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3 Ways Content Can Build A Bridge Between Marketing and Sales

3 Ways Content Can Build A Bridge Between Marketing and Sales

The disconnect between marketing and sales teams has long been an industry-wide, hot-button issue, with both sides claiming communication is key but typically shying away from any real-world, concrete solutions for creating that communication. In fact, according to a recent study by Demand Gen, 49% of marketers and sales executives agree that communication is the biggest challenge in aligning teams.

downloadBut research shows that business booms when marketing and sales can overcome the gap between the groups for the good of the brand. An Aberdeen Group study found that businesses with highly aligned sales and marketing teams earned an average of 32% year-over-year growth, while those who reported less alignment saw a 7% decrease in revenue. Ouch. Takes alignment out of the nice-to-have category and puts it squarely at the top-of-the-growth agenda.

If aligning marketing and sales teams is so critical for growth, then how come it’s so hard to get the two groups together to focus on a clear content marketing strategy? The solution could lie in setting clear goals, outlining what each side wants from the other, and then using those goals for content creation.

Create content that brings better leads

When Demand Gen asked sales what they most wanted from marketing, the No. 1 answer was better quality leads, followed closely by more leads. And there’s plenty of evidence to support the idea that better content equals better leads, since most buyers are already nearly a third of the way through their journey before they even contact sales teams. The further online the buyer’s journey goes, the greater the responsibility is for marketing to create effective content that supports that journey.

download (1)Content that educates the buyer and stands out from competitors is crucial in this initial phase, and I have to say here, this is where interactive content has made all the difference for us. Research has shown that interactive content is 93% effective at educating the buyer (more than double static content), and it’s 88% effective at differentiating brands from competitors (more than a third better than static content).

But what’s seldom discussed is that interactive content, like ROI calculators and assessments, can act as invaluable tools in a sales associate’s arsenal for gauging where customers are in their life cycle and making sure that they’re getting personal, relevant attention as soon as they’re ready for it. As marketer Mark Yeager recently wrote, “Content fails when you create materials that speak to very broad audiences.” And static, impersonal content meant to appeal to the masses could be failing not just your customer, but also your sales team.

Help sales break the ice

As anyone who’s sheepishly deleted a failed tweet or an unloved Instagram can attest, it can be difficult to drum up interest from relative strangers. What most savvy sales teams quickly realize when they start integrating great content into their strategies is that opening gaffes are more easily avoided with interactive content.

Studies show that the majority of customers prefer custom content, so it stands to reason that they would also like sales teams to show a personal interest in their unique needs and preferences during the sales process.

Let sales in the loop

While we’re on the subject of communication between the sales and marketing teams, let’s look at what marketing wants from sales. According to the same Demand Gen study, 34% of marketers want better lead follow-up from sales teams, which seems ironic since sales mostly wants better leads from marketing. The problem is somewhere in the middle – a failure to use audience interaction with content in meaningful ways.

For example, when potential customers interact with content, be it testing their knowledge in an assessment built into a white paper or taking a quiz built into a blog post, they’re giving brands a clearer picture of what kind of engagement they want. However, failure to acknowledge that engagement is a missed opportunity – be it from a marketer who doesn’t use audience data to create more relevant content in the future or the sales associate who doesn’t follow up with a lead whose answers indicate she’s ready to buy.

download (2)A unified approach to data from interactive content creates a feedback loop that can be useful to every aspect of the buyer journey, from lead gen to closing the deal. Great insights from content interactions don’t do anyone any good if sales doesn’t have that hustle, hunger, and fire to follow up when they see a great prospect content interaction.

In the end, sales and marketing want the same things: better leads and more relevantconversions with ready buyers. Giving the sales team interactive content serves both purposes by providing data about where buyers are in their journey and acting as a gateway to further communication. And the result may very well be a 70% boost in conversions, which is definitely worth starting a conversation.

