5 Steps to Creating a Content Marketing Budget

Posted by Ryan Malone on Apr 13, 2013 7:56:00 AM

According to an Ad Age survey presented by Marketing Charts, content marketing comprises an average of 12% of overall marketing budgets. A full 10% of marketers spend more than 30% on content marketing, and 9% spend 19-30%. This means that approximately one in five marketers with a budget of $100,000 would spend up to or more than $30,000 per year on content marketing. Also worth noting is that 55% of those surveyed indicated that they would be increasing their content marketing budget for 2013.

The results of the survey are below:

content marketing budget

This many marketers can't be wrong about content marketing. If you're not using this important tactic as part of your marketing strategy, you're potentially missing a major opportunity to reach more new customers.

Why is content marketing so popular?

Consumers find products and services in a variety of ways, but one of the most popular is through Internet searching. The more content you have on your website, blog, and social media pages, the more likely it is that a lead will find you. However, when it comes to content marketing, quality is just as important as quantity. Consumers respond best to content that provides value. Whether it is advice or entertainment, quality content that is regularly updated will attract and retain more leads than simple sales pitches. The best content marketing campaigns build trust, educate the consumer, help you develop a loyal community, and increase sales conversions.

Important factors for creating a content marketing budget

There are many different types of content marketing, including:

  • Blog posts
  • White papers
  • E-books
  • Social media campaigns
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Buyers' guides

The types of content that you should use will depend largely on your target audience, but it's important to use multiple approaches. For example, if you offer professional accounting services, you might create an informative white paper that describes recent tax updates, and a series of blog posts that answer the most common questions about changes to the tax code. On the other hand, if you sell flower arranging kits, a more effective approach might be to write a graphic-rich e-book and create a series of how-to videos.

Either way, the importance of ongoing content updates cannot be understated. After a lead reads your white paper or e-book, you need to create fresh new content that will keep them coming back for more. Factor this into your content marketing budget so you have enough funds to keep it going all year long. Remember, online content provides ongoing benefits beyond the initial attention it receives. A white paper will draw in new leads long after you have seen a return on the investment, and regular blog posts have a cumulative effect of improving search engine rankings.

How do you create a content marketing budget?

If you are introducing content marketing or placing more emphasis on this important component of an effective marketing strategy, you'll need to create a budget. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Decide what percentage of your overall marketing budget will go to content marketing. If you follow the current trend, this will probably be 20-30%.
  2. Decide which types of content marketing you want to do. Remember, it's important to have ongoing content development in addition to the occasional e-book or white paper.
  3. Allocate your resources. Factor in the personnel time and costs (either in-house or outsourced) required for writing, editing, video production, graphics, distribution, and content promotion.
  4. Estimate monthly expenses. Create an annual editorial calendar so you can predict how much you will need each month. For example, if you plan to launch a new product or service in May, you might bolster your content marketing efforts around that time.
  5. Stick to it. A budget is useless if you don't actually use it. Track actual expenses so you can modify the budget as necessary. Don't forget to track successes and failures so you know where to focus your content marketing efforts in the next year.

It's clear that an effective content marketing strategy requires ongoing effort. Unfortunately, not all businesses have the talent or resources to do it on their own. This is why so many small businesses choose to outsource content development to a company that has the expertise and staff to generate quality content. 

How do you use content marketing for your business? What percent of your overall marketing budget is used for content creation and promotion?

About the Author: Ryan Malone is the founder and CEO of SmartBug Media, a strategic inbound marketing agency and Hubspot Gold Partner based on Southern California. Go Lakers.  

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Topics: content, social media marketing, business blogging, inbound marketing, content marketing, marketing planning, inbound marketing agency, smartbug media, ryan malone, how to generate leads, buyer persona, content creation

What To Expect When You Are Expecting Results From Inbound Marketing

Posted by Michael Lieberman on Dec 18, 2012 7:45:00 AM

Results from Inbound MarketingIf you’re practicing inbound marketing today and you’re honest—then you have this challenge. The promise of inbound marketing comes along with a set of expectations and those expectations are simple. “I am going to get leads.”

