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We all know that great content lies at the heart of any winning digital marketing strategy. Yet how can you tell if your content is achieving its fullest potential? Furthermore, in the interest of growing your business, what long-term goals should you be working towards?

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It’s all very well to say you want more traffic, higher revenue, or to boost the visibility of your brand, but none of these targets mean anything if you don’t know how to measure them. Luckily, getting a feel for your content’s performance isn’t as tricky as it might sound.

To set you off on the right foot, here are some killer content metrics and goals your business should have and some tips on keeping track of your progress.

1. Track Engagement and Conversion

Your content is out there to draw people to your website, convert them, and keep them coming back for more. To some extent, you can get a sense that it's working simply by looking at your website traffic data. More traffic tells you that some element of your SEO is paying off, and it could very well mean you're generating more leads, too.

However, traffic to your website only really benefits you if it's comprised of people who are willing to engage with your brand and ultimately become a client or customer. As such, you need to measure more than just the volume of traffic passing through your website.

Take a look at your traffic sources, and compare those stats with the number of leads generated, shares to social media, and individual conversions for each piece of content. This will enable you to build a clearer picture of whether customers are engaging with your marketing content and which types of content are most effective at achieving your aspirations.

You can use Google’s Tag Manager to help you manage and track content campaigns in your site’s backend. It’s not that hard to set up, and you will see a huge return on investment when it comes to improving content effectiveness.

2. Lower Bounce Rates

Content marketing is a great way to address UX issues like a high bounce rate.

Bounce rate refers to the proportion of visitors to your website that simply leave without taking the time to explore further. Naturally, a high bounce rate can be problematic for several reasons:

  • It can skew traffic data, making your website appear to be performing better than it is.

  • The additional traffic passing through your website could place a strain on the server and may cause your site to slow down. Yet, since this extra traffic is not engaging with your content, increasing your hosting capacity may not be financially advisable.

  • A high bounce rate means that, for whatever reason, visitors are not happy with what they find on your website. This could be the result of poor search queries, a confusing layout, or simply a lack of quality content.

To measure your progress toward this goal, look at more than the bounce rate. For example, metrics such as a rising conversion rate or an increased number of social shares will often correlate with a decreasing bounce rate.

In contrast, you may notice an increase in time spent on your website before exiting, despite your bounce rate remaining largely static. In this case, you might infer that you are succeeding in getting visitors to stick around a bit longer, but still need to do more work to win them over.

3. Generate Sales Leads

Generating leads is essential if you want your business to grow. To get a sense of how well your business is performing in this area, look at the following data.

  • The number of leads generated by each piece of content. Over time, this will provide invaluable insights into the types of content that are most appealing to your target audience, enabling you to market even more effectively in the future.

  • Landing page conversion and bounce rates. Keeping an eye on these figures will tell you whether leads are being drawn to your website, but lost at the final hurdle. You should scrutinize your sales copywriting, especially if you’re looking to make e-commerce sales. Small copy and formatting tweaks can make a big difference.

  • The viability of leads, based on a lead-scoring system. This will give you an idea of whether you are targeting the right channels and engaging individuals who are likely to convert.

The more you learn about the success of your lead generation strategy, the better you will be able to target future campaigns, optimize your funnel, and shore up your sales pipeline as your business grows. Read here for expert tips on how to align your content with your sales strategy.

4. Increase Marketing ROI

Ideally, you want your content to bring in more money than it costs to produce and distribute. This is known as the ROI, or return on investment. The higher this number is, the better.

There are several ways to measure ROI, and to some extent, this depends on how you evaluate the results of a given content marketing campaign. Some of the factors to consider include the following:

  • Cost per click and cost per conversion. This tells you how much your business has invested to attract and engage with an individual customer. To calculate these figures, you will need to know your total marketing spend for a given campaign and be able to compare it with the income generated by that same campaign.

  • Naturally, as your success increases, your business will grow. This may mean that your former investments have less impact than before. Equally, you may see an increase in generated revenue for each individual piece of content.

  • Average spend. By calculating the average expenditure of your customers, you can get a better idea of realistic price points, while also appealing to them directly with your marketing.

5. Boost Brand Awareness

In order for your content to get noticed, it must first be found. So, whether your readers discover your content on social media, via search results, or even in marketing communications, you need to continuously build awareness of your brand.

Keep an eye on your growth statistics and the volume of traffic to your website. It should give you an idea of whether you're successfully increasing the visibility of your brand. After all, the more customers you have, the more people are measurably aware of your brand.

In addition, keep track of social sharing and interactions with your brand on social media. Not only will it help you analyze your audience, but it will measure the wider awareness of your brand.

Finally, take a look at the search volume data for your URL and your target keywords. This will help you determine whether people are actively searching for your business or service. Tools such as Google Trends even provide insights into where in the world those searches originate and how search volume has fluctuated in recent history.

Image Credit: Screen cap from Google Trends

Conclusion

Setting measurable, achievable goals for your business not only enables you to structure your content campaigns more effectively and work towards meaningful targets, but it can also be great for business morale.

As you meet and exceed your aspirations, you will begin to develop a clearer picture of just how much your business is capable of achieving. Over time, you'll begin setting the bar a little higher, developing more efficient strategies, and steadily working towards the expansion and evolution of your business as a whole.

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Victoria Greene, VictoriaEcommerceVictoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on how brands can improve their reach by making the most of their marketing strategy. She's a big fan of social media marketing and storytelling.