How do you decide if your content marketing strategy is effective?
That’s the main question we will be answering in this article.
Proper Tracking for B2B Content Marketing
The first step in reviewing the effectiveness of your B2B content marketing strategy is to ensure you have the proper tracking tools in place. A good place to start is with Google Analytics since you can track the majority of traffic to the website, behavior of website visitors, and website form submissions/events.
Ideally, when you launch your content marketing, your B2B web design is updated to support your goals and objectives. A great website will not only be optimized for conversions but will host the tracking code for any of the reporting tools you will be using (like Google Analytics, SEO software like MOZ, Email Marketing like MailChimp/Act-On/HubSpot/Constant Contact, Google PPC).
If you don’t put the proper tracking in place (and test that it’s working), you won’t be able to truly tell if your content marketing efforts are working.
Review the Right Metrics
If you’ve done the work upfront, your B2B content marketing goal will be carefully tracked and you can review the metrics regularly, typically on a monthly basis. A question we get asked a lot is – what are the right metrics to review for content marketing. Below is a list of several types of metrics we consider important when evaluating whether a strategy is working:
- Leads generated
- Phone calls generated
- Type of traffic brought to the website
- Engagement of website traffic
- Engagement of social followers/users
- Feedback from the end users
Looking at any one of these metrics in a silo won’t give the full picture. For this reason, it’s essential to take a high-level look at the metrics. From there, you can drill down to see how specific ad campaigns or blog posts performed.
When considering leads generated, it’s important to be realistic. If you sell a service that is $10,000/month, you likely won’t be getting 20+ leads a month. You likely wouldn’t be able to handle that many leads if they did come in. It’s also important to consider the quality of the leads. Quality is always better than quantity.
Phone calls, particularly from B2B website visitors arriving via an organic search, are rarely tracked or counted towards overall leads. Using a specific call tracking software, like CallRail, can help with keeping tabs on the types of phone calls coming in from online searchers.
When it comes to website traffic, it’s quality over quantity again. It’s important to continually boost website traffic, but only if you are bringing in more and more engaged users with your content.
Social media is another source to gauge the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy. While social followers or users may not be in a buying phase, how they interact with your content can provide a lot of information about whether your content is resonating with your ideal client and how it is positioning you with your target market.
The final type of metric can be a bit more tricky and harder to track, however, it’s powerful feedback if you can get it. We’ve often had clients forward us feedback from their clients stating that the newsletter they sent out had a lot of great tips or a particular article was super helpful in making a decision. This feedback may be few and far between – but when you get it – it speaks volumes.
Take a Look at the Non-Metrics
Non-metrics? What does that even mean? Qualitative measures are helpful in determining the efficacy of a content marketing strategy for your B2B company.
Let’s look at an example, a financial accounting firm creates a white paper that guides a prospect through the process of selecting the right CPA to help them meet their objectives. While the white paper is ungated on their B2B website (and therefore not generating leads), the sales team sends out a link to the whitepaper to potential prospects as part of their lead nurturing prospect. At least several times a month, the sales team gets feedback from a prospect that the white paper was super helpful in choosing the right CPA. The value of the white paper here is that it’s giving the sales team additional tools to establish credibility and trust with prospects, not always something that can be conclusively measured.
It’s All About Leads?
Yes, one of the many goals of a B2B content marketing strategy is to generate leads. However, in many cases, content marketing is part of a long-term strategy to build relationships and trust. For B2B firms that stay committed to a well-thought-out content marketing strategy, they may reap the benefits of that strategy over time, rather than just one conversion at a time. Building thought leadership (truly becoming a resource of knowledge in an industry), establishing the trust that your firm is looking out for a prospect’s best interest, laying the groundwork for solving problems and addressing pain points – all of these things are the by-products of effective content marketing strategies.
For B2B companies, it may take anywhere from 2 months to 2 years to close a particular deal. Content is an effective way to nurture all leads, the ones you know about and the ones that you don’t know about yet.