Companies that use content for lead generation need to see ROI from their efforts. To get better ROI from their content, companies can use funnel metrics to measure how well potential customers are engaging with their marketing. Once you know how well customers are moving through your funnel, you’ll be able to fine-tune your content marketing strategy to reach customers at each stage of the sales funnel.
Your Content Should Move Prospects Through Your Funnel
The measure of your content’s effectiveness shouldn’t only rely on generic metrics like traffic, page views, or number of shares. These numbers are easily quantifiable, but they don’t give you a good sense of how well your content is converting readers into customers. A good metric to chart instead is to see how people are moving through your funnel after they consume your content. This means measuring how they go from the top of the funnel down through the middle until they reach the bottom.
Customers don’t start moving through your funnel until they’ve understood something about your industry and the typical problems that your company can solve for them. The top of your funnel will cast a wide net, but only a percentage of your potential customers will move on to the middle of the funnel and all the way to the bottom. This is the stage where they understand your company’s value proposition and can see how your solution solves their particular problem.
Top of Funnel Metric to Track: Newsletter signups per thousand visitors. This will give you an idea of how effective the various opt-in boxes around your site are converting.
Middle of Funnel Metric to Track: Percentage of newsletter click-throughs to targeted lead generation pages. Are people who are reading your newsletter warm enough to want to visit your site? If you’re not getting click-throughs, then perhaps you need to change your call to action in your email messages.
Bottom of Funnel Metric to Track: Percentage of closed sales from the submissions of lead generation page contact forms. As the customer becomes more engaged and wants someone to contact them, it’s up to your sales team to close the sale.
These funnel metrics are more important than general measures of who’s seen your blog posts. Although you may be charting who is reading a particular post, someone at the top of the funnel is at a different stage than a person at the bottom the funnel who is ready to buy.
What About Lead Scoring?
Charting funnel metrics doesn’t invalidate the practice of lead scoring. It’s just a reminder that you need to think about what the buyer is going through as they move through the their journey. As your prospect moves through your funnel, what are the milestones that you can chart as they move from curiosity seeker to a lead who’s ready to buy? A content marketer actively guides their prospect through the sales funnel. When you’re creating relevant content, you have to think like a teacher and educate your buyer. Only after you’ve educated them will they know enough to take you up on your value proposition.
Think about the top questions that your buyers have when they interact with your content. If you answer those questions in your funnel, your content marketing to sales bridge will naturally fall into place. And if you don’t know what those questions are, try talking to your salespeople. They’re the ones talking to your potential customers every day and will have answers to those questions. The answers you get will help you to create content that kickstarts your lead nurturing process.
Typical Objections to Creating Content
Companies aren’t always enthusiastic about creating content for lead generation purposes. They probably already have lead generation expenses and might balk at adding a content marketing expense. They may also object to giving out proprietary information through white papers that they don’t want to give out for free. Let’s look at both of those objections.
We don’t have time to produce quality content. You probably already have content that isn’t being deployed in different channels. The first thing a company can do is to start sending their audio, video, and text content out through different social media channels. Businesses should also think about creative ways they can re-purpose content. A webinar can be excerpted and posted on Youtube, while portions of its slide deck can be posted on the company’s social media channels.
We don’t want to give away our content for free. But it’s not really free if you think about it. When you use PPC to reach customers, you’re paying a company like Google Adwords to get in front of potential customers. With content marketing, you are creating value, which gives you permission to market to the customers you’ve attracted.
Your main content marketing metric should always be how it’s helping your bottom line. And once you see what type of content converts potential customers at each stage of your funnel, you’ll have a clearer view of how your content is driving ROI.
Originally published 02/24/17.