8 Ways to Measure the Value of Content Marketing Beyond Revenue

For many B2B marketers, content marketing is an incredibly valuable resource: More than 30% of survey respondents said it was either their most effective marketing tool or a key part of the puzzle.1

Still, some marketers have found it difficult to prove the full value of content marketing, which makes getting budget approval even harder. While actual revenue influenced is a key indicator of content marketing’s success, the value extends beyond just sales.

Content touches each part of the customer journey, from awareness to lead generation and purchase through retention. By measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) for each stage, you can show content marketing’s worth. Explore them all below.

Download our white paper to understand the importance of content marketing and six other consumer-centric trends in B2B marketing.

Stage 1: Awareness

Put simply, if people aren’t aware of your brand, there is no path to convert them. Grow your awareness by measuring how you’re being discovered. Here’s how:

  • SEO Positioning: It’s important to know where in the ranks you are showing up when people search unbranded keywords (keywords that are relevant to your business but that don’t use your brand or product names specifically).

    The better your ranking, the more authority your brand has: When you’re among the top results in a search, people are more likely to click through and potentially convert.

  • Organic Traffic: If people are seeking out your website and your content of their own volition, they are turning to you as an expert. By tracking this performance indicator, you can measure awareness, which is the first step toward sales.

“For most companies, there’d be no leads without traffic, no opportunities without leads, and no revenue without opportunities.”–Eric Ayotte, Curata2

Stage 2: Consideration

Once customers start discovering and visiting your site, you have to lead them to take action. Tie your KPIs to conversion goals and measure engagement with your calls to action. Here’s how:

  • Goal Conversion: What are the goals of your content? Some pieces may be direct, guiding customers to purchase. Others may solidify your brand as a knowledgeable expert in your space, which helps build trust and win business over time.

    Set up and measure these short- and long-term content conversion goals to solidify the value of your marketing in this stage of the funnel.

  • CTA Engagement: Your content may be engaging, but unless your CTAs are, too, content might not convert. See if your CTAs are working by looking at the click-through rate of your links, which measures the number of page views against the number of clicks on your CTAs.

    This KPI is important for pieces of content as well as submission forms. What percentage of visitors to your site or form were driven to complete an action?

Stage 3: Purchase

A rich and well-tracked content marketing campaign can affect your bottom line in many ways. In the purchasing stage, you’ll want to look at potential revenue and average value. Here’s how:

  • Potential Revenue: What’s the total value of the estimated opportunities that could be generated by your content? This is a good KPI to set early to support your budget estimations.

    For example, a piece could attract a lead who the sales team views as a good candidate for one of your tangential products or services. Now that this person is aware of and has some level of trust in your brand, you’re closer to a future sale.

  • Average Value: This KPI measures the value of a lead. It can be used to see if content marketing leads generate a higher value than leads from other channels. The quality of a lead is often determined through submission forms to access premium or gated content.

    When you’re tracking revenue and closed sales, trace leads back to their source. Does more real, potential and repeat value come from content marketing leads than from social media or other outlets?

Stage 4: Loyalty

As people build trust in your brand over time, engaging with your expertise, tips and other content, they grow more likely to support you (and spend money with you). Here’s how to see that loyalty:

  • Early Repeat Rate: This KPI measures the percentage of new customers who make multiple purchases within a period of time, based on the length of your sales cycle. By looking at your brand’s “stickiness,” you can start to build your strategies around these patterns.

    As you cultivate new buyers, there is an opportunity to take them down a specific path using content and communication. Those who follow it can become high-value customers for your business.

  • Average Order Value: This is the average amount spent by customers who interacted with your content, and should be compared with the amount spent by customers who didn’t. Are customers who read and engage with your content likely to spend more money on products and services?

    It’s almost always easier (and less expensive) to convince a current customer or reader to make a purchase than it is to recruit a new customer. Content marketing helps expose more people to your brand and products, building loyalty.

In Summary

While sales and revenue are important measures of the success of your content marketing, there are a number of other valuable performance indicators to prove its success. Invest time in measuring these eight simple KPIs to show that your content strategy is helping your business achieve its goals and reach important benchmarks.

