One of the biggest mistakes new content marketers in small companies tend to make is not having a clear idea of what it is they are looking for when evaluating the performance of their content marketing strategy. In a simple way, you may see an increase in sales some time after your content marketing campaign and be happy with that, but since there are usually a multitude of factors impacting conversions, you can never be sure your hard work and resources for content marketing are the reason. Giving yourself some clear tracking metrics to look out for will let you know what is and is not working very quickly, empowering you to abandon things that are hurting you, and more importantly, letting you know about the effective things you should be doubling down on!
Being the original source of great content, whether it be informational or entertaining is a powerful way to bring attention to your brand. Blogs, vlogs, and infographics are all more engaging than simple press releases or other vanity marketing content. Meaningful content will always drive traffic to your ecommerce site, and actually living by the values you promote in your content will strengthen your brand in the eyes of visitors. Every single day your content is available is another opportunity for you to become the credible subject matter expert you deserve to be. It is only a matter of time before repeat visitors start browsing other sections of your site and start looking for more ways to interact with your brand, including buying stuff.
Metrics are built into various content sharing platforms, so they are always the first place to look. Google analytics, YouTube analytics, and any blog platform will tell you how many people are viewing the content and downloading stuff. These are great for first impressions, but they are a bit shallow. If you have to report to someone else, you will certainly need more than traffic to justify budgets unless traffic or downloads of free material alone was the goal.
Now that you know how many people are visiting your site, you should pay attention to how long they are viewing the content. What good is a visit if the viewer just bounces away immediately? Clearly that would mean that there is a problem. All traffic is not good traffic, and too much of the bad kind can start to hurt you. If your bounce rate is too high, search engines can start punishing you for it. It is hard to know exactly how a bounce rate is weighted in the overall scheme of each search engine’s algorithm, just know that you should avoid any search engine optimization tactics that bring in visitors who will be disappointed with what your website has to offer. Make sure that all marketing communications are relevant to real people! It may also be important to take note of how long people spend looking at your site before making a purchase. Are visitors having a hard time navigating the site? Are visitors looking for reasons to trust the site? If you can figure out why they are taking a longer time and shorten that time, you may actually increase total sales.
Of course you do not want visitors to your site or blog to merely consume content. Ultimately you want sales, email addresses, social sharing, or maybe downloads. Have you created one page of content as a conversion page intended to drive traffic to another page? The click-through rate will teach you which pages are performing better than others. A good page for clicks will have a persuasive message and call to action to go along with strong content.
There are a whole host of social marketing management tools that will help you track the way users interact with your brand and website socially, but Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services automatically keep certain stats and make them readily available to users. One metric you may want to know is your ratio of visits to followers or friends for a particular page. If you can keep close to a 1:1 ratio of visits to followers/friends, you probably have been doing a good job of delivering great content that your fans find useful and relevant to their interests. If it is not close, you know you need to step it up and engage them better. Periodically check to see if an increase in social media followers corresponds to sales or other conversion behaviors.
Of course you want to make as much money as you can on each sale. In order to increase the revenue you capture per customer, you need to track the origin of the sales to the best of your ability. Each click through on a page of your site that came before a sale or each post on social media containing a custom link to your store that was used to arrive at your site for a purchase will give you a clue on which content is working and which is not. Of those pages that are working, which achieve the highest dollar amount per sale? Knowing this can help you identify calls to action or product photos that are causing people to do some significant shopping or are up-selling add-ons to products. Effective content marketing is all about experimenting and making changes based on what you learn.
Your ability to effectively market your brand with content will hinge on how well you can adapt to what the metrics are telling you. Learning your audience and the nuances of your chosen medium will take some time, but soon you will become adept at better communicating if you keep an eye on the traffic of your most persuasive content.
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