There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the scalability of content marketing, specifically in regards to whether or not results can be measured for cost analysis to produce accurate ROI’s. The most common complaint I hear is that traffic resulting from content is “too random” and “can’t be directly connected” to closed deals in the sales funnel. This is simply not true.
The mistake that everyone makes with content marketing is in trying to quantify the results by setting up tracking links and CTA’s that initiate a specific action. That strategy doesn’t properly capture true ROI numbers. It’s useful for tracking user behavior, so it has a place in your content marketing campaign, but your investors won’t buy into the numbers when you’re presenting a scalability analysis.
How do you Measure Scalability?
Which variables do you use when you measure scalability? Sales and marketing managers like to be as granular as possible. If you’re doing a telemarketing campaign, you count calls, contacts, appointments, and closed deals. That’s simple math and it’s easy to explain to an investor or valuation specialist. Those who have previously purchased or sold a company understand this concept.
Unfortunately, traditional telemarketing doesn’t really work anymore. Those who try it as their primary lead generator may get measurable results, but they are losing business and money. The cost of client acquisition is too high and the leads generated are not sales ready. In some cases, the act of making an unsolicited call can actually ensure that a company will NOT do business with you.
Content Marketing Units of Measurement
An industry relevant, educational piece of content is one of the most effective marketing tools you can create. Putting that content out to the right people in a carefully selected target market will virtually guarantee you traffic to your website. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you can’t accurately track the point of origin from all the traffic you get from that one piece of content.
In other words, how do you know that a specific visitor came to you because he or she read your post? In some cases, you can’t know. If they click a link or submit a contact form that is unique to that page, you can track it. If they read the piece and move on, only to find you through another medium later, your point or origin will be distorted. Visualize the highway billboard. It’s great for exposure, but you can’t accurately track how much traffic it brings in.
Content needs to be measured as an advertising expense. Over time, it will become clear how spending more on content marketing results in more visits to your website, customers who are educated about your product, and higher conversion rates. That initial point of contact (the website hit) is where your sales funnel should begin. If you spend valuable marketing time trying to track points of origins and base your purchase decisions on those numbers, you will fail.
Content Marketing Success Depends on a Good Sales Process
This will be a topic we’ll cover in our next post, but keep it in mind as food for thought right now. Let’s say you do start to bring in more website traffic. How do you capture those visitors? What’s the next step to make them feel comfortable with you? Modern sales gurus emphasize awareness and education before full engagement, but what if a customer is ready to buy right now? Be sure to check back in with us next week to learn more about that.
Kevin D. Flynn is the founder and CEO of AdvisorScale Financial Writing. When he’s not writing or on the golf course, he spends his “free” time designing WordPress websites or creating business sales processes for start-ups. In addition to AdvisorScale, Mr. Flynn is also the Executive Director of H.E.L.P. for Young Readers and Managing Editor at October Golf Magazine. He lives in Leominster, Massachusetts, with his wife Evelyn. They have four adult children, two cats, and eight wonderful grandchildren.