Buyers rely more on content than ever to help with their purchasing decisions.
78% of B2B buyers consume three or more pieces of content before talking to a salesperson.
But it can be difficult to justify continued spending on B2B content marketing services — especially in a downturn.
After all, what’s your content marketing ROI? How do you know whether or not your dollars are being well-spent?
This quick primer shows how and why you should calculate your returns from investing in content marketing services.
Why does your content marketing ROI matter?
It’s not enough to simply produce oodles of content. Knowing how much value you’re getting for your buck helps you to:
- Adapt your channel strategy according to what’s working and what’s not
- Reallocate resources toward the best-performing content
- Hire the right content resources for your team
- Make the case for increased funding from external investors or internal finance leaders
When should you calculate your content marketing ROI?
The ideal time to calculate content marketing ROI varies according to your needs, required context, and timeframe.
You can calculate your content ROI at these crucial checkpoints:
- After each campaign, to determine the effectiveness of your spending.
- Annually, as part of a marketing review to attribute content marketing to revenue.
- Quarterly, to understand the changing shifts in your content’s impact.
Who should calculate content marketing ROI?
The answer boils down to “whoever owns the content marketing budget.”
If you’ve got a dedicated content manager who controls spending on content writing and distribution, they’d be the best person for the job.
The next ideal person would be the overall marketing lead, like a VP of Marketing or CMO.
This person would ultimately be accountable for the content’s role in the marketing engine.
They’d determine how much more to pump into content, who to hire, and how to measure success within a given period.
At a high level, the CEO can and should understand how much content marketing impacts the company’s revenue.
3 steps to calculate content marketing ROI
Many businesses haven’t created a strategy or set goals that directly relate to their business objectives. This makes it challenging to track their B2B content ROI.
To successfully track this ROI, you need to understand what your business needs to measure, how you’ll measure it, and how to use it to improve your future campaigns.
Here are the steps to determining your business ROI:
- Define success for your business
- Choose the right measurement tools
- Calculate your ROI
Define success goals for your business
To calculate your B2B content ROI, you’ll need to start by defining what success looks like for your business.
Without an idea of what you’re trying to achieve, it can be difficult to create goals or objectives that you can measure.
Some common business objectives that content marketing can help with include:
- Engaging current customers/decreasing churn rate
- Increasing brand awareness or reach
- Converting customers
- Generating leads
- Nurturing leads
Choose the right measurement tools
With clear goals defined, you’ll need to choose the correct measurement tools to track your progress.
There are many places to source the data you need to calculate content marketing ROI.
Depending on your success metrics, you could find most of that data in your Google Analytics account or Search Console.
You can get an idea of the CTRs (tracking conversions), unique sessions (tracking impressions and brand awareness), and top referral sources.
Your CRM data can also provide insights into your content marketing ROI.
Calculate your content marketing ROI
Once you have goals determined, your measurement tools, and your budget set, you can begin to calculate your ROI.
There are a few ways to calculate content marketing ROI, but the easiest way is to take your return and subtract the investment.
Then, divide that number by the investment number and multiply by 100. This will show the value of the investment as a percentage.
Example: Say you spend $500 on content and generate $2000 in return. Your ROI would be 300%, calculated as ($2000-$500)/$500*100=300%
But there are other approaches to calculating content marketing ROI.
For example, suppose your success metric is the number of sales-qualified opportunities (SQOs) you generate.
In that case, you can estimate your content marketing ROI using the number of booked meetings in your CRM that reference “content” as a referral source.
Assume you’ve recently launched a bottom-of-funnel white paper that gained you ten closed-won opportunities.
If each SQO is worth $2,000 annually, that’s $20,000 in annual revenue.
If it cost you $4,000 to produce the e-book (writing, design, editing, and distribution), that’s a 5x content marketing ROI.
You can also corroborate this data with insights from your Sales team.
Once you’ve calculated your ROI, you can analyze your results and change your content marketing strategy accordingly.
If you’re unhappy with your ROI, it may be time to reevaluate your goals, budget, content marketing agency, or measurement approach.
Is B2B content marketing worth it?
In short: yes. Content marketing is an effective way to generate leads and sales and engage current customers.
If you need to boost your current content marketing ROI, consider changing your content strategy or hiring a professional B2B content marketing team to help you create high-quality content.
Increase your content marketing ROI today
Budgeting for B2B content marketing can be tricky, but it’s important to remember that your ROI is worth the investment.
Content marketing can help you engage customers, generate qualified leads, and drive sales and business growth.
Book your free strategy call with our team today to learn how we can help you drive growth through content marketing.