Seventy-one percent of marketers will increase their spending on content marketing this year, according to recent Curata report. The report, which surveyed 500 industry professionals, found that best-in-class marketing campaigns rely on a predominance of 65 percent original content, supplemented by curated and syndicated material. The payoff is tangible, with 62 percent of companies reporting that content marketing improves both their quantity and quality of leads.
But creating content costs money, a reality reflected in Gartner’s finding that small businesses will spend 10 percent more on digital marketing this year. If you’re just starting to promote your business via content marketing, your budget is probably limited—making it imperative you develop a cost-efficient strategy for funding your initial promotional push.
Scale Your Budget to Your Revenue
A 2012 survey by Staples found that the average small business operates on a $2,000 per year marketing budget. According to the Small Business Administration, however, the smart strategy is to scale your marketing to your revenue projections, which might make this too small. Smaller companies with profit margins at or around 10 percent should devote about 7 to 8 percent of their annual revenue to marketing. This means that $2,000 is scaled to about $27,000 in annual revenue. If you intend to earn more than this, scale your budget accordingly. Set your revenue targets and estimate how many leads these require given your lead conversion rate and price point. Then compare your results with your cost per lead to scale your marketing budget.
Get More Bang for Your Buck
You’ll make the most of your budget if you gear your marketing mix toward the best return on investment. For instance, when using social media, Socialbakers has found that content with photos generates audience engagement at a rate 90 percent higher than any other category. However, even if you’re pulling your leads from social media, email marketing remains the central platform for effective cross-channel marketing campaigns, Experian reports. Email represents the best return on investment, generating $28.50 per dollar spent, Direct Marketing Association findings show.
Review Your Financing Options
To fund your marketing budget, one viable option for startups is angel investing. Angel sites such as Gust specialize in connecting startups with investors. Another option is revenue-based financing. This is where you designate a portion of your monthly revenue to repay investors. Startup Owl provides an overview of RBF strategies and resources.
Another way to finance your venture is to sell your future structured settlement or annuity payments to a company like J.G. Wentworth. Or, ask other people to fund your marketing efforts via crowdfunding. Inc. reporter Eric Markowitz has created a flowchart guide to help you find the right crowdfunding resource.
A high-risk startup financing strategy that has been gaining popularity is using retirement plans to fund entrepreneurial ventures—a practice known as Rollovers as Business Startups, or ROBS. Read more about ROBS on the site of the