How much money do you need for a successful marketing strategy? The internet has revolutionised the world, brought us closer together and changed business forever. As part of this colossus shift in our lives it has created an entirely new market of marketing experts dispensing advice. This advice if implemented will undoubtedly leads to success and hundred of thousands of extra $$$$ in the bank.
Have we asked the question “is this advice relevant to my business?” The overwhelming majority of advice follows the same route of:
- Create your customer profile
- Create a message that resonates with them
- Place it in front of them
- They buy what you are offering
It sounds simple, unfortunately the costs are not quite so simple. For the purpose of this article i recently called up 5 marketing agencies under the idea of employing them to promote a new fitness app. The cost for creating the customer profile ranged from $20,000 to $30,000 with total costs ranging from $100,000 to $175,000 and no promises from a single agency of the exact results they would achieve. The figures being quoted are not relevant or workable for the majority of businesses.
Marketing for less than $100
Could you find marketing tactics than can be implemented and deliver results for less than $100? Here are 10 tactics that you can use to grow your business for $100 or less
1. Research Your Customers
The more you can understand your customers the better. You will learn what they like, what they dislike, what problem you are solving and the specific language to use. You don’t need to spend a fortune to learn this knowledge.
Use quizzes, questionnaires and conversation to find out about your customers. Use free trials of paid tools such as Alexa and Spyfu to get a detailed look at the customers of your competition. Finally use google analytics to analyse the audience on your website.
You should pay special interest in those that have already bought products or services from you.
Look to get answers to the following questions:
- Where they found you?
- What problem you solved?
- Where do they spend their time online?
- What do they do in their free time?
- If they had a magic wand what is the one problem they would solve.
This will explain where your product or service fits, in the lives of your customers. It will give you insights on how to reach more people like them or encourage them to promote you.
Email marketing represents one of the cheapest forms of marketing with the best return on investment. For every $1 spent there is an average return of $38. You can use tools like Mail Chimp to manage your emails list and send out email blasts.
The cost is free for 2000 emails in the list and 12,000 emails sent per month. The full price list is:
You can also use tools such as Active Campaign starting at $17 per month to create unique customer email journeys based on their actions such as emails opened, links clicked or social shares.
Email marketing is cheap, with a great return on investment and is the preferred messaging medium of your customers. This was shown in a study by spark post.
3. Develop Your Professional Network
It’s not what you know but who you know as the saying goes. Networking is one of the most successful yet underrated marketing tactics available to small businesses.
In our experience people don’t like networking because it is outside of their comfort zone or they can’t sell. Neither of these excuses are acceptable for business owners. The act of owning a business and being an entrepreneur means putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. If you can’t sell, you will not last long in business. So you need to learn.
Try looking for speed networking events. You will get 1 minute to pitch your business to the person in front of you before they swap with someone else. This is a great way to perfect your pitch, speak with lots of potential new clients and overcomes the weaknesses of traditional networking.
4. Social Proof
Social proof is the biggest factor in any buying decision and is virtually free to build. Research gathered by Referral Saasquatch demonstrated that 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral. And 92% of people trusted a referral from people they knew.
Most small business owners think that cash incentives are the way to encourage referrals and testimonials. However, Non-cash incentives are 24% more effective at boosting performance than cash incentives. Get creative and think of ways you can encourage customers without having to start handing over large piles of cash.
5. Take To The Stage
Speaking to crowds of people might sounds like a daunting task but there is no doubt that it delivers results. Think outside of the box when looking for places you can speak. Universities, lunch and learns, podcasts and independent magazine are all under utilized places to find speaking/interview opportunities.
You can build entire careers out of public speaking, Gary Vaynerchuck is perhaps the biggest success story of building a business by getting himself in front of people.
There is a great article by famous in your field on getting your first speaking opportunity
6. Useful Merchandise
Have you ever been handed a business card and you leave it on the table or place it in the bottom of your bag, forgotten until you have your quarterly clear out. At which point it finds its way into the bin.
If you are going to hand something out make it useful and relevant to your clients. Give them something they will use on a regular basis.
I once spent two months living out of a Radisson Blu hotel. I had more Radisson Blu pens then i knew what to do with. By the end of the two months the entire office was using them and half were also staying in the hotel.
Printing pens, bookmarks, key chains or anything that your customers will use can all be made for a couple of dollars each from places such as Vista Print.
7. Get Online
We think that every business is now online but 46% of small businesses in the United States do not have a website. The craziness of this can be summed up in one question. When you are looking for something what do you do first?…You look it up online. If you don’t have a website then people are looking but not finding you
For $100 you can get a professionally designed website from Affordable Web Design this also opens up doors for many other marketing tactics such as list building, email marketing, blogging and placing adverts on your site.
8. Sticker Responsibly
When Reddit launched in 2005 they had a marketing budget of $500. They spent the entirety of that budget on Reddit Alien stickers. They would request people “Please sticker responsibly!” before handing them out at events, network meetings, people on the street whilst also placing them on signs, posts and over other advertisement.
Before long people were placing stickers all over the country and tagging the company in social media pages. This was Reddits first fan art and it sent the business viral.
By using a custom sticker service like Sticker Mule you can get 1000 stickers for under $100
9. Press Release
Write a press release about a problem that you are solving in your industry. Insight issued a press release on how they could help companies affected by the 2011 earthquakes in Japan. The press release was features twice in the wall street journal and 13 trade magazines.
By using freelancers you can have a professional press release written and submitted to media companies for $75 dollars. You can also use sites like Help a Reporter Out to place your press release in front of thousands of reporters.
Toyota got to where they are following the principles of Kaizen. The basic principle is always be improving. Are you and your staff doing everything as optimally as you could?
In the real estate industry they have undercover viewers record the leasing agents so that management can review and improve the performance of their staff. I’m not suggesting you start secretly filming your staff. However, instigating a discussion on how things can be improved and made more efficient can deliver great rewards especially in your sales and customer services position. Staff in these areas are interacting with potential customers every day and you need them to be on their game.