It’s tough to measure the ROI of your content.
Sometimes, you're not certain where a customer come from; other times, a customer visited your blog or social media page months ago and has just now come back to make a purchase.
What you can measure for certain, however, is traffic and on-site conversions from that traffic, whether that conversion is a subscription to an email, is taking advantage of a free trial or is making an actual purchase. If you are getting these things in increasing numbers, then your ROI is looking pretty good.
Unfortunately, many businesses are not measuring their traffic—or are not doing it correctly. And if they are and are then disappointed in the results from their content, their option is usually to drop inbound content campaigns and focus only on outbound marketing.
Related Article: Round Up: The Best Content Marketing Campaigns and Why They Worked
This is a huge mistake. Competitors who are doing content marketing right are taking potential customers from you. They are spending time entertaining and educating your potential customers; they are establishing long-term relationships with them; they are listening to and interacting with them. Your potential customers trust someone else with their business, not you.
You can make content marketing work for you, and here are 14 ways to do that – some you may have heard before; many you may have not.
1. Have a Strategy That Is Documented
Content marketing involves many things—maintaining a business blog, social media platforms, placing targeted adsm, establishing connections with influencers, guest blogging, email campaigns and more. It also involves creating content that is engaging and entices readers to conversion activity.
What you have to do is put your strategy in writing and to document all of the tactics that support each strategy that you decide to use.
Research on content marketing effectiveness shows that businesses with documented strategies report a far greater level of success with their content marketing ROI than do those with just a verbal understanding of strategies or those who have no strategy whatsoever.
The other part of that overall strategy is, of course, the measurement of engagement on the part of your target audience in your content. If you are not using analytics to determine what content is working best, then you are simply throwing stuff up against a wall and hoping that some of it sticks - not a good approach. Having a documented strategy is your first strategy.
Now, what to include in that documented strategy. Here are 13 other strategies.
2. Publish Resource Articles on Your Blog and as a Guest Poster
What resources other than yours could your target audiences want or need? If you have an eCommerce site that focuses on lighting fixtures and wall art, what other home décor resources can you find and check out and put into an article on your blog that you can then advertise everywhere? And can you then re-publish that article as a guest post on other popular blogs?
Bamidele Onibalusi is a famous blogger from Nigeria and a self-made entrepreneur and now millionaire, whose story has been featured in such respected publications as Forbes, and Entrepreneur, tells how he accomplished this with one blog post on a compilation of 30 online resources that pay writers.
He published it as a guest poster on another blog. Impressive views on this other blog were 5,000. His post generated over 25,000 views. And every one of those viewer had the opportunity to link to his blog and, ultimately, his website, on which he sold lots of ebooks and e-guides on entrepreneurship and business opportunities. His traffic and sales skyrocketed.
The point is this: if you can’t increase your traffic, you can’t increase conversions or sales. And, according to Onibalusi, he has never failed to get increased traffic and sales when he publishes a resource article.
3. Use Content Upgrades
Writing a really good post is a really good thing. You see some great traffic, people are sharing it and that feels really good. You even placed links to other related posts within it, and they are getting some traffic, too. Then, what happens? Traffic begins to die down and you move on to the next great topic idea and post.
The problem is this: you aren’t offering any benefit other than the content of the post, and you aren’t even asking for an email address.
What if you had an ebook or e-guide already created, and this post was just a small piece of that larger publication?
What if at the end of your popular post, you offered a content upgrade–a method by which your readers could get the entire ebook by clicking the link that takes them to a download for that ebook. They only have to enter their email address to get it.
And why do you need that email address so badly? Because most visitors to your site will not initiate any interaction with you the first time they are there, and maybe not even the second or third. But if you have that email address, you can begin a relationship with them. Which brings you to the next strategy.
4. Never Underestimate the Power of Your Emails
Everyone knows that generating an email list is an important part of content marketing ROI. But most underestimate its importance. Here is an example. A consumer orders some athletic gear from a site called Fanatics.com. It is a Christmas gift for her adult son and has the emblems of the college from which he graduated. Now, the people at Fanatics know that this is not someone who is going to be ordering something every
A consumer orders some athletic gear from a site called Fanatics.com. It is a Christmas gift for her adult son and has the emblems of the college from which he graduated. Now, the people at Fanatics know that this is not someone who is going to be ordering something every week, or even every month. But next Christmas, or maybe for a birthday, there may be another order. The way they can keep their name in front of that customer is to send emails all year long. Now she may never open those emails, but when it comes time to get her son some more gear, she will know that name and she will probably have a recent email to click on and make the purchase.
But next Christmas, or maybe for a birthday, there may be another order. The way they can keep their name in front of that customer is to send emails all year long. Now she may never open those emails, but when it comes time to get her son some more gear, she will know that name and she will probably have a recent email to click on and make the purchase.
The point is this: emails may not have immediate results, but they will have results over the long-term. For this reason, getting email addresses is just critical. Brian Dean of Backlinko insists that getting email addresses is the most important factor in his marketing campaign and ultimate sales.
