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According to a Fat Joe’s infographic Stats to Convince Your Boss to Invest in Content Marketing, marketers are spending a quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing. In fact, companies with fewer than 10 employees dedicate 42% to content marketing because they realize how content can help them generate more leads, index more pages and links, and increase the number of unique visitors. Despite the growing enthusiasm for content marketing, the Content Marketing Institute reports that only 38% of the B2B marketers it surveyed in 2014 believed that their efforts were worthwhile. This is a significant drop from last year’s 42%; but what caused it?
The answer is simply the lack of defined marketing objectives.
As part of a marketing plan, marketing objectives provide a way for measuring progress. They represent goals for improving your business’ outreach, motivating marketers and ensuring them that new clients will be within reach once the brand grows further to accommodate them. As a result, brands can increase their ROI, especially if they create specific objectives and test their efficiency from time to time. Once these objectives are made, you can start working on drafting your content strategy.
The Role of a Content Strategy
Not to be mistaken with content marketing strategy, content strategy is the analysis phase of a problem which determines how content can be improved on both the editorial and technical sides. It provides context so that the brand’s vision can be implemented to meet business goals and project objectives. To make this definition clearer, you should understand that it ISN’T engaging in activities which lead to deliverables. Rather, it’s the phase that comes before these activities, defining them to ensure success.
Unfortunately, according to Jeff Bullas’ 2015 post ‘What is the State of Content Marketing for 2015?’, 40% of marketers don’t have a defined content strategy, causing them to start marketing completely blind. If you’re part of this percentage, you should understand that a content strategy provides you with a way to outline your goals and ultimately measure ROI. It also allows you to detail the type of content you want to create depending on the part of the sales funnel targeted. As a result, the content you produce can go beyond increasing your reach to generating more leads and maximizing conversion rates.
KPIs: The Heart of Any Content Strategy
In the context of a content strategy, key performance indicators (KPIs) are goals that gauge success and help craft better campaigns. They focus on the bigger picture to maximize the efficiency of your content marketing campaigns. Therefore, they’re an integral part of your content strategy as well as an effective tool to measure the effectiveness and impact of your content.
Currently, brand awareness (84%), lead generation (83%), user engagement (81%), sales (75%), and lead nurturing (74%) are the top goals for content marketing according to the ’26 B2B Content Marketing: Facts and Statistics for the Year 2015’ Infographicsdesignspro.com. Therefore, consider the following three KPIs of each for your strategy.
Brand Awareness KPIs
- Unique Visits – This value is the standard measure of how many individuals viewed your content within a specific period of time (preferably 30 days).This KPI allows you to compare forms of content as well as trends over time. Keep in mind that all unique visits aren’t the same. For instance, a unique visit to your white paper could mean more than one to a blog.
- Geography – Knowing where your content is being read will help you allocate your future budget and resources according to where your audiences are. With tools like Google Analytics detailing geographic information, you should use this measure to optimize for geographical locations that are important for your business.
- Mobile Readership – According to We are Social, the number of unique mobile users has grown to 3.649 billion, of which 1.685 billion have active mobile social accounts. The International Smartphone Mobility Report further confirms the role of smartphones, highlighting that users spend 4.7 hours on activities aside from calls. Utilities such as search take up the lion’s share at 37% whereas browsing is 9%.Therefore, before you decide to target your mobile readership, find out about trends such as how many individuals use their mobile devices to access your content and which devices they use.
Lead Generation KPIs
- Lead Quality – When generating leads, you need to understand the difference between lead quality and lead quantity. You can easily get up to 10,000 leads for $1 per lead, but these won’t be worthwhile if they don’t convert into sales. This is why you need to add this KPI to your strategy and use scoring tools throughout the buyer’s journey.
- Cost Per Lead – While the quality of your leads should be a priority, you shouldn’t neglect the cost of each lead. This is because this KPI determines your market spend and calculates the volume of leads each tactic produces.
- Site Traffic to Lead Ratio – This KPI determines how well your website can convert traffic into leads. However, you may need to add the following to accurately calculate this ratio:
- Unique visits to your site
- Qualified leads from website conversion
- Conversions per site visits
- Conversion per source
User Engagement KPIs
- Bounce Rates or Time Spent – In order to engage your audience, you need to avoid losing them. A higher bounce rate indicates that your content isn’t very appealing, therefore unsuccessful in retaining your audience. So even if you have 15,000 unique views, this number would mean nothing if the average time spent on a 20-page document is 12 seconds.
- Heat Maps and Click Patterns – This indicator shows how your audience is engaging with your site and its content. As a result, you can determine what attracts it and optimize your content and design accordingly for a better user experience and higher engagement.
- Page Views – This is a basic marketing KPI that’s often overlooked. However, it can do wonders to your content strategy, especially when combined with unique views. If both are high, your content has successfully engaged your audience, ensuring their regular return for more content. Page views can also help you develop future content based on how far long your audience may have gotten.
- Sales Per Visit – This KPI measures the efficiency of your content marketing campaign, allowing you to scale it according to its success (or failure). As a result, you can determine the ROI of your current strategy.
- Conversion Rate – This indicator determines the percentage of users who took the desired action your campaign specified. If your current campaign aims to sell products, this KPI will be very helpful, especially for determining ROI.
- Time to Conversion – The Time to Conversion KPI measures the product’s performance and determines how long the sales cycle will last. This is equally important for determining the efficiency of your content as it is for ROI.
Lead Nurturing KPIs
- Unsubscribe Rates – This KPI measures how well you can maintain your subscribers’ interest over time. If your rates are above 1%, your content may be weak or you may be targeting the wrong audience. In both cases, this KPI can put you back on track and make your deliverables attractive to readers.
- Response Rates – Divided into open, click and conversion rates, this KPI represents the percentage of leads that performed a certain action. These rates provide insight in the quality of the content you produce. You can even compare these with industry rates to see how well you’re faring.
- Revenue Per Customer – Lead nurturing isn’t limited to increasing the number of your customers. With targeted, well-tailored content, it can help with cross selling items and upselling your more expensive options. Therefore, a highly engaged, well-informed lead will bring you the most revenue.
What Comes Next?
With the results of these KPIs, you can start documenting your results in the form of a monthly report. This will be an added task to your already overflowing agenda, but its benefits outweigh the hassle –
- Higher Interaction and Retention – KPIs allow you to measure how well your strategy has fared. Therefore, you can either increase the content which your prospects and existing clientele liked or tweak it further to ensure higher retention rates.
- Increased ROI – With more visitors turning into loyal readers and, later, paying customers, your ROI will increase. Since you’ve documented your progress, you can pinpoint what attributed to your success and repeat it month after month.
- Closed Loop Reporting between Marketing and Sales – Though they may speak a different language at times, sales and marketing should work together to help their company thrive. According to the Aberdeen Group, organizations where sales and marketing teams are aligned achieve 20% annual revenue growth. On the other hand, poor alignment reduces revenue by 4%. Sharing the KPIs and numbers you have gathered with sales will streamline things between both departments and even prompt the latter to provide you with their own reports and documentation to further improve your content strategy and marketing techniques.
So make 2015 the year you turn your marketing strategy around, starting from your content strategy. That way, you can further boost your inbound marketing techniques and ensure the success of your ventures ahead.