One of the first marketing activities most SaaS companies perform is setup a blog. Most set it up because it is quite likely the easiest thing to do for technical founders and they have been advised by experts to do so.
Mostly the blog is relegated to being a press release source, with announcements about funding, new features and the occasional culture and values post. There are exceptions though (Hubspot and Kissmetrics) who use the blog as a customer awareness and lead generation tool.
In this post we examine the ROI from a blog that uses it as a customer awareness, prospect education and lead generation tool. Let's assume that you write 3 posts per week on topics that are of immense interest to your prospective customers. For a month, that’s approximately 12 blog posts and about 150 blog posts in a year.
Each of these blog posts is a little less than 500 words and has 1 image (dont forget the Alt img tag to ensure SEO juice) that’s relevant to the audience.
Having personally written and also outsourced copywriting of blog posts, we can confidently say that each outsourced blog post costs about $10 for 500 words. These posts are of high quality, well researched and organized posts which customers benefit from reading. If you write these blog posts yourself the “cost” may be higher since your time as a founder is possibly worth more than $10 / hour (Assuming it takes 1 hour to write a 500 word post).
The cost of blog posts, annually, hence is about $1500 (150 * $10) or about INR 82,5000. Lets assume cost of hosting the blog is included in other costs so we will not add that to this mix. This is your investment.
Now to understand the return, we have to do 3 tasks:
1. Understand the cost of acquiring visitors from other (paid) sources. You will have to do a quick Google adwords experiment to check the cost per click for each of these keywords.
For GitGrow, that ranges from $1 / visitor to $5 / visitor. So to do better on paid Google Adwords campaigns, we have to spend $1500 and get more than 1500 visitors OR 300 visitors (for more expensive $5 keywords).
2. Detail the conversion rate of registered users to visitors from both the blog other sources. We will assume that the conversion rate for both paid campaigns and blog writing is the same.
3. Outline the comparable cost of getting customers via the blog versus paid sources to understand the ROI.
Lets assume that potential customers are searching on 10 top keywords to learn about your offering (for the sake of simplicity).
The ROI from blog posts for a SaaS company comes from more than 1500 visitors (or 5000 visitors if you have less expensive keywords) who come to your website in a year because of reading your blog posts.
To put it in a generic sense, take the cost of your blog post writing and divide it by cost per click for your keywords. The resulting number is the number of visitors you need to get to your website (assuming same conversion) to “break even on your investment.
Visitor break even = Cost of blog post / Cost per click of keyword cost using Google AdWords
Your “Visitor break even” should be less than the number of visitors you got from the blog post for you to be ahead. In your Google analytics you can track that by looking at the number of visitors for each blog post.
Vinita Ananth, Founder, GitGrow
[Gitgrow is free and can help you optimize your website]