5. Think Media All the Time – Go Interactive
You’ve heard this before too, but the newest trend in media that is actually bringing great results is interaction. It’s great to have an infographic. It will attract attention and when connected to something else that will result in an email address, all the better. And already, there is research that shows a higher conversion rate with interaction.
Instead of just creating an infographic, make it interactive. Don’t crowd the infographic itself with lots of information. Instead have button within that infographic that the user can push to get more information. Create a game – to play, the visitor only has to cough up an email address. Do the same for quizzes and surveys.
Related Article: Content Marketing Done Right: What Works And What Doesn’t
6. Re-Think Your CTA Buttons
One of the most important ways to get conversions is to offer something with a CTA button to get to that offer – a free trial, a download. Getting that CTA button clicked has been the subject of lots of research – the text on or near the button, the color of the button, even the shape of the button. It would serve any content marketer well to review the research on CTA buttons, change out those CTA buttons, and then A/B test them.
7. Using Emotionally Charged Words in Titles
We all understand the importance of catchy titles. In fact, they are so important, that there are tools all over the web for helping content writers create catchy titles. Titles should also include direct and indirect
Titles should also include direct and indirect appeals to positive emotions (e.g., satisfaction, help, happiness, etc.) to get readers to engage. Then a CTA for the solutions that will give them that satisfaction, happiness, etc. can be inserted, taking the reader to the conversion spot.
8. Appeal to Social Responsibility by Being Socially Responsible
If you want quick and ever increasing sales, adopt a cause. This can be done on a large or small scale, but it is one of the most effective means of generating shares and sales that there is today. Why? Because millennials trust companies that are socially responsible and buy from then. Plus you can advertise your support of that cause on every social media platform, on your site, and on your blog side rails. Even small companies can use this strategy. HeadbandsofHope.com began in a college dorm room as a means of making little girls with cancer look and feel better when they lost their hair. It is a profit-making business, but it donates a headband for every one that is purchased, along with $1 to children’s cancer research. Today it is a multi-million dollar company. On a larger scale check out Toms Shoes.
Plus you can advertise your support of that cause on every social media platform, on your site, and on your blog side rails. Even small companies can use this strategy. HeadbandsofHope.com began in a college dorm room as a means of making little girls with cancer look and feel better when they lost their hair. It is a profit-making business, but it donates a headband for every one that is purchased, along with $1 to children’s cancer research. Today it is a multi-million dollar company. On a larger scale, check out Toms Shoes.
9. Use Your White Space
On the side rails of your blog posts, there is a lot of white space. You can use it for conversions. Of course, you will have share buttons, and those should follow your content all the way down the page. But you have other white space as readers go down. Use that to remind readers of the conversion you want from them, with a button to get to that conversion.
10. Add a Live-Chat Feature to Your Blog
Set the times that you are available. Invite readers to chat with you to ask their questions or make comment on your post. This is in addition to other conversation invitations and features that you already have at the bottom of each post that of course you are reading and responding to.
11. Re-Target Visitors
This will cost, but it is highly effective. When a visitor comes to our site and looks at a product or two, s/he is “window shopping” and will be going to your competitors to look as well. You must keep your brand in front of these shoppers to get them into your sales funnel. Contract for the services of a re-targeting company. They will “follow” your visitors around and place re-targeting ads where they go. This has probably happened to you, so you know how it works.
12. Keep it Simple
Everything on your site must be sleek, simple, and easy to navigate. Every piece of content on your blog must be easily readable. You already know that short paragraphs with sub-heading and bullet points allow a reader to scan for what s/he wants. Now you need to think about the language you use and your sentence structure.
Sentences must be short and simple. Vocabulary must be in the 7th -8th-grade range. Write a post then run it through a free tool like read-able.com. It will give you a reading level. And if you have reached the point at which you are becoming overwhelmed with writing, you can save on writing content by finding great copywriters who know how to do this.
13. Get Content Partnerships
You have to take the time to forge relationships with businesses that are not competitors but that are related to your niche. You have to forge a lot of them. When you can trade content, with links back to your conversion CTA’s, you tap into all of those partners’ audiences.
14. Use Instagram to Tell Your Stories With Pictures
Instagram now has a carousel feature that allows you to tell a story with pictures. When ModCloth wants to features new clothing acquisitions to its customers and potential customers, it uses this carousel feature to provide seasonal clothing, using its own customers as models. Those models are placed in specific scenes that help to tell a story about them that will relate to customers own stories or their desires for similar stories. Purchase conversions climb after every publishing activity.
Related Article: 4 Secret Ingredients For LinkedIn Content Marketing Success
Obviously, you cannot go forth and implement every single one of these tips tomorrow. But you can begin with those that will be easiest to implement. Then get the resources you need to implement the others, one by one. You are investing time and money into your content. Do the things that are going to give you the returns you want.