digital marketing

10 Secrets to Build Your Marketing Strategy on a Budget

What does it take have a successful online marketing strategy on a budget?

Online marketing strategies shouldn’t have to be expensive to be effective. Don’t spend your precious dollars on a marketing campaign that doesn’t give you results. Learn how to create and implement a budget online marketing strategy for just a few dollars a day.

Focus on market research

Market research is important for many reasons. And those business owners who do the research are more profitable than those who don’t. So what is market research? Market research is the act of discovering information about a targeted audience that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. I call this a marketing advantage, and you can capitalize on this advantage by offering products to prospects that will cause them to buy.

One way that you can do your market research is on the internet. The internet has made it incredibly easy to hone in on your most ideal prospect. When doing your research online, one place that you can start is in Facebook groups or Reddit. You can sign up for Reddit and provide helpful information to the group of people looking for information similar to the products you sell.

Or if Reddit or Facebook isn’t your cup of tea, you could become a member of a forum and share your ideas and interests there also. You will find that many people on the forums have distinct problems that they need help with. This is your chance to capitalize on their questions and become a guru of some sort in your niche.

The kind of forums you join should allow you to place your website information in the signature line of your post. This is where you want to pitch your services. If you’ve provided excellent information, people will visit your website, and this is the place where you want to capture a lead or simply go for the sale. Personally, I’ve found that both work incredibly well, but it’s up to you on how you want to market your business.

Along with forums, another thing that you can do online is hold polls. Poll your visitors on the number 1 thing that is plaguing their lives right now, and take advantage of this information. What you think your prospects want can be totally different from what your customers want. So keep this in mind.

If you currently have a group of customers, why not send them a letter every once in a while (like once every month). You never know whose situation has changed in the course of a month. Some customers’ situations will remain the same, while some of your customers may be in dire need of your services. The trick is to stay in constant contact with your customers so that you can be first on their minds when they’re ready to make a purchase.

It took me years to learn this. I sent out direct mail pieces to business owners expecting them to buy now, but I didn’t get any responses. It was until I came across some direct mail advice that stated that I needed to contact my prospects at least three times before giving upon them.

I took this advice and went to mail out more letters. It wasn’t until the 3rd attempt that I started to see some money roll in. I learned to be persistent because you never know when someone will buy from you.

Generate leads

As we all know, there is no such thing as “get rich quick,” and anyone who tells you this is a liar. The bottom line is that it’s tough to gain a customer. You have to know how to write copy, how to write a good ad, how to make direct mail work, and how to sell more of your products and services to your existing customers.

Marketing isn’t easy at all. If you’re doing brand advertising, then more than likely, you’re wasting money on all of your advertisements. I would never do brand advertising because it doesn’t generate the kind of response I’m looking for. If you’re doing brand advertising, then I’m sure that you know what I mean. The true path in business success lies on two simple principles:

  • Generate leads
  • Nurture leads

That’s it. That’s the secret. All I do is generate leads in my business. My goal is to have a database of over 100,000 subscribers, all coming to me and doing business, and visiting my blog and forum for more excellent advice. With a huge subscriber list like this, it’s kinda easy to get sales.

But what about you? What’s the fundamental goal of your business? In order to see a lot of repeat sales, you have to build a mailing list. Even though new people may walk into your store today, that’s not where the core of your business lies. The core of your business lies in the “backend selling” to your existing customers.

You see, there’s an 80/20 rule in the world of business. 20% of the things that you do will account for 80% of your income. And vice versa. So all of the new customers you get daily only account for 20% of your total gross profits. On the other hand, 80% of what you earn in your business will account for 20% of your efforts. And this 20% comes in the form of selling to your repeat customers.

So you have to prioritize your marketing. It’s not like you have hundreds of sales reps selling your products for you. In your business, it’s more than likely a one-man operation, so you don’t have time to waste chasing after new customers. If I were you, I would focus more on selling more to your existing customers and focus less on new potential business.

Maybe if you have the funds to hire a new staff member, you can let them go to work on one part of your marketing strategy while you handle all the other parts. This will make you more productive, but it’ll cost you a bit due to paying your new employee for help. But the decision all lies with you.

So business riches are attainable – you just have to market more to your current customers, and they will reward you with their hard-earned money. Make sure your products are top-notch. When that happens, your customers will come back for more.

Run direct mail marketing

Direct mail still works – you just have to have a solid pitch and a good list to mail to. You can find mailing lists from a variety of sources. The first option is a list broker. These people earn a commission for every list that they sell, so they’re not too concerned about whether or not your direct mail campaign was a success.

