Building a house without a plan or blueprint would soon translate into complete chaos. Likewise, for a franchise business to jump into content or social media marketing without a “blueprint” or strategy is courting disaster.

If you are not presently seeing positive results from your social media and content marketing efforts in either franchise sales or brand management, maybe it’s time to “go back to the drawing board.”

How Far Back?

All the way. The first step in implementing content marketing is to set business goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish is mandatory when developing the right path (strategy) for achieving your goals. If your goals are fuzzy, your results will be fuzzy.

Start with a couple of questions.

What do you want to do in 2014 with franchise development/sales?

What advancements/changes do you want to see with your brand management?

Specific goals could be:
  • In 2014 we want to expand into three new territories with nine new stores.
  • We want to increase corporate website organic traffic by 15% over the next 90 days.
  • We want to see 10% more franchise sales leads from our social media accounts.
  • We want all franchisees active in social media by the end of Q2.
By setting SMART goals–specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-framed—you’ll have clearly defined goals identifying exactly what you want to accomplish with your content marketing.

Content Marketing Goals Need Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

In a recent study by Ascend2 (Content Marketing Benchmark Summary Report), the top three business goals in 2014 for a content marketing initiative are: Increase number of leads generated (54%); Increase brand or product awareness (41%); Increase number of website visitors (32%).

All of these goals are measurable and, therefore, manageable. KPIs could be monitoring website traffic, bounce rates, number of engagements on your social media channels or blog, favorite posts, audience growth and sales leads.

Whatever goals you set for content marketing, you need to assign key performance indicators (KPIs) to those goals so you can measure progress. Setting current benchmarks for each goal gives a starting point for accurate comparison over time.

By measuring only what is important to your business goals and objectives you eliminate a glut of irrelevant data. Most social media platforms have internal analytics to help you monitor activity, so along with Google Analytics or other measurement tools, you can track customer and prospect engagement across ads and videos, websites and social tools, tablets and smartphones giving you daily, weekly or monthly snapshots of activity.

Regularly evaluate the data to determine whether or not progress is being made toward meeting your goals. Decisions should be data-driven, not speculation. By keeping close tabs on the data, you can quickly and easily change your strategy if something is not working.

What specific goals have you set for your content marketing and social media initiatives?

Next is this series: Part 2, Strategy. The second step in Cadence9’s® 7 Step Content Marketing Lifecycle, strategy builds the infrastructure, mapping out the processes required to accomplish your goals.