Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Numbers Game: How Metrics Can (and Should) Influence Your Business Marketing Content

Like so many other right-brained individuals, I was never any good at math. Even today, I feel much more comfortable working with words than navigating numbers. I’m sure many businesspeople feel the opposite way. But when you’re tasked with creating marketing content for your business (with or without the aid of a freelance marketing copywriter), you should know that there’s one area where words and numbers can enter into a powerful partnership -- and that’s in the relationship between your marketing content and your marketing metrics.

Metrics, or key performance indicators or whatever you want to call them, are the numbers that tell you how well your current efforts are working for you. The king of all marketing metrics, of course, is the revenue generated by your marketing. But that grand total won’t tell you which bits of your marketing content are actually helping to boost it and which one are doing no good at all. To obtain that level of detail, you need to examine the performance of each piece of marketing content -- every web page, every contact form, every blog post, every video, every step along the buyer’s journey. Here are a few ways your metrics can enlighten you:

Web traffic and referral sources - How many visitors does your website receive in a given period of time, an even more importantly, where are they coming from? If you’re getting the lion’s share of them from ads or blog posts, which of these items are scoring highest -- and which keywords seem to be at the center of this success? If, for example, the phrase “alligator shoes in Austin, Texas” is pushing thousands of new friends onto your custom shoe retail site, then you’ll know you need to pump out more ads and articles mentioning this hot property. On the other end of the success scale, if your B2B services company is getting surprisingly few click-throughs from your LinkedIn page, then maybe the LinkedIn page's content could use some polishing.

Drop-off points - Are there specific spots in your online marketing content that seem to be sabotaging your lead generation efforts? If so, the right metrics can point those places out.  For instance, if your red-hot lead suddenly grows cold when faced with a call to action or a request for personal data, then he will likely drop off of your site at that point -- possibly never to return. If lots of people seem to be exiting your site at that specific point, then maybe you’ve introduced the hard sell a little too early in the process. You might need to create additional content, or improve the content you have, on the pages leading up to this one so the viewer is better primed to sign up for that newsletter or click that “Order Now” button.

A/B Test Results - This method of testing your marketing content’s effectiveness works equally well for both online and print content. Say you want to entice a specific target market into trying your products by offering a free gift, but you’re not quite sure what kind of offer will make the biggest impact. With A/B testing, you might simply create two different marketing postcards, each one offering a different freebie, and mail them out to a sliver of your audience. The gift that gets the biggest response is clearly the more effective choice, so now you can switch all your efforts toward distributing that postcard. You can do the same thing with a landing page by subtly varying the page layout, offer, call to action, or some other aspect and then showing one of two versions to each half of your incoming traffic. Whichever one scores the highest number of responses is the one with the Right Stuff. 

Don’t keep using the same old marketing content just because it sounds good and looks good. Measure the effects of that content on your audience, and then refine it accordingly until the results it gets are good, too. Let your numbers help shape your content, and you’ll find that your content starts to pull in some nicer numbers!