Maximize Inbound ROI: Clicks, Content and Conversion
If you’re thinking about return on your marketing investments, you should know that Jim Lenskold, President of Lenskold Group, wrote the book – literally. His “Marketing ROI” book was rated one of the top five books on marketing in 2004. He’s applied those core principles to inbound marketing in this webinar: “Maximizing the ROI of Inbound: Clicks, Content and Conversion.” If you missed this event live, you can watch it on demand here. If you’re an inbound or content marketer, this is don’t-miss information.
Jim begins with establishing a framework for thinking about inbound. Here’s a representation of the types of marketing (the center), buyer stages (to the left) and where content fits in (to the right) – with a reminder that the bottom line hasn’t changed. It’s still all about increasing some type of value for your company. Remember also that the buyer can discover you and engage at any point in the buyer’s journey. Content has a role to play at every stage: attracting and engaging, educating, differentiating, converting, and beyond. Fulfilling the buyer’s need for educational information is a very good way to generate momentum with that buyer, with the goal being to flow the buyer through the funnel into purchase.
What is ROI? Net profit attributable to marketing, divided by marketing investment
There are two key ways to improve inbound ROI:
• Increase effectiveness. If we can drive more traffic, more leads, and more qualified opportunities with inbound marketing, we expect to realize incremental profit above the marketing spend.
• Increase efficiency. As an example, if you improve your SEO and draw more organic traffic, you might be able to reduce your spend on pay-per-click ads, realizing the same profit with less outlay.
The question becomes: How do you measure the right metrics in ways that indicate contribution to incremental income? And how do you use that information to improve your programs?
Lenskold presented the following question about linking current measures to financial outcomes:
For most marketers, the biggest challenge is assessing the impact of multiple contacts, followed by tracking content to the closed sale and attributing sales to the right tactic.
1. Better Metrics for Tracking Clicks, Content & Conversion
Inbound’s goal is to create awareness and action that leads to engagement, so you can measure the metrics that indicate it’s working, such as click-throughs. The goal of content marketing is to help people all the way through the sales cycle to conversion, so you measure different things, such as incremental sales, revenue, and profits. In the webinar Jim offers a thorough discussion of how these numbers work – and how they work together, walking through to a discussion of measuring the number of sales, the value of those sales, and the ability to compare those numbers with marketing costs.
He also goes into how to see which of the first sources go on to become qualified leads; which go on to buy; and how the length of the sales cycle indicates where they buyer is in the funnel at the time of the first engagement. In the example he gives, you can see that the buyer who engages first via an eBook is finding your content earlier in their purchase journey than a buyer who first engages via a webinar.
2. Measurements to Capture Incremental Lift for ROI
Tracking results is the first thing we need to do. The downside is that we tend to attribute to a single source. There are several strategies to get around this that can be used periodically, when you want to really dig down into what’s going on.
• Strategic market testing. This involves setting up a test and control group, and exposing certain people to one track and others to a different one. You can vary factors such as the target, the tactic and the message, and get data around things such as getting people past a certain re-engagement point in the funnel. Your control group would be business as usual (BAU); your test group would have one factor, such as exposure to a certain webinar, introduced.
• Modeling gives you insight into interaction effects, which in turn helps you see the drivers of sales and how they are related to each other. For example, you might look at how the impact of web page views on sales is attributed back to the marketing channels that drive page views.
3. Improve Inbound Marketing ROI
In this final section, Jim talks about three strategies for maximizing the impact of inbound and content marketing. (As an aside, these three strategies are all analytic techniques that are enabled by marketing automation strengths. Just sayin’.)
• Engagement path analysis measures how and when content marketing drives people through the buyer’s journey. They consume different types of content at different places in the buyer’s journey; knowing this path helps you identify the most effective series of content for engagement. This is particularly useful for designing nurturing programs.
• Measurements can detect the lift of customer intelligence, such as source, implicit factors (such as title) and explicit factors (such as actions taken on a website) combined with predictive modeling.
• Lead scoring traditionally indicates when it’s time to take a next step with a prospect, but with enhanced analytics, can also be used as an ROI indicator.