Is Your Content Marketing Converting?

If you didn’t catch my last post, I discussed the Six Areas of Performance to monitor when measuring your content marketing performance. For those who missed it, here they are:

  1. Conversions
  2. Site Engagement
  3. Shareability
  4. Retention
  5. Traffic Sources
  6. Visits

Conversion tracking is the first area of performance I want to discuss. In my opinion, it is best to start by measuring metrics related to your main objective, and in marketing, conversions are the main objective.

When considering content-marketing driven conversions, the focus is the consumption of content, e.g., blog post views or form submissions on a web site.

Submissions can be related to various content types:

  • Newsletter subscription
  • Blog subscription
  • Infographic download
  • Webinar participation signup
  • Whitepaper download
  • Presentation request
  • “Try Now” sign up
  • Event sign up

Keep in mind, before you begin to measure any metric, it is important to set goals. Once you determine your goals, the KPIs that measure progress towards those goals should be tracked.

Assuming that you are on top of things and “killing it” when it comes to your marketing strategy and goal setting, I’ll move on to the conversion KPIs for each stage that you should be tracking when assessing your conversion performance.

Depending on the visitors’ stage in the funnel, unique conversion metrics should be applied. There are three areas of conversions that I consider — Interest, Exploration, Action.  A content marketing strategy should address all three of these stages and brands should be creating content that meets the demands of visitors in each of the stages.

content marketing funnel

Interest

Interest conversions occur when visitors are initially attracted to a brand / service / product. When considering this in terms of a more traditional marketing funnel, these conversions are at the top of the funnel, and these visitors are usually new visitors.

The KPIs to measure in this stage are:

Time on Page

Measuring time on page provides a look at how interested your visitors are in your content. When measuring content consumption in the form of page performance, specifically related to a blog, it is important to know the average time on page. As an author, you can watch trends related to increases or decreases in time spent and determine which topics are most interesting, which types of content perform best, etc. Also, in tools like Google Analytics, you can configure goals to be triggered when visitors remain on a page for a defined amount of time.

# Pages / Visit 

Similarly to Time on Page, tracking the number of pages unique visitors view during a single site visit illustrates the level of interest in your content. In some cases, the more pages visited, the better. However, it is important to be cognisant of your visitors’ navigation path. A high number of pages / visit can indicate a failure in your site navigation. Visitors may be clicking around to try to find what they are looking for.

# of Unique Visits to pages such as “Learn More” “Try Now” “Free Trial”

Monitor the unique visits to crucial pages that are further down the sales process. This provides an idea of the number of visitors who are considering purchasing your product or service.

# of Clicks on links to explore more

In the world of content marketing Calls-To-Action (CTA) are key — including a clear CTA on each page provides the visitor guidance on the action they should take. The CTA can be a link to another page, a link to a form, or a link to a related piece of content — monitor the performance of these links. Google Analytics enables site managers to track clicks on pages using goal tracking.

Exploration

Exploration conversions occur when visitors are beginning to engage with your content and are educating themselves about your brand / products / services. In a traditional marketing funnel, these visitors are in the middle of the funnel and are looking to make sales-related decisions. The KPIs you should measure in this stage focus on content consumption through form submissions. The types of content or intended action will differ depending on your business. Generally these types of conversions require a form submission that is not directly sales related.

The KPIs to measure in this stage are:

# of Unique Submissions (Downloaded Offers, Webinar sign ups, etc.)

This is the number of form submissions for each unique visitor. These submissions result in new leads and potential customers. Monitor the performance of your forms and pages to see which get the most submissions to determine the content types and topics that interest your visitors.

Submission Rate

The submission rate illustrates the performance of the page. It supports the metric above and provides insight into the performance of your submission pages and forms. If you begin to see a large number of visits, but a low number of submissions, you might want to consider changing the language or structure of the page.

Volume of Social Shares

How shareable is your content? This metric will tell you. Monitor the number of social referrals to your site and examine which pages / pieces of content are shared most often. Again, this will help you determine which topics and types of content perform best, so you can tailor your strategy accordingly.

 

Action

Action conversions occur when visitors have decided that they want to make a commitment to your brand / products / services. In a traditional marketing funnel, these visitors are nearing the bottom of the funnel and are making purchase decisions. If your business has a longer sales cycle that requires more hand holding, this conversion might be the submission of a “Contact Me” or “Free Trial” form. If your business has a shorter sales cycle, and the monetary commitment is small, then the conversion will likely be a purchase.

The KPIs to measure in this stage are:

# of Submissions (Free Trial, Consultation Request, Sales transaction, etc.)

We’re at the bottom of the funnel now. Measuring the number of sales related submissions illustrates your proficiency at moving visitors through the interest stage to the consideration or purchase stage.

Submission Rate

Similar to the submission rate metric in the Exploration stage, this metric supports the one above and provides insight into the performance of your submission pages and forms.

 

The final metric to measure in this process is the number of closed sales that resulted from your content marketing efforts. It’s helpful to have a CRM solution to support tracking leads through to customer. Monitor the sales cycle and set expectations accordingly.

 

Obviously, every business is different, so maybe all of these metrics aren’t relevant to your sales and marketing process. What metrics would you add / remove?