Friday, August 12, 2016

Guest Post: How to Leverage a Limited Marketing Budget for Best Results

I'm excited to bring you a great guest post from Angela Moore, president and founder of Six Degrees Digital Media, a company offering video production and video marketing services for companies of all sizes.

Do you lay awake at night trying to figure out how to market your product or service with the few marketing dollars you have? You’re not alone. But that doesn’t really make you feel much better, does it?
Then let’s move on to something that will make you feel better. Let’s help you leverage your marketing dollars the best way possible.
You'll need to spend time learning some ninja marketing skills to make up for your limited budget, unless you have someone to help you for free, and we’ve got some ideas to share with you on that later.
But first, let’s look at a strategy you’ll want to consider with your ever-precious marketing budget. Do keep in mind you might not hit it out of the park on your first try. You could, but I don’t want you to go into a marketing strategy with unreal expectations.
Phase one – Email marketing
I know what you are thinking. "I don’t have a list," you say. "That’s ok," I say. "Let’s build one." How you say? Patience, grasshopper.
Step one is to brainstorm to come up with something you can giveaway; something that's an instant download is best, but there are other options.
Consider one of the following:
  • One-page PDF
  • A full-fledged report
  • Ebook
  • How-to video
  • Free trial
  • Drawing to win something
  • Free consultation
Personally, I like something shorter than 100 pages, but it’s not about me; it’s about your audience.
Make sure you have something available before you put together your offer. Not sure what? Ask those in your industry or use your stealth research skills to see what the competition is offering. You may not have a winner right away - we sure didn’t. But once you have a killer offer, you’ll start growing your list.
The next thing you need is an email software system. If you need to go the free or inexpensive rout, take a look at Mail Chimp or Aweber. Mail Chimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. Aweber has a 30-day trial for $1, then starts at $19 per month. Neither is really difficult to learn and both have support.
The time and investment necessary is dependent on whether you already have something to offer or if you have to create something. The upfront monetary investment is minimal. You will also need someone to add the sign-up form code to your website.
Phase two Networking
If you don’t have a budget, you need to make connections. And even if you do have a budget, you still need to make connections. Networking takes time, but you can start growing and nurturing relationships. Network with both potential customers, and potential strategic partners.
First, leverage the people already talking to your customers to create strategic partnerships. See what you can do for the people who have a sphere of influence. Offer them a guest blog post on your site or a discount (or even free) services of some kind.
It pays to be creative here. The cost on this is virtually nothing but time.
This strategy is definitely more time intensive. But if you can spare a few dollars, you can use software such as Buzzstream or Content.io. to help generate a list.
You can network almost anywhere online these days (and at offline events too). Think of where your target market and influencers hang out and get to that party. For example, check out:
  • LinkedIn and Facebook groups
  • Forums
  • Blog that has a large following
Bonus Strategy Live Stream Events
If you would rather face a ninja in the dead of night than be on camera, then this strategy isn’t for you.  But not to worry. You could offer a webinar instead. They are a lot of work but minimal cost to put together, with the exception of any ad dollars to promote the webinar.
But this can be so effective. Start thinking about this now for the future. As you start making your connections, you’ll be able to promote each other and help one another out.
After all that’s what it’s all about, right?
Bet you thought I forgot about that other free part, didn’t you. Nope. Here’s the thing. You may be able to find a new marketing company that needs to get their first clients, so they can have some case studies; they may take you on for free. You might also find one that will do a trade with you. We actually did both when we first launched our company.
Another option is to contact your local college or university and see if they have a marketing class looking to take on a project. Or if they have a marketing student looking to build up their resume or portfolio before they graduate.
I wish you much success with your business.
If you have a question I can help you out with, go ahead and leave it in the comments.