In this blog, Jessica Gamble, Client Services Director at The B2B Marketing Lab, explains how marketers can prove the return on investment (ROI) of content and how content can benefit the business.
So, you’ve written a blog because your marketing manager told you to.
It’s a great blog – you and your colleagues think so – and it’s been published on your website.
But here’s the problem: you don’t know if people are reading it or how it contributes to your bottom line. Sure, some have commented (you got a notification), but how do you know that your blog post was a success?
So many businesses do some form of content marketing because they’ve seen the benefits and the statistics of course, but few accurately report on the results of their content marketing, despite the tools to do so being readily available.
You need to be able to report on the ROI of your B2B content marketing strategy - otherwise, what's the point?
Why are these businesses struggling to prove ROI?
-> No agreed metrics
According to Sticky Content - in a blog by Strategic IC - the top 3 ways to measure the success of content is via social media engagement (71%), site traffic (63%), and sales statistics (26%).
But as nice as social media engagement and website traffic are, they don’t bring in any revenue. At least not directly.
Personally, I’d define successful content as content that contributes to new sales and generates revenue for your company (and I’m sure many people would agree).
So rather than looking at vanity metrics, you need to agree on and track metrics that contribute to your bottom line.
Start by defining what’s important to you: is it website visits, brand awareness or leads generated? What about deals influenced, deals won or recurring business as a result of that content?
Once you’ve decided what metrics to track, make sure that you – as a team – stick to them.
-> There is nothing to measure or manage the data
The other struggle is that many businesses do not have a robust, end-to-end analytics tool to see the entire user journey. There are lots of tools out there that can help you track a user’s journey from the moment they click on a blog post to becoming a customer.
Using a tool will reduce the manual work needed to collect data, identify trends and patterns, as well as help you to identify what content is or isn’t resonating with your audience.
-> Not using data to drive insights
A lot of businesses struggle to report on the ROI of content because they don’t use the data that they collect on content performance. This data can be used to identify opportunities or make changes to improve content plans.
So if that blog on polar bears becoming vegetarian is performing really well – and has generated 5 leads for your business – what are you going to do next?
Businesses need to look at the content that is performing well, assess the data to understand what could be improved and then implement those learnings moving forward.
-> No way to display results
You need to know what information your teams care about and need. For example, your marketing department will be more concerned with website traffic and leads generated, whereas your sales team will want to know about sales opportunities and deals won/lost.
There are many analytics tools you can use to build simple, easy-to-digest reports for your team to use. We use Databox to create reports that are super easy for our team to understand (and we keep them displayed on a TV in our office so the results are always visible!)
-> Calculating ROI
Finally, to calculate the ROI of the content created, businesses need to look at the total revenue generated by a content marketing campaign and divide it by the overall production costs.
The problem, however, is how exactly can you track the revenue generated by a campaign?
If you’re using HubSpot, this problem is now solved.
In HubSpot, you can attach your content to a ‘Campaign’.
Using Campaigns (Screenshot below), you can see:
The number of sessions all linked content assets have generated
How many contacts were influenced by your content
How many deals have been closed as a result of your content (as well as whether they are from new or influenced contacts)
Total revenue from all closed/won deals
There’s also a brand-new and shiny attribution report in HubSpot which will help you prove the ROI.
This report allows you to create attribution reports based on first touch, last touch, last interaction, first and last touch, or decay attribution.
You can find out more here: https://blog.hubspot.com/customers/demystifying-the-attribution-report-in-hubspot
So to conclude, it is possible to report on the ROI of content by agreeing on your metrics, using your data to drive change, displaying your results in an easy to digest way, and then calculating your ROI, it doesn’t have to be a struggle!