Often small businesses and start-ups create and curate content to simply “check off the box” within their marketing strategy. When this happens, the content can turn out sub-par and weak. Or, businesses often write blog posts, create graphics and invest in social media automation software that rarely results in a return on investment. Either businesses do not know where to start or how to start a content marketing strategy.
While many business owners and marketing departments often have limited time, resources and money to put into a content marketing strategy, it is essential nonetheless. When done correctly, content marketing can fuel lead generation, nurture prospective and current customers, and help the business to stay top-of-mind with their audience.
There are five things that must be considered when developing a content marketing strategy. These things are essentially the styles of which your content marketing will unfold. The style of content marketing that you use will be determined by the type of business you operate. Ideally, you should focus at least 80% of your efforts on the style that suits your business type. Ask yourself the following questions to decide which content marketing style works best for your business.
- What is the average lifetime value of a customer? Here, you should ask yourself what your customer spends over a lifetime of working with your business. In the case that the average value is less than $10,000, you will want to invest your limited budget in content marketing talent. Inbound lead generation is key for you, as many of your leads will likely stumble upon the content that you share and distribute online.
- Is your customer B2B or B2C? Here, you should ask yourself whether or not your customer is a business or a consumer. Particularly if your average lifetime value of your customer is greater than $10,000, this will questions be important. If you are a B2C company, your focus should again be on inbound lead generation. If you are a B2B company, outbound marketing will be a key piece of your strategy, but content will still be present. It will liekly be in the form of larger pieces of profound content, such as videos and long-form articles.
- Is your lead generation primarily from referrals? If so, you should focus on referral-based lead generation, in the form of social media marketing, stemming off of content marketing. Viral and recurring content will be a siginificant piece of this style. Content in the form of videos and case studies will also contribute to this style, and establishing incentives for those who share your content will assist as well.
- What is the average length of your sales cycle? In other words, how many times does your customer need to come in touch with your marketing collateral before they decide to become a customer? Usually, the more expensive a product or service is, the longer the sales cycle will be. If your customers fall into a short and shallow funnel, you will need a content marketing strategy that is broad in reach and short in conversion. The opposite will be for those customers that fall into a long and deep funnel, in which you will have to establish trust and reputation over time, because your reach is narrow and your conversations take longer.
- What is the size of your advertising budget? Content marketing is usually fairly inexpensive. Therefore, if you have a budget of less than $1000 per month, focus on generating organic traffic through search engine optimization efforts, with a content marketing strategy as the focal point. If it is more than $1000 per month, put those efforts towards a paid advertising campaign in order to generate paid traffic, combined with a content marketing strategy that focuses on fueling your advertising efforts.
We know that your time, resources and money may be limited, but fortunately content marketing can be leveraged for even the smallest of budgets and time restraints. Done correctly, content marketing can also provide a strong return on investment. Whether you use a combination of strategies, or focus on only one, the type of business you operate should help you decide which content marketing style best suits you.