The reality of inbound marketing is our clients will get leads and they will get more leads from their website then they were getting before any of us came along, but helping clients understand when, how many, and what they look like is THE major challenge facing inbound marketing agencies.

Unfortunately, most of our clients don’t look at the situation objectively. For years they haven’t been getting any inbound leads and their website has anemic traffic numbers but two months into the engagement they want to know why they’re not getting 100 leads a month. This comes down to one single issue—expectation setting.

This starts in the sales process where, in order to close business, we have to get our prospects emotionally excited about the promise of leads from inbound marketing. Most of us are responsible, so I know no one is promising 1,000 leads in the second month, but I also know it’s what we DON’T say that starts to set the expectations.

We DON’T show them the relationship between traffic and leads. We DON’T tell them the timeline associated with driving new traffic in today’s world of Get Found. We DON’T have honest and open conversations about their inability to nurture the leads from a sales perspective or close those leads. But perhaps the worst of all—we don’t tell them that to really get significant leads from inbound marketing they have to make MAJOR improvements to almost all of their existing sales and marketing efforts.

Let me be clear. I am not being critical. This isn’t easy. Our line of work, inbound marketing, is exponentially more complicated than anything any of us used to do. If you used to do advertising all you were ever on the hook for was producing and placing the ads. If you used to do website design or website development all you had to do to be successful was deliver the site. If you used to do PR, then a story placement or press release was your deliverable. Times were so much simpler.

But you decided you wanted to be an inbound marketing agency. Now you have to explain how content helps you get found, how landing pages and calls to action are mandatory, how leads need to be nurtured and content has to be delivered in context, how keywords have to be in everything, and that their personas need to be deep and multifaceted, is that enough—or should I keep going?

Sadly enough, most of your prospects and clients have little or no idea of what you are doing, why you are doing it and how it’s going to help them get leads.

They measure you on only one number—leads!

If we are going to do this thing called inbound marketing, we are going to have to do it right, from the beginning. That means reworking our sales process so we spend enough time with prospects to understand their business intimately, not just the processes but the people. Prospects that won't let you look at their website analytics before you create recommendations shouldn’t be prospects. Prospects that won't walk you through their marketing and sales processes or worse don’t have them and don’t want these processes shouldn’t be prospects. Prospects that want you to rush through planning, strategy or foundational improvement work shouldn’t be prospects.

Consider adopting a more transparent program development process. Show the prospect their current baseline numbers even if they are low or embarrassing. Show them the relationship between the level of recommendation and the leads they should expect. Low investment levels translate into slow growth. Want to get more leads? Invest more money in inbound marketing tactics. Show them the pace of growth and the compounding factors that make inbound marketing such a sustainable and efficient approach.

Use pictures, graphs images to tell them a story. Show them the mathematical relationship between their website traffic and leads. Educate them throughout the process. Educate them early and often even after they become clients. Remember, there are a lot of people out there who are telling your clients they need to be doing it the old way. When you’re not around, people are pushing them back into their comfort zone even though you moved them out 30 minute ago.

Perhaps the most important suggestion is that we all be obsessed with the creation of a process that meets the unique challenges facing us as inbound marketers.  What we create today will propel us into the future. Inbound marketing is in its infancy. We are the people who will create this practice and be responsible for changing the way marketing is done. We are the people who will be responsible for getting our clients leads. The sooner we set the right expectations and over deliver, the sooner inbound marketing will become the ONLY way to market your business. 

About the Author: Mike Lieberman is president of Square 2 Marketing. Mike is the co-author of two books, Reality Marketing Revolution and Fire Your Sales Team Today! Mike's agency specializes in the installation of an inbound marketing methodology and the implementation of inbound marketing tactics for entreprenurial oriented businesses across the country. You can follow Mike @Mike2Marketing.


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Topics: Square 2 Marketing, goal setting, marketing planning, how to generate leads

Inbound Sales Lead Generation

Posted by Pete Caputa on Jul 1, 2008 5:54:00 PM

I wrote a guest post over on Aaron Ross's blog titled, How to Generate a Steady Flow of Inbound Sales Leads.

