The ultimate goal of content marketing is to attract a target audience, earn their trust, and inspire them to engage with your business. Sounds simple, right?
Well, not exactly, because if you unpack that sentence, you’ll see that there’s a lot more to content marketing than creating and publishing content. If you really want to drive business online you need a strategy that aligns to the overall goals of your business, so you can craft content with intention. A strategy with content marketing goals that keep you focused on building materials that guide your target audience through their buyer’s journey.
There are no one-size-fits-all set of goals for content marketing. But, today, we’re going to explore 5 important goals that will help you lead your customers through their journey and the metrics that will demonstrate your effectiveness.
Let’s dive in.
Content Marketing Goals for Attracting Customers
Much of the content you create will support attraction related goals.
Content marketing aims to draw people to your website organically by answering their questions and giving them a reason to explore your business. Since most of us turn to Google when we have a question, combining content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) is a logical first step. When you earn (and retain) a place in the search results your investment in content can drive people to your business for years to come.
Which brings us to our first two goals.
Goal 1: Attract Inbound Links
To rank in search, you need to show the search engines that you are an authority on your topic and that you produce quality content searchers can trust.
One way to do this is to create content that attracts inbound links from other relevant websites. When other sites link to your content, it sends a signal to the search engines that they found the information useful. It’s like getting a vote for your content.
Although any page on your website could attract inbound links, there are certain types of content that are particularly effective, such as:
- Original research
- Interactive content, like calculators, tools, quizzes, timelines, etc.
- Guest posts and co-created content
The metrics you use to track your effectiveness will vary, but are likely to include:
- The number of inbound links to the content created for this purpose.
- The relative value of those inbound links. In other words, links from quality sites that are related to yours are preferable to links from unrelated, low-quality sites.
- The volume of referral traffic driven by those links.
Goal 2: Increase the Quantity and Quality of Traffic from Search
There’s no point in attracting tons of traffic from people who aren’t interested in what you do. If you want to publish content that drives value for your business, you must build it with intention.
Identify the precise terms your target customers use when looking for answers online, so you can craft content that will earn the right kind of traffic. Then examine what’s already ranking for those terms and make a plan to create something better. Ideally, you will address the topic in depth, answering every question your target customer might have.
The type of content you produce will depend on your target keyword. The goal is to create something that matches the searcher’s intent. For example, if the searcher enters “apple pie recipe” into Google they will expect a list of recipes. If they enter “who invented apple pie” they are probably looking for informative articles.
Here are some common types of content businesses use to drive quality traffic.
- Specialized pages for products, recipes, movie reviews, etc.
- Comprehensive guides
- Long-form blog posts
- Videos and podcasts, with transcribed text displayed below the media
Important metrics to watch include:
- The volume of traffic driven by organic search.
- Breakdown of organic search traffic into:
- New visitors – indicates that you’re growing awareness of your business.
- Returning visitors – indicates that you’re building credibility and trust.
- The number of keywords your site ranks for.
- Your position in search for strategically important keywords.
Conversion Related Content Marketing Goals
Conversion-related content targets website visitors who are interested in what you offer and are ready to take the next step. It answers whatever remaining questions they may have and encourages them to either submit their contact information or complete a purchase. So, the goals for this step of the buyer’s journey should be no surprise.
Goal 3: Convert Visitors into Subscribers
A subscriber is someone who receives your newsletters, announcements, or blog posts via email. If you sell B2C, people might subscribe to hear about special offers or new items. If you sell a service, like a software solution, coaching, or consultative services, people may subscribe to hear about updates to your service or because they want to read your blog posts.
Either way, a subscription is a good thing. It’s essentially an invitation to stay top-of-mind until your subscriber is ready to buy.
You can encourage subscriptions just about anywhere on your website, but you will be most effective when someone has found something inspiring and wants to learn more. For this reason, great places to invite subscriptions include:
- Blog posts
- Resource pages
- When someone is leaving your website
Invite the reader to click a link once they’ve finished consuming a piece of content. Better yet, add a widget to your site that allows you to configure a pop-up or slide in. Just be sure to choose one that lets you customize when it appears so you don’t interrupt and annoy your visitors.
Naturally, you will measure the number of subscribers you earn. You can also track how your effectiveness changes based on the location of the offer. For instance, do more people subscribe when the invitation appears half-way through a blog post, or at the end?
Goal 4: Convert Visitors into Sales or Leads
If you run an ecommerce site or a subscription-based service the content for this goal is pretty straight forward. You create a product or pricing page that provides information and encourages the visitor to complete a purchase.
If you work in an industry with longer sales cycles, however, it gets more complicated. In this case, it’s common to offer something of value and to encourage the visitor to submit their contact information so your sales team can follow up. This kind of content includes:
- Downloadable reports
- Case studies
- Video demonstrations
- Invitations to webinars or live events
In either case you would track metrics like:
- Traffic to conversion related pages.
- Level of engagement (bounce rate, time on page, etc.)
- Engagement with materials that drive people to conversion pages (newsletters, emails, blog posts, etc.)
- The number of people who convert after consuming this content.
Retention Related Content Marketing Goals
It’s common knowledge that it’s less expensive to keep a customer than it is to gain one in the first place. So, while it’s tempting to focus on content that creates that satisfying spike in traffic or a boastful conversion rate, don’t forget to budget for content that will solidify your relationship with existing customers.
Goal 5: Grow Average Customer Value Through Retention, Upgrades, or Repeat Purchases
Nurturing your customers toward deeper involvement with your business is critical to your longevity. Some of your awareness content can do double duty here, but you will also need content that focuses on the unique needs of existing customers. Content that supports this goal will vary but here are some examples.
- Onboarding emails
- Video tutorials
- Customer only groups or chats on social media channels
- Blog posts that answer customer questions or announce product updates
- eMails with special upgrade offers or discounts
- Newsletter content
The metrics you track for this kind of content are all about engagement such as:
- Open and click-thru rates for emails and newsletter content.
- The number of video views.
- The number of group/chat participants and their level of engagement.
- Traffic to customer-centric blog posts.
- The number of customers who convert after consuming this content.
Content marketing is a long-term game but, in the end, it must drive profitable customer action. Set goals that support the creation of content to meet your customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Then encourage them to take the next step. This is the key to building an effective and cost-efficient content marketing strategy that supports the needs of your business.
Are there other goals you can pursue? Absolutely! Check out this research from the Content Marketing Institute for more insight. In the meantime, these 5 content marketing goals should get you on your way.
- Attract inbound links.
- Increase the quantity and quality of traffic from search.
- Convert visitors into subscribers.
- Convert visitors into leads or sales.
- Grow average customer value through retention, upgrades, or repeat purchases.
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