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Expensive digital marketing costs – busting the myth

Here’s something I hear a lot: ‘My business is held back by digital marketing costs.’

I think, ‘That’s a shame.’ And then I almost immediately forget about them. Not to be unnecessarily harsh. It’s because I’m busy helping businesses who realise how important their marketing is. When done right, digital marketing is the most effective way of reaching your target audience. This means more leads, which turns into more conversions, and in turn more customers, better revenue, etc., etc.

But then I thought, maybe I shouldn’t just forget/ignore businesses who believe they don’t have the resources to showcase themselves.

Consequently, you’re reading this. Sorry about that.

I want to show you that the price of great digital marketing is not extravagant and if anything, it’s more costly for your business to neglect. So, tear this page out, roll it up and stick it in your back pocket for the next time you need to remind yourself (or your boss):

  • Why you need digital marketing
  • The roots of the cost myth
  • How you can market effectively on a tight budget

Keeping up isn’t optional

The B2B buying process has drastically changed over the last few years and grown in complexity. More stakeholders are involved in the decision-making process and the movement through the sales funnel from awareness to purchase is no longer linear.

Gartner research shows that customers need to complete six different ‘buying jobs’ before finalising a sale. The key to winning their business is to simplify this operation, as buyers are more likely to feel like they’ve entered a ‘high-value, low-regret’ deal when given information that helps them advance to purchase – which is where digital marketing shines. It nurtures buyers through the sales funnel by getting the right information in front of the right people, at the right time.

So, what are some of the reasons behind the myth of high digital marketing costs?

Bad past experiences

There are a lot of cowboys in every industry and this goes for marketing too. Don’t let bad experiences define your opinion forever.

Throwing money at it

Digital marketing isn’t reserved for those with big budgets. Start small. Write some content, optimise it for the right audience, offer that audience value, shout about it on your social channels and you’re well on your way.

It’s confusing

It really isn’t. Creating goals and measuring results is straight forward. Plus, there plenty of tools out there to help you along. We recommend this one we made ourselves.

Ready to get started?


The simplest way to market on a budget is to start blogging. Time is the only currency you’ll need. Write two or three posts every month. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, ask the questions they want answered and deliver the answers.

Learn the fundamentals behind great blog writing here.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

If you’re delivering high-quality, keyword-optimised content that matches the searcher’s intent, it won’t take you long to catapult your way up the search rankings. Here’s an SEO crash course with your name on.

Free platforms like Moz and Semrush offer a suite of SEO tools that allow you to perform basic keyword research (note: you’ll need the premium subscriptions to get more advanced data).

Email campaigns

Email marketing is an effective method to get your brand in front of your target audience. In fact, it has the highest ROI of any marketing channel available. And it’s not expensive to get started.

Social media

Like email, budgetary constraints are no excuse for the absence of a social media presence. While email has the highest ROI of any marketing channel, social selling offers a lot of potential. These channels put you on the front line with direct communication and access to customers. Check out our blog to discover more about social selling and how it can help get you more leads.

Measure your success

Difficulty understanding how to measure success can stop businesses from investing in digital marketing. However, tracking the progress of a digital campaign is much easier than you think.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a perfect way to discover what’s working and what isn’t. They’re metrics that you measure regarding your content: your content wants to talk back to you, and KPIs are the best way to let it. Let’s look at some popular KPIs you can choose for your campaign:

Click-through rate (CTR)

CTRs offers valuable insight into which content is the most effective, allowing you to tailor your strategy based on this data.

Website traffic

An obvious metric to determine the success is the bump in the number of visitors to your website. More traffic means more eyes, brand awareness and eventually sales, so driving people to your site should be an important KPI.

Conversion rate

The journey through your sales funnel has begun and interest is piqued, but you want prospects to jump to the next stage. How many enquires are you getting? Compare the number of visitors to the number of people who contact you to understand the adjustments needed to achieve your desired results.


Whichever social channel you choose to host your content will have its own set of metrics you can judge your performance against. Understanding how many leads are generated per channel is key. Insights into which channels are under-delivering can highlight a need for a change of tactic, or an understanding of what to concentrate on.

The myth of expensive digital marketing costs busted

You shouldn’t ignore the instrumental role digital marketing can play in the growth of your business. It doesn’t need to be expensive, especially when starting out. Take this blog as your starting point, get your marketing journey going and see how far you’ve come in six months. You’ll be amazed, I guarantee it.

