Everybody it seems is doing Content Marketing nowadays. Or at least thinking about doing Content Marketing. Whether it is through one of their social channels, or via their owned properties like their website. Content Marketing is 🔥
As a Content Marketer, though, it’s simply not enough to simply do research, write, publish, and then repeat the circle again. You must measure the impact that your Content Marketing is having on your business. This holds true when you’re just starting with your Content Marketing or just periodically. You need to ask yourself three important questions:
- What is the desired or anticipated outcome?
- What data can and will be collected?
- What are the indicators of failure or success?
Making sure that your content marketing is creating your desired outcome, you started with the right Content Marketing Strategy. Part of this strategy, however, is to come up goals for your and your company. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to figure out the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for your business and what you need to measure to see if you’re on the right track.
Content marketing goals are most of the times individual goals for you and your business. And the goals are therefore highly influenced by the size of your business, the available people on your team and resources available to them, experiments run on the past and their outcomes, and lots of more factors that can vary from business to business.
This does not mean, however, that there is no best approach to determine your specific goals and help create the right KPI’s for them. Let’s have a look on how to do this for your business as part of your Content Marketing Strategy.
What is it that you want to achieve?
Before we can start, though, we first have to think to ourselves “what is the reason the reason that we are creating content”. After all, creating content just for the sake of content creation is not going to help you. You need to understand what the problem is that you’re trying to solve with your business for your customers and start creating content around that.
Content without any goals isn’t going to get you anywhere as well. So keeping these two in mind, what type of problem are you solving for your customers and what is the goal you want to get out of it, you can quickly come up with some goals to focus on:
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Increase your brand awareness
- Generate leads or sales
- Converting more leads into customers
- Improving retention and driving upset
Each of the above goals, though, comes with a different approach to your content marketing strategy. A different target audience to focus on, using different marketing channels and even different targeted messages towards these audiences. That is the reason, why you first need to figure out, what it is that you want to achieve with your content before you can decide how to reach those goals. Think of each of these goals as different parts of your entire content funnel.
#1 Drive more traffic to your website
Driving traffic to your site is for a lot of companies the starting point for content marketing. Because of course, the more visitors arriving on the top of your funnel, the higher the chances of getting up to more potential sales and leads. Without any visitors, who will convert?
Driving traffic to your website is most of the time, the first thing when people think of starting with content marketing. It is at the top of their funnel. For it to be more actionable, though, you need people to lead through the funnel and get something out of it.
The types of content that you can associate with this are:
- Social Media post that links to your site or blog
- External website that gives a backlink to your site
Creating content that can help trigger external sites or social media accounts to share your content, you need to ask yourself if you’re optimising your content to drive people to your website. Or even better, does it motivate them to share your content via social media or in content that they are creating themselves?
To be honest, though, the amount of page views your website has aren’t the best of metrics and are more Vanity Metrics (They might make you feel good, but they don’t offer clear guidance for what to do.). According to P.R. Agency Sword and the Script you should better focus on relationship metrics instead.
If you do want to concentrate on driving more traffic as the standard to measure your success, than in order of least important to more important these are the KPI’s you should focus on:
- Number of blog visits per month
- Total number of website visits per month
- Bounce rate per month
- Engaged time on site
- Percentage of returning readers
#2 Increasing your brand awareness
Brand awareness is all about people getting to know you and your organisation. As a result, it flows a bit naturally from driving more traffic to your website because you want to focus on content that will catch the attention of a lot of people. Content that catches the attention of a lot of people is mostly content that is highly relevant and exciting for them to start reading and engaging with.
Raising brand awareness for startups is hard, though, nobody heard of you yet, your website is potentially not even properly indexed in the major search engines yet, etc. The easiest way to raise brand awareness is then is trying not to focus on your website, but focusing on putting your content out there to the places where your customers already are. Branded content is what we’re looking for here.
Types of content to think of are:
- Slideshare decks about a particular topic within your industry
- Guest posting on another website that drives high traffic with your targeted audience
- Guest appearance on Podcasts
- Co-branded content (whitepapers, webinars, ebooks, etc.) that you create in partnership with a prominent organisation in your industry
- Funny video’s on YouTube (think Will It Blend)
By creating content on other platforms and creating content on the properties of other companies, always ask yourself:
- Is this other platform aligned with your business mission and values?