Google Just Rocked Your World

Google Just Rocked Your World

On May 24, 2016, Google announced the most significant changes to AdWords since, well, the invention of AdWords. It’s the second momentous change Google has made this year, after phasing out of the right-rail ads that started testing at the end of 2015 and became official this February. Now we’re looking at a substantial redesign. It begs the question “Why do these changes matter?” There are an incredible nine billion text ads on Google. These ads are a lifeline for innumerable businesses, and any change to them means these advertisers — mom-and-pop shops, mid-market businesses and and billion-dollar global brand giants — will have to react quickly, and probably spend more marketing dollars, to adjust and profit.

adwordsMost of what you’ve read so far about why Google decided to do this is accurate. User behavior has changed due to the searcher’s move to mobile, which has outpaced desktop searches. Right rail — or sidebar — ads don’t render properly on a mobile device. These ads aren’t maximizing clicks or transactions — which doesn’t bode well for Google or advertisers. Ads on the top of the search results page make everyone happy: consumers click and transact, while Google and advertisers profit.

But with this change come challenges and opportunities. With Google’s new format, there are only four ads on the top of the search results page versus up to three ads on top, with another seven ads on the sidebar with the old format. With less real estate to compete with, advertisers that respond quickly to the changes will win big.

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Image source: Google

First-Mover Advantage

The new ad format allows for expanded text on the top line (headline) of over 30 extra characters, an extra “path” on the URL (line 2), and extra characters totaling 80 on the last line (description line).  But advertisers, be warned: mushing line one and line two descriptions together won’t work. Most advertisers write the two lines of text as separate ideas, and when they are pushed together these logically don’t flow as a cohesive message.

Advertisers that move quickly and adapt to the new format stand to benefit in two ways. First, advertisers that leverage the additional creative real estate can weave in new messages as they communicate to their customers that result in more clicks and purchases. Second, ads in the new format will look more aesthetically appealing compared to the older ads that do not read properly, which are displayed by advertisers that don’t switch over.

More Work Than You Think

As mentioned, Google has more than 9 billion ads at its disposal. Sure, some are created by templates so the number of unique ads is smaller, but we’re still talking about rewriting billions of ads, no matter how you slice it. Google has not publicly offered assistance for advertisers to tackle this issue. A significant amount of rewriting is required no matter how many unique or templated ads online advertisers use in their campaigns.

150512_Ads_AP01-01Don’t bet on technology to solve this for you either, given the aforementioned challenges with merging two separate ideas together. I’ve personally tried this approach, and it won’t work. I’ve spoken with big companies in the search ecosystem that can’t get this to work either. Google has indicated that the deadline for completing the rollover to the new formats is some time this fall. Multiple ads per ad group, multiple accounts, and many, many templates can only mean one thing: lots and lots of work.

It Will Cost You

Enterprise and SMB companies don’t have resources waiting on standby for work like this to pop up. Google’s AdWords change will mandate hiring internally, or partnering with an existing agency or starting a new agency relationship. Let’s do some math:

Writing costs on average 20 cents per word for time for the writer. The average word has six characters, and there are approximately 45 extra characters that Google is offering up (5 extra characters for Headline 1; 30 extra characters for Headline 2; the extra “path” on the URL line; 5 extra characters on the longer description line). Extra time and writing are also required to ensure that the new ad makes sense. The cost of redoing one ad is at least $1.40 for the writing, and then some larger expense –we’ll say $2.00 — to ensure the ad is logical. That comes down to $3.40 per ad. If an advertiser has 5,000 ads in her account that’s over $15,000 of expense.

What’s the lesson for advertisers? Start looking for budget. Oh and get ready. You can bet that if Google is doing this now, their cousin in Redmond will follow suit in the next few months.

 

The Positive Side of a Negative Review

The Positive Side of a Negative Review

Reviews play a key role in a buyer’s selection process. A total of 70% of Americans look at reviews before they make a purchase, according to an American Lifestyles report. Those customers are looking at all types of reviews─even the negative ones. (You probably do the same.)

In fact, buyers who seek out negative reviews are 67% more likely to convert to a purchase than the average consumer, according to a Revoo study. Those highly engaged buyers stay on pages longer and view nearly 4X as many products as the average visitor because they’re conducting extensive research.

Why Bad Reviews Can Be Good

The thought of getting negative reviews makes many businesses nervous. However, negative reviews can be a good thing.