Forget counting how much digital marketing costs. Count the wins instead.

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Why you need to document your marketing campaign plan to succeed

  • The importance of documenting your marketing campaign plan
  • Why, and how, to document your campaign strategy

Marketing campaigns are often self-contained parts of your overall marketing plan that are concerned with a specific product or service or launch. But that doesn’t mean all your hard work on one campaign or project should only exist in that campaign, expiring once it’s over and its goals have been met. And you certainly shouldn’t reinvent the wheel the next time another campaign comes rolling around. Instead, take the hard graft you’ve put into the strategy and document it. That way, people have a handbook to guide them before they build a new campaign plan, so they know what to do and when.

A quick reminder why you should always document your marketing campaign plan

According to a Content Marketing Institute report, 65% of the most successful marketers had a documented strategy, while just 14% of the least successful get it on paper. Clearly, writing down your campaign plan has a dramatic impact on your marketing performance.

Just throwing out content and hoping it attracts the right audience is a recipe for disaster. You need a cohesive, well thought-out plan, distributed to meet the brand mission and cater to the needs of your audience while ensuring all stakeholders are reading from the same script.

Marketing strategies afford everyone in the organisation visibility over why and how campaigns come together. When everybody understands how team members collaborate and communicate, you’ll see the alignment of the different components and teams that exist in every campaign, which can also assist buy-in from senior members of the organisation. This makes the collective stronger than the sum of its parts, creating the ideal environment that encourages teamwork.

Acknowledging your content plan by writing it down and reviewing it is crucial to making sure it stays in line with your company’s goals. This way it becomes a living document that can change and evolve with time and experience.

Here’s how to gain momentum

Make it a priority

Marketers who fail to document their content marketing plans and strategies fail to make it a priority. Often, pressure means that we’re more inclined to ‘get down to business’ and try to produce something as fast as possible. This method can produce fast results (if you are lucky) but it also risks leaving gaps in campaigns and ups the likelihood of mistakes.

Make time

Leading on from our first point, one of these perceived pressures is that we can’t seem to find the time to document our strategies. But then, if it was important enough, time would be provided for it, wouldn’t it? Well, this just isn’t the case – you’re going to have to make an active effort.

Take responsibility

Responsibility can be a fine motivator. If no one currently oversees documenting the content marketing strategy and issues arise from this lack of documenting, then ‘the buck’ can be passed around and no one really needs to care. Taking it on as your duty will help motivate you to do a great job: think of it as your legacy.

Where to start?

Lack of knowledge gives people the perfect excuse to kick a task further down the to-do list. The reality is that procrastination is not your friend, and the internet is packed with guides to help you document your marketing plan, which renders this excuse null. In fact, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it right now.

What goes into a marketing campaign document?

The first thing to do is think about how your content marketing strategy will address several areas—areas that are very similar to what you might ask yourself when planning a marketing campaign. Like target audience, goals, the ‘big picture’, and how to know if you’re on the right track.

Target audience

You need to set this one out in stone. Who are you trying to attract? Write it down. Better yet, turn your notes into specific distinct buyer personas. That includes names, photos, wants, needs, and pain points.

How does content push leads?

When, where, how and what kind of content to create will all depend on what you want your target audience to do at a point in the marketing funnel. Do you want them to download a free eBook or subscribe to your services on a monthly rate?

Align marketing and campaign goals

You already have your goals. Now you need to actively think about how your marketing strategy will enable those goals. This is where you need to know how your content will have to perform to achieve what you want. For example, how many leads would be considered a successful campaign? And by previous analytics, what volume of content or how many PPC ads need to be produced, and what platforms do you need to build a presence to achieve your goal?

Put goals on the calendar

An editorial calendar should be part of every content campaign. You have your content ideas, now you need to make sure you push the right stuff at the right time. It’s not an exact science, but it’s something that needs to be considered. Check on your social media platforms when your highest engagement times are and aim to post accordingly.

Control your strategies

The real difference between documenting your content strategy and not doing so comes down to control. Nothing is guaranteed when you’re trying to capture people’s attention, let alone encouraging them to buy goods or services, but with the right amount of planning and attention to detail you can at least give your organisation the best possible chance of making an impact.

A little about us

Fifty Five and Five is a full-service digital marketing agency with a focus on technology and IT companies. As specialists in the field, we deliver services that seamlessly blend our expert knowledge with our unbeatable marketing experience. We execute campaigns ranging from blogs, social and paid media to web build, web design and video production (read about our Strategy and Campaigns Service). Our goal is to help technology companies generate more leads through quality marketing campaigns.

