One of the questions I know most Marketers and Business Owners have is “How can I get the most out of my marketing for what I’m spending?”
In the digital age it’s easier than ever to track and measure your marketing to know what is effective and what is not.
If you use traditional marketing methods however this may prove to be a bit difficult.
Reason being there is no real way to directly measure the correlation between traditional media ad spend and return on investment. As a result, you spend money executing campaigns that feel more like guess work, rather than purposeful and targeted.
As a business owner, it makes it difficult to know if you're able to generate a positive ROI that drives business results.
As a marketer, it makes it difficult to justify each dollar of your marketing spend to executives.
In my execution of Content Marketing with my personal projects, companies I’ve worked for, and clients I’ve worked with, I’ve found that Content Marketing is one of the most effective methods in gathering data for better marketing execution.
But how do you use Content Marketing to gather this data?
Using Content Marketing to Gather Data
Since data is the salvation to our problem of making marketing more effective, Content Marketing is the means to that salvation.
However, there are a few steps that comes before actually extracting and mining data to be more effective with your marketing.
It starts with understanding your audience.
Step 1: Understanding your Audience
As with any form of marketing, or business for that matter, the very first step in being successful is an understanding of who your target audience is and who you are selling to.
I know it sounds pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many Marketers and Business Owners I’ve come across that execute based on a very vague and broad idea of who they are targeting.
Your target audience has to go beyond simply demographics such as female, 25-50, works in corporate. You have to also understand what their interests are, motivations, challenges, thoughts and feelings about life in relation to the product/service you are marketing.
A point to note here is that there are two types of audiences:
The audience who you think is your customer
The audience who is actually your customer
Understand that if you’re selling or launching a new product or campaign for the first time, it’s highly likely the customer who you think will buy is actually NOT the one who buys.
It’s okay to assume or even ‘guess’ who you think would be the best target group for your product/service.
However, the point I’m making is don’t get too caught up or emotionally attached if you find that who you thought would be your customers aren’t, and you have to completely redefine who your customers are based on data and feedback.
If you don't, that's how you will end up going out of business.
This is where testing comes in and where Content Marketing holds value.
Step 2: Creating and testing Content
The next step is creating content for your ‘assumed audience’.
I won’t go into this much, as I go through creating content in detail in the third chapter of the free online resource I created titled Getting Started with Content Marketing.
Now it’s important not to get too caught up with trying to create the ‘best’ content. The only thing that matters is creating content that’s good enough and putting it out there.
Remember this is just the test phase so perfection and idealism shouldn’t be a part of the discussion.
The only thing that matters is gathering feedback as quickly as possible. That feedback should be based on which content is viewed more, shared more, has the most comments, or email opt-ins and downloads.
You can distribute this content on Social Media, on your website in a Blog format, or using email platforms such as Mailchimp (I use Convertkit by the way).
The more content you put out, the quicker you’ll be able to gauge what works and what doesn’t, and what resonates best with your target audience.
Step 3: Preliminary data analysis
Once you’ve distributed your content across different channels, next you want to do a quick analysis on a high level to see which posts are getting engagement.
You can identify this through looking at which posts are getting a lot of Likes, Shares, and Comments. If it’s your website do the same by looking at which content pieces are getting the most engagement such as comments and shares.
By the way pay attention to the second image, I'll be coming back to it later.
Step 4: Engagement at scale
Now that you’ve identified those posts getting the most engagement next you want to ‘Boost’ or ‘Sponsor’ those posts by creating digital social ads to extend your awareness and reach. You can do this for Facebook, Instagram Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The key thing to note here is that you’re not spending a lot of money to boost ads for these posts. What you’re doing is simply testing to see if audiences unaware of your brand or content will have the same positive reaction as those who know your brand.
In other words, does this content truly resonate because it is good, or because the people on your channels know you and therefore will like anything you put out.
Note: I wouldn't do this testing using Google ads because with Google you're paying per click. Therefore, your ad costs can quickly go up, and none of it translates into sales, so from a business standpoint it wouldn't be wise.
This is why I love Social Media ads. It gives you the ability to spend little to nothing and test what works and what doesn’t before deciding what to invest your budget heavily in.
You can spend as little as US$10-$30, run an ad for a week, and get credible insights into if a piece of content drives engagement and business results.
Also, it gives you access to more data at scale that you can pull from such as the Countries, Cities, or Age Range that has the greatest interest in your content and what you offer.
