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Target, Review, Refine, Repeat: Content Marketing Goals and Metrics

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Written By: Natasha Drilon

We’re more than a month into the New Year – by now you will have reflected on the work you’ve done in 2015, evaluated your successes and improvement areas, re-set targets, and finalised your business strategy for the year ahead.

In financial services, most of us have this business exercise coded into our DNA, but have we put the same thought into our content marketing strategy?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, the factors that make content marketing successful are changing, and this evolution is making measurement more important than ever.

The latest Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmark, Budgets and Trends report found that lead generation has become the most important goal to content marketers this year. 84% say lead generation is their most important content marketing goal, followed by sales, engagement, lead nurturing and brand awareness. This contrasts to last year, when Australian marketers said engagement (87%) and brand awareness (85%) were their top goals.

At the same time, 55% of marketers cited measurement as one of their top challenges, specifically measuring the ROI of their content marketing program and measuring content effectiveness.

So how do you determine whether your content is kicking its goals and which metrics you should measure? Here are our top three tips for measurement in content marketing for financial services.

1. Map content goals to business objectives

Is your goal to generate leads? Raise awareness? Both? Before drawing up your content marketing strategy, it’s imperative to know what your underlying business objectives are and align your content accordingly.

As tempting as it is to keep goals ‘woolly’, ultimately this is a trap. The Content Marketing Institute found that 61% of the most effective Australian marketers have a documented editorial mission statement in place. So, careful thinking and planning that links your content goals back to your business objectives is key.

These are what your content marketing goals could be depending on what your business objectives are:

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Once you have a clear idea of your content marketing goals, only then will you be able to set clear KPIs for your content strategy and determine what tools you need to measure impact

2. Measure ROI

Whether it’s Return on Investment, Return on Objective, or both, you need to introduce robust, coherent measurement systems that can demonstrate your content marketing strategy is delivering as intended. Some great tools for this are Google Analytics and HubSpot, which we’re big fans of.

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic and can help turn insights into action. You can use this to set goals for your content, which can include anything from site views to sales and lead generation.

HubSpot, on the other hand, is a paid inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert those visitors into leads, and ultimately close them as customers. HubSpot provides oversight over all of a prospect’s touchpoints with your content, so you can attribute new leads and sales directly to content pieces such as blog posts or your latest eBook.

An accurate measure of ROI involves calculating the lifetime value and therefore the profit margin of a customer, then comparing this value to the average cost of your content marketing efforts per customer acquisition. This method can be applied to each program, then rolled up to overall content marketing ROI. An important thing to note when calculating cost per acquisition is to take into account the actual cost of production of the content in terms of time, in addition to any external production or promotion costs.

A simpler, albeit less precise, calculation of ROI would be to use the correlation method, i.e. measuring an increase of revenue as correlated with an increase in content consumption and sharing metrics.

The Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmark, Budgets and Trends report found that nearly all Australian marketers (91%) rated ‘sales lead quality’ as an important metric for their organisation, as opposed to website traffic.

So, think about the type of people you want to attract to your business, how you can tailor your content to draw them in, and how you can keep them interested. High web traffic is great, but if you aren’t capturing the people you really want as leads, is it doing anything to help your bottom line.

3. Quality vs quantity

Although the bottom-line numbers are critical, don’t simply weigh up your content marketing results in ‘hard’ monetary terms. You should also rely on other qualitative metrics such as who is downloading and subscribing to your content and how much time they are spending reading the content on your website. A good metric to determine engaged visitors is the percentage of readers who dwelled longer than thirty seconds, out of total unique visits.

Analyse your customer behaviour carefully. Find out what content and which delivery channels are more effective with different client segments and recalibrate your content accordingly to ensure you’re bringing in the people you really want. Having fewer but higher quality leads will be more effective in the long term because they’re likely to refer like-minded people to you if you nurture them properly.

When it comes to content marketing for financial services, measurement is a fundamental part of the process, critical to proving value and creating better results. The only way to understand what’s working and what’s not is to set clear goals and track and analyse key metrics. If your content factory isn’t underpinned by robust analytics, it will be impossible to make improvements and deliver success.

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