As an inbound marketer, you spend countless hours creating remarkable content to help generate leads for your business. Whether it’s a blog article, whitepaper, ebook, or webinar, it takes time to think of a topic that’s relevant to your audience, research that topic, and then create content that will attract new leads and customers.
When you put this much time and effort into your content, it’s crucial that you also take time to analyze the ROI of your content creation. After all, if you don't understand what types of content and topics work best to generate new leads that convert into customers, you can't exactly optimize the process to make it more efficient, can you?
By analyzing the ROI of your content and offers, you can make yourself and your marketing team more efficient and effective at generating content that will turn into actual dollars.
About the Offer Analysis
There are a lot of different pieces of data you should analyze when you dig into the effectiveness of your content. Think of analyzing your content as you would your marketing funnel. You’ll first want to look at the number of visitors your content generates, followed by the conversion rate of visitor to lead, the number of leads, the conversion rate to customer, and finally the number of customers and revenue that was generated from your content. Once you do this, then you can compare the type of content and topics to figure out how, when, and if you should use certain pieces of content in your marketing strategy.
The Data You Need
The initial data you need to look at the top half of your funnel is super easy to find if you have marketing software like HubSpot. With the Landing Page Analytics tool in HubSpot, for example, you can search for a specific landing page where you featured your offer, and identify the number of views it received, leads it generated, and its resulting conversion rate.
After you’ve collected the number of leads your offer has generated, you’ll also want to look at the number of customers that came from those leads. When doing this analysis, it’s important to factor in the length of your sales cycle. For example, if your sales cycle is a month long, wait about 2-3 months to pull the customer numbers. You want to make sure you give your leads ample time to convert into a customer from the time they first convert into a lead.
In order to determine the number of customers that are generated from leads that converted on your offer, you’ll need to have closed-loop marketing in place. Closed-loop marketing allows marketers to understand the behaviors of their customers when they were once leads, making it a powerful predictive tool.
In order to gather this data, you’ll need to hook your CRM system up to your marketing software to sync the data between customer and lead. When your lead data is tied to your customer data, then you can easily analyze all the customers and revenue that originated from the leads who converted on various offers.
About the Analysis
The specific data you'll want to compare and analyze are the conversion rates of leads to customers for your specific offers. You also want to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, so if you promote one offer more than another, you can’t just look at the number of customers that were generated from that offer (because offer A could have been promoted to twice the number of leads as offer B). But by looking at the conversion rates, you level the playing field.
Another way to analyze this data is to look at the average revenue pulled in by customers from each offer. This data will help you get a better understanding as to which offers appeal to different segments of customers. For example, if you offer different products or services at different price points, you can better understand which offers pull in customers at certain price points.
Benefits of Offer Analyses
Having data about the effectiveness of your various marketing offers at your fingertips can drastically change how you do your marketing, make your marketing team more efficient and effective. Moreover, it can also impact the bottom line for Sales.
When looking at conversion rates, try to uncover trends based on subject matter/topic or content type. Look at what types of content best converts certain segments of customers, and then use that content to create targeted promotions toward those leads. Or think about repurposing offers that performed extremely well and updating them with the most relevant or segment-specific data. This data can also benefit your company’s bottom line by informing your sales teams of leads who are more likely to close if they convert on certain types of offers. If you have closed-loop marketing in place, you can actually determine which specific offer leads are converting on, and whether Sales is working those leads. This can be very helpful because, if there’s an offer you know has a high close rate and Sales isn’t working those leads, then you have a great opportunity on your hands to motivate Sales to work those valuable leads and close more deals.
How to Analyze Your Offers, Step by Step
Now that you know how and why this type of analysis is so important to your marketing, let's walk through the individual steps you should take to conduct this analysis yourself.
Step 1: List Your Offers
First, make a list of the offers you want to analyze. You can use something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet to organize this. As you list your offers, divide them up into categories such as subject matter/topic and offer type. For example, at HubSpot, we might have 3 main buckets -- ebooks, webinars, and other offers -- and then organize the offers within each of those buckets into the different topics/subject matters those offers are about, such as SEO, social media, content creation, email marketing, analytics, etc.
Step 2:Collect Your Data for Each Offer
Using your marketing analytics, record the following data for each offer on your list: that date you launched your offer, the offer's landing page views, the number of leads that convert on the landing page for your offer, the number of customers that have been generated from the offer (if you have closed-loop marketing in place), and the conversion rates of your offers (it's smart to calculate both the landing page's visit-to-lead conversion rate as well as its lead-to-customer conversion rate). When you're done, you should have 7 columns of information in your spreadsheet -- the name of the offer, the date it was launched, visits, leads, customers, visit-to-lead conversion rate, and lead-to-customer conversion rate. (Note: If you're a HubSpot customer, you can gather this information from the Landing Page Analytics tool.)
Step 3:Compare Results & Draw Conclusions
Now that you've collected your data, you can start to compare the effectiveness of your offers, and draw conclusions. Remember -- you want to focus on the offers' conversion rates, since those will allow you to compare apples to apples. Here are some things you should consider as you're looking at your data:
Comparison of Subject Matters: Do certain offer topics have better conversion rates than others? This might indicate the subject matters that resonates more with your audience.
Comparison of Offer Types: Do you find that ebooks, for example, have better conversion rates than webinars or other types of offers? Look for cues about the types of content your audience prefers.
Comparison of Offer by Stage in the Sales Cycle: Do you find that different subject matters or different offer types are better or worse for converting visitors into leads or leads into customers? For example, at HubSpot, we might find that offers about social media are best for converting leads, but offers about email marketing are better at converting customers.
How New Is the Offer? Keep in mind that, depending on the length of your sales cycle, your lead-to-customer conversion rate may or may not be reliable yet for offers that are fairly new. If you just launched your ebook last month but your typical sales cycle is 3 months, for example, you might want to wait a few more months to analyze the effectiveness of that offer in terms of customer generation.
Step 4:Communicate and Implement Your Findings
Through your analysis, you'll probably learn quite a bit about the effectiveness of your offers. So leverage it! Report the findings to the rest of your marketing and sales teams so they can take these insights and apply them to their future efforts.
Your marketing team can use this information to make decisions about the types of content they should create and promote, and which offers will be most effective in different situations. For example, maybe you notice that one offer has a really high conversion rate, but its landing page has very few visits. That might be a clue that you should be promoting that offer more! Or perhaps you found that content about a certain subject matter has dismal conversion rates no matter what type of offer it is. That might be a good sign that your marketing team should stop putting the effort into creating offer content about that topic. Or maybe you find that ebooks are typically better at visit-to-lead conversion, and webinars are stellar at lead-to-customer conversion. If that's the case, it might make sense to promote only ebooks through a channel like your blog, which you may know generates a lot of new visitors, and save webinar promotion for channels like email and lead nurturing, which you typically use to communicate with existing leads in your database.
As we mentioned earlier, you can also use this information to make Sales more productive, too. If you know certain offers have really high close rates, yet you find that your salespeople aren't actively working leads who have converted on those offers, you can communicate your findings and whip them into shape. Knowing which offers have high close rates can also help Sales work their leads, too, since they can send their leads particular offers they know have high lead-to-customer conversion rates.
Conduct this analysis regularly -- at HubSpot, we do it on a quarterly basis -- so you can stay on top of which offers are working, and which ones aren't.
Have you analyzed the strength of your marketing offers lately? How has it helped you optimize the creation and use of your marketing offers?
Originally published Jul 13, 2012 8:11:00 AM, updated July 28 2017