Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Have you ever heard yourself say, "well, we don't really do any marketing, we just don't have the budget for that right now?"
In one day we heard 2 business owners say those exact words. The first, a partner in a moving/trucking company, said he'd have more business right now, but doesn't have the funds for marketing. We'd met him at a gas station as he was in a branded truck and we wanted to ask a question on moving rates. (The places marketers will meet people are definitely not limited! Especially at Caffeinated!"
The second business owner, also a majority share partner in a company happened to be manning a tasting booth at the grocery store. He too said "this is pretty much our marketing. I come to grocery stores and offer tastings of the product. We don't have the budget for marketing right now."
This is where I'd like you all to take a minute and think about how you find out about products today. Sure, a taste test at the local grocer might introduce you to a product you never knew existed; or knew about it but never thought to take the plunge and buy before you try.
For small business owners, when they say 'we don't have the budget for marketing,' what they're doing is saying 'no thanks' to potential sales. If you're a small business owner that has gone through the pains of product development, research, production, fund raising, and putting your blood, sweat and tears into your brand, why would you stop at marketing?
It doesn't have to be complicated, nor does it have to cost you your other life's savings.
Start with the basics:
Who's your audience. Narrow it down and then a little further because it will be easier and less expensive when you start targeting your audience. It's easy to say "everyone can use my product," but it's better to say "while everyone uses my product, my largest set of customers are females between 18-25 and they are mostly located in the Pacific Northwest.
A lot of marketers will ask you "what is your budget for marketing?" and then they might throw around some big numbers and terms that will scare you off and you'll again go back to saying "I can't spend on marketing right now." What you should be asking yourself before speaking with anyone is, what is your acquisition cost per customer? And remember, the lifetime value of a customer can be worth three times as much as you spend on acquisition. If your customer is happy, you can usually bet they'll leave a good review, tell their friends about you AND ideally become return customer. Don't be afraid of the initial cost of acquisition, if you're working with the right tools and people, that number will be reduced over time. But do not spend too far out of your comfort zone, as that will skew expectations of immediate returns on investment and it may discourage you from continuing marketing. You should always adjust, not abandon!
Now that you have determined your target demographic as well as how much you can spend on acquiring your customers, it's time to map out WHERE they are so you can choose the right platforms in reaching your audience. Is it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, E-mail lists, Webinars, In-person workshops, digital workshops...the possibilities are near limitless!!
In summary, set your audience, set your budget and decide if you have the time and resources to tackle marketing on your own, or if you want to find someone to help you.