“Why should I pay my people to write blog posts?”
Have you defined the elements of a really great online (or offline) marketing campaign? Are they something like knowing objectives, defining the message properly, knowing the methods and distribution paths for the message, understanding the target audience, knowing how to measure response, identifying resources required…and determining ROI? You have to know ROI, right? How can any marketing professional not be able to answer the question, “What did this effort get us?” And as a marketing professional you understand that if you answer that question with a statement like “brand exposure” or “good will,” well you run the risk of watching in slow motion while your budget cut rises from the dialogue and you fidget to come up with something more concrete. Admittedly concrete metrics can be especially tough for social marketing. But, do you believe social marketing is worthwhile? If our answer is “Yes” then we need a way to measure results.
How is ROI measurement different for 2.0?
You have to love the simple number flow of PPC. How much did we spend? What was CTR? What was conversion? What then is my CPC (Cost per Click) and its cousin, RPC (Revenue per Click)? All of this can be measured and, as importantly, understood down to the last penny. For PPC you can (and should) even create an overhead allocation that takes into account any third party fees and internal time spent on ad management, creation and review.
Not all web marketing efforts have such easy and exact formulas for comprehension. In order to create a measurement methodology for 2.0 activities like blogging, Twitter, press releases, social site involvement (LinkedIn, FaceBook and MySpace as examples) and other demand capture approaches, think in blended qualitative and quantitative terms. Here are some ideas:
- Traffic through 2.0: What new traffic do you bring to your site or to your goal page from each post, tweet or social site? In the end, each new action can be measured and compared for traffic generation same as you probably do now for SEO. Try planning out which pages should be targeted and what links are needed prior to sitting down in front of the keyboard.
- Traffic by term: Your post, tweet or other social activity can bring significant traffic for keywords and thus landing pages that you would not otherwise capture. Especially true if you consider speed to the search engines. You can almost instantly create a keyword targeted 2.0 entry that will get picked up very quickly. See the next point. Rewriting a web page will not give you that same immediate impact and probably will require more time and skills. Key to success is to actually write the post with those key words in mind.
- SERP: In many cases we see blog posts and social sites hit page one for targeted keywords very quickly. They may also fade very quickly but with the help of comments from visitors and fame from Technorati, Digg, and like intermediaries they can last a long time.
- Inbound links: If you have a competitive niche, somewhere someone on the other side is trying to figure out how to knock you down a notch and move their site up. D0 we even need to explain the value of linking? The simplest formula is that good content brings followers who create links. Also, don’t also forget that inbound links are not something to avoid.
- Number of followers and comments: Want to justify your time spent on Twitter? Measure responses and followers the same as you do for your blog. This can be very important for those firms or individuals desiring to be an authority in their industry. Put in links to your site or target pages using a tool like tinyurl.
- Quality of comments and followers: OK, this gets mushy I know, but if you have clients and people you (or your boss) respect paying attention to your information regularly then your reputation is obviously enhanced. Repeat after me, “Look Mr. Dithers @mattcutts is following my tweets!”
- Revenue: Of course some social marketing actually drives leads, sales and reservations. Those I assume you are seeing with your analytics. This is an obviously important but not the solely important way to measure ROI for 2.0 efforts.
The discipline and effort involved in creating content for social media and keeping up with the responses can be daunting. Just a little planning and measurement can help those on your team slaving away to a deadline know that they are doing something worthwhile. It’s more than a hobby.