You’ve seen the stats. You preach about the amazing impact of having a well-planned content marketing strategy in place. You believe in it. Your company even creates content on a daily basis, and you do all of this because it works, right? It has to.
-Marketer #1: “Look at the content marketing stats!”
88% of B2B marketers in North America use content marketing. (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)
75% of marketers are increasing their investment in content marketing. (Curata)
51% of B2B marketers indicate they will increase their content marketing spending in the next 12 months. (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)
Content marketing is only effective if it’s profitable for your business. And the only way to know that is by calculating its ROI. I know the famous and overused Return on Investment…
-Marketer #2: “But how the heck do we do that with something as abstract as content?”
-Marketer #3: “Do you mean calculating the tons of impressions and shares that the content got on social media?”
Asking the questions above will certainly not guarantee a positive ROI. In order to prove this, we need to build a case for your content based on your business objectives. What is your B2B company trying to achieve with content? Today is the day where we figure this out so you can show your boss how awesome the content is that you are creating or why it’s really necessary that your company starts creating more of the content that brings the highest ROI.
Addressing an Existing Problem…
The problem that most B2B marketers often face is that they confuse content performance with content ROI. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute, 52% B2B marketers say measuring ROI is their biggest content marketing challenge. While performance is key in determining ROI, this is just one of the variables of the content ROI equation. In order to look at the whole content ROI picture, we need to take into consideration other key points. So, let’s start at the beginning…
What is the ROI of content, and how do I to calculate it?
First, we need to know what your company’s marketing ROI, on average, is, and how can content marketing achieve a higher ROI? In order to calculate this, there three key factors to keep in mind:
- Content Cost: Run a content audit to see how much your content costs. If you are using an agency, see how much you pay them on a monthly basis. If you are creating your own content, see how much time, design services, and expenses you are putting toward that content creation.
- Content Engagement: Even though all the content that you generate should bring about engagement, the reality is that around 60-70% of the content created doesn’t get any engagement after it’s posted. Coming up with a percentage of the times that your content received some traction, on average, will be necessary to see if you are been profitable. The software, Idio Insight, can help you identify the proportion of content that is being engaged with and how much is wasted.
- Content Performance: As we mentioned in the beginning, your business’s objectives will determine the success of the performance of a blog. To measure the efficiency of the content, we are going to look at metrics like sharing and engagement, consumption, lead generation, and sales. For instance, if your goal is to get more leads with the content, check the quality of the leads and the engagement that the content delivers.
With this in mind, let’s build different B2B case scenarios where you can measure the return of your content marketing tactics. We’ll choose one goal for each of the states of the buyer’s journey: Acquisition (awareness stage), Behavior (consideration stage), and Outcomes (decision stage).
- Acquisition Goal — Reach early-stage buyers. Let’s say that the main objective of your content is to reach those users that are on the top of your sales funnel. At this point, the main objective of your B2B company is just to create brand awareness and earn the trust of your audience with your content. Here are some scenarios to prove the success of your content marketing strategy:
- Branded vs Non-Branded Searches: If most of your users are finding your website by using branded terms, then you need to start to create more trending types of content that will help you to expand the chances of traffic from users that are not necessarily familiar with your brand.
- Paid vs Organic and Social Traffic: You can earn your user’s attention without paying for it. Applying the cost per click of your paid campaign to the value of the organic and social users will help you see the value of the users that you are getting for “free,” thanks to your content marketing. Once you do that, test the effectiveness of getting traffic from your content versus the cost of getting it from the paid ads that you are running.
- Advertising Landing Pages vs Organic and Social Traffic: Create a landing page that you can use to bring traffic in organically and for your ad campaign and compare the bounce rate and visits that the same page gets based on the different channels.
- Behavior Goal — Engage Your New Users With Your Brand. Here are a few ways you can quantify the opportunity to reach and convert with your audience:
- Average Time and Bounce Rate vs Ads Landing Pages: This can reveal how your content marketing efforts are working to engage your users at the early stage of the funnel and convince them to convert in comparison to those that access the content through a paid platform.
- Returning Users vs New Users: Checking the behavior of your returning users and comparing it with the new users can reveal the success of your content to keep your users coming back for more content. Once you do this, measuring the conversion rates of the returning users versus the new users can determine the success of the content to keep converting them.
- Outcomes Goal — Generate Leads. This is probably the main objective of every business, so which key performance indicators can we choose from to measure the success of content marketing in lead generation?
- Leads and Sales from Content: Every lead that you generate from your content will be counted in here. Subscribers coming from your newsletters, your latest video, or the ebook that you are offering for your users to download can be valued.
- Total Average Marketing ROI vs Content Marketing ROI: Now that you know your brand’s overall marketing ROI, compare that amount to the cost of generating the leads that we mention in the previous bullet point, due to your content creation.
- Customer Retention: Content can help you to keep providing value to your existing clients and to give them a reason to continue to do business with you because they see you as a leader in the industry. Measuring the customers that engage with your content to determine if they stay longer as customers in comparison to those that don’t read it can determine the success of your content to deliver more profitable customers.
Five Ways B2B Marketers Can Maximize Their Content ROI.
Now that you know some possible ways and scenarios where you can measure the content that you create, let’s go over some tips to generate a higher ROI with it:
- Be selective with the channels that you use to share your content. Sharing your content throughout all of your social media platforms without a strategic plan will be a waste of time that will negatively impact your ROI. Focus on the channels that give you the most bang for your buck. In order to do that, analyze your content, making note of the number of visitors you get from each of them, and compare it to the time, effort, and money that you put towards it.
- Never stop promoting your content. If you want to maximize your content ROI, resharing your content once a while will increase the chances of reaching new people. By promoting your content just once, you’ll be losing potential users from benefiting from your piece of content. Creating alerts on Google about some of your main topics or keywords can be an effective approach to resharing your blog when other users are already talking about that same topic, so you can add value to an existing conversation with it.
- Don’t be afraid of using paid platforms to increase reach. When it comes to content distribution, especially on social media, the reality nowadays is that you have to pay to play. A study by Social@Ogilvy found that you can expect an average of six people to see your content for every 100 fans you have. With this in mind, dedicating some of your marketing budget to promote your content seems reasonable and the only feasible way to maximize your content ROI. In fact, creating your perfect formula of outbound and inbound strategies to distribute your content can be the key to seeing big gains to your ROI.
- Having a well-thought sales funnel process in place is key. If you are just driving your users to your blog without any process behind, you basically will have no way to get any economic outcomes and, therefore, no way to get any ROI on your content. After promoting your content, you want your users to convert, and in order to do that, you need a clear path to generate revenue from those users
- Topic Attribution. Identifying the topics that generate the biggest conversions or that are the most popular among your audience will help to optimize your content ROI. In order to be able to do this, setting up content grouping in Google Analytics will open a new door of insights about the topics that you should keep focusing on.
Content marketing, if well executed, can make a significant positive impact for a comparatively low investment. The key is to see content as an investment in long-life assets and not as a disposable expense. Remember that content marketing can be a great marketing tool as long as you are able to keep a positive return on investment and as long as your B2B company can benefit from it. If you are ready to start maximizing your content ROI, don’t forget to drop us a line. Our team will create a personalized, goal-oriented content marketing campaign strategy for your brand when we meet.