Big Budgets. Who Needs Them?
Last year, I started this newsletter with a single focus – help B2B companies do better marketing.
But I wasn’t thinking about the Fortune 500 companies that have unlimited budgets or armies of marketers at their disposal, oh no.
I was thinking about the companies that are starting from ground zero.
The solo-marketer-jacked-up-on-coffee-and-ready-to-take-on-the-world kind of companies.
That’s who I want to help.
Since chatting with Bethan Vincent last week on how to build a marketing strategy on next to no budget last week, my head has been swimming with ideas of great marketing you can do for free.
So I thought I’d share some of them here.
Have at it!
1. Put Your People in the Spotlight
You ever watch MacGyver? How he manages to make the most incredible things out of what he has in his immediate vicinity?
When you work in a start-up, you have to think like a Marketing MacGyver – and that usually includes some element of employee advocacy.
Your colleagues are connected to 10x the number of people your brand is connected to on social media. In the early days, passing up on that kind of exposure is like ripping up a winning lottery ticket.
Helping them grow their online profile not only shows you’re a brand that cares about its people, but it can also be an incredible free alternative to growing your audience that doesn’t include racing to the bottom on ad spend.
I wrote a piece on setting up a kick-ass employee advocacy programme from scratch you can check it out here.
2. Launch a Micro-Series
My heart will always belong to the written word; but when time is of the essence, my head always turns to video.
Recording a webinar or interview with an exec is not only quicker to pull together by a time-strapped marketer, the engagement rate can be much higher than a conventional written piece of content – 1,200% more, to be exact.
Your repurposing opportunities are also to swoon over.
- Take the transcript and use it as the bones of a blog post
- Cut 30-second snippets for social media (don’t forget to add captions!)
- Use the audio for a podcast episode with a custom intro/outro
- Grab some of the hot-takes for quote cards
- Prepare a ‘what we learned’ fact sheet for sales to send to their prospects
- Feature it in your internal newsletter
Getting this content in the early days may feel like a mission, but it doesn’t have to be.
Send out ten emails to ten customers requesting 15-minutes of their time for a short, recorded interview on Zoom. Ask the following question:
How will [our industry] look different in the next 12 months?
When all is said and done, you’ll have almost an hours’ worth of content that talks directly to the trends in your space and with built-in shareability to boot.
Not bad for a couple of days’ work.
3. Focus. Focus. Focus.
Last week I sent out a tweet asking about the biggest marketing mistakes a start-up can avoid and an overwhelming majority of the responses came back saying something along the lines of “stop trying to do so much”.
It’s tempting in the early days to try and be everything for everyone. But it’s the quickest way to burn through what little resource you do have.
Here’s what I want you to do. On a piece of paper, complete the following sentence:
Every week, I spend [X] hours working on [X]. I do this because [X]. My aim is for this to deliver [X]. Since I have started, this has delivered [X].
Repeat for every single marketing activity or channel you currently support.
You’ll see very quickly a) the things you’re spending a lot of time doing that aren’t generating any meaningful results and b) the things you’ve forgotten why you started doing them in the first place.
Stop doing those things. Focus on what’s important.
4. Serve a Specific Account
Account-based marketing can sometimes get a bad rap.
“2021 is the year of ABM!” says marketing “thought leader” for the fourth year in a row.
Despite falling victim to buzzword bingo, it can be very effective – when done right. Indeed, 91% of companies using it increase their average deal size by 50%+, if you were to believe the stats.
Like with almost all of my advice, the key here is to start small. Before committing to serving every target account in your CRM with personalised content, we need to validate the idea.
Pick one of your sales reps – the one that has the most belief in the benefits marketing can deliver to the sales process.
This is important. ABM only works when both departments go all in; it’s destined to fail before it even starts if one party is only humouring the other.
Once you’ve found your partner in crime, run this experiment:
- Get aligned on your objectives. Agree with each other what ‘success’ will look like once you’re finished. It could be anything from making contact to closing the account.
- Pick the customer you want to target. Start with one, ideally high potential revenue value. Share insights on their wants/needs, pain points and media habits.
- Draw up a roadmap of highly personalised content that talks to these attributes and what channels they’ll be delivered across. Categorise them against a simple marketing funnel, with clear milestones for each. I write about this here.
- Measure and report. Decide on a reasonable timeline to expect to see a result – this will vary greatly depending on your industry + sales cycles – and quantify the result on sales.
5. Ask Every Single One of Your Colleagues for a Content Idea
You know, in my experience, some of the best content ideas come from people in a business who think they know nothing about coming up with great content ideas.
Take that superstar account manager who is on the frontlines with your customers every day, bearing the brunt of your customer’s feedback and finding creative solutions.
Or what about that HR rep who is implementing new remote work policies across your global workforce, with a focus on building a culture anyone would want to be a part of?
Or how about the new intern, eyes wide with excitement at this new opportunity and a head full of ideas of how to make your industry better?
Spending a couple of days speaking to your colleagues about what they’re working on – actually speaking, not sending a note on Slack – can be a great brainstorming exercise to fill up your content calendar.