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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistWed, Jan 14, 2015 8 min read

Content Marketing: What Numbers Should Be Important To You?

Inbound Marketing NumbersIn all of our commentary on content marketing and inbound marketing, we’ve always included a discussion around metrics.

What numbers do we look at to decide if our overall content marketing program is working? How do we know which blog articles are resonating and which pieces of content are turning the most prospects into hot leads for our company?

Today, we are going to dedicate the entire article to identifying exactly which numbers you want to look at daily, weekly and monthly. This should give you a very good handle on how to measure what’s working effectively and what's not within the content portion of your inbound marketing program.

Here’s a set of magic numbers to help you see what’s driving leads, what’s driving traffic and what might be driving up your costs.

Blog Subscribers – You’re going to be spending a fair amount of time creating blog articles. If no one is subscribed to your blog, you’ll get the search engine optimization benefit but won’t be nurturing any leads or speaking to any prospects on a regular basis. You want to make sure that your blog subscriber numbers are going up on a daily basis. One great way to do this is to include an automatic opt-in for blog subscriptions on your forms.

Blog Views – This is the best way to see what your prospects think about your content. If the views number is up, they like it. If the views number is down, they don’t. We typically look at this each day a new blog article publishes on a site. Take that data and use it to create more articles that are in line with what your prospects like, leaving those underperforming posts behind.

Blog Clicks – We’re practicing inbound marketing to get leads, so posting blog articles without a call to action – your chance to turn a reader into a lead – is criminal. If all of your blog articles include a CTA button that drives readers to more related content, you should also be looking at clicks or leads from blog posts. If your blog articles don’t convert readers into leads, consider adjusting your content or trying different content offers on the blog.

Shares And Links From Blog Articles – If people are sharing your content, they must like it, right? If they’re including that content on their own blog or in their own content publication efforts, that also means they like it. Keep track of this sharing and link creation. Backlinks and shares are two highly scored elements when Google ranks your content. The more you get, the more likely you are to have a blog post rank on the first page, driving even more traffic and more leads.

Clicks On CTA Buttons – Your long-form content, like whitepapers, e-books, slide shows, infographics and tip sheets, needs graphic call-to-action buttons on your site. Once these buttons are up, you need to be looking at the conversion rate for them. These have a lot to do with how many leads you generate. Poorly designed, badly written action buttons limit the amount of leads you get for your business. Keep track of their click-through rates on a monthly basis and adjust them accordingly. Don’t consider a piece of content to be underperforming until you’ve tried adjusting the CTA button.

Conversions On Landing Pages – After people click on your CTA buttons, they're going to hit a landing page. This is the next step in their journey through your site. But, your goal as an inbound marketer is still in process because unless they complete this form and convert, they’re not a lead yet. So, you’re going to want to track the metrics associated with every single landing page on your site. High-performing landing pages should be around 40% or higher. If you have a site that’s in the teens, it probably needs some redesign or optimization to improve its individual performance.

BONUS METRIC

Sitewide Conversion Rate – Here’s a high-level bonus metric that you want to keep a daily watch on. This number calculates total visitors and total leads for a sitewide conversion rate. Sitewide conversion rates typically range between 1% and 3%, with average rates at around 1.5% or so. If your conversion rate is below 1%, you need to add more content to your site. People are landing on your site and not converting because there are limited offers to get them to convert.

If your sitewide conversion rate is around 1.5% and you want it to be higher, you’re going to need to consider looking at all of your landing pages and further optimizing the visitor experience. This might also include a more strategic approach to content placement, making sure that top-of-the-funnel offers are on your awareness pages, middle-of-the-funnel offers are on your consideration pages and bottom-of-the-funnel offers are on your decision pages.

When it comes to the timing and rhythms associated with looking at metrics, I view a lot of blog-related metrics daily. It helps me craft blog articles based on real-time feedback from our subscribers. It’s easy, too. Since I’m in HubSpot to write the blog anyway, checking on the metrics is a perfect match for the workflow.

Other content metrics take more of a concerted effort. This should be done monthly or quarterly at the minimum. If you’re creating a quarterly or monthly content plan, you need to know what’s resonating and what’s not prior to setting your strategy. Get a feel for content performance first, and then set your plans for the next 30, 60 or 90 days.

Start Today Tip – You should create a dashboard of content-related metrics. You need to look at some daily, some weekly and others monthly. Get a benchmark for your performance now, and then set goals to drive it up. Measure your numbers and watch your progress toward your goals. Don’t wait months if the metrics are below expectations. Adopt a more agile approach to content and inbound marketing so you're able to make changes more quickly and impact results more dynamically. 

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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