When you are talking about marketing communications, you are also talking about engagement and increasing your customer base. Unless you have a large amount of savings or someone that will pay your bills until you are able to make money out of your new business, you probably don’t have a lot to spend on marketing.
And that is a pity, because if you spend hours and hours building your business, how will you be successful if you are not able to be known outside your circle of friends?
However, soon or later you are going to need to think about how to promote yourself and your new business, you are going to need to think about marketing.
Many new businesses do not have the budget to pay for an agency or hire a consultant from the very first day, so it is up to you to figure out how to spread the word about your business.
If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing, it’s likely that most of your efforts will be done online.
Here are several guidelines help you to shape a digital marketing plan with zero resources.
Define your goals and metrics:
The smaller your budget, the more important it is for you to be clear and specific about your goals.
Start defining what would you consider be a success. Make money is one but not every marketing effort will bring you money: more visits to your website, more subscribers to your blog, more leads, more social interactions are marketing objectives that you should aim to achieve and to measure.
All of these things mean more exposure and eventually more money.
Once you figure out what you want, remember the SMART technique and develop goals that are specific and measurable.
Define your buyer persona:
Your products or services might appeal to a large group of people, but the more potential customers you want to reach, the more time and money it’s going to cost to do so.
Define your buyer persona, your ideal customer, to focus on. Doing so, not only lowers your marketing costs, it also makes sense in terms of messaging. If you have several potential audience segments, you’ll want to modify your messaging to reach each of those groups—something that a small budget won’t allow for.
You are not the only one on the market that offers that product or that service.
- Set yourself apart from the competition, this will be your selling point. You need to make your brand unforgettable. This begins with your website. Your domain name should be your company’s name. If there are other companies online with a similar name, you should consider to change your “company” name to one more unique or that at least is not going to be confused. Acquiring a domain name has a fee involved, but there are hosting services that are very affordable. On godaddy you can buy your domain for just 25 euros for 2 years.
- Once you define how you want your brand to be viewed by customers be consistent, Don’t change your image to appeal to various audiences. You want to present a consistent look and feel so it’s evident who you are.
- Then take the time to interact with potential customers and build relationships with them.
- The main cost involved in this step is just the hours of work that you will put into the process, which will decrease when your brand awareness is stronger.
Focus on content and SEO:
The best thing you can offer on your website is good content that is relevant to your audience. Particularly on social media, the most successful companies are the ones posting sharable content that is useful for the reader without sounding like an advert.
Adaptation your website and the content to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), this means that it will be compatible with search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Once you have created content that is relevant to your audience, do not forget to share it! Facebook, twitter, G+, Instagram, Linkedin... wherever you think is appropriate, wherever you have defined your buyer persona is.
It helps to amplify your message and to reach potential customers even if they don’t know your website.
It’s also important to go one step further and engage your audience. If they share or comment on what you’re putting out there, recognize them and respond! This is of great help in terms of relationship-building.
Follow your competitors:
Find out and follow groups on social medias that sell products or services similar to yours. This way you can gather information about the consumers who buy products similar to yours. This will give you a better understanding of your consumers and their buying behavior. This is a must follow strategy, especially for the zero budget marketing campaigns.
YouTube is every day more an important and effective tool to promote ourselves. Video curriculum vitae are every day more popular above all for creative roles.
Also in your case, where the marketing budget is low, YouTube can put you in touch with your customers and it’s likely that you will start a conversation with them by building video responses.
You could have ads that show the product characteristics, how it can be used or just help people understand what you do and, how you do things differently.
Find expert in your industry:
Find influencer in your industry and engage them. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook, like and share the content they post, comment on what they say. The point is to develop relationships. And, if you’re creating solid content that’s relevant to your audience, there’s a good chance one of your influencers will pick up on that and share it, resulting in exposure for you.
Don’t give up:
It’s likely that you aren’t going to nail your marketing efforts on the first attempt. Marketing is about refining the method until it works. If your first attempt doesn’t work as you were expecting, don’t get discouraged. Evaluate every aspect of your efforts, you buyer persona, the channel you used, the content you created, the frequency you have created new content. Make one change at the time, in this way you can understand what is that is actually working and what is not.