Karthik Subramanian has been working with content marketing since before it was called content marketing so it’s safe to say that he knows a thing or two (or a thousand). This is why when we started to get a couple of questions on field service content marketing from electrical contractors and other field service specialists, we turned to him for advice.
The first thing Karthik mentioned was how often he sees managers failing to correctly measure the effectiveness of their customer communication efforts. Working for premier content management platform, Paperflite, he’s gathered a lot of insight on how to make sure that the content output is as good as it can be, insight that he shared with us.
The core of the issue is that many electrical businesses who have developed a content marketing strategy and are consistently creating articles, videos, podcasts, etc., focus too much on the pre-production phase and not enough on post-production. After releasing a piece of content, they move on to creating the next, and don’t really pay much attention to how it performs.
This way, they end up with a guide on how to find the best electrical contractor, a video on how to read a technical circuit diagram, and a dozen funny photos of bad installations. What do these have in common? Nothing other than a confused idea of what the electrical blog is about.
Since we’re always repeating our mantra of “report, analyze, optimize”, it made sense to delve deeper into the matter so we asked Karthik not just how to measure content but also what are his favorite metrics? What are the Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs) he considers most relevant and how do people misuse them? Read on to find out what he had to say!
1. How long do your readers spend on each piece?
It’s the easiest metric to start with and one that will make a difference not only in how you calibrate the value of your content to suit the audience but also in how Google ranks your website: time spent on page. It’s also probably one of the most ruthless metrics because nothing is quite as heartbreaking as publishing a piece that you’re particularly proud of only having people glance at it then move on. For Karthik, producing content is also one of the most rewarding parts of his job and he agrees that:
“The level of engagement someone has with my content is the biggest metric, my most important KPI. The time they spend looking at my content is what I need in order to understand if that piece was a success or not. The amount of choice makes taking a decision a lengthier process, regardless of industry, so if you didn’t engage with the content for very long, you probably aren’t going to buy.”
Customer communication is a lot about getting leads to identify themselves with your service so, as an electrical contractor, you need to establish what it is that they’re interested in and how can you offer it in the most engaging manner. This being said, attention is fickle these days so try to add elements to your content that will keep them scrolling. Images are an obvious solution but consider the way you talk about a topic.
Is every paragraph flowing into the next? What about your video transitions? How quick are you to get to the core of the topic? These should all be tailored to your audience’s preferences for electrical contracting content and the way to know what they like is to track it. Do people spend more time on your article about methods to change a spark plug? Then write more simple DIY guides. It’s a matter of identifying what works then replicating it.
2. Number of shares defines your customer communication proficiency
Whether it’s reshares, retweets, claps or any other sharing metric, this one is also simple to track: if someone has read your piece or watched your video then felt it was valuable enough to put it on their own channel or show it to someone else via email, Slack, or social media, then you’ve earned an extra view at no cost to you.
Not only that but your insight and point of view was interesting enough that someone aligned themselves with it and became a micro-ambassador. Karthik recommends using your emotional brain for the content and your analytical brain for measuring how good said content is:
“Has it been engaged with? Has it been reshared with someone? For videos, it’s how many times has it been played? How many people have seen 1 minute of it? 5 minutes? How many people watched it in full? These are metrics for us that keep us on our toes, they help us gain very deep insights about customer behavior.”
For example, you can record yourself in a video showing a few main risks of Electrical DIY (amongst them being, you know, dying) and the best way to protect yourself (call a professional electrician – meaning: yours truly!).
Then post it on your social media channels, sit down, and track how it does. How many comments did you get? Did anyone share the video? Which channel did best? Your first few pieces of electrical business content will have to be a matter of trial and error until you see what customer communication strategy works best.
3. The narrative behind your page-level analytics
“Specific content metrics such as page-level analytics”was Karthik’s 3rd KPI which he explained in detail, mentioning how he’s seen many marketers and managers fail to see the forest for the trees. What he meant was that people are so focused on individual KPIs – which is by no means a bad thing – that they don’t look at the set as a whole anymore.
They simply want to increase blog traffic or the number of subscribers and they lose sight of the correlation between these numbers and the rest.
A high number of entries on a page is definitely important, that’s why it was our first tip, but if the bounce rate is 98% that means something is amiss. “Break down the content silos – let the content flow across the organization and to the end-users.” recommended Karthik as a solution. Get insight from other people in your company on how to create a content that ebbs the reader on.
Understanding KPIs is very much a game of connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated pieces of data. Customer communication is the title of your story but you need to create a narrative and analytics provide you with the main plot points. Think of the marketing funnel when you put numbers in context.
When the exit rate is high on a page about 5 questions you should ask your electrical contractor before he starts work, that’s a worrying sign because the purpose of a top-funnel customer communication piece is to move people through your brand story. It’s like watching the first episode of a series and stopping there.
However, if your electrician price estimate form, which is a bottom of the funnel type of content, has a high exit rate, then you’ve achieved your goal, as most likely the lead is about to or has already converted. If you’re looking for more information on which numbers you should keep an eye on, Databox has put together a comprehensive article on 22 Content Marketing Metrics You’re Probably Not Tracking (But Should Be). Make sure to give it a read!
Oftentimes, it’s hard to face cold hard numbers but when it comes to content marketing and customer communication for your electrical business, there’s no better way to improve your strategy. Unless you know what works and what doesn’t, how can you do more of the first and less of the latter?
If you’d like to get started on your journey to excellent communication, download the toolkit below!
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