The idea behind the 10% strategy is simple – make incremental changes to the various growth components in your business and you will see an impressive increase in your net profit.
Author Jacqueline Biggs, in her article here, gives an example of how the 10% strategy can help an eCommerce store. She writes that making incremental changes to increase key metrics like volume of leads, conversion to sales, average order value and profit margin should alone help a company see a 61% increase over the previous year.
So how do you deploy a similar strategy to content marketing? The first step here is picking the key metrics that you must measure. Any content marketing campaign should address three goals:
- Increase social media outreach
- Bring new backlinks to your website
- Generate new leads and sales
This is the holy trinity of content marketing. Every piece of content you create for your website or for a third party blog must contribute to one of these three goals. In other words, if you are creating content that does not move the needle on any one of these three metrics, you are doing your content marketing wrong.
It should come as no surprise to you then that the ‘key metrics’ that we measure for your 10% strategy should be directly aligned with these three goals.
Most commonly produced content marketing types worldwide (Source: Statista)
Social Media Outreach
Social media plays an important role in your business’ branding efforts as well as bringing new targeted visitors to your website. But not all social media shares bring the same kind of return. An article going viral on Facebook is going to bring visitors to your site. At the same time, a video you shared on Facebook is likely to get a lot of eyeballs but not enough real visitors.
Your submissions on Instagram can get liked and reposted but may not always to bring visitors. But at the same time, many eCommerce businesses have found success generating sales through their Instagram posts.
Your 10% strategy should not simply focus on the overall likes or shares you have received from these various social media channels. Instead, build a list of all the different ways each of these social media channels help your business. Your list could look something like this:
- Facebook – Visitors to website
- Facebook – Shares
- Instagram – Reposts
- Instagram – Lead generation
- Twitter – Visitors to website
- YouTube – Number of views
These are the key metrics you must be going after. Increasing the visitors to your website via Facebook is a lot more specific and the strategies to achieve this are different from the strategies you will need to increase shares. Increasing each of these key metrics by 10% should go a long way in making your content marketing campaign successful.
Unlike social media outreach, the performance of your campaign with respect to building backlinks is not immediately visible. Blog posts continue to get high value backlinks years after they are posted.
Measuring the overall backlinks you have generated over a monthly period would seem like a good metric to keep track of. The trouble however is that this metric does not provide a content marketer any information about how their new campaigns are working out.
It is possible that almost all new backlinks are still pointing to content posted a year or two back. This could mean that the new content you are building today is not as effective as those that were published a year back.
Another worry is the quality of backlinks being generated. One link from the New York Times is a lot more powerful than hundreds of links from lesser known Blogspot blogs. To make sure that your content marketing campaign is bringing in backlinks that are effective, your 10% strategy should strive to incrementally increase the following metrics:
- The number of new backlinks
- Number of backlinks to articles posted in the last six months
- Weighted average of the Domain Authority of the websites that linked to you
Growing each of these metrics above by 10% can be quite powerful. Doing so would push your content marketing team to build content that brings in new, higher quality backlinks to your most recent blogs. This is only possible if your content quality is top notch.
How do you define a lead? Does a website visitor who subscribes to your newsletter count as one?
The answer to these questions depend on the products you sell and the content you publish. It is also deeply intertwined with your other sales and marketing strategies (like email or phone calls).
The quality of your lead depends on what kind of content you promise to offer your visitors who subscribe to your newsletter. An eCommerce site that promises new deals every day over email is likely to sign up leads who are potential customers. At the same time, a newsletter subscription form that promises new articles every week is possibly bringing in subscribers who may not actually convert.
The objective of any marketing campaign is to make sales. We will hence stay clear of subscribers who are not there to buy. In other words, merely increasing the number of emails captured by 10% is not an adequate measure of your content marketing strategy. A better alternative is to capture two metrics:
- Number of targeted leads
- Leads to sale conversion
The first of these two metrics is a subjective call. It needs to be made based on the source of the lead and what the lead was promised during the sign up process. A user who signs up for a free trial from within your article is an extremely targeted lead while another who signs up to receive your latest blog posts by mail is not. Create separate sign up forms for each of these cases and only measure those leads that are targeted.
The 10% strategy is an extremely powerful way to dramatically grow your revenue and profits. More importantly, it only requires incremental changes to your current process.
Finding the right metrics to measure is the first and the most important step. Pushing for a 10% growth in each of these metrics is a guaranteed way to scale up your business successfully.
About the Author: Benjamin S Powell is the founder and CEO of DSA Global, a Thailand based digital marketing agency and Startup incubator. With a raft of successful startups and exits under his belt he consults to all levels of the tech industry throughout the Asia-Pac region.