Clients often ask me about whatever hot new digital marketing trend is having a moment, and I love it. Half the fun of my work is riding the wave along with them. However, we have to keep that mutual enthusiasm tethered to the bottom line (because not every new tactic is going to work for every business).
But who wants to sit there and wet blanket an idea because it might, hypothetically, not work? Fortunately, there’s no need for vague guesswork when we have data in our corner. What sets your content strategy on the right path? Knowing your numbers.
Understanding what is already working (or not working) in your marketing plan results in the solid foundation you need to test out new initiatives and evaluate them using real data that comes from, and works for, YOUR business.
Cost per acquisition: What’s your baseline?
Content marketers love to tout the long-term effectiveness of their trade…but the long-term nature makes it even more important to track along the way. First, do you know how much you’re spending on communication per prospect and what the return rate is? The people you communicate with—whether through email or social media—they’ve opted in somehow, and there’s a cost associated with that opt-in, called cost per lead. Once you’ve nurtured that lead into becoming a customer, you’ve likely spent a bit more, and then you have your cost per customer acquisition. Figuring out that acquisition cost allows you to compare one channel to another.
Guestimating won’t cut it here; the actual numbers matter. From there, you can calculate your return on investment—because different channels deliver different types of results.
For example, email is generally one of the most profitable channels. So you’ll likely be willing to spend a little bit more for an email address than for a follower. But it really depends on your business, and it’s worth taking the time to figure it out.
Benchmarking your way to the bank
Ask me if a certain channel will “work,” what types of content will “work,” what social media programming will “work” — I’ll ask you if you’ve benchmarking. Always, always benchmarking. Because content strategy isn’t one-size-fits-all, and your business is unique.
Once you’ve benchmarked cost on one channel and you’re wondering whether or not another channel will work for you, now you have something solid to compare it to. And then, again, we can calculate ROI based on cost per acquisition. If we benchmark from the very beginning, imagine how much more information you’ll have after 12 months to inform your year two strategy. That’s power.
The numbers will set you free
Uncertainty: Who needs it? It’s stressful, time-consuming, and unpleasant. It’s also, in this case, completely unnecessary.
There’s no need to wring our hands over the right strategy for our fall product line when we have the numbers sitting right in front of us.
Want to go big on an email campaign, but not sure it’s worth it? With solid data to look to, we can predict our ROI with confidence. “Ah, looks like kittens and glitter perform well with this segment, plus they really respond to emails sent on Thursday afternoon, so GO FOR IT, DAVE!”
See? Numbers can be fun. Especially when they lead to content strategies that get results. Not only can we easily forecast what a singular email campaign will do, we can use our numbers to see what evergreen content strategy is worth scaling up over time.
Whether we’re looking at short-term or long-term, one proven way to accelerate your path to results (and improve your return on investment for all your marketing efforts) is to know your numbers.
Do you know your numbers?
A good team or agency is going to be excited to report all the figures to you, because they’ll be attuned to their significance and interested in your perspective. Plus, most will be eager to show you the impact of the work they’re doing, in dollars and cents.
So, how well do you know your numbers?