When your business has been turned on its head -- you need to work harder, more cleverly, and sometimes with less money and resources.
But, this is a real opportunity to become less reliant on expensive PPC strategies.
Cut marketing costs with inbound content
"Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising."
The ultimate goal is to ensure your business survives and can continue to provide a service to people while staying within your new marketing budget; this might mean revisiting what needs to be done by your agency (trimming not cutting), using a freelancer, and taking more tasks in-house temporarily.
The best way to continue to market your products and services on a smaller budget is to adopt an inbound marketing strategy. Why? It's cheaper and it gets three times more leads than paid search.
Inbound marketing is a sweeping term that refers to getting customers to come to you -- cool!
1. Create your inbound marketing strategy
Your inbound marketing strategy is made up of lots of very targeted pieces of helpful content (like blogs).
Each piece of content not only links into other content on your website, but it takes the reader on a journey (more about that later). The more pieces of content a person views, the more likely they are to purchase your product/services.
"Content creation leads to 434% more indexed pages than websites without updated content. The key is to create as many pathways around the web for customers to find you."
The easiest way to do this is to create a basic content strategy, which consists of:
Who are our customers now and what are their challenges (buyer personas)?
What problems do our products/services solve?
What is topical at the moment?
Where can we find these people hanging out?
What are we going to talk about each month (themes)?
How are we going to talk to people? Video, blogs, infographics, and eguides.
Where will these assets sit on our website?
What will a reader's content journey look like? Blog links to infographics, which links to eguide?
When are we going to send content out, and what channels will we use?
Analysis -- how will we know that our inbound marketing strategy is working?
2. Creating themes for your inbound marketing strategy
"63% of marketers are creating content with buyer persona in mind above all else."
Creating a theme is just a cheesy word for 'what the hell do we focus on each month so we don't end up producing loads of random content in a panic'.
If you've taken the steps I suggested for creating an inbound marketing strategy then you'll now have buyer personas (who are your customers and what challenges do they have).
For instance, if I was in recruitment, I'd be considering this theme:
Month One Theme: Switching to interim
Blog: Five Red Flags For Interim Recruiting (picking the right people quickly).
Eguide (gated --requires email address): A hiring manager's guide to interim recruitment.
Case study: How we helped Spar with quick resource.
CTA: Book an appointment.
If I was an insurancebrokerage, I'd be doing this:
Month One Theme: Policies in a rush/accident details exchange at 2m
Blog: 5 red flags for speedy fleet policies in distribution.
Eguide: A fleet manager's guide: insurance during Covid-19.
Case study: How we helped fleet managers with speedy policies.
If I was in fraud or finttech, I'd be doing this:
Month One Theme: Fraud spreads too
Blog: Fraudsters love a commotion.
Eguide: How to protect your business from fraudsters.
Case study: How we helped Halifax fight fraud.
You get the idea. The key is to be topical and targeted.
3. Quick content creation tips
"The top three content marketing tactics are blogging (65%), social media (64%), and case studies (64%)."
Content can work really hard for you if you are clever with it.
For instance, if you write an eguide first with lots of stats in and a well-structured layout, you can produce blogs, infographics, and videos by snatching bits of copy from it -- saving you time.
If you optimise your content for SEO by adding relevant keywords and using the correct H tags, you can boost your website visits organically for free.
"45% of marketers rate their interactive content as either extremely or very effective. Interactive content includes assessments, calculators, quizzes, or contests."
Statistically, viewers also love interactive content, statistics, and opinions from industry professionals -- so you can add those to give interest and gravity.
4. Creating destination pages and a customer journey
"97% of marketers are using prescriptive content, meaning they’re laying out a foundation of rules and strategies to follow when it comes to creation."
A customer journey, often known as a content UX strategy, is encouraging readers to click on more content that is relevant and useful to them.
It sounds complicated, right? Nah -- just plan a little journey, a bit like snakes and ladders without the serpents. You want people to keep on climbing and feel good about it -- no one likes a snake.
So, you take someone from a blog to a case study/infographic/video to an eguide. The eguide captures their email address in exchange for really helpful information.
You can host all of your content on your website under blogs or resources, or do something even cooler if you really know your target market. You can create destination pages, which are individual pages that have all of your content/or links to content that is relevant to that person.
Once you have an email address, you can send other helpful information and follow up with a demo or an appointment enquiry. Remember to ask people what type of content they're interested in when they sign up for your eguide and how to unsubscribe or change preferences.
You can easily set email lists up with software such as MailerLite.
You can also ask readers to sign up/log in/subscribe for more blogs -- which is the best way to create 'fans' of your brand. You can then send them info, updates, offers, and loyalty rewards.
5. Promoting your content with less PPC
"When it comes to delivering content and securing audience engagement, LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform at 82%. Twitter took second place at 66%".
LinkedIn is your free friend.
"Almost all of my business over the last ten years has been generated via LinkedIn." Sarah Powers
How? You can directly target people who you feel your content might help by industry and job title for free. Once connected, you can engage with their posts and build a community of your target audience. You can post your content and can follow up anyone who hits the 'like' button.
You can also use software like Hootsuite to promote your content in batches over multiple social media channels -- so your head doesn't fall off.
Inbound marketing creates three times more leads than paid search.
Create content that resonates with your customers.
Create content backwards -- eguide to blogs and video to save time.
Optimise your SEO with content that uses keywords and H tags.
Create a journey to nurture your readers.
Create a community and brand 'fans'.