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What is Content Marketing and How Do You Calculate its ROI?

The internet revolution has changed just about everything we do in our businesses, not least of which is how we go about marketing our products and services. It can be really challenging for business owners today to know where to invest their dollars to get the biggest bang for their internet buck. Pay per click? Facebook advertising? SEO? It all costs money and those dollars are precious to your ROI!

My business provides content marketing services to businesses that are generating in excess of $10 million annually. Our clients work very hard for their revenue and they are loathe to waste a single dime on an initiative that doesn’t come with a guaranteed ROI. And marketing is not well understood these days, despite the fact that it’s a field that has been around for decades. For the record, here’s my definition of marketing:

Marketing is the process of starting conversations with the people who might want to do business with you. You might do that through:

  • Networking meetings
  • Business cards and brochures
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Giving a talk
  • Hosting an event
  • Holding a webinar
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Through your website
  • Through a blogging program
  • Through a social media platform like LinkedIn

Content Marketing, meanwhile, is the process of starting conversations with the people who might want to do business with you by developing online content that you can use as conversation starters. This might specifically include:

  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Blogging programs
  • Downloadable White papers
  • Videos
  • Ebooklets

It’s tough to pinpoint an ROI for marketing. The ROI of sales is easy: your sales guy made 20 calls over X-number of hours, booked five meetings that took Y-number of hours, and she made three sales that generated $Z. Factor in your salesperson’s salary, the lunches they bought for their prospects along the way and do the math.

With marketing, meanwhile, your prospect might have seen your booth at a trade show, visited your website, connected with you on LinkedIn and signed up for your mailing list. They received your regular emails for six months before downloading the free whitepaper on your website. At that point they looked at your collection of YouTube videos and then picked up the phone to book a free consultation. Which marketing channel gets the credit for the action? You need to do a lot of testing to figure that out. And you need a lot of analytical information as well. An ROI for each channel is certainly something you can determine. But it’s a little more complicated.

The advantage of knowing your ROI on each marketing channel is that you can then determine what to do more of, and what to do less of. The closer you are to your numbers, the more strategic your thinking can be.

If you’d like more information about how Crossman Communications can help you reach your content marketing goals, please contact our CEO, Susan Crossman, for a free consultation about your biggest online worries!


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