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7-Step guide on how to benchmark your marketing activities

What do running a successful sports team and managing a B2B marketing department have in common? Quite a lot, in fact – if you know the value of digital benchmarking.

Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball is the famous story of how Oakland Athletics – a small and relatively poor baseball team – went on to have huge success in the 2002/2003 Major League Baseball season. Their achievements are widely credited to manager Billy Beane. Beane introduced the (then unheard-of) sabermetric approach – which involves using intensive objective benchmarking to understand performance.

Moneyball has been heralded as a ‘business bible’; and when it comes to knowing how to benchmark marketing, the book’s themes offer a lot of inspiration to digital marketers. Let’s look at how B2B technology marketers can benefit from digital benchmarking.


How to benchmark marketing?

Benchmarking is a method of objectively evaluating your company’s digital marketing activities. You need to carry out an assessment of your existing digital marketing activities, tracking how often they are carried out, how much they are engaged with and what effect they have. Once you have a snapshot of the quality of your digital marketing today, the next step is to use this information as a reference to help you keep on improving.

Let’s explore some of the best methods of gathering the objective data that can give you a snapshot of your digital marketing efforts. Below are seven steps to take that will ensure you can effectively benchmark marketing activities at your organisation.


1. Narrow down the digital marketing activities you want to focus on

There are countless variables that you could use when you benchmark marketing – from email open rates, to the length of time customers spend reading your blogs, to how many times your latest whitepaper has been downloaded.

So, how do you decide what you’re going to benchmark? We recommend choosing between one and three marketing activities you carry out – be that your blog, social media, emails, website analytics or anything else.

Deciding which activity to focus on ultimately depends on your wider marketing goals. Do you want to increase the number of visitors to your website? Or the amount of engagement your tweets receive?

2. Choose the right metrics

There are thousands of potential data points you could choose when measuring your digital marketing. Don’t be tempted to go overboard! Your benchmarking needs to be detailed, yet also provide you with enough clarity and simplicity to support action. We’d recommend choosing between three and five metrics to monitor. Examples would include:

  • How often do you tweet/blog/send emails?
  • How many people react/read/open your content?
  • What do people do once they see your content?
  • Where do readers come from?
  • How long do people interact with your digital marketing content?
  • How often do people click on your call to action (CTA)?

3. Do your initial benchmarking against these metrics

Once you have the focus for your analysis, plus a selection of metrics you want to measure, now’s the time to use powerful tools to carry out your digital benchmarking.

You also need to choose a reasonable time period in which you are going to review your digital marketing. Most companies carry out their analysis based on the three previous months.

You might begin your analysis by simply tallying up numbers – of blogs, of tweets, of emails sent, etc. But, for more detail, the following four tools give you a lot of powerful extra detail for digital benchmarking.

Google Analytics

Analyse visitor traffic and paint a picture of your audience. Discover the routes they take and devices they use to reach your site, and track what they do while on there. Reporting features display this in a clear and actionable manner.


MailChimp lets you build your email campaigns with ease and monitor their effectiveness. Features such as A/B testing and campaign reporting help you get an understanding of what’s drawing your audience in, and what’s getting ignored.

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics help you understand how the content you share on Twitter is being received. Month-by-month statistics on the ‘success’ of your tweets and audience insights give you better knowledge of your audience and how best to attract their attention.

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Partner Benchmarking Tool - Our very own free benchmarking tool scores your current marketing efforts based on your blog, website and social presence. The Partner Benchmarking Tool helps you better understand your areas of strength and weakness, and how you can improve. Try it out for free to get an independent and objective overview of your digital benchmark.

4. Carry out competitor analysis too

Of course, you can’t use Google Analytics on your competitor’s website (although the Partner Benchmarking Tool does let you test any website you like). Nonetheless, you should carry out a basic analysis of your competitors’ digital marketing in the areas you focus on. Compare how often they blog, tweet or otherwise promote themselves during the same time period.

5. Create a report that summarises your marketing benchmarking

Once you have completed your first round of analysis, you are now able to take stock of where you are objectively. Create a report that gives an honest view of where you are today and include comparable data from your competitors.

