I once worked with an organization that decided it would invest in an internal agency to create marketing collateral. I asked the top executive how the organization would measure content success. In a word, he said, “leads.” Good answer, right? Leads. Conversion rate. Open rate. Page views. Revenue. Metrics are critical, but do they tell the whole story?
Here’s a pretty typical scenario: An organization launches an email campaign with a case study being the juicy content to entice readers to learn more about the latest, greatest doodad. The email, sent to a vetted list of subscribers, gets a decent open rate and a proportional click-through rate. Fist pumps ensue. Metrics show a decent time on site for the case study landing page. This organization implements lead scoring, and all the interactions are logged and collated by its marketing automation software. Someday, fingers crossed, that customer completes the metamorphosis from prospect to qualified lead.
My challenge is: What do all those numbers say about the effectiveness or quality of the case study? Time on page gives you somewhat of a measuring stick, but it won’t tell you if case study could have done more. Maybe better writing would have kept readers on the web page longer. Perhaps stronger linking strategies could have multiplied that lead score. What would have happened if key messages in the case study were recycled into social media posts, blogs, and other collateral for a more robust marketing campaign? Maybe stronger messaging would have led to a few qualified leads right then and there.
All these considerations, critical components to a content strategy, needed to be evaluated and executed way before the email campaign started when the case study was written. Some metrics I love come from social media. Likes, Retweets, Shares, etc. are a direct barometer of the value of the content from your customers. What more could an organization want? Also, SEO is all about rewarding brands that create a better customer experience, so while we’re staring at numbers and percentages to understand our customers, let’s not forget to put a face to the percentages once in a while and ask ourselves if the content we deliver is 100% helpful to our customers.
I know I’m stepping on some holy ground here, so I’ll say it again and use bold text… metrics are really important. But, I think it’s important to keep the human factor as part of the equation. Take care of your customers by delivering content that your customers want, where they want it, and when they want it, and your customers will take care of you.
Are you bogged down in metrics, or do the numbers help you understand your customers? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!