Inspired by a post by Kieran Flanagan, April 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM. Kieran is HubSpot's EMEA Marketing Director. He is an experienced inbound marketer, having previously worked for large brands in both B2C and B2B across EMEA.
In a recent study Hubspot conducted with SmartInsights, the top challenge for marketers was measuring the ROI of content. According to Driving Content Marketing Success, 45% of European marketers cited measuring ROI and producing enough quality content as their top challenge.
The Indicators of Content Success
A typical marketing funnel can be broken out into three sections -- top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU).
Using Content to Power TOFU
Content being used for a company's TOFU strategy should:
- Help to grow your audience and get them engaging with the content you publish.
- Encourage people to spend time on your site, getting them to read your content and visit additional pages.
- Increase your traffic from organic channels, and get them to take an action on your site that shows you're attracting the right kind of people.
Q. Are people on social engaging with your content?
Use LinkedIn Company Page analytics to give you a sense of how your content is doing, where your followers are coming from, and show you performance trends across defined periods of time. LinkedIn has also recently added more tools to help analyze the performance of your content with a content marketing score and trending topics site.
Q. What is the performance of the content you’re adding to your site?
Looking at your marketing analytics can give you an idea of how the content on you're site is performing. Is it attracting people into your site (visits), what's the initial impression of that content (bounce rate), do people stick around to read that content (time on page), and are people clicking around to read more of your pages (page views).
HubSpot can show you the performance of that content across your entire funnel (what we call closed-looped analytics), and Google Analytics can be a nice complement, as well, to look at some of those valuable TOFU metrics.
Q. Is content helping you to increase visits?
Producing quality content should help to increase the visits. This is another strong indicator that your content is starting to produce positive results.
Q. Are people taking an action on your site that indicates they're the right type of people?
There is no point in attracting visits from inbound channels if they're not taking any action on your site. This action could be signing up to your newsletter, viewing a particular page on your site, or converting into a lead (contact).
Using Content to Power MOFU & BOFU
Content being created and used for a company's MOFU and BOFU strategy should:
- Educate people in your funnel about your product and how it can solve their challenges
- Create opportunities, pipeline, and sales for the business
Q. How many people are opening your emails, clicking on links, and returning visitors?
Open and click rates can provide a proxy to determine if you're sending the right content to the right people.
If you have lead nurture proceedures set up, you'll want to know if the people in that workflow are engaging with that content, and if it's successfully moving people through your funnel.
Q. Is your content helping to generate opportunities, pipeline, and customers?
You can start to measure content at this stage of the funnel by the number of customers it creates.
Look at the number of opportunities and pipeline that was created by a piece of content. This would give you a sense of how it performed, and it's how we measure the performance of our MOFU/BOFU content on my team at HubSpot.
The Content ROI
Trying to figure out the ROI of time invested in content is the right thing to do, but you need to clearly define the goals of your content, align these across your funnel, and choose the metrics that are going to serve as indicators of your success. Doing this will give you a better picture of how content is performing across your funnel and what areas may need to be improved upon.
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Chuck Lohre's AdVenture Presentation of examples and descriptions from Ed Lawler's book of the same title - 10 Rules On Creating Business-To-Business Ads