For more on the value of content marketing in your B2B strategies, as well as six other key trends, download our white paper, 7 Customer-Centric Marketing Trends in the B2B Space.

Harnessing the Power of Direct Mail to Grow Customer Loyalty

Handshake Icon

Customers today have seemingly endless options for how and where to shop. As a result, retailers have to work harder than ever to retain customers. It’s no surprise then that 80 percent of decision-makers at large organizations and 82 percent of decision-makers at mid-size organizations reported that customer loyalty was a top marketing priority.1 Small businesses are wise to follow suit.2 Read on to learn how to leverage direct mail for your loyalty programs.

What Loyalty Programs Can Offer

Loyalty programs have been used for over a century to build and maintain strong customer relationships. Last year, 57 percent of brands reported that they would increase their loyalty program budgets.3 This indicates that while customers are increasingly playing the field, brands are not backing off their loyalty initiatives.

Loyalty programs not only convey to customers that they are valued, but also allow brands to gather important information about customers, such as purchasing behavior. Brands can in turn use this information to personalize marketing and communication strategies, a win-win for both customers and brands.4

When done correctly, loyalty campaigns that leverage direct mail can deliver value and demonstrate how well a brand knows its customers through personalized content.5

“…while customers are increasingly playing the field, brands are not backing off their loyalty initiatives.”

Why You Should Consider Direct Mail

A study found that direct mail produces the best response rates when compared to other channels, including email, online display, paid search, and social media. This demonstrates that direct mail remains a relevant and important part of the marketing mix, and should be considered alongside digital channels.6

Mailbox Icon

In one survey, only 17 percent of respondents reported using a multichannel approach for their loyalty programs. But, 88 percent of respondents who did use a multichannel approach rated it as successful. This highlights the importance of embracing all channels when it comes to driving customer loyalty.7

Best Practices for Setting Up Loyalty Campaigns

Before embarking on a loyalty campaign, consider following these three steps to ensure proper set-up and campaign success:

  1. First, identify what your organization wants to achieve through the program, whether it is an increase in customer spend, engagement, or retention.
  2. After defining your objective, find out how much budget you have to spend. This will determine which and how many channels you are feasibly able to implement.
  3. After goals and budget are set, segment your customer list and tailor your messaging accordingly. Segmentation goes hand in hand with setting the campaign objectives.8 For example, if your goal is to increase customer retention, you could segment your customer list based on store visit history and plan to target customers that have visited the store but are not frequent purchasers.

Icon

3 Best-In-Class Loyalty Mail Campaigns

Discover how three different brands and organizations incorporated direct mail into their marketing strategies to build customer loyalty.

  1. During the holidays, rather than sending a standard greeting card, a sorority sent a unique mailer to its members. Enclosed in the envelope was a folded insert that when opened was a holiday ornament designed with the sorority’s colors. Printed on the ornament was the sorority logo and a holiday-themed message. The envelope was bulkier than typical mail items, helping it stand out in a pile of mail, which in turn increased open-rates. While personalization was not central to this direct mail campaign, the thoughtfulness and detail communicated value to its members while keeping the sorority present in their minds.9
  2. A supermarket chain leveraged personalization by sending a mailer to its best customers based on customer purchasing data. The mailer included coupons that were tailored for each customer household based on previous purchases, as well as a note thanking customers for their loyalty. The mailer also included a recipe in an effort to further engage customers. Like the preceding example, this mailer was larger than typical pieces of mail, helping it stand out from other mail items.10
  3. In 2012, a pharmacy chain launched a rewards program, which now has over 85 million active members. By using customer data, the company is able to target at each stage of a customer’s journey, from acquisition to win-back to loyalty and retention. Like the previous example, the pharmacy chain uses purchasing data to personalize its communications and segments its customers based on propensity to purchase. For customers with a high propensity to purchase, the company will send them targeted communications across multiple channels, including email, direct mail and a product sample, and then follow up with a direct mail piece if the customer does not purchase. In addition to personalizing communications, the company drives results by setting clear end goals for campaigns, testing different strategies often, and focusing on quality over quantity.11

In Summary

There are elements from each of the above examples that any business can learn from and implement into their own direct mail campaigns. By harnessing the power of direct mail combined with personalization, businesses can drive customer loyalty and retention.