Marketing is all about building brand awareness and customer engagement in order to turn leads into customers, and channel marketing is all about achieving cost efficiency while reaching end users through your channel partners. However, it’s not enough to just create powerful, compelling content—it’s also critical to manage the distribution of that content and to understand how your channel partners are distributing it. Knowledge and data are power, and the more you know about your channel partners’ content marketing activities, the better positioned you are to facilitate success for everyone involved. Measuring content marketing success usually starts with putting a dollar value on the ROI (return on investment) for specific types of content. Then, you can start to look at the successes of your channel partners and where they’re missing the mark—as well as how you can help them secure more deals with the right content.
Measure Return on Engagement
It’s important to look at average session durations, heat maps, and bounce rates on your website in order to assess how customers are engaging with your content. Additionally, understanding how a user got to your site, whether that’s organically, through paid efforts, or through a partner relationship, will help you understand what types of content result in the best and most valuable engagement. In the long term, you can begin to determine the ROE, or return on engagement/experience, which is highly qualitative—unlike ROI, which is extremely quantitative. Engagement considers how the consumer is interacting with a brand over a period of time through:
- Visiting a website
- Clicking on an ad
- Posting a review
- Reading an email
- Referring friends/family
- Downloading an app
Over time, all of these actions will provide a measure of ROE as a consumer builds a relationship with a brand and its offerings.
Understand Social Engagement
Looking at how end users are engaging with your website is important, but social engagement metrics are likely even more important. According to SproutSocial, 74 percent of consumers make shopping decisions based on social media. In many cases, a vendor will syndicate social media content to multiple channels (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) across multiple channel partners. Although social media metrics are often difficult to truly decipher to evaluate ROI or even ROE, you can see what types of content are performing best on social media and which are driving the most traffic and resulting in the best leads. In fact, it takes, on average, 10 touches to move someone through the Buyer’s Journey and turn them into a customer, so every engagement on a social media channel counts.
Nurture and Enable Lead Generation
Generating leads is only half the battle. If your channel partners’ content marketing is resulting in tons of leads but those leads aren’t qualified, then it’s important to determine what isn’t working. It’s possible that the type of content you’re distributing to your partners is missing the mark—or it could be that it’s the right content but it isn’t being shared in the right channels. Aligning your content to where buyers are in the marketing funnel and to give your partners the ability to find the right content at the right time so they can seal the deal. Once your content is organized and partners are able to easily find and distribute the right content, you’ll quickly be able to understand how your partners are succeeding or missing the mark with content marketing. This will also allow you to improve your content for every stage of the Buyer’s Journey for better lead generation.
Talk to Your Partners About Metrics
Content marketing can include newsletters, e-books, blog articles, infographics, social media posts, and more—all of which are focused on improving search rankings, increasing traffic, and boosting consumer engagement with your product or service with the end goal of gaining customers. Although the majority of vendors don’t have access to their partners’ customer retention management (CRM) software, it’s worth having a conversation with your partners to gain access to certain metrics. Understanding how your marketing content is being distributed and which types of content are driving the most traffic and resulting in the most leads is invaluable. These metrics allow partners to leverage the best-performing content and vendors to pivot away from or update underperforming content. Ultimately, when partners share their content marketing metrics with the vendor, everyone wins with better training and stronger, more effective marketing content.