5 Tips To Measure The Impact Of Your Content Marketing
Launching a new content marketing approach whether through a new blog
or via series of articles or e-books can be exciting
Before you launch
1. Define your overall goals before the launch of any content strategy
Launching a new content marketing approach whether through a new blog or via series of articles or e-books can be exciting but if you haven’t defined what value means to your business then it will be difficult further down the line to assess the value of your content marketing efforts.
The definition of value will vary for different businesses but in essence value should be defined as the positive impact it has on the business, e.g. if you are a travel company then it might be the percentage of consumers who engaged with your content who then went on subsequently to purchase your product.
From a marketer’s perspective, a good way to define what a ‘good goal’ looks like is to ask yourself what would your sales director or CEO define as a successful investment of time and money, i.e. is this driving sales for us?
If their goals are different to yours then work backwards defining the steps needed to reach that objective as in the example below.
Takeaway: Ask yourself how my content marketing campaign will support business growth. You may not reach the answer the first time but I always find that it is the discipline and mind-set that matters.
Hard business metrics you should consider measuring are:
- Total revenue generated
- Average revenue per customer
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Customer churn rate
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
2. Define soft primary metrics:
Knowing all the hard metrics you need to achieve to please your sales director or CEO is one thing. Next step is to identify the key metrics, i.e. the dials that will need to be adjusted in order to achieve your big targets.
- Soft primary metrics – these will support and drive your hard metrics
Your primary metrics are the dials that you need to keep an eye on, these are the key metrics that will tell you if your efforts are succeeding. If they are not succeeding then that’s when you will need to start running A/B tests, applying SEO keyword research, applying personalisation techniques, customer research, better segmentation, identifying key influencers, marketing automation among others in order to increase conversions.
The below table from the Content Marketing Institute covers some of the soft goals that you will need to track and optimise against.
Takeaway: don’t try and track every metric. Identify the top 3 primary soft metrics that you need to measure and optimise against.
3. Decide which tools you will use to collect and analyse your data
This will depend on which tools you currently use from analytics (Google Analytics/Google Universal Analytics, Sitecore) to CRM (Salesforce)
It is best to set up your reporting dashboards in advance, whether custom dashboards or cohort reports, by putting together a tagging plan for your site to track any desired action, i.e. digital asset downloads, data capture form completion, phone tracking among others.
The ideal scenario is to have one dashboard but the most likely scenario is that you will have a blended approach to data capture and reporting.
Some examples of analytics tools you could consider using are:
- Google Analytics/Google Universal Analytics– free tools, most organisations will have access to them and they are great for reporting on visits and for aggregating data, e.g., visits, page views, bounce rates, location
- Sitecore – paid for system, better for drilling down to the individual level and allows for real-time personalisation, A/B testing and better visitor behaviour and insights. Ideal for the next step which is testing and optimising your content strategy to improve conversions.
A nice article from Asia Matos going into a more detail on these systems, If Google Analytics and Sitecore DMS stepped into the ring, who would win?
- Kiss Metrics – paid for tool, great for B2B SaaS organisations who want to delve deeper than their Google Analytic reports allow them to really see what consumers are doing over time.
Takeaway: if you feel you are drowning in too much data then an option is to only collect actionable metrics/data, e.g. downloads, email subscribers, event/webinar registrations, opt-outs.
4. Measuring effectiveness against objectives
After launch don’t get sucked into vanity metrics such as page views and likes unless they are supporting your overall business goals. Conversion rates to your overall goals are the best indicator that you have successfully tapped into your target audience and have created content that is resonating.
Takeaway: focus efforts on reaching your organisation’s target audience, you may generate lower numbers initially on your soft metrics but you will achieve higher conversions through each stage towards a sale.
5. Assign someone responsible for collecting, analysing and reporting your data
To really evaluate the impact of your content strategy on the entire marketing/sales funnel it is best to identify someone within the business to pull together, analyse and present the data from first engagement to end sale which allows key stakeholders from the business (marketing, sales, board level) to assess the real word impact of content marketing.
Reporting metrics should be focused on delivering actionable insights that allow for issues to be identified and positive change to occur.
Training may be required, whether on use/set up of data collection, tracking tools or on best practice data analysis and reporting.
Takeaway: reporting should be aimed at delivering actionable metrics which are tailored to your audience.