Cost of Conversion and Content Marketing Goals for B2B and B2C Companies

Establishing goals is the very first step within the content marketing lifecycle. Nothing can start until you have a solid plan of attack that will address the intended results of a content marketing strategy.Each company will have different criteria of expectations and goals. Arnie Kuenn, President of Vertical Measures, spoke with Martin van der Roest of the Content Marketing Examiner on the types of tangible goals that are formulated by B2B and B2C companies.

Arnie kicked off the discussion by explaining the focus of many B2B and B2C companies. “It boils down to lowering their cost of conversions. B2B is typically a lead, a form to be filled out, a phone number to call or some sort of interaction to get a dialog going. For B2C, most people would think of a goal of traffic or an actual sale of some kind of a product. They’re probably already marketing in some fashion, so to get them to move over to content marketing, they have to feel it’s a justified move and their hope is to lower that cost-per-conversion.”

To discover if content marketing is helping lower the cost-per-conversion, cost-per-visitor, cost-per-lead or cost-per-sale, there are a few ways to track the evolution of your marketing activities. Google Analytics, Constant Contact and CRM systems like SalesForce all play a role in measuring your cost-per-conversion. To understand correlation between action and outcome, tools must be used to track how clients were acquired.

To follow the process of acquiring new customers, most B2Bs and B2Cs start with traffic as a measurable goal, while educational institutions tend to focus their goals on increasing leads. To begin tracking, analytics need to be in place so that there can be a benchmark on initial and ensuing traffic. Select a time range and anticipated percent of traffic growth.Google Analytics and the Google Webmaster Tools are some of the best ways to measure change. If analytics have been working correctly for a period of time, you will have yourself a reliable starting point.Stats should be running for some time before realistic goals and baselines can be created.

As Martin confirms, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

Finding the ROI for Content Marketing / SEO

“What are we actually getting out of content marketing?” is often the turning-point question that can change skeptics into believers.Within the content marketing and SEO worlds, it is difficult to say that if you invest in these types of practices, you are going to see a substantial payoff.It’s not that you cannot measure it; it’s the fact that it takes several months for it to have a return.

HubSpot is doing a good job of researching many websites that are producing content and, in general, it appears as if it takes five, six, seven months before a content marketing strategy that has been implemented starts to take hold where you can start to measure and say, “Okay, I’m getting the ROI I was hoping for,” explains Arnie. “In our world, asking the C-levels to invest for five, six, seven months and then we’ll show you some really meaningful data, is a difficult conversation at times. Especially when one of the options is, ’I’ll just keep feeding my pay-per-click machine and I see instant results.’ A content marketing investment will actually take over and start reducing your actual marketing expenses.” There’s not a direct ROI that can be pointed to immediately and the financial investment is unique to the needs of each company.

Bridging the Gap

There are a number of hurdles that companies will face when trying to achieve their goals.One of the biggest hurdles is being able to consistently produce a large amount of value-added content and, undoubtedly, this takes a few months to get rolling. Don’t back down because things are slow to take off. Arnie explains how things progress. “Keep pushing the content out and eventually you build your audience, and it is truly like the snowball. To start that snowball, it takes a snowflake.”

There is a crawl-walk-run component for high value content. Start creating content by discovering the questions potential and current clients are asking. Talk with people in the different departments to see the types of questions/topics that are being mentioned. Simply make a few blog posts that answer these questions/topics of interest. The walking stage would be to make those blog posts as rich as possible. Add pictures and infographics, engaging your target audience with stimulating conversations. You start running when you incorporate an editorial calendar where you’re planning content out for the next several months with task assignments and a full content lifecycle.

Patience is key in the process of setting goals, creating value-added content, and then gaining an audience to receive a true ROI. Sometimes you have to try it to own it. In the case of content marketing, owning it comes easy after traffic and leads become evident.

Join the Conversation:

  • What part of the crawl-walk-run phase are you in? What’s preventing you from moving forward?
  • How long has it taken you to see a ROI from content marketing?
  • What measurement tools do you use to track cost-of-conversion?
This article highlights selected excerpts from CMX’s interview with Arnie Kuenn, of Vertical Measures, and Martin van der Roest of the Examiner on the topic of Content Marketing Goals for B2B & B2C – May 31, 2013.