Marketing Strategy for a Small Budget
Marketing gets the information about your business to the people who want to buy from you, and if you’re not invested in your marketing strategy, you’re not invested in your company as much as you should be.
Kyle gives tips on the best place to start when marketing on a small budget.
All right. The first place to start with is your team. Every company is different, so what does your team look like? Are you a team of five marketing people, and 20 salespeople outside?
A lot of the companies, regardless of size, which is surprising to the prospects and clients that we talk to … doesn’t matter if you’re 10 million, or if you’re a billion. The teams are relatively small, from a marketing standpoint. It’s usually only a company or a department of only one, to maybe two, three, four people.
Some of our biggest clients that we’ve had have the smallest marketing departments, because that’s just how that they’ve always done things. So don’t be shocked if you have zero marketing support, even if you’re a 20, 50, a $100 million a year company.
Starting with your team, you have to understand, what are the limitations of that team? If you’ve got people in-house that can do certain things, then you can use them.
If you’ve got great content writers, if you’ve got people that can do graphic design, things like that, that are relevant and up to date, not doing things from 10 years ago in old school styles … but if you’ve got a team that’s up to date, you can use them in these points that we’re going to go through.
If you don’t have a team, the next side of it’s going to be hiring an agency, hiring an agency like ours to do the work for you. But what it’s going to come down to is the budget. So usually have two things. You either have time, or you have money. If you don’t have the money and the budget to spend on your marketing, then you have to put in the work, and spend the time doing all those things yourself.
Looking at your budget, we don’t typically go down the path, like a lot of marketing people will say, that it needs to be 1%, 0.5%, 2% of your total revenue. We just look at it from the standpoint of, what have you previously allocated your marketing towards? If you say it’s zero, we can give you a good idea of what the minimum should be, on an annual basis.
For basic things, regardless of company size, if you’re going to be hiring an outside agency, you should be looking at a minimum of $20-30-40,000 a year, to bring on an agency, to do a lot of this heavy lifting for you, as a baseline. If you have no money, you have no budget, and you want to do it all yourself and do the work, you can certainly do that. But with just some of these points that we’re going to go through, you wouldn’t be able to do yet.
Once you’ve got your team figured out, your budget, the bigger question to ask are, what are your goals with marketing, and what is the timeline? That’s going to dictate how fast you need to do things, and it’s going to dictate how much you need to do them. If you’re trying to go from 10 million to 20 million in two years, timeline is short, and the goal is high.
So you have to take that into consideration. If you’ve got lofty goals of high growth potential, then you really need to spend a ton of time marketing, or you need to spend a ton of money, having somebody else do it for you. Taking ownership of that, and really setting some realistic things? Then you can go in and figure out, “Which one of these parts of the marketing strategy can I do upfront, to give me towards that goal?” Because everything has short term results, and some things have more longer term plays. That’s what we’re going to be going into now.
The website. That is the backbone of your marketing. Doesn’t matter if you do an advertising, SEO, making content, making videos, doing social. Anything that you’re doing, even if you’re doing trade shows, everybody’s going to go back to your website.
If your website is old school, outdated, it’s got the box center line content, it’s not full width, you don’t have big graphics into it, you don’t have video on it … if it is old school, you need to set aside some budget. You can get away with it for right now, but let’s say in the next 12 months, you need to set aside a minimum, of $20-30,000 and up, from there.
Can you get a website done for cheaper? Absolutely you can. You can get freelancers, or really small agencies of one or two or three people, that can build you a site for $5-10,000. That would be good. But it’s not going to be great. And if you’re going to invest some money, if you’re going to spend 10, and get something that’s good, you really are only going to be doing this every few years, at most, you need to spend the extra money, and allocate the budget, to be able to have a great website that’s done correctly.
The other side of that is your SEO. SEO is a long term play. It’s not something that changes overnight. A lot of times, people that do websites, especially when you get into small agencies or freelancers, they build a website, but they don’t do the on page SEO. If they don’t do the on page SEO with that, then it’s going to be even slower.
You’re going to have a new site launch. It’s going to be out there for years. Then you’re going to come to an agency. They’re going to audit your site and say, “Your SEO sucks. You need to make all these changes to your on page.” Then that starts the cycle over again, to where it could be six, nine, 12 months before you’re ranking high for those main keywords and themes that you’re trying to go after.
