How to Win at Online Marketing on a Limited Budget
About Mark Harrison
Content marketing needn’t cost the Earth. It’s all well and good having a massive marketing budget to spend on creating content, but for small businesses and sole traders, that’s not always possible.
Large companies and corporations may be able to throw hundreds of thousands of pounds after major marketing campaigns, but there are other ways to boost traffic and drive conversions on a tighter budget.
That’s why we’ve been thinking about ways to create great content without great expense, from forward planning to recycling your existing content to make something new. In fact, we’ve come up with 7 different ways that you can break out without breaking the bank…
1. Proper Planning
If your resources are limited, it’s sensible to direct them appropriately. Whatever content marketing budget you have allocated, it should be spent on content that will appeal to your audience and generate conversions, rather than on generic mass marketing.
Conduct research on the latest marketing trends and use your findings to devise clear and concise content goals. Consistent with your long-term business plan, your goals will inform the content you produce and help to direct your marketing efforts in general.
Once you know what you plan to produce, you will be able to organise your strategy more effectively by creating a content calendar. Most of all, it’s important to be realistic when planning ahead.
By making achievable targets based on your budget and marketing goals, you’ll be able to plan your content delivery more effectively.
2. Regular Blogging
A good blog should be the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy. If you don’t have one because you’re concerned that you don’t have the budget to pay a professional copywriter, there’s an obvious solution that you may be overlooking – write the content yourself.
While you ideally want to create professional copy for your blog, you should also want it to be personal. If you do pay outside writers to write for you, you’re going to have to devise and write up a set of submission guidelines anyway.
Beyond the personal touch, blogging has a host of other benefits, from driving conversions to improving your search visibility. Regularly posting content may not be sustainable if you’re paying someone else to do it for you, that’s not a problem if you write your own copy.
While you should never ask copywriters to work for you for free, (or worse, “for exposure”) you may be able to collaborate with influencers in your industry, whether they are customers or peers, in order to create guest blog posts. Once you’ve got an audience, a reciprocal promotion may be mutually beneficial.
3. Don’t Overproduce
Even if you have more time than money for your content marketing efforts, your time is still valuable. Keeping the aforementioned tips in mind, it’s important to use it wisely.
The schedule for your posts is a matter to decide while building your content calendar, but there’s no use in setting yourself unattainable targets, especially if the quality of your content suffers.
In short, don’t waste time and energy forcing yourself to write five daily posts that could be spent writing one great post. While a regular posting schedule is crucial, it’s up to you to decide how regular it should be.
On the other hand, if you have allocated some of your budget for outsourced content, quality control is even more important. Don’t commission content that you don’t need, especially if you’re trying to get a good return on your marketing investment.
4. Write Evergreen Content
If you are able to write topical content on a quick turnaround, the SEO benefits are manifold. But in the long term, you will gain more visits with evergreen content, which will always be useful and relevant to your customers.
Ranging from explainers and how-to posts to listicles and product reviews, evergreen content will typically answer a particular question that your customers have about your industry.
With the benefit of backlinks and scheduled resharing, these posts will be more popular for longer. More importantly, this provides an opportunity to show you are knowledgeable and authoritative in your field, building trust.
If you’re just starting out, designing evergreen content is a great way to generate consistent growth over time, making your posts accessible, actionable, and renewable.
5. Recycle Old Content
Speaking of renewability, there’s nothing wrong with recycling your existing content in order to create something new. If you have a wealth of blog posts to draw on, you might as well use them.
Beyond scheduled resharing on social media, you may be able to repurpose content in a new and creative way. For instance, you may be able to use a popular blog post as the basis of a new video blog or podcast.
Right now, video and audio are, respectively, the first and second most shared forms of online content. Thanks to smartphones and free apps, they’re also more accessible and easier to create than ever before.
By changing mediums, you will increase your reach and make brand-new content out of what you already have, saving you money and also expanding your audience.
6. Know Your Audience
When your marketing budget is tight, you will want to make sure that your content is reaching your customers, whether existing or new, in order to drive conversions. The key to writing for an audience is to know who they are as well as their needs and desires.
Through some fairly basic research, you should be able to pick up some essential data about your customers, including what they like about you, what they don’t like, and what they expect from you.
It costs nothing to ask your previous customers about their user experience. Don’t shy away from or ignore customers who didn’t enjoy their experience either – you may learn even more about how to develop your strategy in the future.
But on a more positive note, a detailed understanding of your audience is your best asset when it comes to creating excellent, focused, and inexpensive content.
7. Share Far and Wide
Finally, you should always make the most of your social media following. Whatever platforms you’re on, make sure that any new content is shared in a timely fashion with eye-catching visuals wherever possible.
In this day and age, shares and retweets will make up a large portion of your backlinks. Moreover, social media posts encourage your existing followers to pass your content on to their own circles of friends and family, making influencers out of those who enjoy what you do.
While social networks are often quite sneaky about limiting your organic reach in order to sell more advertising, most of them also offer analytics, allowing you to do more specific targeting without spending too much. You also have the ability to engage your followers by starting conversations with them.
In terms of writing, the more shareable your content is, the more engagements and conversions you will see in return. Be proud of what you’ve done and encourage others to spread the word too.