Everything you do in business must have a measurable ROI—and this is particularly true when it comes to any and all forms of online or offline marketing. When it comes to online marketing, the written and visual content you place (or pay to have placed) must be tested and measured to ensure it is successful.
In most cases, the longevity of a particular method of online marketing, changes far more rapidly than methods of marketing in the offline world. If you utilize content marketing for your marketing, the performance measurements below are the best way to determine the success of each campaign—or individual piece of content.
Begin By Setting The Goals For Your Campaign
When it comes to marketing, some of your content will be geared towards conversions (for example your landing pages), but some will be geared more towards building your online brand awareness (for example your social media platforms.) It is for this reason that you must first identify what key factors of measurement are most valuable to you.
For example, a social media post that generates 2,000 “likes” and 300 “shares” is challenging to measure the number of conversions that it generates—but you can certainly measure your ROI when it comes to customer engagement.
The most popular factors to consider when it comes to marketing performance measurement are:
- Brand Awareness
- Lead Generation
- Customer Acquisition
- Thought Leadership
- Customer Retention/Loyalty
- Website Traffic
- Lead Management/Nurturing
- Repeat Clients and/or Website Visitors
What is important to keep in mind, is that each piece of content needs to have a measurable ROI—but that each piece of content needs to be measured by more than one of the factors listed above.
As with the social media example provided above, at minimum Engagement, Brand Awareness, and Thought Leadership are achieved.
Now let’s take a closer look at the specific tools you can utilize to gauge your ROI.
Whether you built your own WordPress blog, or had your website built—you are sure to have access to your website’s daily, weekly, and monthly analytics. Just as when reading your PNL, begin by looking at the overall increase or decrease of traffic—then delve into a bit more detail. Pay particular attention to:
- What is the increase or decrease in traffic from week to week, month to month, and year to year?
- What days of the week generate the most traffic?
- What time of day is your highest amount of traffic?
- What country does most of your traffic come from?
- How many new and repeat visitors are you gaining?
- How many of your visitors are from mobile devices, and how many are from desktop devices?
- What are your most popular pages?
- What are your least popular pages?
- What is the average time spent per page and/or per session?
The bullet points above will help you to improve your current content and marketing strategy, by identifying what is working well—and where your areas of opportunity are.
Performance of Inbound Links
It is likely that most of your online content contains a link to your sales site, so you must pay particular attention to where your inbound traffic is coming from. If you outsource the placement of your online content, it is essential to identify what type of analytics you will receive from the marketing professional placing your content. Most will provide you with a weekly or monthly report. This is essential for determining the quality of your leads, and your conversion rate.
Your website’s analytics tools will provide you with inbound link information, but you must also ensure that your other content (such as your landing pages) provides similar information. Some analytics tools are so advanced that they can highlight not only where the inbound link came from, but the visitors next several clicks within your website.
Without the ability to determine where your traffic is coming from, you cannot accurately gauge the ROI of your content. If a company you outsource cannot provide this for you—they may not be the best investment of your time or money.
Social Media Analytics
Every social media platform will provide you with some sort of analytics. Since you may not be able to gauge the number of leads, or conversions that you generate from social media—you can certainly measure other factors of your ROI. Pay close attention to:
- Overall weekly traffic
- Most popular posts
- How many new friends, followers, or connections you generate
- How many likes, shares, and comments you generate
As the traffic to your website or content begins to increase, so should your page rank. As your page rank continues to improve, so will your organic traffic, and sales. Pay particular attention to your overall website page rank, and to that of your individual web pages, blog posts, or outside content.
For example, you could have a blog post or outside content that ranks on page 1 of Google, while your overall website page rank is a 3.
Modern technology brings with it the ability to participate in cross-platform marketing.
For example, someone could hear a commercial for your business on the radio—then call you directly on the phone. Or someone could receive a direct mailer, which prompts them to email you.
With today’s numerous communication methods, it is essential to ask your clients where they heard about you—and to track those statistics in house.
The power of referrals is never ever to be underestimated—particularly when it comes to marketing. To ensure that you are making yourself easy to refer to electronically, ensure that your content is easy to share. This is as simple as providing your phone number, email address, and “click to share” buttons to your online content.
The Bottom Line Dollar
If your sales are on the rise, you are sure to be doing something right! That being said, if you are taking a wild guess as to what that is—then you are in a vulnerable position. By identifying what is working right now, you can continue to improve upon your current marketing strategy—and to transfer more of your marketing time and energy into testing new methods of marketing.
Once you have determined the marketing performance measurements for your individual efforts, you want to take a look at your online ROI as a whole. Avinash Kaushik of Google recommends that your traffic to your website or sales page should look something like:
- Search Traffic 40 – 50%
- Referral Traffic 20%
- Direct Traffic 20%
- Online Marketing Campaigns 10%
Even if all of your content and placement is outsourced, the marketing performance measurements above are something that you must keep a close eye one.
Photo courtesy of Theen Moy via Flickr.