Can You Really Calculate ROI for Your Industrial Blog?

introduction to business bloggingSpeaking from experience here.

Blogging is an expensive and time-consuming marketing effort. It is not an exercise in creativity. Blogging will not hatch a bunch of Ernest Hemingway’s. A blog is not deployed to add more content to your web site. It is not for giving out tons of helpful information.

Although your industrial blog may do all of the above… it really is about lead generation.

Like other sales & marketing efforts, you need to know the potential ROI from your creative, time-consuming efforts. If you are a junior marketing person, this exercise is important to demonstrate ROI to gain support from management.

Can you really calculate ROI from your industrial blog? You bet.

Let us take a recent project we are working on for a B2B manufacturer & calculate the ROI. For all the number geeks out there, these numbers are not exact, but they are realistic. Based on real conversations with the customer and my own knowledge, ROIs such these are achievable.

This post is designed to change your thinking and not heat up your calculator.

First, let us look at the cost to the company in terms of staff hours. I am working with the VP of Sales & Marketing and I would guess he has spent approximately 4 hours helping me and my staff develop 8 topics that will increase web traffic. These 8 topics will be for this quarter and the goal is to publish 8 posts per quarter.

Let us assume the VP of Sales & Marketing makes $100,000 per year, we divide by 2000 hours, which factors in a 40-hour workweek and standard 2-week vacation. That comes to $50 per hour. Therefore, the VP of Marketing has spent $200 at this point.

Now factor in 50% for a typical company’s overhead and we arrive at $300 costs. ($200 internal costs for VP of Sales & Marketing’s time and then multiply $200 times 50% to add overhead = $100. Add the $100 to $200 and you get $300.)

We charged the customer $500 to redesign the front page of their primary website featuring a prominent graphic linking to the new blog. We also designed a new branded banner/masthead for the actual blog page.

Our client is paying us $1200 to write the 8 blog posts and post them on their website. This includes publishing each post using social media, mostly Linkedin.

Many companies would have to factor in hosting and technology costs for a separate blog. In this case, the costs are minor because they already pay us to manage the hosting, minor updates, etc. Let’s factor in $25 per month for the techie stuff.

To summarize, here are blog costs amortized over 24 months:

  • Initial cost of blog module and design: $500
  • Internal costs of VP of Marketing: $300 per quarter x 8 quarters: $2400
  • External costs of developing 32, key-word specific, blog posts: $4800
  • Hosting & maintenance: $600

So…the fully loaded costs over a 24 month period is $8300

Now, let us figure the revenue. Is the blog effort worth it? Let’s find out.

This particular company manufactures components for large equipment manufacturers. Rarely does the customer receive small orders. Most orders are large, long-term contracts depending on the life cycle of the product the component is to be installed on. Typically, a good contract lasts about 24 months and is worth an average of $15,000 per month.

The blogging effort landed one contract worth approximately $200,000 over a 2-year period. That calculates to a 2300% ROI. ($200,000 – $8,300 = $191,700. $191,700 divided by $8,300 = 2300%

Revenue – investment, divided by investment = ROI (expressed in percentage)

Allow me to digress a little.

The reason this lead generation strategy works so well in the industrial market is that the content saturation is so low for these markets. So…when you deploy well thought out, keyword-specific content the chances of attracting a good lead are greater than other industries. It works especially well when your company has opportunities to secure long-term contracts such our manufacturing friends.

In other words, there is lots of low-hanging fruit in the B2B manufacturing market.

For example, in a previous blog I cited a customer of ours that manufacturers quench oil coolers. At the time, I wrote that blog post there were only 61 web pages in the world that mentioned “quench oil coolers”. Getting to the top of Google will be quite easy for these guys. So it is with many industrial marketers that have low content saturation within their industry.

If done with thought, creativity and a specific keyword strategy your industrial blog will return your investment and then some.

Can you calculate your company’s ROI potential from blogging?

GET STARTED BY DOWNLOADING: An Introduction to Industrial Blogging from our friends at HubSpot.

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