and end date. With content marketing, you are creating relationships with customers and clients by educating and informing so they can make the best decision for themselves.
According to a Sales Force Marketing report, 78 percent of consumers believe that an organization is attempting to build quality relationships by offering custom content. And, when a customer believes you want to create that relationship, they are more likely to become loyal, repeat customers.
So, even though consumers enjoy custom content, how can you actually prove that your content marketing is effective? Let’s take a look.
What’s happening on social media?
One of the most effective ways of spreading content is through social media. Posting your custom content on different platforms sends your content out to potential customers worldwide. And, by taking a look through your social media accounts, you can see how your customers are reacting to your content.
First, have people liked, commented or shared your content? When people engage with your content on social media, you automatically know that your message is getting out there – and they like it! When people share your posts, that’s even better because they not only received your message, they want to make sure other people read your content and get your message as well.
Second, has your following on social media increased? When people begin reading your content and hearing your message, if they like what you are offering, they will begin following you on the different social media platforms. This is a great way to determine if the content being read is on-point with what the consumers are looking for.
What about your blog?
If you have a blog, the best way to view the effectiveness is by the number of new people subscribing each week (or month). If the content you are sharing is valuable, people will subscribe so they continue to receive this valuable content.
Blogs might not be a current part of your content marketing strategy, but they should be since small businesses that have blogs get 126 percent more lead growth than those without. In addition, 61 percent consumers who receive recommendations from a blog make a purchase.
Finally, you can judge the effectiveness of your content through search engine-indexed pages: “Populating websites with blog content is how you end up with 434 percent more search engine-indexed pages than other business sites that don’t publish content,” according to TechClient.
Have the number of inquiries increased?
Judging the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy based on number of inquiries isn’t a foolproof method, but you can get a pretty good idea. If nothing else in your marketing strategy has changed, you can pretty much infer that the change in inquiries would be based solely on content marketing.
What can you use to help prove your strategy is effective?
While you can somewhat determine the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy based on information you already have, you can opt to use things like Google Analytics and UTM tags to improve your reporting and get a more solid description of the effectiveness of your content marketing campaign.
Never heard of Google Analytics or UTM tags? No problem. Using Google Analytics is simple and requires little effort. According to Google Analytics, all you have to do is enter basic information about the site you want to monitor, it will then generate the UTM tracking codes to paste onto your web pages, and then you can view the data and analytics within a matter of hours. Simple as that.
Content marketing is a new venture for many companies and even though the effectiveness and ROI might be a little tricky to prove, it’s worth the time and effort since it generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing – and costs 62 percent less.
When it’s time to begin evaluating your content marketing strategy, don’t shy away because there aren’t exact numbers. Take a look at your social media accounts, your blog and your overall inquiries – you’ll get a good idea of how effective your current content is and where you can make adjustments.
Remember, this isn’t a one-night stand. You have to treat your content marketing strategy like a committed, loving relationship to make it last.