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How Small Businesses Can Optimize Content for Better ROI Improving ROI is a matter of ensuring your work efforts end in tangible results.

By Derek Miller Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Yuri_Arcurs | Getty Images

How can you be sure your content is worth the time and money you're investing in creation and marketing? Your epic content and high traffic counts should feed your company's bank account, not drain it. Auditing the return on investment (ROI) of your blog posts and other online content is a simple step that can boost your company's profitability. Here are some tips to maximize the profits from your content.

Understand your analytics.

If you want to stay on top of ROI, you need reliable data that measures your traffic and results. Google Analytics is a powerful source of information that can tell you exactly where your buyers are coming from, but this robust tool's many features can overwhelm users and prevent them from using it effectively.

Related: 5 Content Strategies That Will Always Work

Fortunately, Google offers free analytics training that will help you learn how to set up goals, run side-by-side tests, understand your sales funnels and track the results of all your efforts. It's well worth your time to learn how to accurately measure the results of your efforts.

Focus your social media efforts.

Managing the full range of social media channels is a lot of work. While it's possible to broadcast your content across a variety of apps and platforms, that can be a waste of time. Various social media platforms offer different demographics and results, so it's important to look at which avenues are converting to sales, not just bringing you visitors.

To compare the ROI, divide the sales generated by each outlet by the dollar value of the time and other resources you're investing. Focus your future efforts on the one or two channels that bring you the best return. Use the time you've saved to learn more about the most effective schedule and best types of posts for the most effective media channels.

Keep updating your best content.

You've spent an inordinate amount of time creating evergreen content with the power to convert to sales. Don't let that content sit idle or go out of date. Identify which posts are working hardest for you and schedule time to update them every three to six months. Read through the content and see if you need to refresh your source material, fix out-of-date references or include a new industry development.

Related: Developing a Hardcore Social Media Content Strategy In 5 Steps

This update gives you a chance to rebroadcast the content over social media and in your email newsletter. Refreshing content keeps it relevant and makes it more appealing in search engine results, too.

Use images effectively.

Using images effectively is one of the best ways for a small business to optimize their content. The first thing to do is make sure all your content has at least one relevant image because it's estimated that articles with images receive 94 percent more views and are 40-times more likely to be shared on social media. It's important that you not just include images, but that you also optimize the images correctly. This means, properly attributing the image, scaling and sizing the image and adding SEO elements like the alt and title text.

Promote interactively.

Getting your content in front of people at the very moment it could trigger a purchase is requires some effort. Using SEO and advertising tactics to make sure you turn up when users are searching for solutions is a good practice. However, some people prefer a more human approach and aren't inclined to search the Internet when they have a problem. These people are more likely to turn to industry Facebook groups or ask questions on sites like Quora.

Related: 6 Small Differences Between Average Content Strategy and Genius Strategy

If you present yourself as a friendly expert in those groups and on those sites where your customers are likely to seek answers, you'll be welcome to post links to your content in response to questions. Those links will be well-received if you take part in discussions regularly.

Tailor your content.

As you follow discussions about your topic, you'll learn which questions arise regularly. Write content that answers the most frequently asked questions, and share it along with a friendly customized note when the topic arises. Set Google alerts for keywords related to the question so you can find new places to share your expertise.

Keep ROI in mind when you write this content. Include relevant purchasing links early in the copy so you can convert this new traffic into sales, in addition to encouraging new readers to follow you or join your email list.

Title it right.

Great content, high search engine placement, interactive sharing, and a strong social media strategy are all useless if your headlines don't compel people to open the link. Great headlines entice people to read the content and share the link. In fact, people will often share a great headline even if they don't read the content themselves. Writing headlines that pique interest without looking spammy is a skill like any other and it's one worth mastering.

Choose the right social media tools.

Some social media sharing tools are better than others when it comes to giving you feedback that can improve your ROI. Tools like Hootsuite, SproutSocial and Buffer can help you refine your strategy by collecting information about the best times to post and the types of content most likely to engage your followers. This will enable you to build a library of evergreen content to reshare effortlessly.

Watch your spending

Creating and sharing engaging content can get expensive. Custom images, memes, pin-worthy graphics and outbound marketing are costly. Quality images are essential to your content library, but more isn't always better. There comes a point where adding one more high-quality image to your epic piece of content won't bring in any extra dollars in revenue.

Keep an eye on your costs, and stop spending when you reach the point of diminishing returns. The first graphic is vital since it's the one that will show up in links and social media posts. After that, make sure each one earns its keep.

Optimize your sales funnel.

There are ways to improve your ROI at each stage of the process. At the top of the funnel, take a look at the prospects you're drawing in, and make sure they're high-quality leads. Traffic from people who aren't likely to buy what you're selling is useless.

In the middle of the funnel is the content itself. Is it engaging? Does it build trust? Does it convey a sense of urgency that makes people want to buy now? At the acquisition stage of the funnel, make sure you are following up in a way that encourages repeat business.

Improving your ROI isn't about doing more work. It's a matter of focusing the work you're already doing so that your efforts end in tangible results.

Derek Miller

Content Marketing and Social Media Strategist

Derek Miller is a content marketing consultant for CopyPress. He has the startup bug and loves working in the fast-paced world of online marketing. In his spare time he is building a website for fantasy sports fans and players to share and find advice.

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