How to Market Your Business for Less than $100/ Month

Anyone can tell you that you have to spend money to make money… but how much do you really need to spend? With the right planning, you can make the best decisions with a small budget and get the most out of free tools!

We’ll start with planning, then go on to execution, and finally touch on follow up for marketing your business. I’ve included TL;DR’s at the end of each section if you prefer to skim! :)

Planning

Planning can be the difference between getting the most out of a $5 ad and blowing $300 accomplishing nothing.

Without a goal it’s hard to have a direction. Just like a business plan gives you focus for your entire business’s efforts, you need to have a goal set to drive all your marketing efforts towards achieving.

  • Your goal should be specific, measurable, and attainable. Use this as your guide, you should craft all your efforts around accomplishing this goal.
  • Track your progress and share it with a team member. This will provide a sense of accountability.

Example:

Get LeewardBA’s website to 500 daily views by April 2017, close 5 leads through the website in this time.

You need to figure out who you are trying to reach with your messaging so you can craft your message and tactics to their interests and habits.

  • Create specific buyer personas, make as many as necessary.
  • Identify their interests, key demographic points, and more to be able to target them best through marketing.

Example:

Nancy Nonprofit is 35, she has two kids and lives in the suburbs. She is the leader at a nonprofit organization and is feeling overwhelmed by everything involved with managing donations. Nancy wants to be able to go back to living her life, instead of only focusing on her job.

Leeward Business Advisors can market to Nancy through Facebook ads targeted at her using wording that will pique her interest. Nancy will already know about Leeward through their volunteer programs at her children’s school and their involvement with other nonprofits she engages with, so the ad won’t be a disturbance, but a reminder.

Your company is kind of like a person in that it has it’s own reputation. Are you the pretentious popular kid who doesn’t want anything to do with people below them?

Hopefully not, but you need to define yourself in your branding.

  • Your branding includes your logo, your messaging, and any other media you distribute online or otherwise.
  • They all should be cohesive and form one clear personality for your organization.

Example:

Leeward Business Advisors is a leader in community engagement and has a breadth of knowledge in business frameworks. They see companies as partners, not customers.

It’s fine to have a few different messages to rotate through and to analyze with A/B testing, but you should have those picked out before you start marketing.

  • Your messaging should be clear, concise, and comprehensive.
  • Your messaging should coincide with your branding, be tailored to your audience, and aim to achieve your goal.

Example:

“#CallAnAdvisor today to set up your informational meeting with our CRM experts! We can help you get repeat donors and increase donation sizes for your nonprofit, and keep everything organized in one handy tool!”

  • Set a goal, make sure everything you do is aimed toward accomplishing that goal.
  • Choose your ideal audience, target them in your messaging.
  • Identify your brand and stick to it.
  • Define your messaging and make it all cohesive.

Execution

Now you have a plan, but how do you accomplish your goal without dropping a ton of cash? There are plenty of free marketing channels and relatively cheap advertising opportunities.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+ are all free platforms you can utilize to promote your business.

  • Combined, they have billions of active users.
  • You can grow your audience organically and improve your brand awareness.
  • Social media helps improve your SEO.
  • Your business can join other communities through pages and hashtags.

Best Practices

  • Don’t be purely promotional: help your audience, generally by educating.
  • Engage with other users and share their content (they will then be more likely to help you).
  • Respond to messages and comments. Social media is not a billboard, it’s a platform to communicate with others.
  • Optimize to your audience, goal, and use your branding and messaging.

Your website is prime real estate for your business!

  • It will be the first thing to come up when people search for you business, and will hopefully come up when people look for your services.
  • An optimized website can help improve your SEO.

Best Practices

  • Optimize the crap out of your website. Use long-tail keywords, alt-tags, and more to make sure you are getting high SEO scores. Check out Hubspot’s Website Grader for help!
  • Prominently display your contact information, including your social media handles.
  • Create pages for your products and services, make specific landing pages for campaigns.
  • Optimize to your audience, goal, and use your branding and messaging.

Content marketing has been increasing in popularity recently, for good reason.

  • Content marketing is a way to advertise your business without being an outright ad.
  • Blogs and videos provide an opportunity for people to learn about your business and services.

Best Practices

  • Help out your customers, educate around a topic relevant to your business.
  • Be mindful, ensure everything you put out is high quality and representative of your business.
  • Promote it afterwards. Share it on social, send it out in an email newsletter, tell your partners about it, just make sure people know about it!
  • Optimize to your audience, goal, and use your branding and messaging.

