You spend a lot of time and effort convincing the boss — even if that boss is you — that content marketing is an investment, not a cost center. Conventional proof points involve numbers of impressions, views, clicks or shares. That information is important to you because those are the numbers that tell you about the experience you are giving to customers. The numbers help you optimize your marketing.
However, those numbers don’t tell the story of why you make the investment in the first place.
The reason it’s difficult to make a business case is that the measures of marketing success are different from the targets your company has to hit: revenue. If only you had an app that translated your marketing numbers into a model that projects revenue from sales. I’m talking about a model that draws a solid line from your marketing investments to active leads in your pipeline, and, ultimately, revenue from sales closed.
We’ve got you covered with a handy ROI calculator, a free worksheet that enables you to plug in the numbers you need for a convincing business case. The output will help you project how much more incremental revenue your content marketing campaign can generate for your company. If you sell a product for $5,000 annually and your customers typically stay on for three years, how many new customers would you need to justify your content hub?
Now you can justify an investment in content marketing that will move your revenue needle.
Data for your ROI Calculator
You can use this ROI calculator to sell content marketing programs internally, or to satisfy your own inquiry to your marketing team. Start with a comprehensive list of your program expenses, beginning with the cost of building and maintaining your content hub’s website. Include your staff’s time, agency engagement and other external resources such as copywriters, videographers, designers, and photographers, paid social and PPC, and digital/print advertising. There’s more, but you get the point: Include everything required to generate your projected incremental revenue.
Be as honest as you are comprehensive, right down to those unanticipated expenses that get added to the budget later the cycle. This is your first-year program cost. It’s even better when you schedule your expenses on a monthly basis throughout the calendar year, so that you can project when you will invest your budget. It is important to see in your projections that all costs are not sunk on day one.
Moving down the ROI calculator, enter the following:
- Annual contract value (ACV) – How much is a sale worth?
- Lifetime value (LTV) – The number of years in a typical sales contract.
You may need to work directly with the sales team to obtain this information, especially if you don’t yet have an integrated marketing and sales system.
For the visitor’s funnel, enter these projections, which should be based on the numbers you currently have in your CRM:
- Number of visitors to your site.
- Conversion rate from visitor to marketing lead.
- Site conversion marketing leads.
- Webinar marketing leads.
- Webinar marketing qualified leads.
- Total marketing leads.
- Marketing qualified leads from all sources.
- Conversion rates for marketing qualified leads.
- Opportunities – the number of created business opportunities.
- Conversion rate
In the example below, a first-year investment of just under a half-million dollars will return around $1.3 million in revenue on the sale of 20 units. If your inner skeptic can’t be quite so optimistic, then you should consider that three units are the break-even point in this example. Any incremental sale beyond the third unit is pure profit.
Now try this exercise with your content marketing campaign and see what you get.
Your ROI Calculator, Tools and Advice
Want to discuss your specific case? Whether you use our worksheets, workbooks or through 1:1 consultation, we are available to help you come up with a content marketing plan that makes sense before you invest your precious budget to your efforts.