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Businesses in North America are responding to inbound marketing. As the Custom Content Council noted in 2010, 68 percent of surveyed companies indicated a shift in spending from traditional marketing to branded content.
One driver of this trend may be in the advantage inbound marketing has in determining return on investment. Unlike its “outbound” or paid-advertising counterparts, inbound marketing strategy allows for clear measurements of success and ROI. The transparency of the online environment lets you count clicks, compare “shares” and “follows,” and ultimately connect the dots between your efforts and your outcomes.
Four things to measure
1. Keywords. Getting the right search engine optimization (SEO) words and phrases is essential to your ROI. Eye-tracking studies show that people typically pay the most attention to the top few results and less attention to those farther down the scroll – so getting near the top of the page is vital. like Google Insights for Search and Page Rank Checker can give you the analytics behind SEO choices; you can also perform spot checks by doing your own search of your keywords and seeing where your site or content lands.
2. A/B content. Also known as multivariate testing, A/B measures how changes in your content affects visitor reaction. You may use one version (“A”) of a call to action for a month, for example, then another version (“B”) that is worded differently. Or you may use the same CTA but on different positions on the page … or even just change the color of the CTA button.
According to Concentric Marketing, landing-page A/B testing is less common than CTA A/B testing – which means you can establish a competitive advantage when you learn what elements of your landing page perform best.
3. Hits vs. conversions. You may find it exciting to report 1,000 visitors to your social media pages, but if few of them continue to your landing pages, and none of them becomes a qualified lead, your inbound marketing strategy cannot be deemed a success. The simple formula for such a measurement is the total number of visitors to your content divided by those who took an action you requested, like clicking to a landing page. According to FutureNow, you can also measure the scenario conversion rate (those who start an action versus those who complete it) and conversion over time (how many visits it took to achieve an action).
4. Revenue. Content marketing works – companies that blog get more attention, more inbound links, and 434 percent more indexed pages than non-blogging businesses. Set your goals for revenue with the assistance of an inbound marketing professional, and you can track your ROI against these metrics. It may take time to build a successful campaign, but for countless companies, an inbound marketing strategy is the right strategy.
How are you measuring ROI?
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