Split your budget into achieving short-term objectives and long-term objectives. Marketing is a long game. Expecting short-term results for everything you do in marketing is simply unrealistic. Also, investing in short-term objectives alone is not a smart investment because this does not efficiently reduce your cost per lead or customer acquisition cost long run.
Generating short-term results is definitely important to be able to continue to invest in marketing and justify the continuous investment. I 100% get it. So, have both short-term and long-term marketing objectives. Invest in both.
Here are 2 scenarios.
Scenario 1. Invest in both short-term and long-term objectives by splitting the marketing budget to MQL (marketing qualified leads) generation and SQL (sales qualified leads) generation. MQLs are those people who are in the beginning of their buying journey (like the education and evaluation stages). They are interested in your content. SQLs are those who are in the purchase stage of their buying journey.
Scenario 2. Focus on short-term objectives and allocate all the budget to generate as many SQLs as possible.
The number of leads
Scenario 1. Total 30 leads (25 MQLs and 5 SQLs)
Scenario 2. Total 10 leads (10 SQLs)
It is because the average cost per MQL is typically way less than that of SQL.
The long-term cost per lead
Scenario 1. You can efficiently and gradually bring it down
Scenario 2. There is no solid plan to bring it down so it will remain relatively the same
When you work on MQL generation, you engage your target audience at the education and evaluation stages of their buying journey. Not all of them will turn into SQLs but some will as they move through their buying journey from education to evaluation to purchase stage. The longer you invest in MQL generation, the more exponentially the total number of leads will increase.
The content you create to generation MQLs also serves your existing customers. With the content, you can continue to educate your customers which increases the customer lifetime value. This ultimately increases your return on marketing investment and fuel the growth of your business.
Where to start SME marketing with a limited budget?
Step 1. Write few premium-quality blogs to bring your target audience to
The key is to write about something that your target audience is looking for. Something that will help their personal life or professional life. Something that will help them educate themselves and make decisions. Something you have expertise on. Do research and put enough thoughts and time into the blogs to make them really good, worthwhile reading.
Your goal with your premium blogs is to increase the number of quality visitors to your website and make a great first impression with your target audience who hasn’t bought from you before.
Step 2. Create gated content utilizing the premium blogs
What content type will your target audience be happy to “sign up” for? Is it a webinar? A white paper, template, or demo? Repurpose the premium blogs you published to create premium content that your target audience will want to give you their contact information to watch or download. This premium content should include more information than the blog content. It should be something worthwhile for your target audience to provide you with their contact information for. Include a button or form for this gated content in your premium blogs. Say something like "Download a white paper to learn more" or "Sign up for a workshop to learn more". See an example below.
Your goal with this premium content should be to provide valuable information that your target audience can’t easily find elsewhere. They exchange their contact information with the highly valuable premium content. This is how you generate MQLs (marketing qualified leads).
Step 3. Include your offer (CTA) at the end of your gated content
CTA stands for call to action. It is an action that your target audience can take to move forward in their buying journey. You just helped your target audience educate themselves and evaluate your products or solutions. Now, you want to let them know how they can move from the education and evaluation stages to the purchase stage of their buying journey.
Your goal here is to turn your MQL (I.e. those who accessed your gated content) into an SQL (sales qualified lead) or a customer depending on what type of business you’re in. Make it easy for them to contact you or buy from you right from the gated content to minimize churn. This leads to a great and memorable customer experience.
Step 4. Search engine optimize your blogs and registration pages
To increase the chance of your blogs and registration pages (landing page is another term for the registration page for your gated content) being found by your target audience, you want to search engine optimize them. You’ve probably heard of the term, SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines like Google reward websites that are highly optimized. A proper use of keywords, headings, and images is one of the ways to search engine optimize your pages. Google reward the optimized pages by ranking them higher than the others.
Your goal is to follow the most up-to-date SEO guidelines to ensure a good experience for your website visitors and be rewarded by search engines. This will increase the chance of your webpages being found by your target audience.
Step 5. Allocate some budget to paid advertisements for short-term results
SEO is a long game. It takes time to increase the number of visitors to your blogs and registration pages. To see short-term results, allocate some budget to social media advertising and/or Google PPC (pay per click) campaigns. When done right, advertisements bring results immediately before you get to see the results from your SEO efforts.