6. Create a digital marketing strategy to improve your metrics

Now you have your digital benchmark, the next natural step is to create a strategy which will help you improve on those metrics. Now’s the time to aim high:

  • Double click-through-rate from your emails
  • Treble inbound web traffic
  • Increase leads from your blog by 50%
At Fifty Five and Five, we know how important creating a B2B marketing strategy is. Learn how we work with clients on campaign strategy here.

7. Review then repeat

A one-off benchmark is pretty pointless. To get real value from digital benchmarking, you need to carry out regular analysis to get a feel for how you are improving and to get a taste of the impact your strategy is having. If you use our Partner Benchmarking Tool for digital benchmarking, you can track and record all your analyses over time.

Don’t wait to get started

When you benchmark marketing activities, you get a transparent and objective way of tracking the effects and impacts of your work. This should help you develop your marketing strategy and generate more leads. And remember: once you have an idea of where you are, it’s a lot easier to plan where you’re going.

How to plan your B2B marketing campaigns: A step by step guide

  • How to plan your B2B marketing campaign
  • Defining your marketing goals and measuring your success
  • 4 simple steps to get the foundations in place

You’re a B2B marketer, perhaps an IT software or service provider – and you want to build hype about your new product or service. You want to promote original, inspired content that wins likes, gains impressions and drives leads. You need ads that people can’t help but click… but where do you start. It may seem obvious to say that planning and strategy are key to successful B2B marketing campaigns. But many marketers rush through these stages – often to the detriment of the overall project.

There could be plenty of different reasons for this. Many falsely assume that it’s a better use of resources to dive straight into the work, rather than waste time on planning. This is particularly the case if they’re getting pressure for fast results from the C-suite or boardroom. But corners cut today often result in leads not won tomorrow. For that reason, if you want to ensure success for your campaign, you can’t afford to take shortcuts in the planning stages of your campaign.

What are B2B marketing campaigns?

B2B marketing campaigns are something we all basically understand – but it can be difficult to put that understanding into words. However, if you want to publish content, get leads and drive sales, it can be helpful to take a step back and understand what the whole thing is really about.

Any type of marketing campaign can be defined as ‘a series of marketing activities designed to achieve clearly defined goals within a specific time frame’. This isn’t the same as simply posting regular content to promote your services. The content should be tightly related and all pointing towards a single, often time sensitive goal: get this promotion, service or new product release.

For most marketers, this will be pretty self-evident, but it can be helpful to take a step back and consider the bigger picture when planning your strategy.

Asking the right questions

Once you’ve worked out exactly what the point of your campaign is, there are a few steps you need to take to define what success will look like and consider how you’ll achieve that. In short, you need some concrete goals.

  • Who

Your audience is the most important part of any campaign. The key to success is effectively understanding who your audience is. The best way to achieve this is to build an audience persona – a fictional representation of your average or ideal customer, based on market research and existing customer insights. To gain a better understanding of your customers, it’s helpful to define the persona’s demographic, location, job role, likes and dislikes, as well as the challenges and pain points they face in their daily life.

  • Why?

The ‘why’ of your B2B marketing campaigns is probably the most important element. You might understand who your customer is, and what they want – but why they should buy your product, service or promotion is far more difficult to nail down. This requires an understanding of what their needs are, and how your product fits into that backdrop. More importantly, you also need to understand how and why your products or services differ from those of your competitors.

  • What?

The goal could be anything from a set number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to be generated over a series of time, an increase in the amount of contacts on your email marketing list or simply a defined amount of content to be produced over the campaign period. It helps in these situations to be specific; establish a clear numeric target that you want to hit. Even if you don’t ultimately end up hitting that number, having a clear target will help provide the motivation you need to make a success of the campaign.

  • How?

Now you’ve determined your audience and built your personas, it can be helpful to develop a clearer understanding of how you’re going to convert them into customers. To identify this, it can be helpful to create a marketing funnel, which tracks the content and marketing tactics you’ll aim at customers as they progress through the buyer’s journey. This involves three main stages; becoming aware of your solution, exploring and researching further, and finally deciding whether to make a purchase. Your campaign should seek to target content that supports and encourages the right choice at each one of these stages.

Of course, asking yourself these questions is the easy part – finding the right answers can be a little trickier.

What makes up successful B2B marketing campaigns

Once you’ve outlined some of the who, what, why and how of your campaign, it’s time to start creating some more detailed tasks and objectives.

  • Create the messaging

It can be easy when running your campaign to jump straight into creating the content – particularly if it’s time sensitive. Before you do that it’s important to identify your key messaging. Drawing on your competitor research and audience personas, you need to develop a series of marketing messages that will run through all the content you create.

