How do you measure return on investment of your website?

Content is a cornerstone of the modern B2B marketing strategy. Which makes the management of that content a crucial marketing activity. However, if we don’t have the right tools to manage our content effectively it can be a complex and costly process.

That process is at times creative and technical. It often relies on high levels of admin & communication, involving as many as 4 to 6 people for a single piece of content. So it makes sense to remove as much friction from the process as possible, as many Content Management System (CMS) providers claim to offer.

However, some organisations are still posting the same content to multiple platforms, systems and websites, spending time resizing images to upload multiple versions to their CMS and tracking approvals across email and online systems.

New CMS platforms often promise a range of woolly benefits such as ease of use, simpler content management processes and a warm glow inside when you use them. But it’s quite tricky to measure the return on investment of content management software, as the process can be fraught with opportunities to miscalculate the costs involved.

In this article we’ll suggest a few ways of tracking the costs of content management and how you can create a model to measure the cost savings that your shiny new CMS platform is enabling.

The costs

Firstly, we need to recognise that the cost of content management isn’t just the cost of time spent – there are a number of ‘soft’ factors that also need to be taken into consideration. In addition, how people use the CMS will have a significant bearing on its efficiency and effectiveness. 

The best place to start is benchmarking your current system. How long does it take to complete activities such as:

  • Publishing content to the CMS

  • Updating content across different sites / platforms / pages

  • Editing and resizing images

  • Creating localised versions of content

  • Training new CMS users

  • Troubleshooting (technical or user focused)

  • Integrating third party tools

  • Working around template restrictions / limitations

These activities will also be associated with a number of resources that have associated costs, such as personnel (content creators / managers, developers), software licensing, IT hardware & support and training costs.

Benchmarking will obviously only be possible with activities and resources that will be carried over to a new system. Obviously, if a new system eliminates the need for an activity altogether (e.g. entering content multiple times for different platforms) then this will represent a cost saving.

You can now calculate a cost for each activity related to managing content in your current system and multiply that by the cost of the resource that will be used to do that work. 

As mentioned earlier, in addition to the costs of assigning resources to physical activities, there are also a number of ’soft’ factors that represent a cost to content management. For example, ease of use can directly impact on job / team satisfaction (and ultimately staff retention). These factors can be difficult to represent in an ROI calculation, but improving a marketing team’s daily work experience does have a positive impact on an organisation. It is therefore important to bear this in mind in addition to more quantitative ROI calculations.

The returns

Calculating the return on your CMS investment will most likely be based on how the CMS helps you to achieve your business objectives. You may be focused on increased sales, faster time to market, process efficiencies, reducing costs, increased engagement, higher conversion rates, reduced human error and/or increased customer satisfaction.

Additional factors that are harder to measure include maintaining brand consistency, reducing legal liability (through improved security), meeting or exceeding site visitor expectations, opening up content management to a wider team and internal team satisfaction.

If your CMS provides marketing automation tools then you will most likely have measurement tools available already to measure effectiveness. It may also provide SEO features (which can be very time consuming to set up manually) which help improve your visibility on search engines without the need to manually tag content.

Bringing it all together

Once you’ve calculated your cost savings, efficiencies and potential revenue increases, it’s time to put together a report on how your new system represents a return on investment.

It’s also useful to consider potential risk factors at this stage too – don’t forget security, which is a significant risk factor in legacy (pre-GDPR) systems.

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    No, we haven’t brought Pimms Friday forward this week, or been working so hard that we’ve lost all sense of reality. It is just an analogy that came to us earlier today on the tube, in transit between meeting and office.