The end of the year is often a time for reflection and evaluation. Even if leads are pouring in and your sales team can’t stop closing deals, it’s important to evaluate your marketing efforts.
In this article, we take a look at how to evaluate what is working (and not working) in a B2B content marketing plan. Below are a few questions to guide you through the evaluation.
As we’ve said before, content marketing is not an end unto itself. It’s a means for starting, nurturing, and retaining relationships. Your B2B content marketing may not be a high lead-generation tool for your firm, but it’s likely an important part of the relationship management process.
Ideally, you have a way to track website conversions, whether it’s an analytics tool like Google Analytics, HubSpot, Marketo, or SalesForce. Look back on the entire year as a whole to get a high-level look of the sources that are driving conversions (leads) to your company. For most companies with a comprehensive B2B marketing strategy, leads come from a variety of sources, including Organic Search, Paid Search, Email Marketing, Referrals, and Social Media (to name a few).
If you’ve been diligent throughout the year, you should be able to see the status of the leads as well as the source of the leads. If you don’t have that information this year, make sure you start working on lead attribution going forward. It’s critical to understanding which channel sources are the most effective for generating quality leads. For example, you may get a lot of leads from Paid Search, but they may not have the same closing rate as the leads that come from Organic Search.
Since we are talking about content marketing, we need to look at how visitors are engaging with the content on your B2B website. Google Analytics is one of the most universally used sources for tracking website activity. Take a look at the “Site Content – All Pages” Report under Behavior to see the top-visited pages, along with important metrics like the average time on the page, entrances and the exit rate.
This report tells you not only which are the most popular pages but which pages retain visitors the longest.
While it’s important to see what pages people are engaging with on your website, it’s also critical to see what pages are bringing people to your B2B website. This is often surprising. You may think your services page attracts new visitors, but it could be a blog from three years ago that is bringing in the majority of visitors.
View the “Site Content – Landing Pages” under Behavior to get a look at the top landing pages for your website.
This report shares not only which landing pages are driving traffic, but shares what pages are bringing new visitors to the website – along with the most important factor: conversions. You can sort the metrics on this page in a variety of ways, but sorting by the conversion rate shows which pages are the best for bringing in traffic and converting that traffic.
We recommend spending the bulk of your time looking at this report. It’s helpful for planning out future topics, optimizing existing content, and looking for potential gaps, opportunities, and insights about the direction of your strategy. For example, you may be spending the bulk of your time explaining how features work, when the metrics show that the highest converting pages share strategic advice for implementation.
Social media is a good way to spread the word, passively nurture leads, and retain existing clients. Your goal should be to share content on social media that connects with your existing followers, engages them to interact with your content, and is interesting enough for your followers to share with their networks.
When evaluating your content marketing strategy and efforts, be sure to review the analytics on each social network where your company has an active presence. Each social network has their own analytics platform, but here we’ll look only at LinkedIn.
On your company LinkedIn page, navigate to Analytics – Updates. This shows the content that you’ve shared and how users are interacting with it.
Determine which metrics are the most important for your company. Are you a start-up looking for brand exposure? Then Impressions may be the most important metric for you. Are you looking to boost website traffic and increase conversions? Then Clicks and CTR are likely important to you. If you are looking to build and nurture relationships with new and existing clients, then you may be more interested in Reactions and Comments.
You can spend hours or days evaluating the effectiveness of your B2B content marketing plan, digging deeper and deeper into each report. However, it’s important to keep a high-level view that looks at everything so you don’t get “stuck in the weeds” as the saying goes. Start your evaluation by reviewing the above reports.