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January 4, 2018 (Updated: March 2, 2020)
Your content marketing return on investment (ROI) is the critical number that clues you in to how efficiently your campaigns are performing. Are you getting high returns on a minimal investment or are you pouring funds into a campaign that’s yielded barely appreciable results? Digital Dragon cited measuring ROI as the second-biggest problem facing marketers in 2017. Use these tips to measure your ROI more efficiently and improve the results you’re getting.
Develop Clear Audience Personas
Image via Flickr by Bethany Ann Khan
One of the most important tools you have at your disposal when you’re crafting great content is your collection of audience profiles. Whom are you marketing to, and how do they shop? Are you crafting content for a single mom who connects with companies primarily through Facebook? Are you writing for an experienced DIYer who’s best swayed with compelling craft projects? Define the gender, marital status, living situation, household income, occupation, hobbies, and personality qualities of your targeted audience.
No brand can expect to appeal to everyone. Generating a handful of personas will help you develop corresponding marketing campaigns that are uniquely suited to the people most likely to buy your products or services. You may catch the occasional outlier, but keeping your focus on the right shoppers will improve your ROI by helping you create properly focused content.
Define the Customer Path
Carefully map out your customer’s path from first contact to final purchase. This isn’t necessarily going to be as straightforward as you’d like. It may involve some bouncing from your emails to your social media accounts before landing back at your web page. You need to think through every touchpoint and optimize these as best you can to keep the consumer moving forward on their journey toward making a final purchase.
Consider the path of the hotel shopper who may go from Google to a hotel review site to a profile for your bed and breakfast. From there, he or she may pop over to Facebook to check reviews from a different source before making it to your web page. They may alternately book through a third-party site, though you’ll still enjoy the profits. The better you can map your shopper’s path, the more you can tailor your content to improve the final ROI of your efforts.
Track Content Cost and Usage
Do you know how much you’re really paying for your content? Are you aware of the percentage of created content that you’re actually using? Go through your content creation strategy with a fine-tooth comb and account for every item that you’ve created in-house or paid for from an outsourced content creation company.
Keep in mind that your content marketing ROI is skewed if you’re not accounting for content that was purchased but left unpublished. This is why it pays to have a clear strategy and solid publishing calendar. If you’re generating content haphazardly, you may end up with blogs that don’t seem to fit anywhere. These are a complete waste of your resources. When you calculate the cost of unused content in your overall ROI, it’s going to pull all your numbers down dramatically. Work to create a carefully focused content calendar with purposeful pieces that will fit neatly in your marketing efforts, so you’re using all of your generated content and never wasting funds on unnecessary pieces.
Repurpose Content Across Multiple Channels
Improving your ROI isn’t just about increasing conversions. It’s also about stretching your content as far as possible to ultimately decrease the price of each piece. Stretch your investment by actively repurposing as much content as you can. Use the information from an article to craft an infographic. Pull sections from an e-book for e-mail snippets. Turn smart blog quotes into tweets.
The more content you can ultimately generate from one well-written piece, the less you’re spending on your marketing strategy. Original content is important, but don’t keep your efforts so laser-focused on creating new pieces that you neglect to squeeze every last drop from those you’ve already created.
Know What to Look For
Most marketers are aware of the need to track ROI, but that still begs the common question of how to do it. What metrics are most valuable to you? What analytics will you use to gather this relevant information? You can use traffic as one method for measuring ROI, but this is far from the only number you should seek.
Consider how much search traffic is focused on your brand name. If you’re popping up often in customers’ Google search terms, your brand awareness is high. Dive deeper and see what they’re searching for. Are these customers perusing reviews on travel sites? Are they looking for that viral video you created? Measure how you rank for relevant search terms and compare this to a Google AdWords campaign to determine the value of your organic rankings for these key words and phrases. Measuring a diverse range of analytics can give you the well-rounded information you’re looking for.
Measure Influencer ROI Accurately
When it comes to influencer marketing, you need to be careful of how you measure the associated ROI or you’ll come back with a skewed picture. You don’t want to measure the overall reach of the influencers themselves. This doesn’t tell you how their content is converting for your brand. An influencer may have thousands of followers, but if your partnership isn’t targeted to the right audience, you may get little to no valuable traffic from those connections.
Track actual engagement and conversions that occur as a result of influencer content. See how many new visitors are driven by influencer links and whether this is associated with an increase in sales. Putting your link into a popular feed doesn’t offer any appreciable ROI if no one is clicking on it.
With the right strategies in place, you can calculate your ROI as efficiently as possible and get the information you need to accurately determine the cost of those conversions. With these details in hand, you can begin optimizing your content creation strategy so you’re getting better results with a smaller investment in each campaign.