Critical reviews generate interest in your company. For example, we know that G2 Crowd users click on the less-than-positive reviews two-and-a-half times more frequently than positive ones. (Full disclosure: I’m the CMO at G2 Crowd.)

You might think that’s not the kind of attention you want to share. However, 68% of people trust a company’s reviews more when they see bad ones mixed in with the good. That expresses the reality of most products─not every product is good for everyone. And it provides your company the opportunity to evaluate your perceived weaknesses and address them.

Critical reviews can provide valuable insight. When reviews are attributed and authentic, they help you build trust and engagement with your prospects. A recent Harris study found that 18% of people became loyal repeat customers after they received a brand’s response to their negative feedback.

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The perception is that brands that engage with customers after negative feedback are attempting to work with their customers and address the issue. A lot of the time those issues are actually a communication breakdown and are easily fixed.

A sincere response can win over more than just existing clients. People were 186% more likely to buy a product after they saw a brand respond to a customer who misused or misunderstood the product, according to Bazaarvoice. Those same new customers were 92% more likely to buy after seeing the company offer to refund, upgrade, or exchange the product.

The following tips can help you use negative reviews to create happy, engaged customers.

  • Respond. Read all reviews, even bad ones. Give yourself time to digest the information and investigate the issue or feedback. It’s ideal to reply within 48 hours. Be polite, and try your best to provide information to help resolve the issue.
  • Thank the customer. For every customer that complains, 26 don’t. Negative feedback is like a free consultation. Whether your customer is irritated about subpar customer service or a clunky software interface, his or her comment gives you an unbiased glimpse into what’s not working, and that’s worth a thank you.
  • Apologize. Even if you don’t think you or your team did anything wrong, tell all displeased customers you’re sorry that they’re unhappy. Avoid canned statements, and respond directly to details in customer posts.
  • Make it right. Offer to fix or replace a defective product, demonstrate how to use the product correctly, or give the customer a chance to connect an individual or team. If you’ve made changes because of an ongoing issue, such as fixing a bug in your software, give specifics.
  • Follow up. Check in with customers by phone or email to see how everything’s going and try to get ahead of any issues in the first place. Send satisfied customers a link to review their purchases. With your gentle encouragement, the customer most likely will engage with your sincere and appropriate efforts.

Bad reviews might be upsetting, but think of them as real insight into what is working and not working. And when an individual is engaging with your negative review, he or she is more likely to be a motivated buyer.

Remember that not all products are one size fits all. That’s what makes us all (and our products) unique. When you and your team respond thoughtfully and appropriately to critical feedback, your company ultimately wins the day.

Now that you understand how negative reviews influence the purchasing process, you may be more concerned that your product does not have a balance of good and bad reviews. The solution to that problem is simple… Begin encouraging your customers to review your product on third-party review sites. It’s the evolution of the purchasing process. Embrace transparency and reap the benefits.

Over 20 Stats You Should Be Following

Over 20 Stats You Should Be Following

Is Your Content Marketing Profitable? Here Are 22 Metrics That Will Tell You

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It’s a mistake I see time and again…

Businesses invest in content marketing without having a clue whether it’s effective or not.

No matter what your goals are, you need some way of quantifying the results of your efforts.

Otherwise, you don’t know if you’re getting a positive or negative return on investment (ROI).

To determine how successful you’ve been, you need to track metrics (also called key performance indicators (KPIs)).

Metrics are numbers that are related to the goals you want to achieve.

For example, if your main goal is to lose fat, metrics you could track are body fat percentage and weight.

The key factor that indicates a metric is that you can measure it.

There’s no guesswork or statements like, “I feel this is going well…”

You have non-biased numbers to evaluate your progress.

That makes sense, right?

You track metrics to find out whether the numbers are headed in the right direction and make your decisions based on that data.

If your metrics tell you that content marketing is bringing you a better ROI than paid advertising, you’ll probably want to increase your content marketing budget.

Conversely, if your metrics don’t look so good, you’ll need to improve your system or try a different option.

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One small problem with metrics: Although metrics are important, they do have limitations.

It’s not always possible to find a metric that completely represents your goal.

Additionally, you might have multiple goals, and one metric will never tell you how you’re doing across all of them at once.

