Having a low budget is a common problem amongst small businesses.
In the simplest terms, your marketing budget should be a percentage of your revenue. A common rule of thumb is that B2B companies should spend between 2 and 5% of their revenue on marketing.
For B2C companies, the proportion is often higher—between 5 and 10%.
Here are 7 ideas that don’t require a big investment:
1. Networking and referrals
Networking is the blood and bone of small businesses.
‘’You can have anything you want in life if you help other people get what they want.’’Zig Ziglar
Once you join a local networking group, go out of your way to help other business owners generate revenue through referrals.
Not convinced that networking works? Successful business executives disclosed that they would lose 28% of their business if they stopped networking.
2. Be a thought leader and a teacher
Considering the fact that your products/services actually solve a real problem for a specific group of people, you should create educational content that helps your audience solve their pain points.
Doing so will position your brand as the solution to their challenges.
What we mean by ‘’be a teacher’’ is that you should not think about them as your prospects, think of them as your students.
Put yourself in their shoes for a second…
If you had a chance to learn, what would you want to be taught?
Still not convinced?
Research shows that consumers are 131% more likely to buy after consuming a piece of educational content!
3. Constantly repeat what you stand for
The faceless brand is dead…
What this means is that if your brand doesn’t stand for something, your message won’t resonate with your audience.
So it’s not enough for you to sell a product or service. Customers are expecting you to take a position on social issues in order to earn their business and loyalty.
Millennials and centennials, especially, show a preference for brands that stand for something, 61 percent according to research by Kantar Consulting.
This research also shows that this preference increases drastically when a company not only takes a point of view but also has a tangible positive impact.
This means that when companies try to be everything to everyone, they don’t stick out.
Companies need to stand up and tell a specific group of people what they stand for and let their customers decide whether they want to support them by giving them their business.
4. Leverage email marketing
Email marketing is one of the most affordable ways to connect with your audience and generate more sales. Contrary to paid ads. You won’t have to pay every time you want to get a message out to your audience.
But the question is, how do you even build an email list with a low budget?
Here are a few ideas:
1. Give away a self-discovery or assessment. (For example: weight loss calculator, mortgage calculator, self-assessment questionnaire, quiz)
If you don’t know how to build these tools, you can use Code Canyon. This website allows you to buy pre-made calculators that you can plug into your site for a few dollars.
If it makes more sense to add a quiz, you can use Lead Quizzes.
So when a website visitor completes a self-audit or assessment, you can collect their email address during the process to send them their results.
2. Run evergreen webinars (webinars that go live only once but you keep displaying them as a live version even though it’s a replay.)
You can use a tool such as Webinar Jam to simplify your life.
3. Add exit-intent popups to your website and landing pages
You can use Hello Bar to easily add them to your website.
The idea here is to ask them a yes or no question in order to collect their email address. (For example: Do you want more traffic to your site? If they click yes, you ask for their email address)
4. Use in-text lead magnets
If someone is reading an article on your blog, you can add a hyperlink to a specific sentence. That link would redirect them to a cheat sheet, lead magnet, or any other valuable asset that they can access if they provide their email address.
(For example: For more information on how to build an email list, download our free email marketing ebook)
5. Humans > Brand
People relate to people, not brands.
If you’re in charge of a small business and you don’t have a huge budget to play with, you really can’t afford to be faceless on social media.
The best way to quickly establish trust is to humanize your brand.
Here are a couple of ideas to humanize your brand:
- Show behind-the-scenes content (For example: employees working with a customer).
- Create educational videos instead of infographics.
- Be fully transparent in sharing your brand’s story (No one likes perfect, because no one is).
- Avoid focusing on robotic marketing tactics. Focus on being relatable.
- Be grateful. Share your wins with your community and thank them for being part of it.
PS. Don’t overstress yourself on video quality. You don’t need to have a professional camera. Simply hit record and be yourself 🙂
As long as you don’t film yourself in a dark and shady parking lot, it’s going to be fine.
6. Partner with micro-influencers
49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations to make a purchase.
There are 2 myths about influencer marketing that you shouldn’t believe:
1. Influencer marketing is expensive
Yes, working with macro-influencers (More than 1 million followers) can be quite expensive.
But a micro-influencer (less than 100k followers) will usually cost less. Working with many different micro-influencers can be more effective than working with 1 macro-influencer.
2. Influencer marketing doesn’t work for B2B brands
The challenge is that B2B businesses usually have a diverse set of customers across multiple industries.
But by identifying the segment with the highest lifetime value, you can set up a solid influencer marketing strategy.
Here are the multiple benefits of influencer marketing:
1. Specific targeting. You just need to make sure that the influencer is related to your niche and that their public persona matches your brand’s image.
2. Increases brand awareness. Working with influencers enables you to cut through the noise and drive their followers to your brand
3. Increases engagement. Collaborating with influencers enhances the quality of your content and makes it more user-centric. Such content is more inclined to find traction among your target audience.
4. Increases conversion rates. Brands can utilize it to influence purchase decisions and increase conversion rates. A study shows that 33% of the participants agreed that influencers are the most reliable sources for shopping recommendations.
Here’s a short list of crucial best practices that you should respect when considering working with a micro-influencer:
- Remember that you should give the influencer some creative freedom.
- Determine a specific KPI that you’d like to work on for that campaign.
- Prioritize authenticity. Consumers see right through “salesy” endorsements, but when an influencer uses their own genuine voice to tell a story, their audience will listen.
- Prioritize engagement. Make sure to choose an influencer with high engagement on their content.
- Clearly communicate your goals to the influencer.
7. Make the most of your existing customers
While the previous ideas and tips were mainly focused on acquiring new customers, this one focuses on retaining the existing ones.
Now read closely, because this is a golden nugget:
The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%.
Therefore, when marketers leave place for retention in their marketing strategy, they will win the sword fight against their competitors.
So what’s the secret sauce?… It’s all about increasing customer lifetime value (CLV).
CLV is the total worth of a customer over their lifecycle with your company. It’s an important metric as it costs less to keep existing customers than it does to acquire new ones, so increasing the value of your existing customers is a great way to drive growth.