Is it possible to track ROI of content marketing and win customers at the same time?

Yes, it is possible; when marketers use the correct approach for tracking ROI. This blog post will outline the approach to guide them in creating compelling and effective content, and turn audiences into customers. 

According to the report of the ALF Business Development, about 43% of brands have been monitoring the return on investment (ROI) of their content marketing. 62% of those surveyed said they find web traffic as the most reliable metric to track the performance of their content marketing. Nevertheless, these brands state that they still find it difficult to attract audiences, and convert them into customers.

What seems to be the problem? It would make sense that if they are tracking their content marketing ROI, they should have determined what part of their strategy works and what does not, to ensure it is effective.

Maybe there is something lacking in the way that these brands measure their ROI. It is important to address this now since the ALF report found that 80% of marketers plan to invest in content marketing in the coming year. To ensure a worthy investment, it is crucial for us to know the proper way to track ROI, to be able to implement an effective strategy.

So, what’s wrong?

The problem may lie in how brands approach content marketing. Since content marketing is a fairly new way to reach out to customers, marketers often fall into the trap of thinking it is similar to advertising or traditional marketing. Unfortunately, it is vastly different from these two. With this mindset, however, marketers tend to see content from a ROI perspective. Their purpose of creating content would be to directly increase sales, which would undermine the intention of the material itself. The content would look like an advertisement or a promotional pitch, which your audiences are used to tuning out.

Consequently, having this understanding of content marketing leads brands to become obsessed about metrics that fail to provide them a complete assessment of their strategy. If you are only aiming to use your content to build buzz for your product or your service, you are putting limits on its potential to build a relationship with your audience. For instance, most marketers rely on website traffic to track their content marketing. The increasing number of clicks, or visitors, may lead them to think that their strategy is doing well, but it is not turning audiences into customers. Of course, web traffic is important, but it should not be the only metric to measure the performance of your content.

To become effective in their content marketing, brands need to rethink how they understand content marketing, to be able to measure accurately its ROI. With advertising, you pitch your products or services directly to your audience. In content marketing, however, you provide your audiences with content that is helpful, or useful. You give them information that can solve their problem. Eventually, you gain their trust and their loyalty. And over time, they will be enticed to purchase products or services from you.

The goal of content marketing is essentially to build a relationship with your audience in order to win loyal customers to your business. This will help you ensure long-term profits, as compared to customers that only transact with your business sporadically. But, how do marketers measure the ROI of trust and customer loyalty? Though difficult to assess, there may be some metrics that can give you a glimpse about the sentiment of your consumers.

Some useful indicators for content marketing ROI

As mentioned earlier, relying solely on website traffic will not accurately measure the performance of content. Used with other metrics, however, it can give you a complete picture on how your content is engaging your audience. To measure the traffic on your site, you can use web analytics programs that monitor the number of visits, the average time spent on the site, downloads and bounce rate. You can also track how your visitors navigated different sections of your website. And then, observe how the traffic changes weekly, monthly and annually, to track the ROI of your content.

Another metric that is useful for measuring ROI is lead generation. For instance, you can gauge the interest of your audiences on your content by making your e-book available to those that are willing to fill up a contact form in exchange. They may have read blogs in your site and wanted to know more information. With lead-capture forms, you can see the extent of how much your audience likes your content that they are willing to share their contact details with you.

Aside from this, you can also assess the ROI of your content through the likes and shares it obtains in social media. These social media responses can add traffic to your website, and complement your work on customer relationship management and engagement. The number of shares may indicate the credibility of your material. Take note of the sentiments of your audience on social media, and use these to build a relationship with them.

You can also directly calculate the ROI of your content by measuring how it leads to actual sales. For instance, a how-to video may have led your audience to purchase your product. With a customer relationship management (CRM) system, you can track how your content led to a sales conversion. This should trace how your content caught the interest of your prospect and eventually encouraged them to make a purchase. Through sales conversion rates, you can determine how your content brought in actual revenue.

By understanding the real objective of content marketing, you can properly track the ROI of your strategy. See your content as a means to build a relationship with your audience. Provide helpful and useful information, and observe their feedback to measure ROI. By knowing what works and what doesn’t, you can improve your content marketing strategy and win loyal customers.


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