Your boss cares about the bottom line. Although you know content marketing works, you still need hard numbers to prove your efforts are paying off. But it's challenging to measure content marketing ROI. After all, it can take months for search engines and customers to find your content. Customers can engage with your content at any point in the customer journey, not just the attribute model that you are using! That's why it's hard to estimate the profitability of content.
If you want to protect your content marketing budget, you'll need to plead your case to the boss. To do this successfully, you have to show how content marketing brings sustainable, long-term sales. Qualitative gains, like industry authority, are also great, but your boss needs to hear the facts and figures first. Use these tips to demonstrate content marketing ROI to your higher-ups to score a better budget.
Investing in Content
Want to invest in content? Great! The bad news is that the first words out of your boss's mouth will probably be, "How much does it cost?" And don't say "nothing," because content does come with a cost. Request a reasonable budget, including considerations like:
- Employee time
- Third parties
- Promotional costs
You can't calculate ROI until you know how much effort you've put into something. By setting a budget, you can calculate ROI more accurately down the road.
Content is King
You need to demonstrate how important content marketing is for the business. That means you've got to get results. You can measure your content's performance in three ways.
How much traffic does content bring to your site? If you had a few more resources (like time or money), could you get even more traffic? Measure and project these numbers to give your boss an idea of how content affects web traffic.
Don't overlook the cost and quality of your traffic, too. For example, organic visits from search engines might be more valuable than, say, social media. Based on traffic figures, you might find that one traffic source performs better.
Even if you're new to content marketing, rely on traffic figures to tell you how you're doing. This will help you write better content over time.
As much as we love traffic, leads are even better. Leads are a marketer's bread and butter. You want a healthy, sustainable pipeline full of qualified leads to grow your business (and keep your boss happy).
Does your content create engaged leads? How do your leads become customers? How can your content help them get there?
Tie your leads back to traffic, too. How much traffic do you need to generate, on average, to get a sales-qualified lead? Based on that traffic number, how much content do you need to write to get that amount of traffic?
Every marketer wants to get sales. But sales isn't a linear journey anymore. You could pump a lot of resources into content marketing, get results, and not even know it.
That's why it's critical for content marketers to measure their prospects through every stage of the buyer's journey. Use a robust analytics platform like HubSpot or a heavily-customized version of Google Analytics.
The Business Value Of Content Marketing
Regardless of the metrics you track, you have to communicate the business value of your content marketing. Here are a few ways to define your content marketing value.
The Value of a Conversion
Maybe your analytics platform already tells you the value of a conversion. That's great! Apply that value to your on-site metrics. This way, you can learn the dollar value of each blog, traffic source, and audience segment.
If you don't already have a value on conversions, now's the time to crunch the numbers. You want this in hand when it's time to pitch a content marketing strategy to your boss.
Average Sale Per Visitor
How many visitors does it take to generate a sale? Break down the figures. If you can prove that content marketing gets traffic, that the traffic converts, and those conversions lead to sales, you've got a home run.
Bonus points if you can calculate the lifetime value (LTV) of each customer, too.
Benchmarking Content Marketing Leads
Are you investing in paid search? This will help you get an idea of the cost to acquire a lead through content marketing. Use paid ad data as a concrete starting point to build out your content marketing budget. You'll have to make some guesstimations here, but ultimately, your goal is to estimate customer acquisition costs and the total size of your audience.
The bottom line
You need buy-in from company leadership to do content marketing right. This is no small task, but if you're a scrappy, forward-thinking marketer, you can do it. The clock is ticking—follow these tips to demonstrate your content marketing ROI while you have time on your side,
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