By In Open Sky Copywriting

End Your Struggle to Track the ROI of Content Marketing Once-and-for-all

Only 21% of B2B companies are effectively tracking the ROI of their content marketing campaigns. Many (84%) cite “Brand Awareness” as the goal for their content marketing, but they are also struggling to measure the effectiveness of their content. Can you identify?

These stats come from Content Marketing Institute’s  “2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America” report.

It’s great when you see increasing website traffic, more Google impressions, and climbing social reach, but how does all that popularity translate into ROI? How frustrating is it when your branded content is re-tweeted 100 times, but you barely see any click through? Have you ever started a discussion in LinkedIn with a killer blog post, get 30+ comments, and the resulting inquiries or connections turn out to be all promise and no follow-though?

Maybe you need more content, or maybe you need a better variety of content. This is about the point you feel like you’re in a rat race.

The problem isn’t in the content. The content is doing it’s job; generating awareness (re-tweets, comments, impressions, etc.). But now you’re trying to track it’s ROI and that’s proving to be a little harder.

Brand awareness is a good goal, but it’s also a vague goal. How do you measure the number of people discovering your brand? 63% of B2B companies use website traffic as their go-to metric. But what comes after website traffic? Are you measuring those next steps?

Below we’ll look at a strategic approach to brand awareness that will make it a lot easier to measure ROI. And we’ll look at the most effective content marketing tactics that have flown under the radar until now. It’s time to give your executives a reason to pay attention and pay-up at your next budget meeting.

Have the End in Mind When You Design the Beginning

2015-B2B-Content Marketing-goalss

“Lead Generation” and “Engagement” were the other top two content marketing goals that followed closely after brand awareness. Those are more action oriented and will get your prospects headed in the right direction.

Brand awareness supports all of your business goals and is at the foundation of any marketing initiative. However, it has to lead to something more concrete. Hard metrics such as sales, leads, inquiries, quotes, and sign-ups are all conversions that can be measured exactly.

Brand awareness is measured with soft metrics like impressions, reach, or visits. Although they are important measurements, they don’t directly impact your business. They aren’t action oriented. Visits might be a little more behavioural than the rest, but it’s still fairly vague. Visits don’t directly benefit your business unless they are converting to a harder metric, such as a sign-up or a sale.

A good content marketing strategy will include brand awareness, but will also have a solid objective in mind. When you pick a hard metric as your objective, it will be easier to measure your ROI. Hold that metric as your end game. Then work towards that goal from your brand awareness campaign.

Example:

  • Objective: Sales for scheduling software.
  • Brand awareness: An illustrated video spread through social media, vividly depicting the frustration of a messy schedule.
  • Place the video on top of a content landing page with links to blog posts about scheduling headaches and their solutions. This way everyone who clicks to view the video has instant access to deeper information.
  • From the landing page or blog posts, offer an eNewsletter focused on real life business case studies.
  • At the end of the eNewsletter series, offer an exclusive deal to subscribers and link them to a sales page for the scheduling software.

Each step of the campaign is defined by action. Always be selling!

In the beginning you are selling content that engages the readers problem — the buy-in is a click. The moment anyone clicks to view your video, they become your customer. They have bought into your brand and believe that what you offer is worth a little bit of their time. That’s a big step.

Next you’re selling your expertise through the blog posts and offering real life examples through the eNewsletter that they can sign-up for. Your customer’s interactions are easier to measure because they are taking specific action. You know what content pieces attracted them, which content kept them engaged, and what eventually led to the sale.

Because you have a solid objective in place, you can effectively measure the ROI of your brand awareness campaign. To capitalize on your popularity, give customers a destination.

Customers Enjoy These Interactive Forms of Content Most

Here is what you can share and promote in your content marketing strategy. As you’ll see in the charts below, the most effective content marketing tactics are interactive. Yet they aren’t the most used tactics. It’s easy to use the less expensive content, but you will see a greater return from the interactive content.

2015-B2B-Top-Content-Marketing-Tactics

Most Used Content Marketing Tactics.

2015-B2B-most-effective-Content-Marketing-tactics

Most EFFECTIVE Content Marketing Tactics.

 

Now that you have an idea of what to promote, let’s have a look at the most effective promotion channels.

Effective Promotion Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

The 1,572 content marketers that responded to CMI’s survey indicated LinkedIn as the most effective way to promote your content for free. However, if you want to spread the word about your brand quickly, it’s worth investing in paid advertising. What I love about this next chart is what it means for your marketing budget.

2015-B2B-paid-ad-effectiveness

Search Engine Marketing, Promoted Posts, and Social Ads are all the most cost effective forms of promotion. You can pay as little or as much as you want. You don’t have to buy ad space for $3,000 per month or per print issue (such is the case with traditional advertising).

You can spend $100 to boost a Facebook post, you can set a monthly budget of $500 on LinkedIn’s ad network, Google Adwords, or Bing Ads. Plus, these promo methods are extremely targeted, meeting the people that reach out for the answers you provide. Happy customers are created when people find the answers they are looking for.

If you’re willing to financially invest in your brand awareness campaign, then look to SEM, Promoted Posts, and Social Ads for the most effective use of your money.

Conclusion

The ROI of a brand awareness campaign is definitely traceable. Start developing your content marketing strategy by defining a solid objective  — a metric that is action oriented. That way you know how customers have interacted with your content from discovery to loyalty. You can trace each interaction to the first moment they found your brand.

Use interactive content as much as you can afford. Promote that content in search ads, social ads, and promoted posts to reach highly targeted audiences for a lot less than traditional advertising.

Content marketing is excellent for brand awareness, but you can also use it to interact with customers, land the sale, and keep their relationship with you fun and profitable, long after they’ve given you money.

Have you had any headaches with brand awareness campaigns? Or how has content marketing helped your company?

Tell us your story in the comments below. And share this post! Let’s see who else has found success or stress in content marketing.

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