Marketing is an integral part of B2B success, for every organization of any size. It raises brand awareness, drives new business opportunities and helps businesses grow; we all start small, and so do marketing budgets. But a small budget doesn’t have to mean small results; a well-constructed and perfectly executed B2B marketing strategy can be both cost effective and successful. You just need a few cheap marketing ideas, cutting costs to propel your budget further, and increase the revenue your efforts generate- read on to discover cost optimization secrets B2B marketers need to know!
When looking to strip back marketing costs, an instant thought is to look at the investments we’ve made this year, whether in new technology, headcount or channel additions and question their return and validity. It’s easy to think that cutting current investments will help optimize cost but this is impulse thinking, and like anything in marketing, we need to think strategically instead. We don’t have to say goodbye to every investment; let’s look at how to make an outstanding, well-performing marketing strategy budget friendly.
Get content marketing sorted
When looking at B2B budgeting statistics and studies, content marketing continues to stick out like a sore thumb- but not for all the wrong reasons. An average B2B marketing budget puts 26% of its value into content marketing alone, but those who see the best results spend as much as 40%, and those who see under-performing content marketing only invest 14%. From these figures, it seems that more money invested = better content marketing. But there’s much more to it…
38% of B2B organizations plan to increase their budget allowance for content marketing, as the channel continues to deliver new sales opportunities of high value, with a more engaged outlook; however these companies also see some content marketing problems. 54% of them feel they struggle to continually produce engaging content, and 41% of them see a lack of budget holding their strategy back.
This may all just seem like a lot of numbers, but here’s the logic. Content marketing works, and is vital to any organization looking to expand and hold a strong share in their market, which is why many plan to pump more money into it. But no matter how much money you give to content, unless you spend it on the right things, you’ll face the same problems of average-standard, churned out assets and a low ROI. So don’t just throw money in content marketing’s direction, optimize how you spend it and increase the revenue it drives:
- Content creation– How do you currently create content assets? If you go via an agency, then look very carefully at the cost. If you’re publishing just a few assets a month, then an agency is probably the best way forward, but if you’re a content super-star pumping out 4 or 5 pieces a week, could it be cheaper to create content internally? Consider hiring a team to work on content creation, be it copy, graphics, planning or optimization; you’ll see a better relationship between your product and your content thanks to a constant engagement with your brand, you’ll make more content than before and most importantly, you can save huge amounts of money doing it.
- Content optimization– Yes, we’re looking to optimize cost, but getting that content found is just as important to generating a return on invested budget. We’ll come onto distribution shortly, but never ignore what comes free (or very cheap), and a huge giver of great results for little cost comes in the form of SEO. Buddy up your SEO guru and your content team, so they can ensure assets are rich in keywords and planned with strategy; there’s no point spending loads of money to ensure your content gets seen, when with a little discussion and elbow grease you can do it yourself and yield similar results. You’re already doing content and SEO anyway, so let them work together!
- Content distribution– Following on from this, paying for content distribution is a vital part of the channel’s strategy, and we’re not saying stop it entirely- just really weigh up your current spending. How much do you spend on content distribution and what results are you gaining from that investment? If you’re not seeing the figures you want, then let’s look to new, low cost solutions. Your secret weapon is literally in the room with you (and it’s free!) – your colleagues. Some of them must have LinkedIn accounts? Ask them to share any content releases on their profile and in a few of the groups they engage with. Word travels fast, and your content appears far more trustworthy when it comes from a real person. Colleague shared content on social media outperforms content shared on social by the brand itself, every time. (And to top it all off- it literally costs you nothing!).Sort your social media marketing cost
Social media is a must-have for B2B marketers, but as platforms undergo constant updates, they can seem hard to use and we remain unsure on how to see consistent lead generation results; this is where the irresponsible spending comes in, and we impulsively pay for social media advertising in the hope of better results. Sure, it works, but is it cost effective? …not always. Money invested in social media continues to climb, with B2B organizations investing almost double what they were 3 years ago on the channel. This seems silly- social media offers great, result-boosting opportunities for little cost, some of them are even free! There’s plenty of cheap ideas to benefit social media marketing performance…
- Integrate your social media- The average B2B organization has at least 5 social media profiles across various platforms, but maintaining those profiles for high-quality marketing, ensuring a continuous stream of results is what becomes difficult. Luckily, new technologies have become available enabling you to run all your social media platforms from one place. You can create strategies that are embedded on every profile, working as one to make online impact and improve results. This not only saves a huge amount of time, but can save money in all sorts of places. No more questioning performance and spending on adverts and software add-ons, or increasing head-count costs to ensure all social platforms are well looked after- there is a simpler, cheaper way.
