You need a reliable way to get a solid return on your marketing dollars. These days, most of your marketing is probably AdWords and content marketing. If you’re not a Bizible customer it can be difficult to track because of the randomness of the cause-effect on the traffic generated using this method. In addition to using Bizible to track content marketing, here are three ways to remove some of the randomness and see what your content marketing dollars are really doing for you.
Track The Correct Metrics
You want to be able to track who’s coming from where, and then what they do once they get to your site. To do this, you need some way to “tag” visitors. Usually, this is done through special linking called UTM parameters. For example, you may assign a special link to your signature in a guest blog post or you might have a special tracking code assigned to a link so that when anyone clicks on it, it tracks where they go.
Aside from that, you don’t really have many ways to capture the information from your potential visitor once a piece of content leaves your blog or isn’t under your direct control. The correct metrics to track for content marketing include your brand metrics, content performance (how well it’s received by the target audience), and commercial metrics (how well it helps you convert sales).
For example, let’s say you want to track commercial metrics. Visitor flow is one of the more important metrics to track in this context. Everyone tracks bounce rate, but visitor flow will tell you where users are going on your site. It can also clue you in as to why people are bouncing off your site.
You start with a user coming from a guest blog post you wrote. The user comes in through your homepage, and then goes to your about page. Then, he bounces. What happened? Well, odds are it was something on your “about” page that turned the user off and so he bounced.
If he makes it to your sales page, and then bounces, you know it’s something about the offer that’s wrong. This kind of information is invaluable for testing and optimization. If you tweak the sales page and you notice a sudden drop in your bounce rate, then you know what was wrong.
A word about bandwidth: you need it if you want to track performance using a statistically significant sample size. If you’re expecting a rapid influx of traffic from a media blitz, it’s probably a good idea to crank up the bandwidth on your hosting plan. What you’re looking for is a cloud-based hosting service that lets you create and destroy (scale up or down) servers as you need them, paying only for the bandwidth you use.
Calculate Your ROI
Your ROI is an important metric because it tells you how much you’re really earning from your marketing efforts. If you’re making $5 for every $1 you spend to have a piece of content created and published, you’re getting a 5 to 1 return on your investment - that’s really good.
Most of the time, tracking ROI on content marketing involves using advanced analytics. For those using Salesforce, tracking ROI is easy with Bizible, since you can add UTM parameters into Salesforce and match the marketing activities with the revenue from closed-won deals. Without Bizible it’s nearly impossible at a granular level.
In addition to tracking direct ROI, you also want to see is whether your content is influencing people to jump through all of your hoops and into a sale or at least to your email signup page, which can be accomplished through visitor flow tools in web analytics products such as Google Analytics.
Tell Your Story
Once you have all of your data, or at least 1,000 data points, you can accurately tell a story to your employees. What will this do? It will tell your staff about the kind of job they’re doing, what to do more of, and what doesn’t work.
Depending on the data you’ve collected, it could tell people about the growth in social media shares you’ve experience, the total number of new leads generated directly from the content you’ve posted, and how much that’s translated into new revenue.
The important thing is to control the variables in your story. You want to know what’s merely correlation and what’s causative.
That’s a key thing, and something a lot of businesses don’t do. They see a correlation and they stop there. Statistical data needs to be isolated and content marketing repeated so that you can be sure it’s the content that’s working and not something else that’s responsible for the spike in traffic.
At the end of the day, you want your content marketing to be great content first, and a marketing piece second. This is the real story that should come across to your employees. The days of “advertorials” are largely over - ads that are cleverly disguised as content.
Users are smart. They want to be educated, not sold. That’s what your story is ultimately about. How well you’ve educated people about your solution. If you’ve done your job, you’ll have the revenue to prove it.
Foster Wilcox has a knack for online marketing using emerging tools and strategies. With years of experience working alongside a variety of clients, he enjoys blogging about the tricks and trends in today's web marketing. Visit Html.com/blog.