Are you spending money on blogging, getting articles written for your business, and pushing them on social media? Have you been thinking of setting aside a budget for video creation because video content is the hottest trend in content marketing right now?
But before you do all of that, have you validated your business model? In other words, do you know for sure if your product/service is fit for the market and you’re marketing to the right audience? If not, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Content Marketing Fails Are Expensive
Today, 9 out of 10 businesses use content marketing, and yet a majority of them fail. In fact, many companies are heavily investing in content marketing without getting adequate returns. A 2015 study by Kapost found that businesses wasted a whopping $958 million on inefficient content marketing.
The obvious question is: WHY? There could be a whole array of reasons for this as every business has their own problems and challenges. But we can all agree that if you’re trying to market a product/service before knowing whether it has a demand among prospects or not, there’s a high risk of failure.
So, what do you do? Take a step back from content marketing.
This might sound like an unpopular opinion. Every marketing guru out there and every other article you read on the internet might be telling you that you need to do content marketing. And you need to do it now!
But here’s the thing: Content marketing costs money. At a stage where you’re just kicking off your branding efforts, you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Especially if you’re a small or mid-size business that runs on a limited marketing budget, you need to first make the money that you need in order to sustain.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not asking you to give up on content marketing entirely. It’s all about doing it at the right time. And, the right time is after you have:
Validated your business model
Before you start content marketing or even before you start thinking about branding for your business, it’s important to know whether your product/service has an acceptance among your target audience.
Check out our 3-Step Customer Acquisition Funnel Validation method to learn how to do this.
Identified the right audience
No business is born with the ability to know their audiences. This knowledge is gained through digging in deep and doing your research. So create the ideal profile of your target audience based on age, gender, demographics, location, interests, educational status etc. Then streamline your focus on those who have the problems that your product/service can solve. These are the audience you need to target. They will be interested in your product offering and willingly engage with your content because they will find it valuable.
Understood the various targeting options
It’s worth taking the time to understand how targeting works on Google and social media. For example, Google Ads and Facebook give you options to segment and target your audience based on factors such as demographics, interests, purchase behaviors, device usage, buying intent, search terms, and so on. With the help of these targeting features, you can reach a local or global audience effectively.
Moving from Clicks to Conversions
Though content marketing is not something you should invest in right at the beginning of your branding process, you will still need to create some content pieces to get started. These content pieces will play a vital role in your customer acquisition funnel and help you set up a business validation and branding process. Here’s a quick glance at how to incorporate content in this three-step process
Reach – This is where you design the lead magnet, which is a free offering that hooks your audience by providing solutions to 1-2 burning problems that your target audience is facing. This could be in the form of a workshop, webinar, case study download, ebook download, a competition, or contest, to name a few.
Register – In this step, you create 3-5 personalized content pieces that serve the purpose of convincing your audience to buy from you.
Regain – This is where it’s time to earn back the cost of creating the content for the previous two steps. How? By ensuring 5% of your lead magnet leads convert into paying customers.
The key formula to keep track of progress in this step is:
Cost per Acquisition (CPA) < Cost of the Irresistible Offer (IO) => Validation
Let me break this down.
Your CPA or Cost Per Acquisition is what you spend on digital marketing activities divided by the number of sales.
If your CPA is less than the cost of the Irresistible Offer (an offer that your prospect can’t refuse, such as limited period trials, free demos, inaugural discounts, etc.), it means that your product/service is being accepted and you have the license to reach more people and can start your content marketing to reduce your CPA furthermore.
if your CPA is more than the cost of the irresistible offer or if your tripwire conversion is less than 5%, then you need to tweak either your target audience or customer acquisition funnel till you arrive at a point where your CPA is less than the cost of the irresistible offer or 5% Tripwire conversion rate.
For a more detailed understanding of this three-step process, check out this blog post
Ultimately, your end-goal is to convert. All your branding, digital marketing, and social media efforts should boil down to getting people to become paying customers. You want your company to make money from these activities and not waste your time and resources. This is why you must invest big bucks on content marketing and distribution only after you have validated your business model and customer acquisition funnel and don’t make the mistake of investing on content marketing for the branding process. Knowing that you have what it takes to turn leads into real conversions, you can scale your efforts effectively.