- Understand your social media platforms– Looking at effectiveness ratings for B2B social media marketing, LinkedIn by far was deemed the most effective in producing results, but it may surprise you to know that Facebook and Instagram were placed well below Twitter, YouTube and SlideShare; money you’ve been splashing on Facebook advertising perhaps could have been put to better use on a more effective platform…
- Plan strategic social investments– We know great stuff comes free with social media- having a high-quality, active and exciting profile costs you nothing but a little maintenance. If you want to see a better return from your paid social media campaigns, you need to plan ahead. Get your profile sorted, with a professional, branded outlook, plenty of content and strong calls to action. Then it’s time to look to why social media advertising is successful, so you know how to see it generate revenue driving leads. Current and topical events are big hits for paid social media marketing, so look to what local, national and global events are coming up, then get an exciting and original campaign sorted ahead of time, so when the event becomes “live” you are ready to go! You’ll see a better return from the investment, and it’s easier to plan ahead and budget appropriately. If you need to spend impulsively on last minute social advertising, then ensure you make a point of keeping it in “the here and now”.
Let artificial intelligence help
The world of artificial intelligence can offer B2B marketers some incredible, cost effective opportunities, which will only develop and improve as time goes by. Head-count takes a considerable amount of budget away from marketing teams, especially for SMEs, but as strategies need to grow and include more channels, these few heads become bogged down, and can’t perform to their best ability as they juggle so many balls. New recruits are then brought in to ease the pressure, but at what cost? Certainly not the most effective one…
Artificial intelligence has allowed new marketing softwares to benefit results through automation which many marketers are either already using, or are planning to start using this year. Though it seems like making a new investment isn’t the way to cut costs, here’s a few ways investing in artificial intelligence can help you optimize overall budget:
- Using workflows– Workflows offer an incredible marketing solution that is both cost and time effective. By setting up automated communications triggered by differing lead behaviors, you can create a tailored, personal marketing approach that runs by itself, without any human intervention. If budget is a problem, and you need to hire more staff but can’t afford it, ask how workflow software can automate tasks that currently eat into employee time. For a small software cost, you could save the trouble of hiring extra heads, and free up time for your current team!
- Managing data – We all know how effective personalized communications are in B2B marketing, with 78% of B2B buyers choosing not to interact with emails that don’t use their name. But to do this, you need an exceptional data management process, which takes a huge amount of time to create and perfect. Why not ease the process with some artificial intelligence? Emerging technology offer new systems that can personalize marketing campaigns and strategies with data categorization and organization, so you can achieve high-quality marketing campaigns and free up team time, so they can focus on new strategies and lead conversion to boost that revenue.
Invest in multi-talented tools
When looking to optimize cost, invest in tools that can offer multiple benefits; if you want 10 meals cooked, you wouldn’t hire 10 different chefs to do the job if you can hire 3 multi-talented individuals who can do it all between them. Though we get attached to our current processes and systems, settling for what’s comfortable or easy just because it’s familiar can end up costing more than we think, taking its toll on our budget and our results potential.
Look into Lead Forensics, who use reverse IP tacking to identify anonymous website visitors. The market-leading software solution offers a bountiful stream of sales ready leads, accurate data for personalized follow up approaches and detailed website analytics to aid conversion, all along with incredible reporting functions so you can quickly analyse the performance of online marketing campaigns. One software, with many incredible functions to help you see more new business opportunities, generate revenue and grow your business. Book your free software demo today and get started on the journey to cost efficient, B2B marketing and sales success!
Free guide – Did you know, a multi-channel approach can evolve your business lead generation and bring huge benefits to your B2B marketing strategy? Find out more- download Effective multi-channel models for marketing and sales for free today!