Once you know for sure you've got a hit then you can increase your ad spend around it.
Remember the second image I mentioned? That's what we did and these are the results we got.
Through ads we increased engagement from 13 Comments to 130, and from 774 Views to close to 70,000 on this piece of content, and significantly grew our awareness and Social Media following for the campaign.
Step 5: Deep Dive Analysis
Finally, we get to the part of how to use data to increase the effectiveness of your marketing spend.
There are two data sets you should pay attention to:
Social Media metrics
Social Media Metrics
For Social Media metrics at a Deep Dive level you want to look beyond simply ‘Likes, Shares, or Comments’.
For example, if you ran your ad or boosted it on Facebook here are some metrics you should pay attention to:
Reach - how many people saw your content
Link clicks - how many people clicked after seeing your content
Lead generation - how many people filled in their info in a lead form
Purchases - if you're driving traffic back to a sales page
To effectively analyze don't see the four as mutually exclusive, but related. For example, if your reach is 100,000 but only 1,000 people clicked on your ad, and only 10 people purchased that’s an engagement of 1% and overall sales conversion of 0.01%.
This automatically tells you one of several challenges with your content:
It isn’t targeting the right audience (the content may be better suited for another audience)
Your targeting is too broad (you’re trying to reach too many people with the same message)
Your content is irrelevant to your audience (your audience is right, but they don’t see the value of your content to them)
Your content isn’t relatable (it could be the right audience, right content, but the way it is presented visually isn’t connecting with them)
The product/service isn't a good fit for who you're targeting
Just by this analysis you can already see how Content Marketing coupled with data can easily allow you to create better and more targeted campaigns. To quickly identify which pieces of content are effective and which are not, and reallocating budget to the ones that are driving results for your business.
If you have an E-Commerce website or sell products online, Facebook ads can be incredible invaluable.
This is because integrating Facebook pixel within Facebook ads actually allows you to not only see data based on Reach and Link Clicks, but also Product Views and even Website Purchases.
From the campaign below we managed you can see an ad spend of US$326, ran for one week, generated online purchases of 33 units, at a price point of US$30/unit.
Therefore, it shows an ROI of 303% on the ad spend. Easily it can be seen how we can use this data to justify increasing our ad spend on this specific ad to drive increased sales.
As someone who loves data and analyzing data, to say that I LOVE Google Analytics would be an understatement. To date it is the most detailed and effective data extracting tool out there.
To really do it justice I will need to create an entire post simply around how to use it to increase the effectiveness of your Content Marketing and ad spend.
However, at a high level let me describe how you can use Google Analytics to increase the effectiveness of your marketing spend.
Because it is so detailed and there are so many parts to it, for this post I’m only going to focus on one aspect, the ‘Audience’ tab.
The Audience tab allows you to gather data around which Country and City visitors to your website are coming from; their demographics such as age and gender, and the percentage of each to know where on that scale majority of your target audience falls.
This allows you to know who you should really be focusing your targeting towards, as well as what type of content you should be creating that would appealing to this demographic.
At a deeper level the Audience tab of Google Analytics will also allow you to understand what are the top interests of those who visit your site.
Additionally, what products/services they are most interested in purchasing right now based on previous browsing and buying habits across the internet.
For example, for one campaign we found that ‘Family Focus’ was the top interest of people visiting the website. This correlated with the fact that 65% of the people who were visiting the website were women.
As such this data, gathered from content, allowed us to shift our focus on creating content geared more towards women, with a focus on family.
We immediately saw an increase in engagement on Social Media of 30% in five days and increase in product purchases of 300% over a two month period.
My Final Thoughts
There are many ways that Content Marketing can be used to gather data and gauge the effectiveness of your marketing, allowing you to increase the effectiveness of your marketing spend.
Today data is readable accessible for those willing to take the time and have the patience to utilize it.
The most important thing in your execution isn’t so much the medium or method you use, but more so the mindset with which you approach your execution.
This mindset has to be one of testing, refining, and incremental improvement, rather than a ‘all or nothing’ or 'go hard or go home' approach.
Also, because there are so many Marketers and Business Owners NOT using Content Marketing or data within their marketing, just doing this one tactic I’ve mentioned in this post will put you ahead of your competitors, and increase your sales and engagement significantly.
Is data a key factor in executing your marketing efforts and maximizing the ROI for your marketing spend? Leave your thoughts below (comment using Facebook comment box).
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