- Is the content you create on these other platforms aligned with the mission and values of your company
- Is your content noteworthy to draw attention in the potential sea of content that is available on these other platforms?
If you do this well, and you create content on important other properties how can you measure them and see if they are helping you with creating a bigger brand awareness? The easiest way to do this is by seeing the amount of social shares on these other properties, the likes, the dislikes and the number of views your content gets.
#3 Generate leads or sales
When you’re getting better and better at content marketing, your website visitors are increasing, and your brand gets better awareness, the next KPI is focused on converting those visitors into leads or sales. Creating lead generation content is an excellent way to do this.
Most of the time, lead generation content requires the visitor to exchange some piece of information to access the content. For these pieces of content, you create then create all individual landing pages.
It all start with creating great content, though, that you can put behind a “gate” or landing page and that is interesting enough for people that it warrants them to exchange some personal information for it.
Great content examples for this are:
- content upgrades of your existing content (think of downloading the article as an e-book, or access to the to-do list to help people achieve the same goal
- tools and resources (great article called around this called Side Product Marketing is the New King)
- Make excellent posts downloadable in exchange for an email
Don’t just put something on a landing page and think people will leave their email address and become a lead. Always ask yourself if the gated content you’re creating is interesting enough for individuals and will it create enough value for them to provide their personal information in exchange for it. Next to that, there is a lot of opportunity by digging deeper into your existing content, so think to yourself how you can provide and communicate more value for each content piece to increase conversions out of a “simple” post.
To measure this step of your funnel, all you need to look into is the landing page conversion rates. How many leads generated each piece of content?
#4 Converting more leads into customers
In the previous step, we focused on getting leads from the people visiting your website, maybe you’ve already created some sales straight from that process, good job! A lot of times, though, people won’t be converted that easy into paying customers, they need to be nurtured and educated a bit more first.
In this part of the sales funnel, you need to focus educating your leads about your company, about your product, about your services, etc. Anything that makes them understand you and your product or services better so you can start generating revenue from the leads in your database.
What types of content can you create to help people get to know you better, and even more important start to convince them to start being a customer? Things like:
- Case studies
- Product demonstration videos
- Great visuals showcasing your product or services (ideal for retargeting of site as well)
- Infographics or charts showcasing why you are better than your competitors
Time to start creating the content that gives your sales team everything they need to win the hearts and souls of your leads and turn them into real money coming into your organisation. Don’t try to overdo it though; your content should not be pushing too hard to a sale, after all, we’re trying to educate our leads with valuable information and not scare them away.
Things to track to see if you’re making progress:
* the average time it takes for a lead to convert to a paying customer
* the conversion from lead to customer rate for each piece of content for this part of the funnel, this help you to identify which pieces are performing better and which pieces need some tweaking
#5 Improving retention and driving up-sell
Creating content for your target audience does not stop after the sale. Trying to delight your customers and keeping them informed and educated always pays off in the long run. Trying to turn your customers into brand ambassadors is the final step in your content marketing funnel. After all, happy customers will start sharing your content more; they will start recommending you to their friends, and as a direct goal for your company, it will be easier to drive loyalty and potentially up-sell to them.
Try to focus on creating content that keeps on delighting your customers with relevant, valuable content that educates them and keeps them informed.
Content that works great is:
- email newsletters, keeping them informed about interesting facts and “hacks” for their industry or business
- a specific customer blog with the latest news next to your newsletter
- a dedicated Slack community for you and your clients
- Free, and exclusive ebooks or webinars for your customers
- Exclusive deals, or early access to upcoming deals
All of these types of content is there to make your customer feel special, do you go above and beyond to give them what they need? Next to that it keeps your customers well-informed about product updates, company news, etc.
It might seem like a lot of work but never forgot:
Measurement of success in this stage is easy, retention rate (or churn), revenue from up-sell, and percentage of repeat customers are great ways to start.
That’s it! We’ve now gone through the five stages of the sales funnel, and we mapped out all different content for each stage of the funnel. Now you’ve got a broad idea on what you can do and how you can track it, it’s time to sit down for your company to map out your strategy, your needed content and ways to track it. Never forgot to add KPI’s to all the specific goals, though, this way you can track your progress and learn and adapt from there.
What types of KPI’s are you setting for your business? And how are you tracking them? Leave a comment below to help and inspire others!