When prospective clients call and ask about our article marketing service, two of their most frequently asked questions are: “ How do I measure my article marketing return on investment?” and “How do I know if my investment in time, energy and manpower is really paying off?”

Here are two formulas you can use to determine your article marketing success:

1. Cost per lead.

First, let’s look at your hypothetical article marketing costs. You need to write the article, find sites to submit to your articles to, submit the articles and then monitor the results.

When I submit articles, I notice a significant increase in traffic. But having people visit the site is not enough. I need to get them to create a relationship with me so they will buy in the future.

To do this, you need to link your articles to a special landing page on your website that offers readers the opportunity to sign up for a free ezine or a special report. To get these documents, they must you me their email address.

So how do you determine if your investment is article marketing investment is worthwhile? Here are two cost-per-lead yardsticks you can use.

* Let’s pick a mystical figure of $1,000 to do the writing, submitting and programming. Let’s also assume for the sake of simplicity that you are submitting the article to 100 sites and directories. Your results may vary, but at least we have a starting point to work from. Using simple division, you now know that your cost to submit the article to one website is $10 because you are dividing $1,000 by 100 sites.
* When readers identify themselves and provide you with their names, emails and contact information they become prospects, or leads. If you get 100 leads from your $1,000 investment, your cost per lead is $10 (divide the investment of $1,000 by the number of leads, 100, to arrive at $10 per lead).

This number shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. How much are you paying for a lead now? If it is more than $10, then article marketing is saving you money! Congratulations!

I need to point out that while some people will not sign up for your offer, no matter how wonderful it is. Don’t count those people out. You have successfully branded yourself to them by giving them an exposure to your services via your article, your website and any materials they might have read while perusing your website. I can’t put a direct value on this, but it can’t hurt. Any positive impression you make with someone is bound to pay off either directly, or indirectly.

2. Profit per sale.

Some people who come to your site will be so impressed with your article and your offer that they will immediately buy your product or engage in your services. Life doesn’t get much better than this. You’ve made a sale without spending precious time to convince them face to face, or on the phone or via email.

Let’s look at the numbers. Let’s say you are selling an e-book or other digital product for $55. You have no cost of goods or shipping costs. You might have to pay a credit card processing fee, of course. But for the sake of discussion, let’s assume you are paying $5 in fees just so we can keep the math simple. Your net profit is $50 per order.

You’ve paid $1,000 to place the articles and you are getting $50 profit per article. You’ll need 20 sales to break even. That’s one way to look at it. (Divide the investment of $1,000 by the $50 profit to arrive at 20 orders.) If you got 30 orders you’d be ahead $500. Congratulations!

Another way to look at this is to compare this cost to your exiting cost per sale. Is it more than your article marketing costs? Then you’re saving money by using articles to make sales!

One more thing to consider: People who buy from you once are likely to buy from you again. So your profit per order could go up considerable once you factor in reorders over the life of the customer.

Putting it all into perspective

These formulas can work with just about any activity you do – from Google Ad Words, to sponsored ads, to ads in newspapers and magazines. If you track your sales and your leads with each method, you’ll be able to see which activities get the best return on your precious investments. You might be surprised when you see the true cost per lead and the profit per sale. If so, you can re-allocate your resources to get the maximum impact.

About the Author: Nationally recognized online publicity expert, author of 6 books, and Founder of PR LEADS, Dan Janal can help you get the most bang for your article marketing buck. For free tips on how you can double, triple and even quadruple your article marketing return on investment, subscribe to the PR LEADS Article Marketing Secrets & Breakthroughs Newsletter at: http://articlemarketingexperts.com/articlenewsletter/