Have you ever noticed that pitching to potential clients is both exciting and scary? You have a chance to share your ideas and passion with new people, which is the exciting part. What’s scary is the moment when the prospect says “Let me think about it.”. You have done all that you can and now the coin is up in the air. There are equal chances of a yes and a no.
For us at Niswey, one of the major factors that decides whether it’s a head or tail, is how we respond to the inevitable statement, “A content marketing strategy seems great, but we feel it’s just too expensive.” And it’s a genuine concern. If an organisation is investing in what we have to offer, they have the right to know exactly how valuable it is to them.
And hence, here’s our response:
There are a bunch of reasons why content marketing might sound expensive but is actually not. At the heart of this lies the fact that content marketing is NOT the same as advertising or outbound marketing. They both aim to make your brand more attractive and drive more conversions, but are different in the way they deliver results.
Budgets and ROIs
Every business demands the best possible ROI for their investment. When an organisation allocates a marketing budget, they want to see results in terms of leads and conversions. A successful advertising campaign can deliver that, no doubt. But how sustainable are the results?
Let’s say you are allocating “Outbound Marketing Budget” (OMB) for marketing and that gives you a finite return of ROI units. Now every year, you invest OMB and get ROI. If you allocate less than that, your returns go down. If you want more than ROI units, you have got to spend more than OMB.
This seems a fair enough transaction and this is what most companies expect. So when we say that the “Content Marketing Budget” (CMB) is more than OMB; there is some obvious hesitation.
But what they do not see right away is the fact that the returns are much higher than previous ROI. This is how it works:
As you can see, content marketing delivers compounded results. Even though you spend a constant amount of CMB every year, the ROI is always on the rise. The same budget allocation brings in greater leads and conversions every passing year. If, in a particular year you allocate less than CMB, the results would still be at ROI units, if not more.
This compounded ROI is because a content marketing strategy is designed to build upon itself, year after year. Every piece of content is a bit of online real estate you own. Content that delivers information valuable to your audience, will be in circulation years after it is published. The content that you create has long term value, with little to no depreciation. So pieces of content that were created years ago can still bring in leads and conversions. As you keep adding more content, you have newer pieces of online property, while the old ones are acquiring more value. All this adds up to give you a constant rise in your total market value.
Once your content strategy starts attracting a steady traffic, the marketing budget can be put to diverse uses. You can even cut down the amount allocated for creating new content, and use that for promoting older content instead. Over a period of time, this content will keep getting you business and you can move on to the next level of your marketing activities.
There are a host of inbound marketing resources that talk about the value of old content. Everyone is looking for ways to periodically revive old blog posts that talk about topics that are always relevant to a brand’s audience. This makes it clear that great content has a long term value which can power your brand for years. In final analysis, the initial investment proves to be very less in comparison to the results it delivers.
An organisation’s most important criteria for investment is the budget. Investing in CMB seems an expensive option for two reasons:
- CMB is obviously beyond their preferred investment budget of OMB.
- They think that they would need to double their investment, if they want double the results next year.
But what we would like to point out is that CMB is a one time investment that will create value for the next few years and if your content is good, maybe even a life time. Once you put that much money effort into devising a content marketing strategy at the beginning, you will never have to repeat that again. The amount of spending required the next time is much less than what you expect. Since you already have a solid framework in place, all you need to do is build upon that. And that is possible with just a marginal addition to the initial investment.
A good example of ‘minimal effort and huge returns’ would be the repurposing of content. Let’s say you have a great blogpost that your readers found extremely helpful and drew a lot of traffic to your website. A few months down the line, you can use this very same content, put it in a different format and once again attract a lot of traffic. You can try out formats like infographics, videos, ebooks and slide shows to take your content across various mediums, to different sections of the audience. The existing content has proven its merit and the only additional effort required here is to change the format. And that minor effort can bring in huge returns.
We are sure CMB doesn’t look so expensive once you think this through.
Also, this is true for any sort of digital marketing activity that you choose to undertake. Be it building a new website, starting a blog or launching a webinar series; the initial investment of time and money might seem daunting. But once the framework is in place, the returns are huge and sustainable. More importantly, even an incremental rise in investment will bring in great additional returns.
Winning Brand Advocates
Apart from a compounded ROI, the quality of customers you gain through a content marketing strategy is also vastly superior. When we work towards creating valuable content, customers begin to view your brand as a trusted resource. A steady stream of useful content also encourages customers to start a conversation with your brand and with each other. This leads to the emergence of a community around your brand, that grows slowly but steadily. It creates an opportunity for you to directly engage with the customers and understand their needs first-hand. There is probably no other form of marketing that offers such an intimate connection with your audience.
This level of communication and engagement goes a long way in delighting your customers with a very enriching brand experience. And once that happens, they are not merely brand loyalists but also brand advocates. They are not just limited to engaging with you, but are also actively encouraging others to connect with you. Granted that it takes a lot of effort and really great content for a brand to build itself to this level. But when it happens, the results will be phenomenal. More importantly, these results will be sustainable. The value created for your brand in the next few years will far exceed your initial investment.
Running a business is not easy, neither is building a successful brand. Every decision you take, every investment you make, has to generate significant value for your organisation. And here is a marketing strategy that does exactly that. With a well planned content marketing strategy:
- A constant investment every year can bring increasing annual results.
- Marginal increments in investment can bring in comparatively larger growth in results.
- Organisations can engage with their customers and win brand advocates.
This means that, even though the initial investment seems greater than you expected, the returns are also far greater than you imagined. Once you comprehend this life time value of a content marketing strategy, the investment of time and money will prove to be worth your while.