Hammerkit Master Class: From column inches to ROI
The massive changes we have seen in the last 5 years in the way business promotion and sales happen is fantastic news for the PR industry. We have seen a move towards social selling and content-led marketing and to be good at both of them you need to master the art of conversation. This is something that PR pros have been doing forever and that means that if you work in PR you should be really excited by what is going on right now.
Hang on a moment though! To be good in this new world you need to update your skills, especially your numerical ones. In the past it was good enough to count up the column inches and the number of articles placed to report back to the client, but now you need to be able to link the amount of money they spend with your agency with real business results. This is typically a return on investment (ROI) figure and to work this out you need to know the true effect of your work on your clients’ sales.
So where should you start? To get to an ROI figure you need to think about your clients sales process and how your PR-based content marketing approach can go from grabbing attention of prospects to a completed sale.
Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, has identified four layers of metrics that you can use to make the connection from end-to-end. In an article with the Content Marketing Institute he stated these metrics are:
- Consumption metrics – knowing how much your content is being read by your target audience (the equivalent of your old column inches metric). You can easily measure this with something like Google Analytics and hopefully you already are!
- Sharing metrics – knowing how many times your audience shared your content. You can measure this by putting simple social sharing buttons with counters on your site to know which social sites it has been shared on.
- Lead metrics – knowing how many times your content led to a new lead being created. This again can be done with Google Analytics to measure the number of times a “goal” was achieved, like the completion of a form or the registration for a newsletter.
- Sales metrics – knowing how many times the leads you created turn into sales. This can be done by connecting email addresses from leads with customer information from sales. It might be a little more complex, and there is not really an easy way to do this, but all you need is a single report from your client on completed sales and you can tie your work to their results.
As you can see from above, these metrics are layered one above the other. This is very close to a traditional sales funnel, and in fact, you can use this funnel approach in other ways to promote improvements in your metrics. Once you have your metrics in place, you go further and suggest that your client actively alters their web site to promote better content-led marketing strategies.
You want to deliver the right message to a person visiting the site at the right time and you can do this by simplifying site design to lead visitors to the right content. This is called funnel marketing, and many very successful sites use this approach to drive from consumption to sale. I will cover funnel marketing in the final Digital PR Master Class next week, so stay tuned.
Now, you may feel that to get from beginning to end in this series of metrics that you are stepping outside of your normal role in PR…and you would be right. The key, however, is to view mastery of these metrics as the key to a better client relationship, higher fees and more of your clients marketing purse heading your way.
Jay Baer quotes a colleague as saying, “that too many companies act like 19-year-old dudes. They try to close the deal on the first night, and that’s very, very true when it comes to content and social media”. This highlights the real point of knowing how to get to ROI for your work – that is, it is about relationship building and that takes time. You need to be able to prove to your clients that your efforts are paying back over time. Master your metrics and you will be able to do it effortlessly.