You know your words are valuable — but can you prove it to everyone else? In this article, discover how to use HubSpot to measure the effectiveness of your content.
Picture a tunnel, through which a copywriter crawls with the alligators, nails scratching, catching, against old bricks as he fumbles blindly for some sign that his copy is working. Some proof. Anything to evidence the value he delivers, the role he plays.That was me, about five years ago.
Sure, there were workarounds. Integrations we’d set up between the various platforms our clients were using. Manual tracking in Google Analytics. Anecdotal evidence that things were doing better because of the articles we were writing. But generally speaking, it was very much a case of clutching at straws, or it often felt that way, which amounts to the same thing.
Why was it so difficult to see the results of my efforts? What does HubSpot offer that solves those challenges? And how can your team use it to ascend, dripping, from out of the darkness and into the light, where everyone can see how effective your content is?
- Why you’ve been finding it hard to prove the impact of your content
- How HubSpot reveals your content’s value
- The importance of proving your value now
- How to measure the effectiveness of your content using HubSpot
- How are you measuring the effectiveness of your content?
Why you’ve been finding it hard to prove the impact of your content
Even the most basic CMS platforms show you how your content’s doing. But more often than not, “effectiveness” means a decidedly more commercial thing to the people who’ve given you your budget. To them, effectiveness means profit. ROI. The bottom line. That’s not clicks or leads. And for you to get visibility over those things, you need joined up systems.
“Can you confidently and in no uncertain terms reveal how much revenue your content has driven or how much of the pipeline it generated?”
Your marketing platform has to be connected to your sales platform. And both of these need to be connected to your CRM. Without that, the buck stops with each department and you’re just reporting on your own goals without any idea of how they’re impacting everyone else.
How HubSpot reveals your content’s value
I can still remember seeing a HubSpot dashboard for the first time and marvelling at the data it showed me. It was like a flashlight, cutting through all that dark social, banishing the uncertainty clinging to my content like shadows.
“I could see everything [in HubSpot]. Not just how my content was performing but the impact that was having on the overall marketing campaign. The sales cycle. My clients’ bottom lines.”
HubSpot’s platforms are all integrated. When you use them together, they’re effectively one system through which you can manage and grow every aspect of your business.
What this means here is that when someone views your article, it’s logged in your CRM under their contact entry. When they download your ebook, that’s logged too. When they progress to Sales, when they become a deal in the pipeline, when that deal closes and the call goes out that you’ve made a new sale or closed a new customer, it’s all there in the customer’s timeline: the article through which they found you, the ebook that sold them.
Using the HubSpot CRM suite, you can categorically say — at a glance, in seconds — how:
- many deals your content has influenced
- much of the pipeline your content has generated
- much net new business it has brought in
- much revenue its created
These metrics cut right to the core of effectiveness. The lifetime value of being able to know these things is huge, but short-term they've never been more important than they are now.
The importance of proving your value now
Everywhere you look, times are hard. Businesses across industries are tightening their belts. Others are scrutinising every penny spent to make sure it’s invested in the right place.
“People create content for all kinds of reasons, but whichever department you’re in, now more than ever you’re going to want to be able to prove its commercial effectiveness, its impact on the bottom line.”
If you can’t prove your value now, you’re back in that tunnel again, where no-one can see you or the importance of your role. That’s going to do you a disservice, but it could also really hinder the business when the content you create is pivotal in raising brand awareness, generating leads, or filling the pipeline with new deals during these difficult times.
The people with the budgets don’t always join those dots. They’re disconnected too, from you and the process. You can use HubSpot to make it clear just how valuable your work is.
How to measure the effectiveness of your content using HubSpot
So how can you use HubSpot to measure the effectiveness of your content? To make this article as relevant and helpful as possible, let’s look at this in all senses of the word.
Brand campaigns specifically often measure effectiveness by “eyes on the prize”. The goal of these campaigns isn’t direct sales, after all, but exposure. The more people who see/view/are reached by your content, the more visibility you get over your brand.
This is a much softer metric compared to being able to report on revenue driven but it has its time and place, and there are lots of ways you can measure it using HubSpot.
- In the Analytics tools, under the Traffic Analytics report, filter by “Pages: Page type, blog posts” to see how many “Views” your articles are getting. This gives you a clear overview of how much traffic your articles are receiving.
- You can further differentiate views by source (e.g. organic, referral, direct) when clicking into a specific article for a greater understanding of where you’re driving the biggest brand awareness and which channels are proving most effective.
- Brand awareness campaigns often leverage social media to great effect. To this end, visit “Marketing: Social, Analyze” to measure audience size, impressions, sessions, shares, and other metrics with a link to audience exposure to your branded content across all your organisation’s social media channels of choice.
A vanity metric…
…is any metric that’s paraded around because the results are good, but which doesn’t actually mean anything to your performance, your strategy, or your organisation. Brand awareness and traffic metrics are often lumped into this group, but as buyers increasingly look for businesses whose values align with their own, there’s a lot to be said for the commercial impact of communicating your brand effectively, at scale. As a general rule, ask yourself “so what?” If you can’t answer why that content metric’s important, it probably isn’t — even if the numbers look good on paper.
