There’s no denying that consumers like to gather information before making a purchase. Most of them will be doing a lot of research online about products and services that solve their problems and address their needs.
And that’s especially true for the B2B sector where 90% of B2B researchers use search specifically to research for business purposes. Did you know that B2B clients on average do 12 searches before engaging with a brand site?
A compelling content marketing strategy and SEO-optimized website will help these targets discover your B2B company during the research process. That’s why content marketing is so critical for any B2B company.
However, getting these prospects to engage with your brand content is only the first step. It’s critical to track them as they move through the sales funnel and engage with your content to finally make a purchase. This is called conversion tracking.
Conversion tracking basically shows you how many leads you’ve acquired with marketing campaigns ultimately became your paying customers.
Conversion tracking is essential for B2B content marketing campaigns because it helps to evaluate your performance in the most straightforward way. It also allows companies to avoid allocating resources into channels that don’t bring them that much value or are low performing. Finally, it’s a good idea to track conversions because it helps improve profits by spending more on strategies that bring the most value and prove to be winning among target audiences.
Thanks to conversion tracking, you can show all the data to get the budgets for all your amazing projects.
However, conversion tracking in B2B can be quite tricky.
Here are 5 most serious B2B conversion tracking problems together with solutions to help you address them and create a winning content marketing strategy.
One of the most common issues that emerge in B2B content marketing is setting wrong conversion goals for your campaign. If the conversion goals you establish don’t connect with your business objectives or are simply irrelevant to your operations, then the entire effort of conversion tracking is utterly meaningless.
That may happen when you set high goals values for less important things and low goals values for elements that matter most. For example, if one of your marketing goals is attracting new employees, you will probably create a landing page for a specific position with an application module. You can measure three things, among others:
Naturally, the third is the most important goal that you should focus on and the one that needs to have the highest goal value. However, many marketers fall into the trap of concentrating on minor goals that only look impressive – like the number of page visits. You don’t want to end up tracking a metric that doesn’t really tell you anything about your success rate. Sure, 5000 page views might make a content marketer feel that they’ve done a great job – even though no applications were actually completed.
That kind of goal is a micro-goal while B2B companies should be tracking the most important macro conversions.
Here’s another example.
Let’s imagine a company that has a website which features complex search functionalities and a number of different landing pages that come from particular searches. Too many searches will create a mess. The company will have no chance of tracking conversions back to the originating search page. They’ll have no idea where the customers who landed on these pages came from.
That’s why they need to take a step back and define what exactly it is that they want visitors to do on their site or particular pages.
For example, the most common goals for a landing page are downloading a resource, submitting a contact request form, or watching a video for a new product. Once that you know what the overall objective of your page is, it’s time to develop goals for it and separate them into macro-goals and micro-goals. For instance, a micro-goal can be watching the product video, signing up to a newsletter, or connecting on social media. A macro-goal, on the other hand, can be getting in touch with the distributor, submitting a form, or making a phone call.
Conversion tracking is challenging on its own, but it’s even more difficult if the conversion activity you are trying to measure happens on an external site. That’s a widespread scenario for payment processors like PayPal or Amazon Payments.
However, that’s just one of the scenarios when conversion tracking becomes harder. Another one is when the marketing platform hosts your guest posts on a subdomain. It can even apply to your own blog – for example, when your site domain is X.com, and your blog is blog.X.com.
In both cases, your data might be showing that most of your conversions are coming from direct or referral traffic – and that would be incorrect. The problem here is that if you can’t make correct decisions, you won’t be able to allocate your budget accordingly – especially if everything looks as if it were coming from direct and referral sources.
If you measure your performance in Google Analytics, you can set up cross-domain tracking. Google Analytics help page says that “Cross-domain tracking makes it possible for Analytics to see sessions on two related sites (such as an e-commerce site and a separate shopping cart site) as a single session.”
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When it comes to conversion tracking in e-commerce, things are straightforward. A conversion is a completed sale. The value of that conversion is the total sale amount.
However, in B2B transactions there are often numerous conversions that lead to a sale. That’s why it’s often challenging to assign goal values to each conversion.
Smart content marketers dig into their historical data to create goal values. Historical data offers information about conversion rates – for example, the number of form submissions, the percent of goal activities that lead to the completed the sale and the average order value.
Here’s how it works in practice:
If you know that 2% of users who access your landing page convert to a sale and your average order value is $500, you can then assign a goal value for watching the video for your landing page as $10. In short, if 2% of landing pages visits result in a $500 sale, then the value of each visit is $500 multiplied by 0.02 which equals $10.
You need to be able to evaluate the results your marketing campaigns and channels generate. And assigning values to goals is an essential part of that.
Customers may not buy directly from the brand, instead purchasing brand products from a reseller or distributor. In B2B, brands may have hundreds or even thousands of resellers and distributors in their channel network.
If your business works according to that model, you may be experiencing this situation: a prospect visits your website to research and evaluate your products and then venture to a reseller’s sites to make a purchase. While engaging with your distributor, the prospect might contact the sales representative to get pricing information and then purchase the product.
So how do you make conversion tracking work if your product is sold through so many distributors? Here’s your recipe for success.
Step 1: Focus on tracking micro-goals or the small actions that don’t send a strong buying interest – for example, page views or clicks.
Step 2: Add macro conversions (these are the actions that serve as stronger indicators of buying interest like catalogue download, search for distributors, or contact form).
Step 3: Assign values for every conversion to better understand which channels work best.
In the first stage, you don’t really know how customers are converting. In the third stage, you can use weighted values to identify the marketing channels that lead to the most valuable conversions. And then assign goal values to them.
Make sure that your marketing team audits the assigned goal values and determines whether or not they should be updated.
Some B2B e-commerce companies end up tracking conversions in both Google Analytics and Google Ads. The result is that they get the wrong reports. The return on advertising spending would be reported as $14 when in reality it was much less.
To fix that, make sure that to confirm double tracking numbers from your ad platform and analytics platform. Is analytics isn’t your strong suit, team up with an agency that will help you learn whether there’s a problem here. Once you confirm double tracking, keep all tracking activities on your preferred source and disabled the other one.
Before investing in lead generation and boosting your sales team, get your conversion tracking in order. It’s the latter that will make your company successful over the long-term and allow you to see how your efforts are paying off.
Fix these five issues, and you’ll be on your way to learning more about the success of your content marketing strategies through detailed and on point conversion tracking.
Do you have any questions about conversion tracking? Please leave your thoughts in the comments; we want to start a conversation about the best practices for B2B content marketing.