Infographic: Solving The ROI of Content Marketing (Boss-Friendly)

Infographic: The ROI of Content Marketing (In Numbers Everyone Understands and With a Case Study)

by | Feb 13, 2018 | Infographics

Content marketing is effective – but I’d bet you certainly don’t need convincing.

You already know how good it is:

The problem:

How do you explain the ROI of content marketing in a way that’s immediately understandable to people who aren’t you?

Important people like…

  • Clients
  • Executives
  • Stakeholders
  • Business partners

Instead of putting these key players to sleep with a long list of incomprehensible stats, you need to be more persuasive.

We put together a guide that might help you, with formulas based on real scenarios, and language that even the toughest boss will understand (ROI speaks for itself!). This piece was a collaborative team effort between myself, our lead Content Strategist JJ, our creative full-time writer, Alyssa, and our amazing designer.

Please share if you enjoyed this infographic. Let’s spread the word about content marketing ROI! And, we’d love to hear in the comments what you think!

The ROI of Content Marketing: In Numbers Everyone Understands and With a Case Study (Infographic)

ROI of content marketing infographic

Download as a PDF.

Explaining the ROI of Content Strategy Through Numbers Everyone Understands (Infographic)

return on investment of content marketing

The way to make a client’s or high-level executive’s ears perk up when you talk about content marketing is not by showing them examples of others’ success.


  • They want to know how this strategy will help THEM.
  • They want to hear about the dollars, cents, and ROI THEY will get.

How do you estimate what this will be?

You need the Content Marketing Trifecta.

The Content Marketing Trifecta: Earned Traffic = High Quality Leads = Sales

A great content marketing benchmark to use for estimating dollar signs is conversions.

At its most basic level, content marketing’s main goal is to drive targeted traffic to a website, where that traffic is converted into high quality leads. These leads are then converted to sales.

  • Earned traffic, high quality leads & sales.
  • This is a simplification, but that’s the goal.
  • We need to translate conversions into dollar signs, A.K.A. speak the most simple yet persuasive language for key players to get on board.

The Benchmark Numbers

How do we compute the ROI associated with conversions from content marketing? We need some benchmark numbers.

We need to know:

  • The average rate at which targeted traffic coming into a website converts to high quality leads
  • The average rate that those leads convert into sales

16% Traffic & Leads

  • According to Marketing Sherpa, the average rate for converting traffic to leads across industries is 16%.

14% Leads & Sales

  • SEO leads convert at a higher rate than outbound methods, like paid advertising.
  • Studies have shown that leads generated from SEO have an average close rate of 14%, while outbound-generated leads have a close rate of 2%.

The Content Marketing Trifecta Equation

Using our benchmark numbers and monthly traffic numbers, we can plug them into an equation that will estimate how many leads and sales we can expect to see per month using content marketing.

  • Monthly Visitors x 16% Organic Traffic to Lead Conversion Rate = X Leads/Month
  • X Leads/Month x 14% Lead to Sale Conversion Rate = X Sales/Month

Example Scenario

If Business A gets 1,000 visitors to their website monthly:

1,000 Visitors x 16% = 160 Leads/Month

160 Leads x 14% = 22.4 Sales/Month

According to average conversion rates, out of 1,000 visitors in website traffic per month, Business A could expect 160 leads and 22.4 sales per month if they use content marketing.

Judging the Content Marketing Trifecta Equation Against Real Numbers: Case Study

To show how well the equation holds up in real life, let’s compare actual results with what the equation predicts.

  • The monthly traffic for Express Writers in January 2018 was about 15,470.
  • 15,470 Monthly Visitors x 16% = 2,475 Leads
  • 2,475 Leads x 14% = 346 Sales

Do the numbers hold up?

  • Expected: 346 orders
  • Actual: 289 orders
  • While we did come up 57 orders short of the expected total, this was a deliberate move for 2018 as we have shifted our focus to serving only clients who we believe are the right fit.
  • Due to this shift in focus, our average order size for January 2018 was $416 (new record for us at EW).

3 Steps to Explain the ROI of Content Strategy to Clients and Superiors

You’ve got some good numbers up your sleeve that are immediately understandable and persuasive for higher-ups and clients. This will help push them toward investing in content strategy.

Now it’s time to pull it all together.

1. How Will Evergreen Content Make Their Garden Grow?

Organic traffic from content marketing will help a business’ garden plot grow lush and thriving – think lots of green growing on that money tree.

The evergreen effect makes it possible:

  • According to a SEMrush traffic analysis, Express Writers earns 22.1k visitors in monthly organic traffic.
  • Our evergreen content pieces do most of that legwork.
  • If we didn’t have an evergreen content strategy in place, SEMrush estimates that we’d have to pay $45,400/month on Google AdWords (over $500,000/year!) to achieve the same results.

2. What Will They Need to Fertilize Their Content Soil for ROI?

In content marketing, to get the green rolling in, it takes some investment up front.

How do you fertilize the content soil to grow your business garden? What must be put into content marketing at the outset to see your efforts grow tall?


  • Estimate what you’re willing to invest.

If you outsource to a copywriting agency like Express Writers, the cost would average about $375 for one authority content piece.

If you commit to one piece per week, that’s an investment of about $19,500/year.

  • How does this investment shake out?

If we focus on low competition, high volume keywords, we could safely estimate ranking 3rd place in Google results within a year for 2/3 of those keywords (around 34 out of 52).

Assuming those keywords had a search volume of 1,500/month each, we could expect a click-thru rate of 13.4%, according to Ignite Visibility.

We’d also get an overall search volume of 51,000 (34 keywords x 1,500 monthly search volume) and an average of 6,701 visitors per month (51,000 total search volume x 13.4% click-thru rate).

  • Why is this investment better

According to the numbers, we would pay $19,500 per year (or $1,625/month) to reach 6,701 visitors per month.

To get the same amount of traffic with paid advertising, we would have to spend around $17,000 per month, according to SEMrush data.

That’s 10x more expensive.

That means investing in organic content marketing is 10x cheaper than paid advertising.

  • How does this investment translate to leads and sales?

Use our content marketing trifecta equation to predict the leads and sales you’ll get from that traffic influx of 6,701 visitors per month.

6,701 Monthly Visitors x 16% Organic Traffic to Lead Conversion Rate = 1,072 Leads/Month

1,072 Leads/Month x 14% Lead to Sale Conversion Rate = 150 Sales/Month

3. Show Them the Green

Once you understand the potential leads and sales your business could earn per month, you need to show your clients/bosses/higher-ups/stakeholders the green.

  • Pull the numbers together to illustrate the revenue potential of content marketing
  • Show them what they must invest to see real ROI
  • Compare what they’d have to spend on paid advertising versus getting the same results with organic content marketing
  • Show them what the ROI looks like in the form of potential leads, sales, and increased revenue

Once your key decision-makers can see the green potential for themselves and their business, it’s in the bag.

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