If your A/E firm is already investing or is considering investing in content marketing, one critical component to figure out is how to successfully measure its success. In this article you will learn the 4 key metrics your marketing function should have a pulse on.
In my last post covering the four objectives for your content marketing efforts, I explained why content is unable to tie directly to sales. From a metrics standpoint, it would be nearly impossible to track. The good news is that it’s not a lost cause because there are 4 critical metrics your marketing function can measure to determine your A/E firm’s content marketing ROI. I’ve ordered them in terms of the frequency in which you should track them (most frequent to least frequent).
Your content is meant to be consumed, so it’s important to measure how people engage with it. You can achieve this by properly setting up your Google Analytics instance as well as mining the available data within your social platforms. Once in place, these tools will provide you with the necessary engagement data to help you determine the most preferred vehicles of delivery, hot topics of interest, best dates to distribute, etc. in order to draw insights to inform your next content campaign. Key areas to track include:
- # of page or video views
- # of downloads
- Usage rate on possible online tools you may create
- % change in opt-ins/subscribers
- # of social followers added
- # of social shares or re-tweets
Conversions are best tracked using a combination of Google Analytics and a marketing automation platform (not to be confused with proposal automation tools) that can connect into your CRM to allow you to leverage the benefits of lead scoring. Critical conversion-based metrics to understand how you’re impacting the prospect’s buying journey include:
- % of Web Visitors Who Opt-In: Keep track of the percent of website visitors that become leads (we refer to a lead as a person who has raised their hand and given you the right to market to them). You can track this in Google Analytics.
- % of Leads That Become Marketing Qualified: Keep track of the percent of leads you generate that meet your qualifications for the types of clients you’d like to do business with. This is often determined through a lead score based on a series of behavior. For example, maybe a marketing qualified lead often visits 3 critical pages in your website, and downloads a certain number or certain types of content. You can set this up in your automation platform while recording the data and managing it from your CRM.
- % of Marketing Qualified Leads that Become Sales Ready: Keep track of the percent of leads that you actually hand over to Partners, Principals or Business Developers for outreach on a personal level. These could be folks that make a direct request to talk about a project or they could be individuals who meet all of the firms lead scoring criteria based on a set of behavioral factors. You can track this both through your marketing automation platform and CRM.
- Project Opportunities: On the business development end, leverage your CRM to keep a record of the marketing qualified leads that became sales ready and ultimately yielded actual project opportunities.
For more insight on developing a proper lead and opportunity qualification process, read Developing a Proper Lead Qualification Process.
3. Business Development
This is the closest we can get to connecting content marketing to actual project wins because at the end of the day a content effort should enable more projects. Of the potential projects content marketing helped enable, the goal is for the firm to be better positioned for those projects so win rate goes up, and ultimately the average deal size also goes up. To track, marketing should leverage your CRM to record the following metrics:
- Percent change in volume of opportunities generated over time
- Percent change in volume of closed-won opportunities over time
- Percent change in average deal size (project fees) over time
Over time we need to track how the market perceives the firm. This is a long-term metric that will evolve over time so it’s best viewed with a wider lens. It can be measured in two ways:
- Pre-Sale: This should be done via a brand perception study. Survey your target market to learn how they perceive your firm and its core capabilities. For example, maybe you find out that 90+% views your firm as a highly competent civil firm for bridges but only 35% of the market views it as capable for institutional projects involving asset management, where you might be equally as strong. Your content efforts should then work to change this market perception. Commit to producing a body of expertise for the market you’re looking to impact. And then run the same study 12-months later to measure how much you moved the needle on changing this sentiment towards your core capabilities.
- Post-Sale: Keep a record of the reasons why the firm did not win. This is best done within your CRM. Were they negative or positive? An example of a negative reason could be lack of expertise due to local regulatory knowledge. A positive reason could be, they thought you were qualified but too expensive. Over time we want to see the % of positive reasons trend up and negative reasons trend down.
Frequency: Annually for pre-sale; Semi-Annually for post-sale
For more useful insight on bringing data into your professional services marketing efforts, read Bringing Data into Professional Services Marketing.