You want to do content marketing. You are a start-up and have budget constraints. Marketing tools cost an arm and a leg. Your content marketing spend will be beyond you based on your current calculations. If only there was a way for you to shine out without breaking your bank accounts…a content marketing budget that you could wrap your head around…
Yes, there is a way. It is possible to do really good content marketing at a very low budget, but it requires persistence & involvement. Content marketing spend needs to be either in time or in budget. If you are willing to dish out either of the two, it will work.
Content marketing is not complicated. It only looks complicated if you don’t understand how the different parts of it fit together to work as one machine. It is possible to do content marketing at a budget as low as less than 45$ a month. In this blog post, I am detailing out all the steps you can take to reach success with your content marketing. This is the closest to a content marketing strategy that can be crafted without a clear database.
It is important to first understand the way content marketing works – the science behind it all. This will help you not get overwhelmed with the tools and technology, and know where to fine tune. We assume that you have some writing skills & a basic understanding of marketing yourself. This strategy is crafted to help you save on marketing tools spend.
In this content marketing strategy, I am mentioning specific steps you need to take, at regular intervals, along with the marketing tools required for each step. It is up to you if you would like to use a different marketing tool. This particular strategy is designed to give you a monthly budget of less than 45$.
These is the logical sequence of steps it involves:
- Research your niche
- Create live video content
- Share content
- Create different formats of content based on base content
- Share the new formats
- All of this drives traffic to – the place where you create & share content
- Allow multiple types of opt ins for email everywhere – on your website, on your content page
- Send some content + details & value addition of your product & services on email at regular intervals
- You sell your product/service!
Research Your Niche – 0$
There is a new term called “social listening” which is gaining more and more popularity. It means you prowl about on social media to see what your target audience is up to – what they read, what they like, what they don’t like and so on and so forth.
The best way to identify your target audience is to identify your niche, and some of your competitors in your niche. The customers of your competitors are your target audience as well. Follow the practice of “social listening” for your niche and this target audience.
Some of the best ways to doing this are:
- Search for questions on the topic on Quora
- See the search results for the topic on Youtube
- Join facebook groups & Linked groups on the topic. What are some questions people ask about that topic?
- Follow the blogs of influencers with a huge following. Read the comments section of their blog posts. What are people asking them?
With this research in hand, you can easily come up with a list of topics which you could start with. Use Trello to create your content calendar to keep yourself on track. It has a free forever plan which includes most features you would require.
SEO Keyword Research – 15.2$/mo
SEO plays a big role in content marketing. If you don’t factor in SEO, you are ignoring the possibility of 50% more traffic to your websites & blogs.
You need to research some popular keywords in your niche. The idea keyword has a good amount of traffic – but not too much. So a keyword which has 20k search traffic per month is probably too saturated. But a keyword which has 1000-2.5k search traffic per month is a good match. You should also research other related keywords which should be sprinkled all over the rest of your content to assure search engines that your content is legit.
Tools you can use:
- Google Adwords – you will need to create an Adwords account (free) and go to the keyword explorer via create campaign.
- Google Search – Good ol’ Google search! While this does not give you search volume, it does suggest related keywords when you start typing a keyword, which is very useful
- SERPstat (15.2$/mo) – You can get the starter – Plan A which allows you enough number of keyword searches per day, along with backlink analysis, domain analysis and a lot more. The yearly subscription gives 20% off so you can get this for 15.2$/mo instead of 19$/mo. This is the most affordable, yet feature-packed keyword research tool available on the market. You can test drive it for 14 days to understand how it works as well. SERPStat Academy features a lot of training material for you to get started.
Do a Live Video – 0$
From the pool of topics created, do a live video every day. You can choose platforms based on your target audience – Facebook, Youtube, Twitter & Instagram all allow live videos, with varying limits, features & analytics. For eg, if you are already a Youtuber with a good following, you can do Youtube Live every day. If your target audience is millennials, you could use Instagram. B2B goes well on Twitter. And Facebook is everyone’s marketplace. It is best to do live video on more than one platform at varying times to reach out to different people.