Blog “page views” from the Babeltest sandbox portal
While leads are a far cry from revenue closed, they’re certainly a surer nod than views or sessions to the impact your content is having on the wider business. Some sales pipelines depend on marketing-generated leads. Where can you measure them in HubSpot?
Back in the Traffic Analytics report (filter “Pages: Page type, blog posts”), scroll down to the list of blog posts and across to “Total Submissions”. This will show you how many conversions have taken place in each article.
In the same table, a separate column exists for “New Contacts”. This helps you to go a step further by reporting not just on blog conversions but how many new contacts have been generated as a result of your content marketing efforts.
Set up an automated notification for every time a new marketing-qualified lead is generated. This could be an email received by the marketing manager and your salespeople or even a Slack alert for whenever your content has generated a lead. As well as improving the speed and efficiency with which your new leads are picked up, this is great for raising awareness of the effectiveness of your content.
“Total submissions” visible in the Babeltest sandbox portal
- Pipeline generated
A lead is one thing. An active deal, another. Following the lifecycle of a marketing-generated lead (in this case, one generated by your content marketing specifically) is a great way of tracking its impact on the business as it moves closer and closer towards becoming revenue.
- HubSpot’s sales reporting is incredibly detailed. Because it integrates with HubSpot Marketing Hub, you can set up custom dashboards to report on deals generated net new from marketing and deals generated influenced by marketing.
- The implications of this on measuring the effectiveness of your content are huge, revealing exactly how much of the pipeline came from your content marketing.
- Because HubSpot’s sales platform also integrates with its CRM, you only have to click into a deal record for more details, such as how it was generated and various touchpoints along its buyer’s journey — including the ebook it converted on and the blog posts the prospect read for one month/three/a year before converting.
Deal attribution in action
Between July-September 2022, our client VFE recorded £1,133,667 in net new deals generated from its marketing. For the same period, deals influenced by VFE’s marketing activities totalled £5,137,386.50. Because they leveraged the full HubSpot CRM Suite, they were able to see exactly which deals our content marketing activities had influenced but also so much those deals were worth in forecast revenue. Read the full case study.
- Revenue closed
Your ability to prove that your content has generated revenue awaits — if you’ve set up your HubSpot CRM Suite correctly.
- Don’t stop with a pipeline dashboard. Customise dashboards for deals closed net new from marketing and deals closed influenced by marketing to show the value of the new business you’ve driven, either directly or by influencing another sale.
- Again, the integration between the HubSpot CRM Suite means you can jump into the Traffic Analytics report and review the column for Customers. If everything in the back-end is set up correctly, this will show you how many customers individual articles have helped to create within the timeframes specified.
Big manufacturing money
Our content didn’t just generate deals for VFE. In the space of six months, £4.8m worth of those deals closed into new business. For a business and a strategy focused around proving the commercial value of our impact, there’s no clearer sign of the important role our content was playing, never mind the staggering ROI they saw as a result. Read more.
The customer journey doesn’t stop when they close. In many ways, it’s just starting. Similarly, HubSpot can help to prove the value your content delivers in terms of customer satisfaction and retention.
HubSpot’s knowledge base platform includes upvote buttons. This is a great way of getting feedback directly from the customer on how valuable your content is — to them and to you. Entries with lots of upvotes suggest your knowledge base article is especially helpful and delivers lots of value to your customers.
Net promoter score (NPS) is another way to measure the effectiveness of your content post-sale. Itself a measure used to gauge customer loyalty, satisfaction, and enthusiasm with an organisation, NPS feedback can help you to understand the important role your content plays in building customer relationships and getting the most value out of your products or services — metrics that are often overlooked when it comes to measuring how valuable an organisation’s content it.
How are you measuring the effectiveness of your content?
There are times when all you want to report on are campaign metrics. Other times, organisations will place great value on any activities that can be seen and proved to improve the customer experience. In most cases, being able to evidence how much money your content is bringing in — either as a direct figure on in terms of deals forecast in the pipeline — is the surest way to prove just how effective and how important your content is.
If you’d like us to audit your HubSpot portal for an idea of how well these features are serving you, just let us know. Alternatively, if you’re not on HubSpot yet but wish you were, get in touch. Its content reporting features are fantastic, yet they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the platform’s measurement and reporting capabilities. We’d be happy to talk to you about how HubSpot can help you or take you through a demo.
Maybe it’s you in that tunnel, struggling to be seen. Or maybe it’s someone on your team. Whoever it is, HubSpot means no part of your revenue generating activities need be in the dark anymore. Shine a light on your content’s effectiveness and prove — without a shadow of a doubt — the value it delivers. Your pipeline will thank you. So will your copywriters.
If you’d like to learn more about building your sales process in HubSpot (or the many other ways you can use HubSpot to improve sales performance and sell more), just get in touch. I’d be happy to help you get the most out of the platform and unlock HubSpot’s potential.