They say blogging is free. But how free is it when you spend so much time crafting the right post and resources on a content marketing team? The truth is a business shouldn’t be blogging without purpose and without wanting to achieve a return on investment from their efforts. So how do you take your regular blog and turn it into a powerhouse for lead generation?
If you are like most businesses you are probably churning out a variety of blog posts, social media updates, podcasts, videos and other such medium to promote your products or services. Nothing is wrong with what you’re doing – in fact, you have seen an increase in website traffic and maybe even a slight increase in referrals and reviews online. But can you actually attribute any of your blog content to actual sales on your website?
In this blog I will go over the formula for seeing a return on investment on your social media activity. The formula involves several steps and a whole lot of teamwork so don’t feel like you have to be doing this all on your own!
If you want to track the sales of anything online, you must have the functionality available on your website. If you have a product for example, each product should have a landing page where I can register and purchase the product on your website.
Some businesses might not be able to directly sell a product online but there is still some option for lead generation such as call back forms, contact forms and sign up forms. Once a form is submitted you can pass this on to a member of your sales team and ask them to inform you if a sale was made or feed the contact back to you if a sale wasn’t made so you can continue to market to them via email or advertising.
If you want to create several landing pages for different products/services and forms then you don’t want to have to call your web developer every time or you could lose an arm and a leg in cash. A great alternative is to invest in LeadPages. It’s an awesome tool that allows you to create landing pages by dragging and dropping. Literally as simple as that!
To start selling effectively on your blog you need to start thinking of all your activity as ‘campaigns’. For example your day to day blogging can be look at as a traffic building campaign alongside your monthly emails and day to say social media activity. The aim of these is to build your audience, gain awareness and traffic. Notice that I did not say the aim is to sell.
This is a crucial point in selling online. Your day-to-day activity is only there to help build your audience, actual sales will come from targeted and planned campaigns.
Marketo have created this awesome slideshare to help you plan your campaigns:
Why UTMs are now your life
In the world of campaigns it’s not easy to track how many people came from a particular social post to your blog to your landing page but it’s so important to be able to analyse behaviour in this way.
This is why Google now has created a URL builder to help us track where our site traffic is coming from.
Say you have used the URL builder to create a personalised Pinterest link to promote one of your blog posts. When you go to the blog post in Google Analytics you will be able to click on source/medium and it will tell you what campaign your traffic is coming from. Is it from organic traffic? Pinterest? Facebook? Email?
Armed with these metrics you can now measure the conversion rate for each stage of your campaign. The below video is a tutorial on tracking your campaigns with UTM builder.
The reason that campaigns always win
The best thing about a campaign is that you can always make adjustments while it’s running to improve it’s efficiency and result in higher ROI.
The first thing you need to do if you’re going to decide what adjustments need to be made is document each stage of your campaign. Each piece of content needs to be written down and the main metrics associated with that content. If you create a blog post then you need to write down your page views, sessions, average time on page, bounce rate, social referrals and any other metrics you deem as important for that stage.
Next you can calculate your conversion rate for each stage. If I reach 10,000 people with my pin on Pinterest for example and go into Google Analytics to discover that 10 people were referred to my blog from the Pinterest post then I know my conversion rate to be 10%. Now you can start asking yourself questions to help optimise your conversion rate.
Was the post copy good enough? Did I use a good enough image? Did the time and day of the post have an effect? And now you can experiment with new posts to get the optimum results for your campaign and make 10% conversion rate into 20% or even higher.
Where ROI meets its maker
The reason that it’s so difficult to calculate the ROI of your day-to-day social media activity goes back to my point above – because your main aim isn’t to sell but to grow your audience. Now you have crafted a campaign that you can be proud of you have something you can calculate ROI from.
To accurately gauge the ROI of your content campaign you must first ensure that you have set up your goals and all of your UTMs like I mentioned above. You need to have the right tracking in place to ensure you are actually getting people to convert. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to set up a goal and how to set up and track a UTM if you haven’t already. The goals will help you see how many people are taking that final lead generating step like buying a product or signing a contact form.
At Live And Social we know that an hour costs our business £60. So I can calculate that if I spend 10 hours on this project we as a business have lost £600. On top of this I can look at any spend on social ads, outside resources and other such costs to deduce that I have spent X amount on my campaign. For this example let’s say I spent just £600 on the whole campaign.
If I generated 200 sales resulting in £30,000 then I can deduce my ROI is £30,000-£600 = £29,400. All easy peasy for a retail brand but what about the B2B market where online sales occur less often and we are working with contact forms and sign ups?
In this scenario we must be a bit more tactful about how we calculate ROI. Results won’t be as accurate but we will have an average and we can still use the figures to help us develop new campaigns and adjust old ones.
Take the example of a recruitment company. The aim on the website is to submit a CV or a brief if you are looking for a role or looking to hire. After this you are contacted by a sales representative who will help you find a job or fill a vacancy. In the case of ROI what you must do is calculate the average amount of money your company makes from filling a vacancy (numbers like this are normally already calculated and with the finance department). Let’s imagine for this example that filling a role is worth £10,000 to this recruitment company.
You then need to calculate the average amount of CV submissions until someone is hired. If there are 10 CV’s submitted for every 1 person hired then you can divide the £10,000 figure by 10 giving you £1,000.
Now when you are in Google Analytics all you have to do in the goal settings is tell google that each CV submission is worth £1,000 and for every 10 submissions you will reach your average revenue. I do recommend that a B2B company goes over these figures once a quarter to make sure the revenue generated stays at an average and doesn’t skew. You will have to keep an eye on the numbers too.
Lead generation success
So there you have it. A formula to make money from blogging, generate increased revenues and grow your business all with a touch of a button. Once a campaign is made and adjusted enough times then it can be left to it’s own devices to run as long as you want it to. That means you are making money without even doing any work and can move on to the next campaign!
We have developed something called a blog strategy masterclass to help teach you everything you need to know about running a successful blog for your business. This includes design, writing, management, planning, strategy, SEO, selling and more. If you want to join the masterclass you can apply to be one of our 6 per quarter here:
If you need help developing your campaigns or simply want to discuss the role of lead generation and content marketing then feel free to tweet me @MyCreative_UK.