“Money is no object!” said no small business owner, ever. Maybe one day I’ll hear from one of those rarities and get to use all the wonderful inbound marketing magic at my disposal. Until then, budget will always be an issue. Some say that limitations actually foster greater creativity, and I agree. When you can’t spend unlimited time and money on everything, you’re forced to make ever second and every penny really count.
Still, when a business owner comes to me with big dreams and a tiny budget, the first thing to overcome is the “I want it all, but I don’t want to pay for it.” mindset. Part of me wants to give every nice business owner with a great product or service first-class service at a freight-car rate, but I can’t – and usually they understand. Still, this doesn’t have to be the end. There are other options!
Focus on Your Best Bets
So you can’t afford to do it all right now. Should you wait until you can? Certainly not! Doing as much as you can now gives you a much better chance of remaining in business long enough to get to the point where you can make all your marketing dreams come true!
For now, you and your marketing agency need to do some hard work to determine where your limited budget will be best spent. You’ll look at your goals, your customers and your competitors to get an idea of what will give you the best return on your marketing budget and start there.
It will be even more important than usual to keep a close eye on ROI here. Remember, you can’t expect to see big results right away, but if it becomes apparent to you and your agency that one or more avenues or strategies is not working, refocus your efforts on what is working and let the dud fall away
Use Free Tools
I’m a huge HubSpot fan, no secret here. However, it can be pricey and it is not the right tool for every business. There are many free tools for creating landing pages, sending emails, creating great images, managing social media and blogging. Programs you already own, like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat can be used for creating downloadable content. Your smartphone can take good video and YouTube will host it for free.
The tradeoff here is that using multiple, unconnected tools for your marketing will require more investment in time. Which leads to our next money-saving tip.
Do Some of the Work Yourself
Are you a wannabe writer? No? Maybe there is one in your sales department. Being right inside your company potentially puts you and your staff in good position to create great blog posts and downloadable content. Of course, this must be supported by a rock-solid strategy and excellent writing and editing skills. Consider working with an agency to develop a content strategy that you and your staff can implement yourselves.
Maybe someone on your staff has excellent customer service and writing skills and enjoys networking online. With a strategy and clear guidelines, that person might be able to make good use of social media on behalf of your company.
Have someone with a way with marketing and a little extra time? They may be able to write email copy and effective landing pages to promote the great blogging and premium content pieces you’re creating.
Is someone on your team comfortable in front of a camera, well-spoken and a good face for your company? Set up an inexpensive video studio and let him or her create compelling video content in line with your strategy.
Whichever tasks you and your team decide to undertake in an effort to save on marketing, don’t skimp on the strategy. Work with an agency that understands your business, your goals and your customers to create a plan to make the most of your hard work. As sales increase, you may be able to hand over more and more of the actual implementation to the pros.
Hire Your Best Friend’s Nephew’s College Roommate to Do It
Just checking to make sure you’re paying attention! Hiring someone because they “are on social media all the time” can turn out to be worse than not doing anything at all. Just don’t.
I’d love to hear more about your favorite ways to save money on inbound marketing. Please share below! And, if you’re interested in getting a marketing strategy that you and your team can implement until the day when money is less of an object, or a free assessment of your current efforts, let me know!
- What is Inbound Marketing? (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Inbound Marketing and Social Media Outsourcing – Six Signs That You’re Not Ready (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Hiring a Marketing Agency – Five Signs It’s Time! (scalablesocialmedia.com)