In the good old days of mass-media marketing, agencies and marketing executives were loath to provide quantifiable evidence of the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. But as Internet marketing took off, companies began to realize that they could use online metrics to (at least partially) measure the success of their marketing efforts and it could be as simple as counting the number of information request forms or online purchases submitted from their website each month. Interestingly though, content marketing—while the most powerful strategy for growing small to medium-sized business today—has actually complicated the process of quantifying success.
Why? Well, inbound marketing allows for the fact that prospects want to take their time getting to know you before they engage. In fact, content marketing encourages your target personas to ease into the relationship. And the result is that it can sometimes feel like very little is happening in response to your marketing efforts. That’s not true, of course, but it can feel that way because the phone isn't ringing and the contact forms aren't coming in as fast as you'd hoped. It is important, when attempting to quantify the success of your inbound marketing efforts, to rethink your measurement criteria.
To truly understand, and accurately measure, your inbound marketing success, you have to redefine what constitutes success. The prospect who downloaded your white paper or watched your product intro video is one step closer to becoming a customer, and that action should be considered a “win” in exactly the same way that the submission of a web form is, for example.
Here are three ways you might not have been looking at your content marketing metrics before now, but definitely should moving forward.
Content creation efficiency. What’s the average time it takes to develop a certain type of content? If that number is falling but the quality of your materials is holding steady or improving, it means you’re getting better at cranking out content. And as you get dialed into those averages, you’ll be better at managing your team’s workload.
Content influence. How are people engaging with your content? How does the total number of interactions breakdown by type of content? Buyer persona? Stage in the buyer’s journey? Becoming familiar with these numbers and how they are changing over time helps you know where to focus your content creation efforts. And don’t forget that the people inside your company are important content consumers. Knowing how, when, and why they engage with content can provide powerful insights.
Content score. Content scoring is getting a lot of attention these days. This process evaluates your content's impact on conversions at the various stages of the buyer's journey, and assigns it a value. There’s an art to creating an accurate content scoring strategy, and it starts with ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding what your buyer’s journey looks like and how different pieces of content map to it. Your job is to identify your best scoring content and continually refine it while also using what you learn to improve the score of other pieces.
Know Your Numbers
So, the next time somebody asks you, “How’s it going with the content marketing strategy?” be sure to have at least a few metrics in mind beyond simply deals closed. And if you need insights from a Colorado Springs-based inbound marketing firm on creating, promoting, and managing content that drives measurable results along the way to ever-increasing sales numbers, give us a call.