The simple solution is to track multiple metrics.

By combining several important KPIs, you can get an overall picture of your progress.

If you’re investing in content marketing, you’ll care not only about increasing page views but also making sure that those page views are resulting in engagement, growth, and profit.

Everyone has slightly different goals even if they’re similar.

Which is why I’m going to go through the 23 best content marketing metrics to track.

I’ll explain when you should and should not track each of them so that you can find a combination that works for you.

I’ve seen some successful businesses track as few as 3-4 metrics and others track more than 10.

There’s no wrong number. Just try to find a combination of metrics that takes all your goals into consideration.

Type #1 – Content consumption metrics

One of the main goals of content marketing is to produce value.

If you’re creating content that people love, not only are you making a difference in their lives, but you are building a name in your niche.

Oh yeah, it results in more leads and sales as well—I suppose that’s important too.

This is why it’s important to track metrics that tell you whether readers are discovering your content and whether they’re enjoying it.

Here are the best metrics to choose from for this purpose.

1. Page views: Let’s start with the basics—numbers that just about everyone should track.

Page views tell you how many times your content has been viewed. This includes both people who only saw a page once and those who have visited your page multiple times.

Within page views, there are a few different types of metrics that you might want to track.

First is the overall page views. You can see these by going into Google Analytics (GA), Audience Overview (the default screen):

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Underneath the graph, you will see a number under “Pageviews”, which tells you how many times all of your content has been viewed in the time period that you have selected (in the top right).

I’d recommend writing down this number once a month.

You want to see your traffic numbers going up over time, which indicates that your content marketing efforts are working.

Since many niches are seasonal, you determine this by looking at two things:

  • How each month compares to previous months
  • How each month compares to the same month a year ago

If you know that traffic always dips in September, it’s not fair to compare your September traffic to August traffic. Instead, compare it to September of last year.

The second type of page views you might want to track is page views by a piece of content.

You can see this by going to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages in GA.

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What you should do here is look at all your posts for the last year or so (exclude the newest few).

You want to see that posts are getting more traffic over time, which indicates that your audience is growing.

The reason why you exclude the newest few posts is because they haven’t had time to establish their search rankings, which will influence the number of views they get.

2. Unique visitors: Page views can be a bit deceptive at times. Depending on the content you produce, you may have the same visitors loading the same page 20-50 times per month.

This means that the increase in page views may be due to your existing readers visiting your site more rather than new ones finding it.

This isn’t a bad thing, but effective content marketing should grow your audience.

Unique visitors will tell you how many actual people visited your site. There will be some duplicates because people might visit on multiple devices, but it’s a pretty reliable metric.

To see these, go back to the main audience overview and look at your “Unique Visitor” number for the selected time period.

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This gives you a good way to quantify your audience growth. Ideally, you should aim for at least a 5-15% growth per month, but if you’re really pushing content marketing hard, it might be even higher.

3. Downloads: Many businesses, in addition to their free online content, offer content in the form of PDF files.

To track the number of people who actually downloaded those files (not everyone who visits the page does), you need to set up an event in Google Analytics.

To do this, you need to add some simple code to your links of your PDF downloads.

Instead of this:

<a href=”pdfs/my-file.pdf” target=”_blank”>Download my file</a>

Use this:

<a onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’,’Download’,’PDF’,this.href]);”href=”pdfs/my-file.pdf” target=”_blank”>Download my file</a>

Once you have some data, you can go to “Behavior > Events > Overview” in GA:

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There, you’ll see the number of events that took place (named ‘Download’ in the code above):

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If you want to make it even easier, install Google Analytics by Yoast, a WordPress plugin.

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In the advanced settings of the plugin, change “Track downloads as” to “Event,” and make sure PDFs are selected be tracked in the next field.

Then, when you go to GA events, your data will appear for all your PDF links automatically.

4. Emails opened: Those first three metrics measure content consumption from all your readers.

Arguably, content consumption from your best readers (your email subscribers) is the most important metric for long term growth.

If your subscribers are getting bored of your content, that shows you have a bigger issue with your content.

All major email marketing providers show you the number of opens for every email you send your subscribers.

