Measuring success in content marketing

I had the pleasure of giving a presentation recently where I shared the success metrics (email Content Marketingopen rates, social media stats, site visits) for the recent Spring Insight “State of the Internet” campaign (Missed them? It is not too late to check them out! The State of Website Design, Content Creation, Social Media, and Email). One of the participants asked a question that at the time seemed simple, but was so insightful and thought provoking that I decided it deserved a blog post of its own. She asked, “Based on those statistics, do you consider the campaign a success?”

With content marketing, success can be tricky to measure. Do you consider having people read or share your work as a success? Do they have to purchase something? To answer these questions, it is important to understand your sales funnel.

For Spring Insight, our most typical sales funnel looks like this:

Exposure – We meet. Perhaps I was a speaker at an event or we chat at a networking event. Either way, you are impressed with what I have to say and want to learn more.

Web assessment – You sign up for a web assessment and the two of us review your website. You aren’t quite ready to take on your website.

Contact database – You enter my contact database and I stay in periodic touch with you.

Educational cycle – As I stay in touch with you, I keep sending you links to my writing (such as the State of the Internet posts) that educate you on the Internet and my perspective.

Hire – When it comes time to invest in a new website, you can’t imagine who could be smarter than me in this space, so of course you hire me.

So, for Spring Insight, a prospect is typically well into the sales funnel before she starts reading our posts. We aren’t attracting someone via social media and trying to convert them into clients. That means that metrics such as clicks from emails to read content absolutely do constitute success.

How about for you? What is your sales funnel? How does your content fit
into that funnel?