One of the best things about partners is getting to help each other out.

  • Partners can share each other’s content.
  • This helps you reach a larger audience and it is more credible when someone else shares your content as it isn’t see as self-promotion.

Best Practices

  • You have to help out others if you want them to help you!
  • Engage with people in the same or similar industries.
  • Optimize to your audience, goal, and use your branding and messaging.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn all have opportunities to advertise.

  • You can advertise for super cheap, like $5/ day cheap!
  • Advertising on social can help you grow brand awareness and increase your social media following.
  • It is relatively easy and fast to set up an ad. Most channels let you start and stop the ad as you wish.

Best Practices

  • Test out a few different audiences and interest settings with a low budget to find out what works best.
  • Create a landing page specific for the ads.
  • Use visually pleasing graphics that will catch your audience’s attention.
  • Optimize to your audience, goal, and use your branding and messaging.

If you have a $5 daily budget, you can advertise 20 days in a month for only $100!

There are plenty of opportunities to give back in your community and you can get more out of it than feeling good.

  • Many non-profits will give you ad space in exchange for a sponsorship
  • You can get a lot more than free advertising out of sponsoring a non-profit or education organization. You can increase brand awareness and teach the community about what you do.

Best Practices

  • Help out organizations related to your industry, so you can demonstrate the good quality of your products or services.
  • Share press releases about your efforts and send them out to local and industry related news.
  • Talk about your sponsorship or community outreach on your website, social media, and more.

You can do a low level sponsorship of one company a month, usually for right around $100 or you can donate time and services.

Similar to utilizing partners, you can utilize your customers to help market your business!

  • Your customers are the best person to talk positively about your business because they have already worked with you!
  • Working with your customers is a great way to turn them into partners instead of just customers.

Best Practices

  • Ask your customers for testimonials for your website and marketing.
  • Provide customers and their referrals with some sort of benefit, like a discount or free service add-on.

This can be free depending on the perk you give participants, but providing a discount or service for free is an inexpensive way to gain customers.

  • Utilize social media to promote your brand and connect with potential customers.
  • Use your website as prime real estate and optimize it so it can easily be found. Make sure important information like product info and contact info is easily accessed.
  • Create educational content that will benefit your prospects.
  • Cross-promote with partners.
  • Do small social media advertising trials and learn from them.
  • Utilize community sponsorships and outreach to gain brand awareness and associate yourself with good will.
  • Create a referral program and provide perks to participants, have your customers do your marketing.

You can do everything right, but if you aren’t tracking your results and following up, it’s all for naught.

If 100 people contact you after an ad goes out, you have to be prepared to follow up and continue to court 100 people.

  • Statistically, at least half of a business’s leads are lost due to a lack of follow up.
  • They already determined they are interested, the hardest part is over.

Best Practices

  • Set up a follow up sales strategy that is consistent across the team.
  • Be timely and reach back out if you haven’t heard from them in a while.
  • Remember your previous conversations. If a prospect of ours was talking about their favorite sports team or their kid’s school play, we would try to incorporate that into our conversation.

You will have the opportunity to learn tons through marketing experiments and daily trials, so take advantage of it.

Best Practices

  • Document your efforts and their results. Go back and see if there was a common theme across what worked and what didn’t.
  • Look at what your competitors are doing and learn from their efforts. Get all the value without having to run the experiment yourself.
  • Make small changes based on your results and see how that effects the new trials.
  • Follow up.
  • Learn from your efforts.

Wrap Up

You really don’t have to spend that much to build brand awareness and market your business. Be thoughtful about your efforts and make sure they are focused, document them and their results throughout so you can learn from them and adjust.

Identify your goal and audience to market to and focus your efforts around those. Define your brand and your messaging so everything you do is cohesive. Utilize free platforms and get the absolute most out of paid opportunities. Learn from your successes and your failures, adjust where you can. Don’t forget to follow up. Ever.

Leeward Business Advisors is a Wisconsin-based corporation that provides business strategy planning, business improvement implementation, and full IT operational support. They offer world class Cloud Computing services, Cloud brokerage, Managed IT services, and a full US based Support Service Desk (called Quick Answers). Michael Polzin, CEO has 20+ years of enterprise business and technology experience gained while working at Allstate Insurance and Microsoft Corporation. Jason Klein, CTO has 15+ years delivering effective and efficient technology to Midwest companies.

Winners of KABA’s 2016 Fast Five Award

Gen Z Marketer Passionate About Communities

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