I summarized a few points on the HubSpot blog and there are a few relevant comments over there too.

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Topics: lead generation, sales lead generation, how to generate leads, online lead generation

How to Generate Leads from Direct Mail

Posted by Pete Caputa on Apr 24, 2008 9:47:00 AM

Although I'm an internet marketing guy at heart, if I had to choose another effective way to reach my market, I'd choose trade shows and direct mail. If it works for you, I wouldn't recommend stopping outbound marketing techniques. If they're done right, trade shows and direct mail alllow a marketer to target a market and measure results and ROI. If you can afford the investments, need to grow faster and your competitors are doing it, I don't think you can afford not to leverage these methods.

Doug is a life long direct marketing man and one of the shining online marketing stars in my growing online business network. He wrote a great post on his blog about how to generate leads from direct mail. There's a lot more detail on his post. Here are the highlights.

  • Carefully target your audience.
  • Buy Mailing Lists
  • Focus on your Customer's Needs and solve their most irritating issue. Don't focus on your product.
  • Always stress Benefits.
  • Immediately Seize the reader's attention! Use an Impactful headline or first sentence.
  • Never end a sentence at the bottom of a page in a sales letter.
  • Share some "inside" information.
  • Feature the offer.
  • Give something away for FREE or Run a contest.
  • Use a special "before the price increases" offer.
  • Make a time-limited offer.
  • Base your offer on a limited supply.
  • Offer a special deal to the first 100 people who order.
  • Make a "last chance" offer.
  • "Buy 1 get 1 FREE" always out pulls "2 for the price of 1."

Read his full post.

 

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Topics: direct mail, trade shows, how to generate leads

How to Generate Leads at Trade Shows - HUG All Prospects Masterfully!

Posted by Pete Caputa on Apr 14, 2008 11:24:00 AM

Previously, my trade show expert buddies, Jason Kallio and Frank Damelio posted a guest blog post about what not to do when exhibiting at a trade show. Here's their insights about what TO DO:

Now we want to show you how to handle the traffic so you maximize leads. To do this you have to HUG All Prospects Masterfully.

H - Handshake: With a smile and extended hand you can increase your leads by up to 50%. Your hand will be left hanging in the air on occasion, but it's not personal.
U - Use their name like you know them: This is the easiest way to stop someone dead in their tracks. Name badges are your best friend at a show.
G - Give a gift: Make sure to hand them a gift not let them grab it from a pile. The value of the gift is that they now feel they owe you a little bit of their time.
A - Ask qualifying questions: Avoid benefit dumping. Have rehearsed questions designed to quickly find their pain.
P - Plan of action: It is critical to post-show follow up that you agree to the next step with qualified attendees before they leave your booth.
M - Move them along: A trade show is a perishable investment. This is not the time to build the entire relationship. Spending too much time with one visitor costs you multiple leads.

Between part 1 and part 2, we have given you 10 tips that do not cost a penny. Using these is the cheapest fastest way for you to get more leads.

Jason and Frank are experts at trade shows. They plan to write another guest post that talks about the systems they use at trade shows.

Do you have a system for qualifying, collecting, following up and tracking sales from your trade show leads? That's what they'll be blogging about next.


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Topics: trade shows, how to generate leads

How to Generate Leads via Trade Shows - Don't Be a P.E.S.T

Posted by Pete Caputa on Apr 1, 2008 2:26:00 PM

Update: Frank has a blog now.  And I'm excited about that.

I have the honor of knowing, not just one, but two trade show marketing experts, Jason Kallio and Frank Damelio. I talk to them quite frequently. Neither are blogging, even though they both have so much great insight to share. So, I suggested they write a guest blog post together:

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has collected trade show statistics since 1978. Research shows the cost to generate a qualified lead at a trade show is $212 vs. in the field is $308. That is a difference of $96 per lead. Why? Trade shows bring your target prospects to you.

