Every marketer knows that having a well-performing content marketing strategy that actually demonstrates ROI is critical to figure out sooner rather than later. Most marketers also know that this is something that is definitely easier said than done, too. In order to figure out whether or not you’ve actually achieved a well-performing content marketing strategy that ROIs, you must know what metrics to look at (and what insights can be gleamed from them) during your analysis.
I’ve laid out some of the most important metrics for marketers to look at based on the goals that are typical of each stage of the inbound methodology and how they’ll help you judge your content marketing performance.
The first stage of the inbound methodology is “attract”. The goal of this stage is to, well, attract prospective leads to your website through your content and SEO strategy. To gauge whether or not your content is performing well and actually achieving its’ purpose of attracting prospective leads to you in this stage, you should look at the following metrics:
- Traffic & Page Rank – these two metrics are definitely intertwined and are good indicators of how your strategy is performing. Simply, are people able to find your content on search engines? The higher your content is ranking on search engines, the higher your traffic will be. Job done.
- Inbound Links – the more inbound links to your content that you get from authoritative websites, the more referral traffic you’ll receive and you’ll also get a good boost in your SEO rankings. The way to get inbound links? Create relevant and high-quality content! That’s why this is a good metric to indicate your content’s performance, too.
The next (and most involved) stage of the inbound methodology is “engage”. The goal of this stage is to get potential prospects who you’ve attracted to you to actually interact with you and eventually convert into a paying customer. To gauge whether or not your content is performing well in this stage and achieving your end goal, you should look at the following metrics:
- Time on Page – this metric is a good indicator of how relevant and interesting your content is. It indicates whether or not you can keep people on your website once you’ve attracted them. The longer they stay on your pages, the more engaged they are with your content and the more opportunity you have to get them to consume more content.
- Bounce Rates – similar to time on page, can you keep people on your website once you’ve attracted them? If your pages have high bounce rates, chances are your content isn’t relevant or interesting to the people finding it and you need to retool your strategy.
- Lead Generation – if you have content that is gated behind forms, are you getting people to download these pieces?
- Lead Quality – are the leads that are engaging with your content actually the leads you were hoping for? By gauging the amount of leads downloading content that meet the criteria of a qualified lead, you can determine the effectiveness of your content strategy. If you have pieces of content that are generating a high volume of leads but none of those leads are qualified, you’ll need to revisit your strategy.
- Conversion Rates – looking at the conversion rates from traffic to leads, leads to qualified leads, and qualified leads to customers can help you gauge how your content is performing and engaging people throughout the funnel. Where your conversion rates are lower, you’ll want to take a look and pinpoint where and how you need to refocus efforts.
- Sales/Revenue – can you actually attribute real sales or revenue from your content marketing efforts? This will help you determine effectiveness and ROI.
The final stage of the inbound methodology is “delight”. The goal of this stage is to keep your current customers happy and get them to refer and renew. And yes, content is needed for this stage as well, even though it seems to be among the most forgotten. Here are some of the metrics you can look at to gauge how your content is performing at this stage:
- Satisfaction – how satisfied are your customers? Depending on your product or service and how you have your system set up, this metric can be measured in many different ways. It can be as simple as a thumbs up or thumbs down, survey scores, average scores left on reviews, or an aggregation of several metrics. If your product or service has a learning curve or requires support to get the most out of it, creating knowledge base content can directly affect satisfaction. And the higher or lower your satisfaction scores are can give you a good indication of where you may (or may not) be falling short in your content strategy.
- Renewals – are your customers renewing? This metric can paint a simple picture for you. If you’re creating content specifically focused on getting customers to renew with you, you can tell how it’s performing based on your renewal rates.
- Engagement – simply, are your customers engaging with your content? These metrics are things like comments on blog articles or social posts, survey participation, leaving reviews, shares, likes, clicks, opens, etc. If you’re creating content for your customers specifically in this stage, these engagement metrics are going to be more meaningful than they would be in the other stages and can be more indicative of performance and sentiment since we aren’t trying to use this content for double-word score by attracting traffic and conversions, too.
- Referrals – are your customers referring others? If you’re creating content meant to get your https://blog.hubspot.com/service/how-to-get-referrals, you can tell how it’s performing based on referral rates.
The metrics listed above are some of the top ones you can be looking at to see how your content marketing strategy is performing, and you can use the insights you gain from these different metrics to adjust your strategy to drive better results. However, you must always keep in mind what your business’ overall goals are and what you’re trying to achieve with your content strategy.
Sometimes, you might have to think out of the box with what metrics you are looking at as your goals might be totally different than your typical campaign. At the end of the day, the metrics you are analyzing and reporting on should paint a picture and connect your activities with your end results towards goal.
You’ll need to identify the metrics that will tell the most compelling story for your campaign and build out a system to track and attribute marketing performance through these metrics so you can truly gauge ROI and make informed decisions for future strategy and budget.