Measuring content marketing results is necessary if you’re going to invest any time and money in it. Building content is creating, curating, and distributing valuable and educational information and content marketing is delivering that information and being able to measure the awareness its created, the number of leads generated and the volume of closed business. After all, those are the things we really care about.
If you only measure the closed business, you don’t know where you lost your way in the process, so it’s important to have some other benchmarks in your evaluation process. There’s a tremendous amount of data that can be pulled, analyzed and monitored, however, it’s important to always thing about your audience and what they’re going to do with that data. The specific data that you deliver should change based on who’s reviewing the metrics.
Your executive team is going to want to look at different stats than a content creator or what we might call a ‘doer’. Below, you’ll find detailed information on the kinds of metrics the executives are interested in, and then you can find a follow-up session on some secondary indicators for the marketing team in a subsequent post.
Marketing Analytics for the C-Suite
While there are plenty of stats you can deliver, it’s important to recognize what’s actually important to senior executives. They are less likely to care about tweets and mentions because they want to know what’s translating to the bottom line. There are essentially four metrics that are important to this group:
1. Is the content driving leads? For example, how many qualified leads did your downloadable ebook generate? This is a very important metric for B2B marketing as downloadable white papers and ebooks are a primary source of lead generation. This is also a great way to evaluate the success of some of your strategic partner initiatives as well because sharing content like this across strategic partners can also be great for lead generation.
2. Is the content driving sales? Some content is specifically designed to deliver sales, so you want to be able to report that a certain email lead to X number of purchases or a that a certain video or video series is driving trials.
3. Is the content saving costs? Content marketing is used to build trust and credibility with prospects and with that, you want to be able to measure the impact it’s having on shortening the sales cycle. Research suggests that B2B buyers are approximately 57% of the way through the buying process before they even want to be contacted by a vendor, so that suggests that we are using content to do that research, rather than interface with a sales person or customer service. So we want to find out if what kind of impact the content is having on the sales cycle and use that information to adjust resources appropriately.
4. Is the content increasing customer satisfaction? Some content will be created to improve client retention and use for up-sell and cross-sell purposes. The idea here is to provide content that shows your users how to get the most out of your product and service to reinforce they made the right decision in buying from your organization. So providing insight into how the content is performing in this way is useful in measuring client satisfaction.
Whatever information you’re delivering to executives should answer these questions. If you need to include some stat counters to simply increase their confidence, that’s ok, keep an eye on developing more strategic metrics over time and really think about what each of the metrics you communicate means for the business. Recognize that these executives are more interested in what is translating to the bottom line.
Content marketing is about building awareness and getting prospects to take action. The only way to improve what you’re doing is to measure results. These are the stats that you’re executive team is going to want to understand, but you as a marketer, are going to want to know and monitor a whole lot more. Stay tuned for another post on the other metrics criteria marketers need to be monitoring and analyzing.