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Open rate doesn’t typically go up over time unless you improve your emailing in a major way.

However, if your content is really valuable, it shouldn’t go down much either.

If you’re seeing that your open rate starts to rapidly drop off after the first few emails you send, you have a problem.

If the drop occurs after a specific email, figure out why that email would cause such a drop, and fix it.

5. Email links clicked: You can get emails opened if you use clever headlines.

But that’s as far as they get you. If subscribers immediately close the email after they open it, it’s kind of pointless.

Another good metric to track is the number of subscribers who click on the links in your emails.

Any good email marketing provider will also show you your link click performance right next to your email open rate:

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If your click rate is poor (say under 5%), or it’s dropping off over time, that tells you that your subscribers don’t find whatever they think is on the other end of the link to be valuable.

6. Pages per visit: Finally, another great content consumption metric is the number of pages a visitor looks at in a session (on average).

You can also see this in your audience overview in GA under the “Pages/Session” label:

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This tells you something a bit different.

Readers can love your content, but they may only visit one page per session.

This could happen for two different reasons:

  • your content is very long
  • your internal linking sucks

You know I’m a fan of long content. It’s not going to be possible for visitors of Quick Sprout to visit 10 pages every time they visit the website.

However, they still visit more than one.

The bigger potential issue is internal linking. If visitors can’t find other relevant to them and interesting content on your site, they can’t read more even if they want to.

And the fewer pages they visit, the less likely they are to engage with your content.

With this metric, your goal should be to improve it over time as much as possible.

Yes, you will hit a plateau, but put real effort into pushing it as high as possible.

Once you improve it, continue to track it. If you notice a sudden dip, examine why your latest content would cause this.

Type #2 – Conversion Metrics

While creating content of value is an important goal, so is getting a return from all that work.

No one can afford to keep creating and giving out great content if they’re not generating some sort of a revenue.

This second set of metrics contains different metrics that you might want to track—conversion metrics.

The ones that you’ll want to track will depend specifically on your sales funnel. For example, you might want to think about:

  • conversions into leads
  • conversions into customers
  • conversions into followers

7. Opt-in percentage: The most common goal of blog content is to convert a reader into an email subscriber.

It allows you to consistently send your subscribers new content as well as emails that will move them down your sales funnel.

If you create a landing page with a tool such as Leadpages, you’ll have built-in analytics that will tell you your subscription rate:

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In general, though, you’re better off setting up a goal in GA.

It’s very simple to do. Start by going to “Conversions > Goals > Overview”:

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Then, under “Template,” pick the “Newsletter sign up” option under the “Engagement” heading:

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Click Next step, and give your goal a descriptive name.

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In the final step, you’ll need to enter a destination page.

For an email list, you should redirect all new subscribers to a “thank you” page. Enter this URL in here. That way, when someone visits the page, GA knows that they are a new subscriber.

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If you know how much a subscriber is worth, add a value.

That’s it.

Now, when you go to “Conversions > Goals”, you’ll see a graph like this:

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You can look at other reports in GA to see your goal divided by other factors, like conversion rate based on a landing page:

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In general, a higher conversion rate is better than a lower one. Track your conversion rate, and try to improve it over time.

8. New subscribers: On top of the conversion rate, you’ll also want to measure the gross number of new subscribers you get on a daily basis.

You can do this using goals in GA, or you can just look at the reports supplied by your email marketing provider:

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Your email provider’s numbers will be more accurate, but the difference between the two won’t be significant.

9. Social media follower growth: Another valuable action that readers can take is to subscribe to your social media accounts.

While social media followers aren’t even close to being as valuable as email subscribers, they can still help you spread your content and grow your audience.

Also, some readers would rather follow you on social media first to get your content until they get a better sense of who you are.

The best way to track this is with a paid tool such as Buffer. Once you connect your accounts, you can see your total follower growth over time across all accounts:

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10. Revenue generated: Way down your sales funnel, you want to convert readers or subscribers into customers.

This is by far the most important metric to track.

One way to track it is to set up Ecommerce tracking in GA. When you go to “Acquisition > Channels” report, you can see which channels lead to the most revenue.

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Then, you can shift your content strategy to focus on the highest converting channels.

