Effective Content Marketing for Small Business: Metrics You Can Actually Use

Use these content marketing metrics to measure the success of your efforts.

Learn how to gauge the success of your content marketing efforts by establishing metrics that tie to your sales cycle. Continue reading for insights into measuring the effectiveness of your content.

Your content marketing isn’t squat without metrics.

Throughout our series on this topic, we’ve discussed ways to plan and execute your content marketing strategy. Now it’s time for us to discuss your measurements.

One of your first inclinations is to see how your content directly affects sales. (We’re all in this to make money, right?) To do so, it helps to connect your content to your sales funnel, which is the process your customers use to make a purchase.

Here’s an example of a basic sales funnel:

Here's an example of a sales funnel you can use to tie back to your content marketing metrics.

And a summary of each step:

  • Awareness: First, people must know about your business
  • Engagement: Next, customers have an experience with your brand
  • Activity: Then, customers interact with your business
  • Purchase: The holy grail of ecommerce

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Please note that customers don’t always follow each step of the funnel – they can easily skip a step or two. Also, this example is very generic, so when you’re creating your own metrics, outline your own sales process in more detail.

Okay, now that we have our sales process down, let’s connect it to our content marketing metrics.

Awareness
Even though awareness is the first step in the funnel, it’s one of the last pieces you can gauge against your content. This is because it takes time for your content to spread and reap its benefits. As you continue to measure, take a look at the following ideas for benchmarking Awareness:

  • Number of times your content receives a ping or backlink
  • Overall traffic to your website and social media channels
  • Search engine results for your website and individual content pieces
  • Brand appearances via Google Alerts and other internet monitoring tools

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Engagement
In regards to your content, engagement means that customers are watching or reading it. If someone is engaging with your content and is new to your brand, this step can also encompass “awareness.” Here are a few examples of Engagement measurements:

  • Number of views your YouTube videos receive
  • Amount of downloads of a white paper or eBook
  • Number of registrants and participants for a webinar
  • Length of visit on your blog, site and other online touch points

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Use these metrics over time to identify your most popular topics. This will help shape your content marketing pieces as you move forward.

Activity
If your content is compelling enough, customers will want to interact with you more. Once shoppers begin communicating and exploring your brand, you’re in a much better position to sell them something. Use these common metrics to measure Activity:

  • Number of blog comments
  • Number of fans, followers and RSS subscription
  • Number of newsletter signups
  • Amount of shares, likes, retweets, etc.

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Purchase

Quite frankly, measuring purchases directly from your content is tricky, especially since there are a number of other factors that influence sales. However, it’s still possible and advisable to do so.

My favorite technique for this is to incorporate tracking links on each of your content pieces. If you’re using Google Analytics for your reporting, use this URL builder to create your own unique links. With enough experience (or some third-party help), you can run a report that connects cookies from these tracking links to purchases of individual products.

Another idea is to measure the amount of revenue you receive from customers that are engaging with your content compared to those who aren’t. You can run reports based on customer email addresses as a starting point. If you begin to see that the number of orders and size of orders are higher with your “content customers,” you’re headed in the right direction.

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If you’re going to make any traction with your content marketing (or overall business), measuring your progress is a must – otherwise you might as well be writing with invisible ink.

Join us next time for the conclusion of our content marketing series, where we discuss how to keep your publishing schedule sustainable.

Happy selling!
-Matt Winn, Online Communications Specialist, Volusion

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This article is a part of our Effective Content Marketing for Small Business series. Please check out the other posts and share them with anyone who may be interested.

Effective Content Marketing for Small Business:

Volume One: What Is Content Marketing?
Volume Two: 9 Ways to Get Started
Volume Three: 6 Steps to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Volume Four: 4 Ways to Break Through the Content Clutter
Volume Five: 9 Simple Ways to Spread Your Content Like Wildfire
Volume Six: Metrics You Can Actually Use
Volume Seven: How to Stay Committed to the Cause

About 

Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

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