What content should I make first when I only have a small budget?

By Sean Withford - October 30, 2019

I was speaking with a digital marketing manager yesterday, and he had a question around what content should they make first, and which content they should support with paid ads given they have a limited budget.

Now, there is no exact answer as it depends on your goals and budgets however here are some questions that will help you decide the right mix for your own business.

First though, let’s make a distinction on the different types of content specifically as they relate to the buyer’s journey. 

We can divide the buyer journey into three stages:

  1. Awareness - Your prospect is becoming aware of problem

  2. Consideration - Your prospect is investigating their options for solving their problem

  3. Decision - The prospect is deciding whether your specific solution will solve their problem

Your content plan should then be mapped against these buyer stages, and each of these stages then helps serve a certain purpose as part of your marketing plan.

  • Awareness content grows your brand trust and preference
  • Consideration content can help deliver leads
  • Decision content helps nurture a prospect into becoming a customer

With this distinction in mind, the first question you should ask yourself is this:

“What is our marketing priority: Improved awareness, more leads, or improved conversion?” 

The answer helps guide what type of content you need to be prioritising initially - awareness, consideration, or decision stage content.

If like you are like some businesses where the answer is “All three”, then a follow up question you might ask yourself is:


“If I only had $100 to spend on marketing, how would I divide it across awareness, leads, and conversion?”

Answering this will help create a % weighting of how you need to build out your content plan, and where you best need to apply your focus on the buyer journey. If you are struggling to exactly prioritise then you will find that this question really will help develop your content plan and your paid traffic budget allocation.

What is our sales / go to market strategy?

If you have a very broad audience and distribution strategy (for example, a bottle of coke is for everyone and can be bought everywhere) then awareness is going to be a primary objective. However if you have a very narrow sales or distribution strategy - perhaps you’re a specialist accounting firm that looks after a specific industry, and you have a single partner in the business responsible for sales, then you might have a greater focus on generating inbound leads and enquiries with consideration and decision stage content.

How significant is our marketing budget?

It might seem obvious, but given a larger budget the more effectively you can try to influence your potential buyers at all 3 stages of their journey. You can build a full inbound funnel with top of funnel content to build audience and amplify with paid traffic, targeted lead generation ads for opt ins using your consideration stage content, and retargeting campaigns 

The tighter the budget, the more you will need to prioritise a specific focus on either awareness, leads, or conversion.

How large and engaged are our existing audiences?

If you have large and engaged social media audience, or an email list that you have engaged with frequently to ensure good open and click through rates, this influences your content distribution strategy.

If you have a large and engaged audience that you've been nurturing with more awareness stage content, then you can now capitalise on that audience by sharing more consideration and decision stage content to help you generate more leads and buyers.

If however, you have a very small audience or list, then you'll need to spend some more time warming and building that audience with awareness stage content (or a larger paid traffic budget.)

Does our product have a “viral potential”?

It’s a funny question, but the mass appeal of a product will also influence your content strategy. If you have something fun, funny, popular, or quirky that might have a broad appeal, then awareness content has the potential to perform really well for you. But using my example before of specialist accounting firm working for a niche vertical, it’s going to be a lot less likely your content is going to show up on the #foryou page on Tik Tok ;-)

Quick Recap: To decide what content to create and prioritise, focus on awareness, consideration, and decision stage content, and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is our primary objective more awareness, more leads, or improved conversion rates?

  2. If I had $100 to divide across awareness, leads, and conversion, what would it be?

  3. What is our sales / go to market strategy?

  4. How significant is our budget?

  5. How large and how engaged are our existing audiences?

  6. Does our product have viral potential?

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