The next option you have at your disposal is something called the SRDS. It’s a large database consisting of niche-specific lists, and they can be great targets for your offer. Just know that the more niche-specific you go, the more the list will cost you. This makes sense because a more niche-specific list will be more responsive than a general list – so keep this in mind.

The last thing that you could do is go online to usadata.com. They are a mailing list company that will allow you to select a mailing list to mail to. I advise that you go niche-specific and mail out a test sample (2,000 pieces). If it works, buy the list again and mail again. If it doesn’t work, scrap this list source and focus on things that make you profitable.

Join clubs and groups to market your business

I never used to be a fan of clubs and social gatherings, but I always knew that to market my services more effectively, I would have to be apart of some sort of organization where I could network with business owners like me.

On the internet, this is easy to do. Internet marketers use tools such as Skype to communicate with fellow business owners thousands of miles away, but in the offline world, we don’t have privy the technology to form brainstorming groups.

Well, I guess there’s a way to brainstorm in the offline world of marketing. You can hold conference calls, webcasts, and live presentations. These ways are excellent ways to get access to the
latest tips and information that will help you stay on top of the marketplace.

But what can you do if you don’t have the technology that I listed above? Well, it’s quite simple. First, you could go down to your local chamber of commerce and network with the business owners there. You never know what kind of information these guys have to offer, and most of the things they’ve learned can be applied to any business.

This is the essence of marketing. Techniques that work for others can work for you too. Most of the time, all it takes is a simple tweak to make the concept work for you also. For example, I’m sure that you run newspaper ads or yellow pages ads, and maybe some of the members at the chamber of commerce run these ads also.

But if one business owner is making more money from their ads than yours, you should ask this business owner what they are doing to make their advertising work for you. Once the business owner tells you what they do. You can use the same strategy to see improved results from your ads.

So one strategy that works for others can work for you, too, with the right approach. There are many more groups that you can join to link up with fellow business owners (nationally) and share ideas about how to make a particular strategy work. One great place to find people like this is at the forums on the internet.

I post in a forum online called the “Warrior Forum.” This is a forum where like-minded business owners get together and share creative ideas on making more money in our businesses. And depending on your niche, I’m pretty sure you can find forums that will suit you and your business.

Joining clubs, groups, and organizations can be a great way to market and make more money in your business. However, when it comes to marketing, two minds are better than one.

So put your brain to work and think about more groups that you can join to make more money in your business. Be an active participant, and focus on making new friends. It’s one of the best things that you can do for your business.

Use retargeting ($0.70 per day).

Retargeting is a Javascript-based software that lets you follow your audience’s web activity using cookies. Once people browse your site, your advertisement will continue to appear on other websites that they visit. This works very well if you generate a lot of web traffic. You can also choose to either bid on a per-click basis or by cost per impressions. Use Google’s 15 image sizes to get started on designing your ads. After creating your ads, follow these steps to add the retargeting tag to your website. You’ll soon be ready to launch your own retargeting campaign.

Advertise with Bing ($1.30 per day).

Online advertising on Bing is about 33.5% cheaper per click than Google Adwords. If you bid wisely, you should be able to get at least one click per day. Some people may overlook Bing Advertising as a legitimate option. But it’s nothing to scoff at when you are working on a budget online marketing strategy.

Working within a budget can help you be cost-efficient. You will pay close attention to click-through rate, bounce rate, and average time on site, which will ensure that each click brings in high-quality traffic.

Custom landing pages designed around keywords also help increase conversions. Even if you are not a developer, platforms such as Unbounce can help you create attractive landing pages.

Advertise with Facebook ($1 per day).

Facebook is using a very complex algorithm to control who sees what content on its News Feed. It encourages businesses to advertise to receive exposure. Facebook Advertising should be a part of your budget online marketing strategy. An attractive ad with interesting content and photos will go a long way to spreading the word about your brand.

Reach out to bloggers (free).

Industry-specific blogs, forums and influencer websites can be a great way to promote your company’s online presence. By contributing articles about your company, these independent writers help to generate referral traffic and local backlinks. This also benefits the bloggers because it provides them valuable content for their sites.

Reach out to bloggers with high-quality pitches, and you will be rewarded with positive, long-term relationships. Your company will benefit from blog coverage, and the bloggers will have a steady stream of inspiration for their articles. The best part about this is that it’s completely free. This is a great price for a budget online marketing strategy!

Always spend wisely.

This may seem like a no-brainer. But it’s an important rule to stand by for companies of any size. As you experience positive results from your online marketing strategy, you will gain more knowledge about what works best for you. You will also have more money to invest. This will lead to smarter investments in high-performing digital outlets. Whether working on a $3 or $3 million budget, smart spending will guarantee continued success.

photo credit: Worried Kei

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.