Many marketing teams struggle to make the most of limited resources. Whether you’re just starting out with a one-person business or you’re running a mid-size company that’s trying to break into the big time, it seems like there’s never enough time and money to achieve your marketing goals.
According to Forrester Research, 51% of B2B marketers expect to increase their budgets this year, and they’ll average an increase of 6%. That’s good news for big brands with big budgets to match. For smaller businesses, 6% of not much is still … not much.
But here’s the thing: In today’s digital marketplace, it doesn’t take a huge pile of cash to make the big bucks. It takes time, sure, and it demands a strategic deployment of limited resources. But with the right approach, you can attract attention, nurture leads, and close deals – all without breaking the bank. Here are seven ways to use in-house experts to create content that can power up your B2B marketing efforts.
The Importance of Content
Content continues to be the foundation of any good marketing strategy, be it big or small. For a cash-strapped marketing team, outsourcing blog posts, case studies, videos, and infographics just isn’t an option. And you know what? That may be a good thing. Because a lot of times, the best people to create content are right in your organization. Once you’ve got that bit of wisdom, you can use it, reuse it, repurpose it, and spread the word about it. Let’s take a look at how this might play out in your organization.
1. Interview an in-house expert
No matter how small your company is, there’s always someone (maybe it’s you!) who understands your products and services better than anyone else. They might work in customer service, sales, support, IT, finance, operations – anywhere. They recognize the problems your customers face, and they know how to solve those problems. If they’re not willing or able to write a blog post, interview them. So let’s say you manage to get a customer support rep to talk about the most common questions your customers have – and the best answers to the issues they face every day. That’s the start. Now what can you do with that?
2. Create a podcast
Interview the customer service rep, save the audio file, and BOOM! You’ve got a podcast. Submit it to iTunes – that way, people can search the iTunes podcast directory and listen to your show. Be sure you have a couple of episodes in the can before you do this, so people who like your content can get more of it. You’ll want to create an RSS feed, tags, and even cover artwork. Learn more about making and adding a podcast to iTunes. You should also make the podcast available on your site and promote it through social media channels.
3. Shoot a video
Create a simple do-it-yourself video of that expert answering those same frequently asked questions. Better still, go out into the field and get those customers to ask the questions themselves, and then have your customer service rep answer them. That prevents the (potentially boring) “talking head” video, where one person is speaking non-stop, without any breaks or cuts to different scenes. Post the video to YouTube, put it on your site, promote it through social channels, and send a link through email as well (more about that in a minute).
4. Write a blog post
Get a transcript of the interview and post it to your blog. If you can’t afford a transcriptionist, here’s a quick and dirty trick to use YouTube to get a (very) rough draft of a transcript. You can use it as a starting point to save a little time. Don’t have a blog? You really should. Research from QuickSprout shows blogging can increase inbound links by 97%. And the keywords in your interview (or other blog post) are bound to attract search traffic. Learn more about why blogging is more important than ever before.
5. Host a webinar
Once you’ve found an in-house expert who has a good presence on camera and over audio, sign them up to do a webinar. These live events are a great way to gather leads and nurture prospects on their journey to buy. In fact, according to a study from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, two-thirds of B2B marketers cite webinars and online events as the most effective method for generating leads and marketing to prospects and customers. Plus, you can use the questions you gather from attendees during the webinar to get ideas for your next podcast, video, webinar, and blog post.
6. Turn it into tweets
Take the most interesting facts in your webinar/podcast/blog post/video and turn them into tweets that drive back to the original content. Tweet them yourself, or embed a “tweet this” feature into your blog post to get readers to send the fact out to their own social media followers. WordPress has a plugin that makes it easy to turn a pull-out quote, fascinating fact, or any other piece of copy into easy-to-tweet content.
7. Send an email about it
Email continues to be one of the most cost-effective ways to drive engagement with your prospects and turn them into customers. But sending an email that says “Hey, buy our product and/or service!” isn’t exactly conducive to building a lasting relationship. However, if you send people content that’s relevant to their interests, they’ll appreciate it and ask for more. Here’s how it works:
- Use email to invite a segment of your audience (one that’s likely to be interested in the topic) to join an upcoming webinar.
- Capture their information on a landing page with a form, and send them reminders when the date is coming up.
- After the webinar is over, send a follow-up email. If they attended, let them know where to find a blog post summarizing the questions that didn’t get answered during the event. If they didn’t attend, send them a link to the on-demand recording of the webinar.
Learn more about getting the most out of every email campaign with this guide to amazingly effective email. And check out some of our on-demand webinars for some guidance on creating compelling webinar content.
So there you have it. If you follow these seven steps, you’ll find that you’ve created valuable content – and used a variety of promotional channels – without spending much money at all. Your small marketing budget might have actually been a spur to creativity. And when you have the right marketing automation solution, you can create, manage, track, and optimize these campaigns, so you can spend a lot less time doing them. Speaking of marketing on a budget, take a look at the Act-On pricing page. You might be surprised to discover how affordable it can be to streamline your marketing campaigns.
What are your best strategies for B2B marketing on a shoestring budget? Share your tips in the comments.