When it comes to content production, your budget can make or break your success. If you spend too much on your content marketing, you could put your business in serious financial peril; alternatively, if you spend too little, you might lose market share to your competitors. How do you make your content marketing budget effective — no matter how much money you have to spend?
Define Your Budget
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Start with raw numbers. How much money can you safely devote to content production? According to the Content Marketing Institute’s most recent survey, the average company devotes 32 percent of its total marketing budget to content marketing. Even more telling, the percentage has increased by 7 percent from last year, which means that companies have realized the value of content marketing.
However, you don’t have to follow the trends. Consider your other marketing initiatives and how a content marketing strategy would fit with them. You can commit less of your budget to content production at first, then slowly ramp up as you get more experienced, or you can launch a full-fledged campaign with your entire marketing budget.
Start With Strategy
No matter how much money you plan to spend, your content marketing campaign will likely fail if you don’t know what you want to accomplish. A piece of content can create several measurable results. Here are some examples:
- Generate leads
- Convert leads to customers
- Improve brand awareness
- Establish the creator as an authority in the industry
- Boost website traffic
- Increase engagement on social media
All of these metrics can prove beneficial, but only if they fall within your current key performance indicators (KPIs). When you want to generate leads, for example, you’ll need magnetic content that attracts attention and includes a powerful call to action (CTA).
Define your audience, outline your goals, and create a content strategy that aligns with your current objectives. Without strategy, your content can’t serve a specific purpose or help you reach a goal.
Devote Some of Your Budget to Customer Retention
Customer acquisition often dominates marketers’ minds when they create content marketing strategies. They’re hoping to lure more customers into their webs, which isn’t a bad thing for any business — especially startups and companies that experience sluggish growth. However, you should not neglect customer retention.
HubSpot, a leading inbound marketing authority, proposes four stages to the inbound marketing process:
- Attract: Get consumers through your virtual doors.
- Convert: Convince consumers to interact with your business.
- Close: Make a sale.
- Delight: Continue to interact with existing customers to promote repeat business.
It’s the last phase that concerns customer retention. If you forget about the people who have already expressed loyalty to your business, you do your company a grave disservice. According to Kissmetrics, customer acquisition can cost up to seven times more than customer retention. If you spend more on customer retention, your budget becomes more effective because you’re spending less money for each sale.
Divide Your Time Between Fresh and Repurposed Content
You can easily stretch your content marketing budget if you don’t focus exclusively on new content production. Yes, it’s essential to create fresh, new content on a regular basis, but you can also repurpose old content in new ways. For instance, an old blog post could become several types of new content:
- Series of tweets or Facebook posts
- Slideshare deck
- Part of an e-book
- New blog post with updated data
- Part of an informational email
- The voice-over for a video
- Text for an infographic
When your marketing budget runs low, start combing through old content. An insightful tweet could become the foundation of a new blog post, while an old piece of content could get broken down into smaller chunks for social media.
Prepare to Increase Your Budget Incrementally
If you’re starting with a meager content marketing budget, don’t panic. All businesses must start somewhere — the goal is to plan for the future. As your revenues increase and you expand your market share, increase your budget accordingly. That way, you’re continually gaining more brand awareness and a larger internet footprint.
A small budget could include less expensive content, such as short blog posts and social media content. You can either create them in-house or hire an experienced content production team. As you gain steam, add video content, infographics, and more detailed content to your menu.
Leverage Each Piece of Content Effectively
A piece of content won’t generate maximum ROI if you don’t promote it. The internet has become saturated with content on every conceivable topic, so don’t rely on organic search to be discovered. Instead, leverage each piece of content to the fullest by promoting it on your social media channels, in blog comments, and elsewhere online. The more links you disseminate, the farther your content can reach.
This includes front-end promotion. For instance, if you want your email campaign to take off, you need subscribers. You can create a piece of premium content, such as a white paper, to convince prospects to part with their email addresses. Once you have a significant following via email, your content becomes more effective because it reaches more people.
Conduct Copious Research
Most people don’t enjoy research, but it’s necessary if you want your content to flourish. You’ll want to know what your competitors have published, which keywords prove most popular among your target audience, and which social media channels are the best fit for your business.
Invest In Quality Content
Your content won’t reach an eager audience if it’s uninspired, poorly written, or redundant. You need the best possible content in order to survive in your industry, which means either hiring a copywriter or outsourcing the job. The latter often makes the most financial sense.
You can start a content marketing campaign on any budget. As long as you take a pragmatic approach and use your resources wisely, you can spread your message across the internet. Then, as your content repository grows, you’ll become easier to find organically, which means you won’t have to work as hard to reach your target audience.
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