Additionally, if you know how well your email subscribers convert into customers, you can determine a value per email subscriber.

Then, you can assign this value to a goal for your new email sign-ups:

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When you go to any report, you can see your goal conversion rate and an estimate of the revenueeach item produced:

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Then, you can go back to “Behavior > Site Content > All Pages” to see how much revenue each piece of content is worth:

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This can be really informative in combination with other metrics that we’ll go over later in this post.

Type #3 – Retention Metrics

There are many different levels of success with content marketing.

You can produce content that readers think is cool and helpful but not necessarily life-changing or extremely valuable.

This is a big deal.

If you can create content that falls into that second category—life-changing or extremely valuable—readers will turn into customers at a much higher rate.

But it’s difficult to measure the value of content directly. Instead, you need to use retention metrics that indicate how hungry your readers are for more of your content.

11. Unsubscribe rate: One way to see if subscribers are losing enthusiasm over your content is to look at your unsubscribe rate.

Again, your email marketing provider should have a simple report that shows you unsubscribes over time:

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I’d caution you not to put too much stock into your unsubscribe rate unless it’s really high.

Everyone loses a couple of subscribers when they send out an email.

But if you get a spike, you need to investigate it.

If someone doesn’t want to be on your list, you shouldn’t want them to be there either.

12. Bounce rate: When someone visits a page on your website but doesn’t click anything at all, they will count as a “bounce.”

A high bounce rate can indicate a few things:

  • the visitors found what they were looking for and left immediately,
  • the visitors couldn’t find what they were looking for,
  • there was nothing for them to interact with.

The first one isn’t a problem—it’s actually a good thing. That’s why having a significant bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing.

The second point is a big issue. That means you have significant formatting problems ortechnical problems to fix.

The third one is also an issue because it suggests your formatting or internal linking is poor. You can also find ways to lower your bounce rate.

To check your overall bounce rate, go to your Audience Overview:

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Even more useful is to go to “Behavior > Site Content > All Pages” and look at the bounce rate by page.

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Use this to determine if any pages have an abnormally high bounce rate that needs to be fixed.

13. Return rate: It’s obviously a very good thing if readers keep coming back for more.

You can see who returns by going to “Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning”:

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The two important things here are the sheer number of returning visitors and the ratio of returning to new visitors.

Your goal should be to increase both of these metrics as much as possible.

In a perfect world, all your new visitors would come back again.

Type #4 – Engagement Metrics

In order to create highly effective content, you should always try to make your content as practical as possible.

Why?

Because you need your visitors to take action.

When they see that your advice actually produces a good result for them, they’ll become your loyal readers.

Those readers typically turn into customers because they know that if your free content is that useful, your paid products will be even better.

Again, you can’t measure directly how often people are taking action.

However, you can get a good idea of it by measuring how often they engage with your content in any way.

Here are some things you may want to track.

14. Social media shares or likes: When someone likes or shares content on social media, it reflects who they are to all of their friends and followers.

This means that most people don’t share low quality posts.

So, if you’re getting lots of shares, it means people really enjoy your content and are happy to recommend it to their networks.

You should monitor the number of social shares you get on each post.

Over time, you want those number of increase.

To measure your shares, Tweets, likes, etc., it’s typically easiest to use a tool like Buffer, which automatically tracks all this data:

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Alternatively, you can use a number of free social share checkers if you’re willing to do it one by one.

Or if you have some programming knowledge, you could create your own simple report generator using the APIs of the networks you’re interested in.

15. Number of comments: Getting people to comment in the age of social media is difficult. Most people who enjoy content would rather share it on social media rather than comment on the post itself.

But comments tell you that readers not only read your whole post but pay enough attention to say something about it.

Getting a few comments initially also encourages other readers to comment.

Certain topics will automatically get more comments, regardless of content quality. Look at the number of comments over a long time period to make sure they’re going up, and don’t worry about short term changes.

There’s no fancy way of tracking this. Just put the title of each post in a spreadsheet, and add a column for the number of comments.

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16. Page depth: This metric is similar to pages per session but can give you different insights.

This set of metrics in GA tells you what number of people viewed a certain number of pages during a session.