If you don’t have the budget, that’s okay for it, for right now. Roll up your sleeves, and basically do the bootstrap way of marketing, and put in the work. But you need to let your bosses know, or if you are the boss, set aside some resources financially for next year, or in the future, to be able to really tackle that website, and make it great.
All right. Now we can do some social organics, so we’re looking at social media. The main players to look at is going to be LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. If you’re in B2B, only primarily looked at LinkedIn. Do not pay attention to Twitter anymore. In my opinion, it’s a waste of time. It’s too noisy. People are just throwing out those 140 characters, throwing up hashtags. You don’t typically get a lot of engagement.
Any company that we’ve come across that says, they do Twitter, I’d look at their feed for the last six months, and they’re posting regularly, all the time, every day. But there’s no engagement. There’s no Retweets, there’s no likes, there’s no comments or anything. You’re much better off with just dropping Twitter as a whole, and focusing your efforts in the areas where you can actually get the attention, to where it’s underpriced attention.
So if you’re B2B, do LinkedIn. If you’re B2B, you can do Facebook, but try and focus more around the culture of your business, especially if you’re a larger organization … and the employees at the company? That’s more for Facebook. But from a prospecting standpoint, sales, you really need to focus on that platform for it.
Instagram? If you’re doing cool stuff, you can throw it up on Instagram. If you’re B2C, obviously, you can use it on Instagram, going direct to consumer. But again, that’s, I mean, you’re talking about an image, or a video, a hook. You can do advertising on it, but it’s going to be somewhat minimal.
So you got to look at all three of those platforms, and decide. Can you pay somebody else to do this for you, and manage it, and produce content, that you can then help distribute, and get eyes on it. Or do you have to do it yourself? Then focus on only one, to start, and really go deep into it.
Now you need to do it, on a repetitive standpoint. This is not something that you can do on a once a week basis. You need to do this every single day, posting something every single day, to try and get attention out there. It’s going to be more difficult with Facebook and Instagram. You got to use hashtags, because people aren’t going to see it. If you have no followers at your company page, there’s no way for you to push it out.
So at a minimum, 10, 15, 20 hashtags on every single post. As you post it, you’re going to get a lot of people that like it, respond, and maybe follow your page, especially if you’re on Instagram. You’ll get followers. It’s kind of like Twitter. You get instant followers, but then, give it a day or two later, and 95% of those people drop off. Because they’re just following you, so you follow them back, and that’s a tactic that’s been around for the last five years.
From Facebook and Instagram, that’s how you’re going to grow it organically. Now, in LinkedIn, post something to that company page, but focus on your personal LinkedIn connections, build those up. That’s something you can do every single day, minimum of two hours. If you’re B2B, post something to the company page, and then share it on your personal page, or just share it on your personal page directly, whatever the piece of content is, whether it’s an image, a graphic, a link to a video, a link to an article.
But you have to, every single day, multiple hours. Going back to that time or money, you say you don’t have the money. You do have the time. You got to prove it at this point. So going in there, and increasing your connections? Watch one of our videos on how to do that, with LinkedIn prospecting, but that’s got to be an every day thing. Otherwise, you’re just pushing the end goal out that much further.
Don’t say that you don’t have the time to do it. Don’t say that you don’t know how to do it. You can watch some of our videos. You can just Google search it. The tactics are out there, but now, it’s time to actually do the work.
All right. Now we’re looking at content marketing, and three different ways to do content: written, audio and video. Figure out, what are you good at? If you’re a good writer, then you need to write, because people are still reading it. If you’re good on video, and you like doing videos, then make videos. Because that’s going to have a higher level of engagement, because right now, people are paying more attention to video.
From an audio standpoint, you’ve got podcasts. Figure out, what are you good at? And then you need to go and do it. It does not have to be fancy. If you’re going to write an article, keep it short, sweet and simple. If you’re going to shoot a video, do it with your phone, whichever method that you can, to get some piece of content out.
Ideally, you can mix it up. But if you’re not comfortable with video, then don’t do it at all. But if you can do video and write, then that’s going to be the best way to get both sides of that coin. Some people like to read, some people like to watch, and you can play to basically both of those markets.
But again, going with consistency, this has to be something on a regular basis. Start with once every couple of weeks, then go down to once every week, then go to once every few days. It’s just repetitiveness, because people are going to start to want to see that content that you’re creating.
Now, again, if you’ve got the budget in mind, and you can spend money, you can have somebody else do that for you. If you zero dollars, do it yourself, or have somebody at your company, if you can. Pick somebody on your team, or somebody that maybe isn’t in the marketing and sales department. Pick an engineer that you have. Pick somebody in some sort of production environment.
