It’s estimated that, on average, nearly a third of B2B and B2C marketing dollars are spent on generating content; and many experts believe that this trend will only continue. By the end of this year (2020), experts and analysts believe that the content marketing industry could be worth as much as $300 billion annually.
For brands, the promises of content marketing are especially tempting. High-quality content that’s effectively distributed can drive brand awareness, engage customers, capture leads, and boost sales. This has lead many in the marketing industry to proclaim that “content is king” when it comes to SEO, and it doesn’t look like it will be stepping down anytime soon.
But how much should your dispensary really be investing in content? And how do you know that your content marketing efforts are actually effective? Keep reading to find out how you can calculate the ROI of content.
Is Content Marketing Profitable?
High-quality content looks great. But marketing is not about producing interesting content, it is about driving traffic and boosting sales. If your content isn’t helping you improve the key performance indicators (KPIs) you care about, then it can’t be very valuable, no matter how good it looks.
So, is content marketing actually profitable?
For most brands, yes.
Content is believed to generate nearly 3 times more leads than traditional marketing methods while costing less to execute.
But just because other marketers are finding success with content marketing doesn’t necessarily mean you will. How can you know if your content marketing efforts are actually profitable? By calculating their ROI.
Why Is Calculating the ROI of Content so Difficult?
Measuring the ROI of marketing campaigns is one of the things that marketers struggle with the most. That’s understandable, since they aren’t mathematicians, after all. However, calculating the ROI of content is difficult for reasons beyond the math skills of the marketers in question.
Most significantly, content marketing is a long-term strategy with long-term results. So, calculating short-term results that impress people is difficult and unreliable.
Plus, there is no specific formula for measuring the ROI of content, leaving marketers to their own devices. As a result, it can be easy to get lost by measuring the wrong KPIs, or to get confused by measuring too many or too few of them.
Calculating the ROI of Content
The most common way of calculating the ROI of a content campaign is to calculate the total amount of dollars spent on the campaign and then subtract it from the total revenue generated by content-driven conversions.
In order to figure out the value of those content-driven conversions, you will have to determine the value of each individual conversion. If you’re working with a mix of online and retail sales, defining a monthly/weekly/whatever average for each sale/conversion should be enough.
Next, to determine how many of these conversions are content-driven, you will have to determine the number of leads that your content is actually capturing. How much traffic is your content actually generating? Check out your incoming numbers from organic searches on Google and social media shares. Assuming your site features a well-developed blog, the overwhelming majority of these visitors will be clicking-thru directly to your ranking blog content, making them easy to keep track of.
Once you have a general idea of how much organic traffic your content is capturing and what the value of that traffic is, you can begin to get a sense of what your content is actually worth. Simply subtract the total cost of your content from your conversion revenue for the time period being measured to find your total ROI.
If your calculated return is low, it may not actually be the fault of the content itself but rather a lack of on-site and on-page CTAs that drive action. If you are failing to drive users further down the funnel (towards converting) with actionable calls-to-action, your conversions will naturally suffer. Blog articles are prime territory for lead capture signup forms and CTAs that push users to convert, so make sure to push customers towards your menu or your text opt-in.
The Intangible Benefits of Content Marketing
Despite all this talk of calculating direct returns on content marketing, content also has numerous intangible benefits that are worth noting.
For instance, high-quality content has been found to inspire positive brand perceptions among viewers. Quality content that entertains and engages viewers can rub off on brands, leading audiences to associate them with the creativity, sincerity, and value demonstrated in that content. Best of all, these positive mentions and perceptions have been detected across several different platforms, including social media, where they can be shared with others.
Content has also been found to influence customer purchasing decisions. Many customers will visit a brand’s website in order to find out more about it before committing to a purchase. Because of this, the content present on the site will directly influence purchasing decisions. Moreover, content that is shared externally can drive interest in a certain product or service, without a potential customer ever having to visit the site at all.
Content marketing is also believed to improve customer loyalty. This is crucial because retaining current customers is much cheaper than finding new ones. Interesting and engaging content builds stronger bonds between brands and their customers. A brand that provides knowledge and expertise alongside its products and services is more likely to be seen as valuable and trustworthy.
Because high-quality content often brings other benefits that are intangible and incalculable, measuring the impact of your content on these and other factors is nearly impossible. Nevertheless, that does not mean there is no impact. Your content is boosting your brand’s reputation and authority over time.