You can view it in “Audience > Behavior > Engagement > Page Depth”:

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It tells you how many sessions consisted of a visitor seeing only one page, two pages, three pages, and so on.

This really tells you if you’re getting those raving fans who want to check out every single post you’ve written.

This differs from pages per session, which could be skewed because it’s just an average. If all visitors see two pages, you’d have an average of 1.5 pages per session.

However, if they’re stopping at two, that means no one really loves your content.

17. Session duration: I’ve mentioned before that certain metrics such as bounce rate, and especially pages per session, can be messed up by the type of content you produce.

If you create really long content, visitors could stay on your site and read many pages at once. If they spend a lot of time on your site, it shows they are engaged.

To check this, go to “Behavior > Site Content”, and look at the far right column in the behavior section.

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When you go to the landing pages subsection, you’ll see the session duration for visitors who landed on that particular page.

You can use this metric to measure any changes you make and to see which page is the best starting point for visitors.

Type #5 – Promotional metrics

There are two major expenses associated with content marketing.

One of them is promotion.

You need people to see your content in order for it to produce any results.

It’s important to track metrics that tell you the cost of promotion so that you can determine if the results are worth it.

18. Emails sent: In modern content marketing, email outreach is almost a necessity.

You need to make connections and get your content in front of them.

Typically, the goal is to let someone know about your content and have them link to it or share it.

The first two metrics you want to track are the number of emails you sent and the time it took you to do it.

This is something you’ll need to track in a basic spreadsheet.

Secondly, you want to track the conversion rate of these emails. Divide the number of links or shares you get out of the emails (whatever your goal was) by the total number of emails.

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This allows you to test different email outreach techniques and templates, compare them, and choose the winner.

You can also calculate the time spent per link if you’re more concerned with efficiency.

19. Cost and return of ads: Not everyone does paid promotion for their content. It’s not required, but it can speed up results.

This is where tracking metrics are highly important because if you don’t know your results, you have no clue whether you’re losing money and should stop spending or you are making money and should spend more on these campaigns.

Any good ad network will provide you with your total spend and your cost per click (or, ideally, conversion).

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Compare the cost per conversion (calculate it yourself if you need to) with the revenue you get per conversion (a different metric).

If you’re making more than it costs to get a conversion, spend more.

If not, either drop that campaign or continue to split test and optimize it if it’s around a break-even point.

20. Cost per subscriber: Even if you’re not doing paid advertising, every promotional strategy has a cost.

Email outreach takes time. Giving samples to reviewers costs you product. And so on…

You need to quantify the cost of your time, employees’ time, or anything you spend on promotion.

Then, divide that cost by the number of new subscribers you’ve gotten from each piece of content.

You should do this for each piece of content you create.

You’ll end up with a simple table like this, and you’ll start to see that certain promotional techniques are more effective than others.

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It’s also a good idea to add the cost of creating the content (metric #21) in order to get an overall cost per subscriber.

Then, you can compare this to the revenue per subscriber and decide if that type of content is effective or not.

Type #6 – Internal content creation metrics

Finally, the other major expense of content marketing is actually creating the content.

You’ll see that certain types of content are more expensive than others.

It’s important to be able to see whether the results of each type of content are worth the money you are putting in to create it.

Track these metrics to get a clear picture of your content cost.

21. Cost to create content: If you’re paying a freelancer for your content, figuring out the cost is simple.

But even if you’re creating your own content, you still need to factor in your own time, just like you did when looking at the cost of promoting content:

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22. Content ready to be published: One of the biggest signs of a healthy content marketing process is whether or not you have content ready to be published.

This ensures that you are consistent, which is a big key to success.

This metric is just a simple count. How many pieces of content do you have ready to go?

Check it once a month, and write it down somewhere.

If it’s gone down, make sure you know why, and figure out how to get back on track.

Conclusion

If you want to be successful, you must track metrics.

You should always be looking at your metrics to see how you can improve them in the future.

This allows you to test new tactics and techniques to find those worth implementing.

The best businesses iterate their strategy over and over to improve it, using their metrics as feedback.

I’ve given you 23 metrics that cover six main types of content marketing metrics. Pick as many or as few as you’d like—as long as they accurately represent all your content marketing goals.

