Has this ever happened to you? You prowl through the frozen food section of your local grocery store looking for a pre-packaged meal of some sort. You inspect all the choices, looking at the picture on the front and reading the description. You finally settle on one with a picture that makes your mouth water and a description that makes your stomach growl. You get home, carefully follow the directions for preparation, and “ta-da!” you serve it to your family.
You stare briefly at the meal you just offered your loved ones, then go back and dig the box out of the trash. What you just prepared has little resemblance to the picture on the box. Then you notice the small lettering on the corner of the box – “Serving Suggestion.” Well, regardless of how it looks, your family is hungry and has already dug in. It smells good and tastes good, but you are still disappointed.
The frozen dinner company’s marketing (the box) was effective, but the product was lacking. You will probably never purchase this dinner, or any other from that company, again. And, unless you contact the company and tell them why, they will never know why their sales have dropped.
The same concept works with content marketing for your client's business. They need to accurately measure the effectiveness of their efforts, and they need to know exactly what is working and what is not. Just like you with the disappointing frozen dinner, your client's potential customers are not likely to send them an email explaining why they didn’t purchase your product or service. They will just go somewhere else.
Within your client’s content marketing campaign are probably blogs, videos, whitepapers and articles designed to help customers solve a problem or fill a need. Content marketing is not a direct sales campaign; it is designed to build trust between your client's business and their customers – eventually leading to a sale. It is a gradual process, providing a lot of information from a lot of different directions. This is what makes it so effective, but also makes it hard to measure success.
Set and track your goals.
Your clients must set specific goals in order to have something to measure. Identifying detailed goals will allow them to pinpoint successful campaigns, and pinpoint which specific content marketing technique (or techniques) contributed to this success.
Through content marketing, your clients will want to save money, make money and get new customers.
- To save money, you need to generate more leads. To accurately measure this goal you need to track your cost per lead, your lead quality, the volume of leads generated, and the conversion rate of these new leads. Additional money saving measurements come by evaluating customer service costs; the better the lead, the less contact will be needed to finalize a sale.
- To make money, you need to generate more sales. You need to measure which portions of your content marketing campaign actually generated the sales, while also measuring what steps the customer followed to reach that point. This must be measured by costs, revenue, ROI, and the potential value in a specific new customer for future sales.
- To get new customers, you need to establish their needs and meet those needs. You need to know if a customer is sharing your information with others. You need to know how many people visit your pages, which pages are being visited, and how long your visitors stay. Other important measurements include the demographics of your visitors, how they reached your pages, and which keywords were used.
Evaluate and improve.
- By measuring the success of your client's different content marketing techniques, they will learn what is working, why and where. They can then take this information and improve the rest of their strategies. Once they determine the content that attracted the highest quality leads to your pages, they can re-purpose that content into other techniques.
- Through accurate measuring and evaluation, you will be able to determine when interest in content matter changes for seasonal, buying-cycle or economic reasons.
- By measuring demographics, you may identify gaps in your client's content marketing strategy, and develop a viable plan for plugging those gaps.
Numerous tools are available to assist in accurately measuring the different areas within a content marketing strategy. GoogleAnalytics is very popular, and it is free. Many other programs are available, providing this information for a fee.
Remember, your client's content marketing needs to be more than just a pretty box; it must offer value inside as well.