When you think of your B2B content marketing strategy, your focus is probably on content creation, not ROI. But more and more content marketers are in a crunch to produce measurable results to allay their executives’ financial concerns.
But showing ROI in content marketing isn’t always easy. Why do we say that? There are two distinct challenges that occur when determining ROI.
One challenge of a content marketing strategy is that it takes time to see results. It’s not like a marketing campaign where you pool your resources for a few months, see a quick uptake in sales and lead generation, and then it’s over. Content marketing is much more like a marathon — you may even fall behind in the beginning, but the secret is not to give up. This investment of time and resources over the long run will pay off.
The second challenge is that the nature of content marketing makes it inherently difficult to quantify. How do you connect the number of times people read your blog with the number of sales you made in a month? How do you measure your brand’s reputation?
And, ultimately, how do you convince your executives — such as your CMO or CFO — that this is a worthy investment?
And do you know yourself what return your achieving? Without that information, how do you improve your strategy? Being able to get an ROI for your content marketing is essential. Let’s look at some ways that you can do just that.
A Measurable Formula for the ROI of Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy
1. Quantify Your Investment
That’s right — let’s look at the “I” in ROI. How much do you spend on your content marketing? Whether you hire out for content or PR services, or pay certain employees or contractors to work on your content creation, determine the amount you’re spending. Got the number?
2. Find Your Conversion Value
How many on-site conversions do you get? Establish a value for each conversion — this can range from simple to complicated depending on your company, so take the time to calculate it.
If your company offers products, you might determine the average price a customer would spend on a product. Of course, the more complex your products or services, this formula might vary.
3. Calculate How Many People Convert to Customers From Your Content
Then figure out how many of these purchases are made as a result of your content. For example, the people directed from organic search results are a result of your SEO-optimized content; people who click from your content on social media have also been motivated by your content strategy.
Use Google Analytics or another analytics package to determine where your traffic is coming from; that should give you an idea of how many customers and prospects you have as a result of your content strategy.
Once this is all computed, you will know how many people converedt to customers as a result of your content creation. Multiply this number by your average sales (step 2), and you have an approximate value for what your content earned.
4. Other Factors On Your ROI
The amount of people directed to your site isn’t the only number that contributes to your ROI. Consider other things that add to your overall return.
- Brand Awareness – The more they see your content, the more people become aware of your brand, and come to trust it. Even if they don’t click at that moment, you’re becoming more visible and credible for when they are ready to buy.
- Customer Loyalty – The more helpful information you can provide your customers through your content, the more loyal and satisfied they will be.
- The Future – Always look ahead. Unlike a regular marketing campaign that just goes into the company archives, your content is evergreen. People will keep returning to it, so the pay-off over time can be quite large.
Now’s the fun part. Let’s dive into some innovative PR ideas that will pump up your ROI, and get you real results.
6 Ways to Beef Up Those ROI Numbers
Concentrate on What Works — Forget What Doesn’t
Einstein is credited with saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Let’s apply this to your content strategy. What content have you been investing in that isn’t working for your strategy?
Look at what programs you invested in that brought you little or no results. Perhaps you spend money to appear in search results, when you could work on ranking with SEO. Also, discover which content is not reaching your target audience. Once you’ve weeded out programs that aren’t contributing to your ROI, move those dollars to areas that will more effectively support your strategy.
The same goes for social networks. Eliminate social networks that aren’t working for your strategy, and focus on networks where your audience is, and where you get the most engagement.
2. Tap Into the Fear of Missing Out
We all have it — that fear that we’ll miss out on a great opportunity. Why not motivate your executives with fear of being left behind their peers — or worse, their competitors.
For example, if you ignore the opportunity to enhance your content with SEO, you could miss out on that coveted first place on the search results page. If you don’t produce educational content for your audience, they will likely turn to your competitors to answer their questions, and gain their trust.
3. Determine Your Audience
Use an analytics tool such as Google Keyword Planner to see how many people search for your industry’s key terms on Google. That’s your audience. This is not people that search for your brand — those already know you. Narrow it down to people who are sniffing around for information in your industry. They are the audience you want to attract.
Then use your website’s analytics to learn how many people visit your site from unbranded searches. Once you have this, subtract it from the total number of people searching industry terms — there you have your potential audience. This presents a golden opportunity to gear your content towards people searching for these terms. The more people you can reach this way, the more it will boost your ROI.
4. Target Your Audience with Niche Keywords
Focus on ranking for low competition and low volume keywords that are specific to your industry. You’ll rank faster — meaning less investment — and you’ll attract a more targeted audience. It may result in fewer people, but those people are more serious about buying. In turn, you’ll get a faster ROI.
5. Use Gated Content
Your blog is an educational resource for people who are still “looking around.” Gated content that goes deeper than your blog, can help you see who is ready for the next step. Once they’ve given you their information, they’ve become a lead — and a valuable part of your ROI.
6. Maximize Every Piece of Content
Get the most out of the work you put into your content. Promote it across your social media channels and in your newsletter. Choose your truly outstanding content to syndicate to other high-authority publications.
Once it’s been around the block, you can always go back and reimagine it into something even better. In short, get every last drop of return you can from it.
A Few Points to Remember…
- Despite the challenges, you can put a value on the investment in a B2B content marketing strategy.
- Analyze your strategy, and eliminate what doesn’t work.
- Show your executives what they would lose without a content strategy.
- Create content with niche keywords to interest readers who are more likely become customers.
So there you have it. While crunching numbers and proving your content’s worth isn’t exactly fun, it is possible and beneficial. You’ll learn how you can improve on your B2B content marketing strategy with new and innovative PR ideas on how to reach your marketing goals. What are you doing to improve the ROI of your content marketing? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.