You can shoot the live video from your smartphone itself at the highest resolution it affords. The live video length could be anything from 3 mins to 3 hours. Longer videos give better results, but you need to do it for a few days to see what works best for you specifically.
In your live video, make sure you are speaking clearly, slowly, and in a way that people of every age, ethnicity and cultural background can understand you. If your audience is specific to a geo-location, mention so in your description & geo-tag your video. Most importantly, your live video needs to be informative, interesting and a good value-add to the person who watches it.
At the beginning, middle and end of your live video, you can give people options to buy your product or service, explaining how it will help your target audience improve their lives or their business.
Share Your Live Video – 0$
If you went live on Facebook, publish your live video as a native video right after the live session.
If you didn’t join Facebook groups in step 1, now would be a good time 🙂
Share your live video with an informative description to facebook groups which match your niche. Be careful to read group guidelines as posting in a group which does not support sharing of live videos can ban you, or worse, report you as spam to Facebook and have you blocked from posting for some time!
That said, most groups that encourage content sharing do support sharing of informative live videos. Your description should not sound salesy or advertorial. Make it genuinely enriching for people.
Post Your Live Video on Youtube – 0$
Download your live video and trim to cut out any embarrassing parts! 😉 You may want to remove the parts where you are adjusting your screen or coughing before you get started.
Upload your trimmed video to Youtube as a native video, with a detailed description. In this description, make sure to include your blog link and link to sign up for your free emails. Add relevant tags and give a title that is similar to popular videos on Youtube in your niche. It should not be a duplicate of some existing title, but it should be clear that it is something people are looking for.
Transcribe, Edit, Create Blog post, Repeat – 0$
In the video uploaded to Youtube in the previous step, turn on subtitles. Youtube creates a rough transcript of your video. You can download this transcript.
You can use Otranscribe to fine tune your transcript. It allows for an easy interface to listen to a video and type at the same time without having to switch windows & pause player manually every time. You can copy paste your existing transcript into the notebook area and correct words as the video plays.
Use a free tool like Google Docs or Dropbox Paper to copy paste this into a new document which is going to be your blog post, Do the basic editing of correcting any words that are wrongly added. Add an interesting introduction and end which includes your SEO keywords as per your research. Sprinkle the long tail related keywords throughout the body of your article. Add a few images via Unsplash, Pixabay or Pexels. If you want to go fancier, embed a GIF via Giphy.
If you are using a platform like WordPress, use the Yoast SEO plugin to add in SEO tags, title & meta description to your blog post.
Create & Share Social Media Posts – 10$/mo
You can use the free images from Unsplash, Pexels or Pixabay and some interesting one-liners from your own transcript to create social media posts with your own branding.
Use Canva to get started off with innumerable templates that are beautiful, easy to modify and downloadable without a watermark. Use the Social Sprout Landscape tool for adjusting sizes of your graphics to different social media channels.
Share these social media graphics, blog posts, Youtube videos (made in earlier steps) as well as curated content in your niche on your multiple social media channels where you are active. You need to post at a regular frequency to be able to grow a steady following on any social media channel. You can use a tool like Feedly to find interesting & fresh content in your niche and schedule them with time gaps. This takes a considerable amount of “Sitting on social media” if you do not use any tool. You need to manually schedule posts and set a time every time & repost the same thing to other platforms. To cut out the pain from this, use a tool like Buffer Awesome plan (10$/mo). The tool allows you to add up to 10 social profiles, link shortening, adding pre-fixed schedules, and basic analytics of your posts. If you are the admin for any Facebook group, you can schedule posts for the facebook group as well.
Create an Infographic/ Ebook/ Template/Slideshare – 0$
Lead magnets are easiest to create when combined from repurposed content. They are also very easy to promote that way, since there are already 5-7 blog posts which are on a related topic and hence getting the ebook or template will be that much more interesting to your viewer.
