Finding the value of your blogging efforts is one of the biggest issues companies face when it comes to social media. Now finding the ‘value’ is not the same as calculating ROI, but when a company asks ‘What’s the ROI of our blog?’ they usually mean ‘What’s the value?’ because unless you have access to their financials, you can’t give them an accurate ROI figure. But we’ll look at both.
First, you need to start with a solid strategy for your blogging efforts. This is the biggest mistake most blogging companies make, and without a solid strategy, you make it MUCH harder to accurately measure the success of your blogging efforts. I am working with a client now that has a business blog, and is having difficulty seeing how their blog is making ‘the needle move’. In this case, that needle that they want to move is called ‘sales’. I bet many of you are wanting your blog to move the same needle at your company.
So if we think about it, we need to use the blog as a tool to either do 1 of 2 things:
1 – Generate sales directly
2 – Move the visitor closer to a sale, via on the company website, on the phone, by carrier-pigeon, whatever.
The great thing is, now that we know how to use the blog, we can begin to craft our strategy to reach those goals. And in doing so, we can begin to measure certain metrics that will help us determine the success of our blogging efforts.
For example, let’s say I make software that helps automate a company’s social media efforts (I don’t and have no desire to, just an example). On my blog, I would probably want to focus the content to discuss how companies can improve their social media efforts, and especially the role that automation can play in that success, since I am selling a product that does just that.
Let’s also assume that I am not selling my software package on my blog, but rather on my site. So then my blog’s biggest goal becomes sending qualified leads to my website. Then once they reach the website, I need to convert them into a sale. One way to do this is to put Calls To Action in my blog posts.
For example, let’s say I write a post entitled ‘5 Ways Automation Can Save Your Company’s Social Media Strategy’. This post is designed to educate the reader on the value of automating some of their social media efforts. If I do my job well, the post should open the reader’s eyes to the value of automation, and I could end the post with a Call to Action. Such as a link to my website, inviting them to check out my software package.
Then I can track how many people read that blog post, and clicked my Call to Action link, and visited the page on my website for that software package. Then I can go to the website side, and see what people did once they reached that product page on my site. Did they leave without doing anything? Did they signup for a free trial? Or did they purchase the product right there on the page?
All of this means I can now track and measure metrics associated with my goals. If I did this with every post, I might notice the following:
1 – If I write a post with a Call to Action sending visitors to my website and the software package page, an average of 50 visitors will click the CTA in the post and arrive on the website’s product page.
2 – Of those 50 visitors, 10 will signup for a free trial. I also know from past tracking that for every 10 signups I will generate one sale of the software package.
3 – Of those 50 visitors, 1 will purchase the software package directly on the website page.
So, I know that for every 50 visitors I send to the website from a CTA in a blog post, that it will result (on average) in 10 free trial signups (which average converting into 1 sale) and 1 direct sale. So for every 50 visitors I average 2 sales. Which means that if every post with a CTA averages 50 visitors sent to the website, then every post also averages 2 sales.
Whew. But by rolling up our sleeves and creating a solid strategy AND aggressively tracking our blog and website analytics, we can now accurately judge the success of our company’s blogging efforts. When the boss asks if our blog is working, we can confidently state that “Yes, every post we write with a sales-oriented call-to-action sends 50 visitors to the company website, and on average 2 of those visitors ultimately convert into a sale.
Now in order to calculate the ROI of your blog, all we need to know is 2 things:
1 – The amount of profit your company makes from each sale of your software package. And total number of sales generated from your blog in the reporting period. Let’s say this was $5,200 for the last quarter.
2 – The total amount of expense of your blogging efforts. Include all associated costs such as hosting, design, and writing costs. Let’s say this was $3,600 for the last quarter.
The ROI calculation would be ($5,200 – $3,600) / $3,600. Which would equal $1,600 / $3,600, which would equal an ROI of 44%! Not bad!
But the upshot of ALL of this is, you need to start out figuring out exactly what you want to accomplish, then develop a strategy to help you reach those goals. When you have that strategy in place THEN you can determine which metrics to measure and that will help you determine what value your blogging effort is creating for your business, as well as your blogging ROI.
1 – Create the strategy
2 – Decide on the tactics you will use to help you execute that strategy
3 – Measure metrics associated with those tactics
4 – Determine the business value of those metrics
Now, back to work!