Content Marketing
3 Content Marketing ROI Areas Every Marketer Should Watch

3 Content Marketing ROI Areas Every Marketer Should Watch

July 29, 2020
4 min read

In an omnichannel world, drawing the line from specific content initiatives to dollars earned can be tricky. To know whether your content initiatives are working as intended, measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, and prove the value of your work to your leadership team, you’ll need to tackle the challenge of measuring your ROI.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Content to which you can’t directly assign a dollar value isn’t wasted.
  • Decide how you will qualify and score leads generated on the basis of content across multiple channels.
  • Sales from SEO happen in a big part due to content marketing.
  • Understand how content marketing helps in customer retention and increasing CLTV.

What Does Content Marketing ROI Include?

Don’t be fooled into thinking that pieces of content without direct dollar values are a waste of budget. Awareness content is essential to building a business, especially one that relies on online traffic for sales. You can’t convert leads that don’t exist.

Traffic alone does not pay the bills, though. Measuring content marketing effectiveness (and discovering the ROI beneath your campaigns) makes the difference between frustration and confidence when presenting on your progress. Beyond awareness, you also need to know the quality of leads your content produces, the ability of your company to turn those leads into sales, and whether your content inspires loyalty in your audience.

By comparing the performance of your content to corresponding revenue activities, you can pinpoint your content’s impact on your financial performance and use that information to find your content marketing ROI.

Calculating Content Marketing ROI

The formula to calculate ROI is deceptively simple. Take your revenues, divide your costs to produce and distribute, slap the resulting percentage in your slide deck, and show off at the next quarterly meeting.

Content marketers typically know much they spend, but understanding how much they help the company earn requires a bit more investigation. To get more accurate numbers for your content marketing ROI calculations, focus on these helpful metrics.

1. Percentage of Qualified Leads Closed

Mid-funnel campaigns separate general audiences into bystanders and actively interested prospects. What percentage of leads gained by your campaign qualify through your lead scoring process? 

Work with sales to evaluate your closing rates on content-qualified leads, then compare those numbers against your lead scoring system.

An absurdly high closing rate might look good on paper, but a near-perfect number could mean that you’re leaving out too many fringe candidates who might make good buyers. Low closing rates suggest you should either adjust your lead scoring criteria or evaluate the content bringing the leads to the sales team.

Take your closing rate as a percentage, multiply that by the number of leads generated by your campaign, and then multiply again by the average value of the lead, both in terms of immediate sales and in customer lifetime value. Divide those numbers by your costs, and you have one solid metric for content ROI.

2. SERP Improvement and Sales Collaboration

Part of content marketing focuses on helping pages rank for certain keywords. You can read dozens of books and thousands of articles on how to improve SEO with content, but for now, stick to what comes after SEO success: calculating the value of improving your presence on search engine results pages.

Start by establishing benchmarks for the rankings of the pages you want to boost and for the specific financial metrics you expect greater visibility to affect. For example, if you pour your resources into owning the biggest page on the web for brewing beer, retrieve the sales and traffic numbers for your company’s home brewing kits at the same time you start reviewing SEO data. Once you improve your old page or get a new one up and running, run regular reports to quantify the boost in sales your efforts achieved.

Bring in total sales numbers as well as sales generated directly from your content. If your two-year-old product page enjoys a 400% sales boost three months after your campaign, but you can only prove half those users visited your page, take partial credit for the general lift. You may not be able to track every movement of every user, but you can connect the dots.

3. Customer Engagement and Retention Rates

New customers cost big bucks to acquire. Existing customers cost far less. When you treat them well and attend to their needs, current customers continue to engage with your brand and provide recurring revenue.

customer retention

In fact, unified communications platform PingPilot did a survey with Forrester and found that 67% of people said valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good customer experience. Things like moving seamlessly between one customer service channel to another can do wonders for engagement and retention. Compare the differences between engaged customers and disengaged. Calculate the lifetime value, and take credit for the difference.

Don’t get too hung up on vanity metrics, such as views and likes on your social media posts. Those easy wins feel good, but they don’t necessarily translate to revenue. When calculating the ROI of your content marketing, stick to numbers you can definitively tie to income. Even though you’ve earned them, save your brags about likes for another time.

Your leadership team may appreciate your efforts and understand the vagueness with which content marketers must contend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t demonstrate your worth with hard numbers. Prove your content marketing ROI by tracking and showcasing metrics like these to wow your colleagues and get buy-in for your next big campaign.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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