Marketing on a Budget

Marketing in the Trenches on a Budget

  • AUTHOR: Rich Sloan
  • DATE: 12/26/2013

In today’s tech-driven world, there are many options for marketing.  However, that does not mean that other, less “techy” methods of getting your company’s message out to the world should be scoffed at. Unfortunately, in this tech-filled world, people are busier and more distracted than ever, so actually getting through to a person can be a challenge.

This article is not about social media, SEO or Google Adwords.  This is about rolling up your sleeves and getting down and dirty in marketing techniques that work.  Here are some of my favorite avenues:

1.  The Cold Call

I want to address this first and devote a little more attention to it because cold calling is that misunderstood kid in high school who turns out to be brilliant if you get to know him.  There are three critical pieces to making a cold call successful:

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A. Change your attitude.  If you approach cold calling with the feeling that you are doing grunt work and are only that annoying telemarketer no one likes then you will fail.  Your attitude should be one of bold entrepreneurism.  You are telling people about a product or service that will genuinely improve their lives and you are grabbing the bull by horns by picking up the phone and contacting them directly.  “Nothing easily attained is worth having” should be your motto as a cold caller.

B. Know what you’re going to say. You have to be ready to nail the exact message and deliver the exact key takeaways that serve you best without being verbose or too brief.  Yes, it is tough but remember your motto from above. Ask yourself, what are the one or two highest priorities I have for this call and what’s the simplest, most effective way to get results?

C.  Have a proper phone system.  If you have a reliable and intuitive phone system that can be customized to your business, the headache of cold calling will be greatly reduced and you will sound much more professional.  Systems like the Syn248 from AT&T give you enormous flexibility in adding lines and automating voicemails and directories.

2.       Guerilla Marketing

What does this even mean?  Totally fair question.  Guerilla marketing uses cheap and unconventional means to spread a message.  For example, what if you were to use a bunch of chalk to cover a public space with chalk art relating to your business?  Or if you created a flash mob designed to draw attention to your market?  One great guerilla campaign put hats on all the statues in Detroit to market an art project.  It is impossible to recommend specific guerilla marketing techniques because they are often very specifically tailored to a local community or a trend that your target market would “get.”  Try and put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think what would be a creative and fun public display that I would enjoy and share with my friends?

3.       Direct Mail

Coupon books and credit card offers, right?  No, not necessarily.  The most annoying part of direct mail marketing is actually its greatest opportunity.  Because we are so used to receiving the same boring crap in the mail, the bar is very low for sending something that sticks.  This blog post shows some great examples of creative uses of direct mail marketing.  While this method is pricier than picking up the phone or buying a bunch of chalk, in terms of leads it is one of the cheapest marketing methods.  According to the Direct Mail Association 2013 Factbook, 65 percent of consumers of all ages have made a purchase as a result of direct mail.  They also note that on a cost per lead basis, direct mail is near the bottom.

4.            Online

Ok, fine, I included this.  However, let’s ignore the obvious (Facebook and Twitter) and look at other options for marketing.  First, you should be on craigslist.  Unlike other online ads that try and distract you from what you are doing, people who see ads on craigslist are there purposefully and their intent is to make a purchase.

Second, you should be sending out a newsletter.  Mailchimp is a fantastic tool for creating beautiful newsletters and then tracking how people react.  You can test different subject lines, times of day you send the newsletter, and then see how many people open it or click on the links.

Third, get a blog and write regularly.  Carve out time once a week to write a quick post about what happened in your business or your market that week or a customer anecdote worth telling.  Making a blog is free and having it on your company website adds content regularly to your site, which is something Google loves and rewards with better search rankings.

Marketing does not mean million dollar Super Bowl ads.  Some of the best marketing campaigns are done with smaller doses of budget and larger doses of creativity.  No matter what you do, do it uniquely and make it exclusive to your business.

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to [...]

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