Whatever it is that you guys are doing, pick somebody that can write content, or maybe have a group of seven different people that are all going to write one piece of content a month. Or one piece of content a quarter. That’s the best way to spread it out if you don’t have the budget to spend on other people doing it for you. But it has to be consistent.
Now, the previous points about social media, that’s going to be your distribution source. Since we’re going old school and going organic in some of these things, and going no budget, you need to then push that content out, using social. Push it out on all three of those, if you can, and then start to track that engagement, and start to engage with your audience, and try and get some sort of likes, comments, follows, things like that.
Pay per click advertising. Lots of different options out there, lots of different things that you can do. From a publication standpoint, you can do a lot of advertising with magazines, with trade shows, with anything online, with articles or things like that.
If we’re looking at the basics, you’re going to have Google AdWords, which is broken into targeting and retargeting, you know, search and retargeting? And then, you’ve got the social media side of it. Those are really the two different ways that we look at it.
YouTube pre-roll isn’t going to be for a lot of people, so we’ll leave that off, because we don’t have a budget, so look in at those two, main two options. Google AdWords is going to be the cheapest. It’s going to be, minimum of maybe 20, 40, 50 cents per click. Maximum, if you’re getting crazy with some of your search phrases, you can get $30-40 per click on some of the really competitive ones.
But for the most part, you’re in the couple buck range. If you’re B2B service, then it’s going to be, LinkedIn is going to be the best bang for your buck, because you can get so strategic, which we have articles written about, exactly how to do that. So definitely check those out.
You can get so hyperfocused and strategic, but is expensive. LinkedIn knows that they’ve got you in their grip, so that way, they’re charging you a lot of money on that click. You can target directly into, “I want these 100 companies, and I only want these job functions, or these seniority levels, or these titles at these companies, and that’s the only people I want to see this advertisement.”
You cannot get more focused than that. You cannot do that on Facebook, because Facebook has data for, based on the behavior of people, but Facebook does not have data on their, clean data on their actual title, and things like that. But LinkedIn’s expensive, so if you’re on a budget, I would say, don’t really focus on the PPC side right now.
Start getting the things that you can do organically first, and then, once you start to see some traction, and you’re bought in, and sold on the idea of investing into marketing, then you can tie in some light PPC. If you’re going to go down, the cheapest route is going to be spending a couple hundred bucks on Google AdWords. Being strategic, ideally, finding an agency that can do it.
If not, you don’t have the money, you have the time. Go to YouTube, do some searching. Go to Google, do some searching. Watch videos from people that are going to teach you exactly how to do Google AdWords on a shoestring budget, and then, manage that yourself.
If you have a small budget, it’s not anything that’s completely overwhelming. So that would be a place to start if you have a little bit of money to spend. Or if you don’t feel comfortable with Google AdWords’ standpoint, LinkedIn, once you have enough of a budget … you’re looking at probably $1,000, minimum, just from a click standpoint.
If you can do all the graphics and create everything yourself, great, internally. If you can’t, and you need to hire an agency, and that agency’s going to manage it? Expect to spend a few thousand dollars a month, between click costs, and management fees, and the creative, and doing all the graphics. Those main areas of PPC, that’s something that you can do down the road. For right now, we recommend just focusing on the organic.
Now we’ve reviewed a lot of different ways that you guys can go about this, with where to start. It all comes down to your budget, and your team, and your timeline, and what you’re trying to do with your goals.
So you can go down a lot of different paths, but you need to pick a couple, and start there. If you’ve got a big team, start auditing what you guys have been doing. Go through some strategy conversations, talk to agencies like ours, to figure out with what you’re doing, what your budget has, how should you best spend that money?
If you are willing to hire on an outside agency, you should be looking to spend about, minimum, $5,000 a month to get them to do some of this for you. If you’re talking pay per click campaigns and things like that, it’s going to be north from there. But at a minimum basis, four or $5,000 to start, and have an agency come in and take this over for you.
If you’ve gotten some value out of this, hit that Like button. If you’ve got a question, leave a comment, and we’ll see you on the next one.
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Kyle Milan is a well accomplished sales and marketing professional with over 14 years in the B2B space. He is the CEO of 5 Fold Agency and a Sales and Marketing Strategy & Social Media Marketing expert. He has published several articles at major news media outlets on various topics of; Inbound Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing & Advertising, Industrial Marketing, Manufacturing Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.