The only measurement of the effectiveness of your marketing is sales, right? Well, no, actually. Counting sales doesn’t measure the effectiveness of your marketing, just the results of it. Measuring content marketing effectiveness is more complex than that.
Content measurement can reveal unexpected patterns of customer behaviour. That in turn can lead to small but meaningful things you can focus on as you move towards that final goal—a sale.
For example, I was looking over a customer’s contact record the other day. At first glance, he seemed like a case study in how content marketing and inbound marketing work. But I was wrong.
Basic data doesn’t always explain sales
This customer had signed up as a lead about ten months earlier, after clicking through from a Facebook post. He had been receiving our email newsletter. He had downloaded our gated content. By the time he phoned up, he was ready to do business with us.
Except when I looked a little more closely, he didn’t look anything like what a customer should look like. He rarely, if ever, opened our emails. He had never sniffed around our pricing page. He’d ignored our mid-funnel content.
His lead score was OK, but nothing to get excited about. In fact, if he hadn’t called us, he would never have popped up on my radar as a qualified lead.
What you can learn from measuring content marketing effectiveness
This customer’s story reminded me of how imprecise marketing has been. It’s so hard to know, customer-by-customer, why someone chose to do business with you over your competition. It’s a long-acknowledged idea that all sales are a process—a series of steps from awareness to closing. All you can know, really, is the minimum viable number of customers you need for your business to keep running.
Often traditional marketing practices force you to source the maximum viable audience is order to find the minimum viable number of leads. Then you hope a percentage of those leads—5 percent? 10 percent?—become customers.
The promise of digital marketing flips that on its head. Because you can measure so much, you can start to look for the minimum viable audience to generate the maximum viable number of leads.
Applying growth hacking techniques to content
One thing I noticed with our customers is the best indicator of their progression through the sales funnel was the number of pages they had visited on our website. Not particular pages. Just pages generally.
That wasn’t the only indicator. But it was consistent across all customers.
So if I wanted to increase our customer numbers, my priority would not necessarily be to get more leads. It would just be to incrementally increase the number of pages existing customers visit.
There are various lead nurturing tactics you can introduce to do that, from increasing the number of automated email sequences to changing the pop-ups from driving subscribers to telling people about other related content. Such growth hacking techniques work well at that mid-funnel stage in the buyer’s journey.
The first option is easier but more expensive. The second option is harder but will cost you less. All the various tools you get in a marketing software package can generally be purchased individually. But there is a real convenience having the cookies on your pages linked to a customer database, and then being able to email or schedule social media posts and target those same customers.
Content measurement at every stage of your sales funnel quickly shows you which parts of your sales and marketing process can work better.
For example, measuring content marketing effectiveness at moving people from being prospects to leads will result in a different tactical response to moving them from leads to qualified leads, and eventually customers.
Whether you use marketing automation software or put together your own technology stack, the data you can get can start to give you an idea of small changes to can make to get the maximum possible benefit from your digital marketing.