The most important thing about cost-effective marketing is to focus on high-return activities. Different channels work for different companies, there’s no one-size-fits-all. If there’s one thing we know though it’s that you should absolutely spend money on marketing your business online. Even a budget of $1,500 can go a long way.
The great thing about research is that the only resource you’ll need to spend is your time. If you don’t do thorough research before spending your first marketing dollar you probably won’t put the remaining $1,499 to particularly good use.
A good place to start is by doing a quick Google search of your industry, identifying patterns, understanding consumer behaviour, studying your competition, and even reaching out to your target audience for first-hand market research. The data you collect during this process will serve as the foundation of your campaign.
Certainly, there are ways you can spend money on research. There are organizations that sell reports with seemingly critical information, as well as tools that’ll pull data from around the web for your consideration. Services like Springwise and Trendwatching are great for this, but can be a bit pricey. There’s more than enough free information out there to help get you off the ground.
Email marketing $350
In spite of all the new tools and techniques, email marketing continues to prevail as one of the most effective marketing methods you could implement. The fact is, your email list is gold – these are people who have responded to your outreach, opted in and are primed to hear from you. If you do nothing else, take advantage of email marketing and center your campaign around it.
So what does $350 get you? Right now, it’s the equivalent of a one-year subscription to MailChimp, which needs no introduction. An email list of 2,001-2,500 contacts will cost you $30/mo, technically totalling $360/year. Depending on the size of your list and needs, you can pay more or less – it’s free for up to 500 contacts.
New apps such as Conversio, showcased on my startup’s website evercloud.co, allows you to easily grow revenues by supercharging existing customers through intelligent email receipts and thus increasing lifetime customer value.
Video marketing $300
According to Cisco, consumer internet video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic globally in 2019. That is a whopping 64% increase from 2014. For marketers, if you’re not already taking advantage of the impact that videos have in your content marketing strategy, then you absolutely have to jump on the bandwagon.
Posting unique content to YouTube or Vimeo and sharing it on relevant social media channels can help establish an online presence. Of course you can also just share interesting third-party videos to your followers if they’re relevant, but it’s also important to create your own videos.
Alternatively, you can sell videos on Udemy, an online learning platform, which can be a powerful sales vehicle for individuals and businesses who want to share their knowledge and leverage their expertise and generate a scalable, recurring revenue stream.
Costs associated with video marketing can vary. Video editing software and hosting doesn’t come cheap, services such as JWPlayer cost $300/year, but can easily prove to be a very shrewd investment.
Paid social media marketing $450
With a bit of testing you will quickly know which social media platform to focus your content creation and promotion efforts on. This isn’t to say that you should forget about posting or interacting on other channels. But when it comes to spending money, nail it down to the one or two platforms you’re confident will get the best engagement.
Once you’ve identified your channels, start promoting your best content with paid ads. Get up and running with a business page on Facebook or promote content from any type of account on Twitter, Instagram, and/or LinkedIn. A Twitter card, for instance, can give you a brand boost and build your email list at the same time. LinkedIn not only offers boosted posts, but also detailed analytics that helps ensure your posts are reaching your desired market. That $450 budget will prove one of the most inexpensive ways available to get your message in front of (highly targeted) new eyes. When used effectively, any major social media site can help you gain traction and collect followers quickly, leading to more interaction and sales in the future.
Sometimes managing all your social media and online presence can be time-consuming. That’s where companies like Hootsuite and Mention become extremely useful. Hootsuite lets you manage all your social media pages from one dashboard and has other tools such as scheduling your posts, and Mention is your eyes and ears for what people are saying about your brand online. And then there are newer services, like Kickstagram, a platform to successfully manage and make the most out of your Instagram account. Additionally, Publicfast lets you connect with social media influencers, which can have a massive impact on your social media efforts. And of course you can always outsource your social media marketing to pros like GoodAudience, who have the knowledge and experience to really grow your social media presence.
Don’t be afraid to look beyond social media platforms – community sites like Quora, Reddit, and Medium can be a great way to advertise your product or service. Just make sure you aren’t blatantly promoting your business, it won’t be well-received!
Content Marketing $400
Never underestimate the power of good content. Blog posts, infographics, whitepapers, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, videos, webinars, the list goes on! If you’re not a confident writer or simply don’t have the time to dedicate to writing your own blog you can look into outsourcing this task. Blog Hands is a blog content writing service meaning your blog will be one less thing to worry about, and costs are completely dependent on the length and number of blog posts you’d like. Allocating roughly $400 would be a good place to start, which would get you ten 400-word blog posts. 400 words is a bit on the short side, but they also have plans for 800, 1,200, and 2,000-word blog posts. The key here is to post relevant content that shows visitors your company is a thought leader in your respective field, while also helping with search engine optimization.
Ultimately, the strategies you choose to invest in may be different, and they probably should be, as every business and every target audience is different. What works for one group of followers may fall flat with another, which is why research and ongoing testing is so important. But what I want you to walk away knowing is that marketing doesn’t have to break the bank to be effective. With just $1,500 and a little research, you can successfully implement a full-stack digital marketing campaign. The great thing is that you will quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, and you can re-allocate your budget accordingly.