Are you publishing content, but unsure how to measure success?
It’s easy to get lost in a sea of data when it comes to content marketing.
If you’re tracking everything from page views and time on page, to comments, likes, and shares, you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed and begin to wonder if publishing content is worth the effort.
Your best bet for effectively measuring the impact and results of your content marketing is to focus on these 5 metrics:
1. FIRST POINT OF CONTACT
Firstly, building an email list should be your number one priority if you want to track how visitors become customers. Managing your contacts and analysing subscriber activity will allow you to identify how, why, and when prospects decide to buy.
To capture leads, you need to offer gifts such as free guides, checklists, reports, and white papers. You can also use contact forms, converting people to subscribers by offering free assessments, consultations, or quotes.
Therefore, one of the most important metrics you should measure is the First Point of Contact. The First Point of Contact is the specific URL that your new subscriber opts-in from.
For example, let’s say you’re a Financial Advisor, and you write an article titled “5 Tips for Doctors Who Want To Get The Best Home Loan Deal”. Anyone that opts-in from this page should have this article attributed to their First Point of Contact.
Similarly, you might offer a free content download, such as a “Home Loan Preparation Checklist.” Again, new subscribers who download this checklist will have it attributed to their first point of contact.
Keeping track of this metric will help you determine which content is converting readers to leads. It will also help you understand exactly what your subscriber is interested in, allowing you to offer a more relevant and personalised experience.
In the first example above, it is highly likely that the new subscriber is a Doctor, so you can tailor your message to speak directly to the problems, challenges, and goals that a Doctor might be facing.
2. SOURCE OF DISCOVERY
Another important metric that you need to track is the Source of Discovery. Source of Discovery is a measurement of how the website visitor found your site.
We’ll talk more about how to track this later, but first, it’s important to understand why we need to measure this. Tracking the source of your website visitors helps you to determine which social and advertising channels are driving traffic to your website, and which clicks convert to new subscribers.
For example, you might discover that a lot of your traffic is coming from your Facebook Posts. You might then dig a little deeper and see that videos on Facebook are producing a lot of traffic. You can then use this knowledge to increase the number of videos you publish on Facebook.
Perhaps you notice while a lot of traffic is coming from Facebook, not a great deal of those visitors are converting into subscribers or customers. However, you might see that a large percentage of people who find who through Google Search become subscribers, which would suggest you should put more time into ranking higher on Google.
The insights will vary from business to business, and what works for one person may not work for you. The only way to gain relevant, valuable data is to publish content and track your results.
3. PROFILE BUILDING
How many pieces of content do you think a visitor or subscriber needs to consume before engaging with your business?
According to the Demand Gen Report, 2016, 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
This goes back to the adage of ‘trying to marry someone on the first date.’ A mistake that a lot of people make is trying to close a new subscriber immediately. You wouldn’t propose on the first date, and digital marketing is the same. Subscribers usually need to consume at least three pieces of content before they even consider engaging with your business.
Therefore, we need to keep track of what content each subscriber is consuming, so we can begin to promote unseen content, manage relationships more effectively, and analyse buying behaviour.
By tracking each subscriber’s consumption metrics, you will start to notice patterns. For example, there might be three pieces of content that are always consumed before a subscriber engages with you or makes a purchase.
You can use this knowledge to refine your email marketing campaigns, and you can improve your sales conversations by building the content that converts into the sales process.
There are plenty of awesome tools (see below) that you can use to measure this, and the data is incredibly valuable.
4. TRAFFIC & SUBSCRIBER GROWTH
Traffic and Subscriber Growth is also an important metric, as this is going to help you determine how often you should be publishing content.
For example, you might notice that your traffic and subscribers increase by 3X when you publish content twice a week, as opposed to once a week. You can then calculate the value of a subscriber and determine whether it’s worth it for your business to publish content twice a week.
Keeping track of your traffic and subscriber numbers relative to the frequency and type of content you publish is essential for refining and improving your content marketing strategy. It will also help you identify which types of content are resonating with your audience, allowing you to refine and optimise your publishing strategy.
You need to justify your investment in creating content with sales, so tracking how your content converts to a dollar value is essential.
However, it’s also important to focus on how you measure sales and attribute the result of a sale to specific content – that way, you can start to track the ROI from each piece of content.
Let’s say a subscriber converts to a paying customer, and makes a $1000 purchase. You should then revisit the subscriber’s profile and attribute a dollar value to each piece of content they have consumed. Additionally, you should also attribute a value to the First Point of Contact.
Here are a few important points about measuring sales and content together:
1. Content is compounding – this means that the ROI from a single piece of content will INCREASE over time. This is why timeless content is so valuable.
2. Not every piece of content will be a winner – some of your content won’t attract any subscribers or sales, and may even fall flat when it comes to traffic and engagement. It’s important to keep in mind that a) your best performing content will easily make up for the duds, and b) each piece of content helps you learn more about what works and what doesn’t.
3. Don’t expect quick, immediate results – producing content is a long game, and most people need more than a few weeks or months getting to know you and your company before marketing a purchase. So don’t worry if the sales and subscribers start off slow – keep producing content, and soon enough the wheel will turn.
Okay, so we’ve established the key metrics that will determine the effectiveness of your content marketing.
But how do we keep track of everything?
These four tools are all super handy, so if you’re not using them already, make sure you check them out.
1. GOOGLE ANALYTICS
This one’s pretty obvious. No doubt most people have heard of Google Analytics and probably use it as a default. Google Analytics is going to help you keep track of page visits and traffic sources, so it’s a great one for keeping track of First Point of Contact and Source of Discovery.
2. BITLY OR GOOGLE URL SHORTENER
Creating unique URLs for each platform and piece of content will give you an additional source of data that will enable you to track clicks and views easily. This will give you some handy data regarding Source of Discovery.
Google’s Campaign URL Builder is also a more advanced tool you can use to track custom campaigns in Google Analytics.
3. CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM) SOFTWARE
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software such as HubSpot, Infusionsoft, and Salesforce, is an essential part of digital marketing today. These all-in-one sales, email marketing, and customer management platforms will help you keep track of all the important metrics discussed above. They are also equipped to help you build some powerful Subscriber Profiles that show you exactly what content and web pages your leads have consumed.
You can connect all these tools with Google Sheets, which will enable you to store and collate all your data in one place. They do come at a cost, so if you’re looking for a more affordable solution, consider using HubSpot’s free features and pairing that with Email Marketing Software (see below).
4. EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDER (ESP) SOFTWARE
An Email Service Provider (ESP) is a type of software that allows you to manage your email marketing strategy. Software like Active Campaign and Drip are incredibly powerful and can be used to build customers profiles and track subscriber activity.
Converting a website visitor to an email subscriber is the first step towards profile building, so building an email list should be your number one priority. Active Campaign and Drip allow you to build automated workflows that will deliver specific content to subscribers based on their Source of Discovery and their First Point of Contact.
Tracking how each contact becomes a subscriber and what content they opted-in for will allow you to deliver personalised, relevant content that will increase your chances of becoming a valuable source of information. From there, you can continue to nurture your contacts until they either become customers or decide you’re not the best fit.
Active Campaign & Drip subscriptions start off at very affordable prices and will provide a huge return on investment when used effectively. They also allow you to build custom forms that you can publish on your website, making it easy to automate your opt-in process.
If you have any questions about content marketing or measuring the results of your marketing strategy, then feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll help you out.