If only money really did grow on trees.
You’d finally buy that 40-foot yacht you’ve had your eye on. You’d definitely increase your charitable contributions, because you’re such a good person. And, of course, you’d market the heck out of your business.
(Actually, if money grew on trees, would you need a business? Probably best not to think about this too hard.)
Anyway! What if we told you that you didn’t need a money tree to market your biz effectively?
By choosing your priorities carefully, you can put some serious marketing horsepower behind your biz without breaking the bank.
Want a more budget-friendly online marketing strategy?
Here’s where to start!
Ditch the marketing plan with a gazillion pages. Instead, draft a simple one with clearly defined goals. Remember, the tactics you employ to reach these objectives may evolve, but you need to know what you are working toward.
Creating a marketing plan without clearly-defined goals is like eating an ice cream cone from the bottom up – while it might satisfy you initially, ultimately, you’ll have a big sticky mess.
(And then you’ll attract ants.)
Whether you’re updating an existing plan or starting from scratch, give these questions a little brainpower before putting pen to paper:
Remember, your plan isn’t set in stone. Your approach should progress right along with the market, industry innovations, and new opportunities. You just need to know where to direct your energy!
Which brings us to…
As marketers, it’s easy to chase every trend that hits the trades, thinking you need to do everything and be on every single social network.
Resist this temptation and instead move through your marketing initiatives quickly, but while protecting yourself – like a turtle on rollerblades.
Focus on prioritizing the initiatives, tasks, and ideas that will help you achieve your goals.
When the time comes to spend money on marketing, think about putting it toward tools, services, or software to help you do more, better, faster, and more strategically.
Also, don’t operate solely on caffeine and gut-checks! Make informed decisions using data. (Google Analytics, for example, can help you identify the most popular posts/pages on your site.)
Now that we’ve gone over some ground rules, let’s dive into some marketing efforts that don’t require you to start lining up angel investors beforehand.
(But you probably knew that.)
You don’t have to pay to show up on Google. Of course, you can, via a paid ad, but improving your organic search results isn’t an unattainable goal!
All you need are a few SEO best practices, like these, in your back pocket:
What can we learn from the door-to-door knife salesman?
Well, for starters, that his knives can actually cut through a penny.
(Seriously, it’s impressive.)
But also, we learned there was always a demo involved. There was always proof that the product worked. And all gimmicks aside, this guy knew everything there was to know about knives, competitors, and why you needed his product.
So, the moral of the story…
Show your audience a solution to their problems, back up your statements with proof (like these), and saturate the market with YOUR knowledge. Remember, focus on the stuff that specifically addresses their wants, needs, and pain points.
(And hey, demos never hurt, either. We host a live one every single week!)
Whether it’s a blog that clarifies a confusing topic, a how-to-video, commentary on a timely topic, excellent customer service, or an e-book with loads of useful info, be the go-to resource.
Building trust and making someone’s life easier are the Wow Factors that drive loyalty, word of mouth, and sales, and that move peeps in the direction you need them to go.
If you’re just getting started or you don’t have a huge following of your own yet, tap into existing communities made up of engaged and qualified people.
Heads up, though – that does NOT mean rolling in like you own the place, posting links to your latest blog posts, and only dishing out info on your upcoming events, promotions, and services.
These one-note tactics will ruin your chances at establishing yourself as a trustworthy, super-genius, evil-combating expert.
Instead, focus on educating your audience, initiating relevant and timely discussions, and providing unique perspectives and resources to members of the community.
Whatever watering hole you hit up, contribute, engage, and most of all, bring it on the value front.
Poke around, but focus your efforts on established networks of the people that make up your target audience.
Is your audience active in any of these communities? They might be just the in you need!
Focus on the social channels that are important to your audience. Master one and move on to the next. Distribute news, company updates, third party articles, blog posts, and most importantly, conversation-worthy content.
Automating the distribution of your best and brightest content is a cost-effective way of cutting busywork out of your schedule so you can focus on more high-level tasks, like building, nurturing, and engaging with people in real time. (Here’s how an automation tool works.)
After all, it’s called social media. Get out there and get the conversation going, celebrate your community, and be responsive and passionate!
Whether you spend zero dollars or a whole bunch more, put your budget towards marketing initiatives, tools, and channels that give you the most return on investment for your time and moolah.
Your turn! How do YOU market on a shoestring budget?
How do you decide where to focus?
What free marketing tactics resulted in a wealth of return for your business?
Show off your big wins in the comments below!