This is specific largely to Linkedin but is useful for driving traffic and visibility about your product.
Use a simple tool like Google Slides to create a slideshow with compelling images, titles and basic description for each slide. Make the slideshow compelling rather than text-heavy. Add statistics wherever you can. Make sure to add your blog link, email sign up link and social follow links on the last slide.
Jot down the key points on any topic from your existing content. These key points can be visualised through infographics. Use Canva to start off with a beautiful template. Modify the images and icons in the template to suit your requirements. Make sure the colors match your brand colors and you add your logo & website link & copyright to the infographic.
Infographics give a good at-a-glance understanding of any subject and are popular despite what the predictions might say. They rock on all types of social media channels. Use them to your advantage whenever you can.
Combine a few of your blog posts and add some more pertinent content to create an ebook or ebook series. Use one of the pre-made templates on Canva to get started. Modify the content & pictures using some of your own. Ask your viewers to download these ebooks via opting in with their emails on your website, social media and wherever else you promote your content.
Templates are very popular in certain verticals. They come in handy for anything that requires planning, brainstorming, workflow or calculations. You can create templates based on your “social listening” and the content you already created. What are some of the things for which people are looking for a “short cut”? A template will be the answer to that short cut. These can be created via Google Sheets or Google Forms.
Share Your Lead Magnets & Create Email Opt-ins – 19$/mo
You need to share your content created in the previous step on all social media using the Buffer tool and sharing in Facebook groups and Linkedin groups.
All shared posts should point to the page where people can download the lead magnet. Any lead magnet should require an email sign up for the person to download it. Though you could create a landing page for this via Mailerlite, a lot of times it is not required. You can create a simple page on your own website itself, and embed the sign up options. This also makes it more readily visible on your website.
You can use a tool like OptinMonster (19$/mo) or Thrive Leads (19$/mo) to create multiple ways for a viewer to opt in to download your lead magnet or to simply sign up for email newsletters from you. Both offer similar features with some varying structure for pricing.
All of the steps till now achieve a few things:
- Growing your email list
- Growing your social media following
- Driving traffic to your website where you sell your product or service
- Adding up to your ranking on SEO
Each of these items add up to the other as well. The next step will be to inform all these viewers & followers about your fantastic business and what it can do for them. Thus, allowing them to buy from you.
Email Marketing – Go! – 0$
Emails are one of the ways to keep your viewers 1) engaged 2) informed about your product & any new features you add 3) drive traffic to your site.
There are many other benefits too, but these are the most relevant.
If you are just starting off, you will not have too many existing email subscribers. You can start with an email service like Mailerlite or Moonmail – both of which have a free forever plan, multiple features and a good deliverability status. Deliverability matters the most when it comes to email marketing. If your email goes to spam, it is worse than not sending any! You can buy the upgrade later, once your email lists grow. Both the email services have some differences in features, but are a good starting option.
You need to send emails periodically which contain some of your content, link backs to your website or blog and an option to get the next lead magnet you created to further enrich the existing customers as well. When email marketing is done right, it adds in a big way to your sales.
Sell Your Product – 0$
All the web traffic, email traffic, SEO traffic and social media traffic eventually leads to your website, which contains your product waiting to be sold. It would be a pity if someone did not buy your product due to some minor doubt or misgiving or misunderstanding they carry in their hearts. People are attached to their wallets and may not want to shell out their big bucks if they are not sure of your service.
Use a live chat service like Drift to allow people to message you right on your website, allowing you to get live feedback, capture emails, give the right information at the right time and help people with buying the product like the helpful salesman. Drift has a forever free plan which allows up to 200 conversations, emails capture and reply via email options. You can always upgrade as you scale up and rack those orders.
Total spend: 44.2$/mo
All these tools come with multiple updates and options and you can keep scaling up as you go. This is a sample content marketing strategy that can be adapted to your requirements using the knowledge from here. It can, ofcourse, be used as-is as well with great results.
Do you use any other marketing tools that are pocket-friendly and yield high returns? Share with us!