One way of doing this is to create a value proposition, which outlines the key messaging of your campaign, your unique selling point and the reasons why customers would be convinced to buy your product. This is a good way of ensuring that everyone on the campaign is on the same page. This document doesn’t necessarily need to be pages long, but it definitely should outline the main strategy, how you’re going to achieve that and the messaging you’ll use to drive it.

  • Outline the deliverables

Once you’ve done this, you need to work out exactly what content you’re going to use to populate your campaign. Will it include a series of blogs? An eBook and a landing page? Emails? Paid media? The list goes on and on. Ideally, you want to produce a wide range of different content, that links together and targets audiences in different places. Obviously, the more content you create, the better you can expect it to do. But with the right messaging, and effective targeting, you can still achieve impressive results with a small amount of content.

A successful content campaign might look something like this;

  • A ‘lead magnet’ – an eBook or Whitepaper with a corresponding landing page
  • A series of perhaps 2-4 blogs which support and direct traffic towards the lead magnet
  • Accompanying social media posts on Twitter and LinkedIn that push out the blogs and eBook 
  • A series of paid media ads on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google search 
  • Email marketing that can communicate with leads generated across the rest of the campaign, and encourage them towards a sales conversation 

Of course, the demands and objectives of your campaign will mean this could change – this isn’t a one size fits all approach. But if you’re stuck for where to start, this should give you a good idea of what you’ll need to achieve.  

  • Plan your resources 

If you want to hit your goals, and create all the right content on time, you need to be realistic about the resources you have available. If you haven’t got the amount of people you require to successfully complete the project on time, you’ll have to remove some work from your campaign or extend your deadline. And it’s better to proactively make that decision now than end later down the line.  

To do this effectively, you’ll have to create a schedule, so everyone is clear when deliverables are to be expected, reviewed, optimized and ultimately published. You should set out the amount of time that each person working on the project should expect to spend on each task, preferably some kind of project management software that everyone can easily view. 

And of course, if you’re going to be producing content together with an external agency, you need to create mutual deadlines and priorities that everyone can be happy with. That requires making sure your agency is aware of work due dates, and your internal staff have the time allocated to edit, review, optimize and publish it when it arrives.  

If you want to discover more about getting help from an outside agency – check out our full range of B2B marketing services for technology providers.  

If you successfully plan all your resources in advance, the rest of the campaign will hopefully fall quite smoothly into place from there.  

  • Measure success 

The final step before you get started putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is to identify how you’re going to measure the success of your campaign. It’s important to demonstrate to your stakeholders that the work you produced paid off.

Naturally, the way you measure success will be closely tied to the objectives you set out at the outset of your B2B marketing campaigns. If you’re simply planning to increase leads, then the amount of email signups and MQLs will be the metric that judges this.  

But it can be also helpful to look into a series of other analytics, via Google Analytics or Data Studio. Analysing click through rates, page views, and bounce rates can give you a more three-dimensional picture of how your content is performing. These can show you how many people read your marketing materials, how long they spend on it - and whether they choose to proceed to the lead magnet asset or provide their contact details.  

This means that if during the campaign you’re not receiving the leads you need, you can effectively isolate the problem and work to resolve it. Let’s say you’ve got a lot of page views, but a low click through rate, it could be a sign that you need make your CTAs more eye-catching; perhaps moving them further up the page so users are more likely to see them. And if you’re not receiving many page views in the first place, it could be a sign that you need to increase your SEO efforts or tweak your paid media strategy to get more eyes on the page in the first place.  

Either way, having isolated the ways you’ll measure your strategy, you’ll be able to quickly identify how successful you’re being and make more proactive changes to improve your results throughout the campaign. And when it’s all over, you’ll have the information you need to provide better results next time – regardless of how effectively you did.  

Specialist B2B marketing campaigns for technology providers 

Here at Fifty Five and Five, we work on B2B marketing campaigns every day specialising in technology providers. That means we know a thing or two about creating winning strategies that find new audiences, drive leads and ultimately qualify new sales. We often discover clients have the will and understand the need for good quality marketing – but struggle with the internal resources to effectively complete all the steps we outlined in this blog on time, on budget, and to a high quality. 

That’s why many of them choose to work with us, because we specialise in creating the marketing strategy that earns you those all important marketing leads. If you want to find out more about how we can help you, get in touch today.