Does content marketing lead to actual revenue growth for businesses?
For digital agencies such as our agency Mobext, many of our clients will always question us on whether investments in creating original, brand-published content translate to quantifiable business results.
Content marketing is making a big comeback and resurgence in the digital industry. Brands are beginning to realise that given Facebook’s propensity to change the rules, as evidenced by their recent algorithm change, it is becoming imperative for them to begin to think more like publishers and invest in creating their own brand channels and brand content via brand-owned blogs, content-focused video channels, and the like.
There is enough body of evidence to prove that these content marketing investments pay off from a branding and media point of view - one of our major clients, for example, invested in content marketing and subsequently grew their website traffic from less than 1,000 visits per month two years ago, to close to 300,000 visits now (80% of which are organic/free).
However, the question will always remain: yes, as a brand, we do get free, earned media values from all the organic traffic that my content generates, but does this really translate to sales?
A Little Digital Experiment at Mobext
To try to answer this question, we at Mobext did a little experiment with our own digital marketing efforts to promote our brand online and get business leads (ie, clients interested in our digital agency services).
Our lead generation program has always been anchored on search. Type “digital agency” on Google search, and you will see that the Mobext website appears as the #4 top organic search result - it is the top agency website referred by Google, since the first three search results are for non-agency websites. Type in “digital agency Philippines” in Google, and you will find that the Mobext website is the #3 organic search result - #1 amongst all agencies in the Philippines. Our investments in search engine optimisation has allowed us to get a steady stream of leads on our website.
Just last week, though, we tried a different approach. What if we invested a bit of Facebook advertising money in promoting several of the articles in our Mobext blog written by our employees? Will these translate to actual business leads and quantifiable revenue? We therefore decided to invest a few thousand pesos to promote five articles in our blog, particularly the following articles:
- Conquering the Clutter: Impactful Storytelling through Digital Content, written by Ria Samson, Senior Account Executive at Mobext
- When Comments Turn Into Complaints: Dealing With Consumers On Social, by Jeff Bartolome, Senior Writer at Mobext
- The Myth of the Social Command Center, by Iggy Javellana, Client Services Director at Mobext
- Digital Motherhood: That One Day a Year When Moms Matter Most, by Cha Cababaro, Copywriter at Mobext
- 8 Quick SEO Tactics You Can Implement Now, by Mon Cayabyab, COO of Mobext
Results of our Experiment
What were the results?
The experiment was an eye-opener for us. Using various tools and website analytics, we analysed the various leads that came to our website for the past week, and discovered that 4 out of the 6 qualified leads that we received on our website came from the five articles we decided to promote/boost. This means that these four leads saw our ads on Facebook promoting the blog content, clicked on the ad, read the article, and subsequently made an inquiry about our services in our website.
Comparing this to search, the cost per qualified lead (CPQL) via content marketing (ie, promoting blog content) was actually comparable/competitive versus search. While search marketing is principally a demand fulfilment activity (clients are searching for agencies on Google anyway, so might as well fulfil that by being visible), we were thus able to validate an approach (content marketing) that is a demand creation marketing activity - a perfect complement to search. The four leads we got from content marketing were not necessarily searching for an agency at the time they discovered our content, but since they found the content useful, they inquired anyway. Content marketing created demand for our services, leading to actual inquiries and potentially sales.
What’s the ROI from Content Marketing?
Out of the 4 leads we got from our relatively small investment in content marketing, we are likely to close one new client - a relatively small initial engagement, but one that can grow over time of course. Compared to our initial investment in content marketing (promoting the blog content), we expect to close lifetime client revenues that is 300x more than the investment. Based on this little experiment, for every peso we spent on content marketing, we expect to achieve Php300 pesos in actual revenue over the lifetime of the new customer.
We will continue to run more tests and test this theory some more, but this little experiment shows that at least in our industry and the business-to-business industry in general, content marketing does lead to quantifiable business results. Now that we are armed with more data, we will work with our clients closely and try to run a similar experiment for them and check the results.
Content marketing works! It builds your brand reputation online, establishes you as a thought leader - and in the end, leads to actual, quantifiable business results.