Once you have selected the right show, your challenge is to filter through the traffic to find your best prospects. Here are four simple mistakes to avoid being a PEST to your prospect:

P - Put up barriers: Avoid putting tables or other barriers the long way across the front of your booth. Keeping a clear wide open space allows people to step out of the traffic and into your domain.
E - Eat in booth: Mom always said, "Don't talk with food in your mouth." Visitors do not want to be rude and interrupt you while you are eating. They may intend to return, but they won't.
S - Sit in booth: Visitors don't want to make you get up, especially when they are "just looking". If you are already standing, they are much more likely to engage you in conversation.
T - Talk: You are there to engage attendees not one another. If talking to your team, then face the flow of traffic and break off to engage prospects. Leave the booth to check your phone messages.

These four tips don't cost you a penny. I cannot think of a cheaper way to help get you leads. Just for fun, the next time that you are at a show, walk the floor and see how many exhibitors are being a PEST.

Their next guest blog post will talk about what TO DO to maximize the number of leads you - as an exhibitor - can generate.
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Topics: trade shows, how to generate leads

How To Generate Leads Using the Web - Keyword Research is the First Step

Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 6, 2008 7:03:00 AM

Right now, "How to Generate Leads Using the Web" is the title of my blog. I'll probably change it at some point.

But, "generating leads via the web" is what I am helping my clients do. That won't change. I'm planning on doing a series of step-by-step videos to demonstrate how to do generate leads via Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, Blogging and Engaging in the Blogosphere and on Social Media sites... for the benefit of my clients as well as readers. The knowledge to do this should be in everyone's hands. Right now, the knowledge I'm going to share is not known by many people. I'm about to piss off a lot of search engine optimization and social media marketing consultants. 

To do this stuff right, you don't "NEED" them. However, to do it right, you NEED the tools. Since I'm providing my clients with the tools, I have a lot of reasons to share the knowledge of "how to generate leads" openly. I'd rather educate a few hundred people at a time, than one on one.

The place to start is always with Keyword Research. Using the HubSpot tools, I've been able to help almost all of my clients identify keywords that:

  • have a large amount of search volume,
  • aren't too difficult to rank for in the organic search rankings,
  • and where they are already ranking in the first 100 results in google's search engine result pages (SERPs)

These are the gems because with a little bit of work, it's easy to start ranking high on the first page and start enjoying that free traffic. But, since there are a lot of internet marketers publishing to the web, it's difficult to identify keywords for myself. (Luckily for me, Mike Volpe and the marketing team at HubSpot has done the work to rank for "internet marketing" and a bunch of other phrases, and they supply with as many leads as I can call.)

What I'm struggling with is how to show examples of doing it without giving away competitive advantage. For example, we discovered a few keywords that one of my clients should focus on, he changed his title tags and voila ... he went from result 79 to 9 in the SERPs. I would never share what those keywords are because it would make it too easy for his competitors to duplicate. The actual work he did to rank is obvious if his competitors simply look at his site, assuming they have enough knowledge of SEO. (0ne of his competitors already knew about this keyword and is optimized and ranks for it.)  However, I'm not going to advertise how he did it in a video. 

The struggle is over.

So, I'm happy to report that I discovered a solid keyword phrase, where pc4media ranks "19" in the SERPs and there's approximately 140 searchers per month. I would not have discovered if it wasn't for the integration of HubSpot's keyword research tools and web marketing analytics. A few people came to the site as a result of the search. Then, with one click I determined where I was ranking, how many people searched for that phrase in a month and whether or not it'd be difficult to get to the first page.  HubSpot's keyword tool tells me that it's not that difficult to get higher than I already am and I've already made a change to my site to get higher.

So, I've found a good one. Were you hoping I'd share it? Not until I do my videos. I don't want another internet marketing expert to wreck my progress while I'm making the video. I expect others to compete with me for the keyword after I do the video and lots of people see it. But, that's why search engine optimization is an ongoing process.  Also, by then, I'll have done a bunch of blogging, link building and social media marketing in order to rank. It'll be harder to duplicate my efforts. And I'm sure I'll find more terms to go after by then too. But, this'll serve as a good way to demonstrate "how to generate leads" via SEO.

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Topics: keyword research, SEO, search engine optimization, lead generation, how to generate leads

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