Blogging and White Papers Are Not Free

Authoring white-papers, newsletters, and blog entries can certainly be effective marketing tools. To know just how effective you need to measure costs and resulting leads. But too often business owners forget to account for their own time.

White Papers, E-Mail, and Webinars

This month’s (March 2007) issue of Inc. magazine has an article called “Wooing Customers One White Paper at a Time” (the subject of the article has invested over $2 million in white papers over the years). Dan Dershem of LeanLogistics is featured and shares his marketing budget. Here are some key points:

Marketing budget as percent of revenue:
2006: 7%
2007: 4.6%

Lead Acquisition:
e-newsletter budget up by 130%.
webinar budget down by 55%.

This is one company focussing on e-newsletters because they’ve found them inexpensive and effective. Dersham reports that e-mail campaigns resulted in double the number of leads at one-sixth the cost of producing a Webinar.

Many small business owners write their own e-mail campaigns which keeps cost down. Yet, if you author your own company’s emails, whitepapers, and blog entries, then you might be underestimating the cost of those marketing efforts.

If you run a report like this (ignore the numbers, they are fake and not the point of this article):

make sure that you are including your time in the estimate of lead acquisition and marketing cost. (Click here
to see the system that created this report).

Whether it be maintaining a blog or writing emails, you need to assign yourself an effective hourly rate and estimate much time you spend on those activities. Armed with this info you can then get a true picture of the marketing effectiveness of those activities.

Alternative Authors?

Why is this important? Why measure something if you are not going to change it? That’s a good question. So the second part of this article is a call to business owners to measure alternatives as well. What if you had others in the company or professional copy writers author your emails? What if you bought industry newsletters? What if you paid a blogger?

It might be worthwhile to try a professionally written campaign and then measure results. Just be sure to include the cost of your time in the self-authored campaigns.