If there are any metrics that you particularly like or feel that I should have included, please share them in a comment below.

10 Marketing Hacks That Will Save You Time

10 Marketing Hacks That Will Save You Time

You know you need to ramp up your marketing efforts.  Everyone is telling you so ― industry advisers, consultants, your sales team, your spouse. I’m sure your dog, if he could, would look up at you and say: “Dude, content marketing.”

The problem isn’t identifying the to-do items; the problem is finding the time to execute.

So, in the time-honored tradition of good, resource-saving hacks, here are 10 ways to help you get more out of the time you invest in your MSP marketing efforts.

1. 20 minutes to your key selling points: Write down the top three benefits you deliver that clients say are the reasons they selected you. Under each benefit, list the top three ways your company is better than anyone else at delivering this benefit.  Then, under each of these items, list the three to five tactics or actions you and your team do to make this happen.  There you go ─ benefits, features and functionality on one piece of paper.  You’re welcome.

2. This one crazy trick will save you hours: Whenever you start to write an article or blog, picture your favorite client – the smart one who gets it and is a joy to work with. Then ask yourself: Will he or she care about this post? If the answer is no, stop writing. The point of creating content isn’t just to fill up a page; it’s to create a blog or post that delivers value to your reader. So, instead of just writing till you feel like stopping, think about what angle on this topic would make your client care. Then, write about that. This trick will save you time, since you’ll 1.) stop writing generic, me-too content that gets you nothing for your effort and 2.) write your posts faster. Once you’ve tightened up your focus, you’ll know when you’ve made your point(s) and can stop writing.

3. Prime the pump for good content ideas: Tools like Buzzsumo and Google Trends can help you see the relative trending of different terms and keywords.  Even better, the results may spark ideas for new content in the future. Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 4.25.30 PM

4. Don’t bury the lead: Your reader may take 5 seconds on your content, so make sure they count. As someone with a technical, non-marketing background, I tend to build an argument in my writing point by point, so that the main conclusions come at the end ─ which is opposite of where they should be.  So, after I finish writing, I go back and put the concluding points right up at the top. Then, I list the supporting materials. Sometimes, the best way to do this is to walk away from your writing for at least a day to get a fresh perspective.

5. Craft clickable and sharable headlines: For fun, try TweetYourBiz or Portent.  For more serious feedback, check out CoSchedule’s headline analyzer.

6. After you write a good blog, don’t drop the mic and walk away: Instead, think how many other content items you can produce. Perhaps what you really have is a three-part blog that can be turned into a longer white paper. If you create a killer PowerPoint, share it via SlideShare–then write a blog about it, then post updates on your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter properties.

7. Easy way to improve SEO: Hack No. 6 also helps your SEO ratings. Blogging directly via your LinkedIn or Facebook accounts doesn’t help the SEO for your website. Posting the blog on your website and driving traffic there via social does.

8. Calls to action: What do you want a prospect to do after reading your collateral or blog? Great idea!  Have you clearly told the reader what that is? They aren’t mind readers, after all. Make the buttons big and clear and the text something to drive action, such as “Get My Free eBook.”

9. Simplify design: The best design hack is similar to the best writing hack. Simplify. Do less than you think you need. Don’t pretend you’re a good designer when chances are you’re not. Two colors and a font.That’s all you need and all you should use unless you’ve been trained. Remember, if you try to give emphasis to everything on the page, then nothing on the page has any emphasis. Make it simple, clean and, when in doubt, use lots of white space.

10. Remember to have fun: Marketing is important, but it’s also the place to have a little fun. For example, business cards are an overlooked venue for reinforcing the essential components of your brand and content. Moo.com offers business cards that can have a different photo or design on every card in a pack. (No, I’m not getting paid for this mention.) Create your own ― but if you don’t have the time or money to spend on your own design, you can explore the ready-made designs and see if any of them are right for your company.

I hope that least one of these hacks has triggered a light-bulb moment as you’re plan your marketing efforts going forward.

Of course, all your marketing efforts should synch with your time availability and abilities. If you would rather leave the marketing to someone else to do, Click here to contact us for a free consultation.