Marketing on a Budget
Paid advertising, whether it be Google Ads, Social Media Ads or Paid Influencers are a great way to boost your organic efforts online and get your message to as many people as possible but businesses can often feel under a lot of pressure to make big investments in their advertising early on which they simply can’t afford. Despite the obvious benefits of paid advertising, it is possible to grow a successful brand organically but it takes quite a bit of planning and savvy! Get it right and you could save yourself a lot of money and gain a loyal customer base. Get it wrong and you could waste a lot of time and run the risk of your brand going stale.
So where do you start if you want to take the risk?
Step 1 – PLAN!
First, focus your efforts! You don’t need to do absolutely everything in the marketing handbook to succeed and if you try to there’s a pretty fair chance you’ll fail! Look at what’ll benefit your business most whether that be social media (and diving deeper into what platform(s)), influencer marketing, PR, ‘traditional’ marketing (TV, Radio etc). When choosing where to focus your efforts, think about your budget, remember even ‘free’ marketing costs your time.
Take real time to go over every aspect of your marketing in 6 month or quarterly segments. When you’re starting off it’s best not to get too carried away, by focusing on a few months at a time you can more accurately measure whats working, whats not and adapt your plan as needed. This doesn’t mean you should completely ignore the long game though! There’s a balance to be struck between your short and long-term goals to give you the best chance of achieving them.
Making sure your plan includes all eventualities will make it easier to follow and save you time and money. Think of it as writing a shopping list, if you know exactly what you need you’ll end up getting more for less!
Step 2 – STUDY!
Take some time to really get to know the skills you’ll need. There’s plenty of free online resources out there from Youtube videos, podcasts and courses like Google’s Digital Garage. Having knowledge behind you can save you a lot of money and you might surprise yourself at how well you get on! Even if it turns out that you don’t have enough time to dedicate to your marketing yourself, you’ll have a new skill under your belt and the knowledge of what to expect from an Agency or Marketing Exec. on your team. The more you understand the processes, the better you’ll understand the results!
That being said, you don’t need to be an expert before you start. It’s perfectly ok to learn on the job and with marketing, it’s actually necessary! Trends, techniques and best practices are constantly evolving.
Step 3 – INVEST IN WHAT MATTERS!
Whether it be a course, some camera equipment, advertising or someone to manage your marketing for you, decide where your budget (however small) would be best spent. Try not to base your decisions purely on money, think about what something will really add to your business. For example, professional product photography will never do you wrong. Hiring a photographer might seem like a lot of money for a couple of hours work but, if done right, your products will look as best as they possibly can and you’ll have quality assets that you can use over and over again. On the other hand, if you know about photography and can produce professional quality photos then your money might be better spent elsewhere like a marketing course or new equipment.
At the end of the day, it comes down to what you feel comfortable doing after all if marketing was that easy we’d all be Instagram influencers! Trying things out and measuring your results is a great way to identify your skills and where you fall down. You might find that social media comes completely natural to you but you’d have no idea how to go about a launch event. It ok and completely normal not to know everything, after all, you probably started your business because you love your product not to be a marketing guru!