Marketing your business on a budget can be utterly frustrating!
It is a chicken and egg situation…
#1. You need sales (and some money in the bank) to be able to afford even half-decent marketing help…
#2. You can’t get these sales without their help in the first place!
Argg! You went in the business to be your own boss and have your own time, not to worry about marketing and getting clients!
Well, after listening to todays podcast you can break out of the marketing rat race by learning exactly where you should be penny pinching with your marketing, without sacrificing results.
Plus, in the process I will reveal the key marketing essentials that you should ALWAYS spend good money on – or risk sacrificing leads and profits.
It is my goal, that after listening to this you will be able to maximise the return from every dollar you invest in marketing your business.
This means maximising the leads and sales from tiny budgets, and drastically improving your profits if you are fielding a bigger one.
Ok, so let’s get into it!
The 5 Marketing Money-Sucks
When it comes to marketing your business, you can break down the costs into about 5 different areas:
- Advice/Strategy – these are the costs for learning the strategy or paying for someone to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do – it could be a person, but could also be a book or any sort of training course
- List – these are the costs associated with who will be seeing the ads – so this is Facebook, the magazine company, the marketing list or Google.
- Offer & Copy – these are the costs for the person who decides what the ad will say and offer to the people that are reading it
- Creative – these are the costs for the design of your ad, choice the pictures etc
- Tech Stuff – the costs associated with setting up the webpage or technical setup and implementation
Now, if you have listened to my previous podcast on the 70/20/10 rule then you will already have some idea where I stand on these matters – but in this podcast I am going to be going in-depth into each one and showing you exactly how you can get some savings from these channels.
For those that are yet to hear that podcast – the importance of each of these items are already in their order of importance.
So advice or strategy is most important, with the tech stuff being least important.
Where are you allocating your budget now? Is it upside down?
Now, I am going to go into each one and discuss where you can cost cut, and where you shouldn’t.
#1 – Killer Advice & Strategy
The strategy is the highest level plan for what you are going to do, how you are going to do it and what your goals and objectives will be.
Getting expert strategic advice can be the most costly part of any marketing campaign.
But, it can also be the difference between a winning campaign that fills your business with high quality leads…
…and one that burns through your marketing budget.
A well-seasoned expert can instantly look at your business or your marketing campaign and tell you EXACTLY what you need to do to make it work.
But, most business owners start a new marketing campaign with the following strategy:
- They hear about some sort of marketing method – from their brother in-law, a telemarketer or at a conference – or see a competitor doing it
- They say to themselves “we should be doing that”
- Hack together some offer or basic marketing material and give it a go
I call this “cross your fingers and hope” marketing – and it is expensive and returns are low.
It’s like seeing a house that you like and then trying to build it yourself – when you aren’t even a builder and have no building plans.
Your chances of success a pretty low – and it is likely going to cost you way more than it should.
But, even if you can’t afford a builder – getting one to help you get it off the ground right, provide you a written plan and give you the basics is going to skyrockets your chances of doing it successfully.
Here is why expert advice is worth every penny:
- They can help you bypass all of the trial and error costs and move you straight to the results (and profits)
- They can stop you losing money on campaigns that won’t work – because the simplest and easiest way to save money on a marketing effort is to not do it!
- They can give you an outside perspective on your business
These are why I often refer to getting expert help as your “shortcut costs” – because they shortcut the time it takes to get great results with your campaign.
Now, don’t get me wrong here – I am not talking about investing tens of thousands in getting a consultant to look at your marketing.
Here are 3 ways you can save money – but not sacrifice results – when it comes to getting your strategy and plan right:
- Before you run that ad or try that marketing channel try googling it and your industry to find case studies – IE. “Facebook Ads Lawyers”, “Magazine Advertising Dentists”
- Buy a book from Amazon on the topic and read it first – or get one of your staff to read it
- Hire an expert for two hours to vet your strategy – even if they charge $200-500 an hour, it could be the difference between a loss and a massive windfall
Remember: if you can’t afford to hire a professional, then at least spend 3-5 hours becoming competent enough yourself to create a complete plan and strategy before you start.
#2 – Your Hungry List
Your marketing list is who will be seeing your advert or offer. Specifically this relates to:
- The email list you are sending your promotion out to
- The “keyword” you are showing your ads for in Google
- The prospect list you are calling or sending your letter to
- The geographic area you are canvassing or letter box dropping
- The people that read the magazine your ad is going in
- The targeted audience on your Facebook ad
In a previous episode I go into detail about your list and how how it is responsible for upwards of 70% of a campaign’s success – so for the sake of people that have listened to that podcast, I’ll keep this short.
Why is this your so important?
You can’t sell weight loss pills to skinny people!
Or, to put another way – it is much easier to sell to an audience that are hungry for your products and services!
So, how can you get in front of the right people without spending bucketloads:
- Focus on seeking channels – These are directories, quoting sites and Google Adwords – these people have decided to purchases, so cashflow will be smoother as they will buy faster and you will recoup your investment sooner. Customers driven from mass media and Facebook will tend to have a longer buying cycle.
- Less is more – you are better off sending your promotion or ad to a much smaller number of people that are more qualified – with Adwords this would be choosing one keyword, with other marketing channels it might be marketing in a smaller “niche” magazine. The costs will be lower and conversions higher.
- Setup joint ventures – other businesses have lists of customers that are just like yours, and they will let you market to them in return for a % of the sale – or just because you are helping their customers with something they can’t.
- Buy a B2B marketing list – if you sell your services to businesses then save yourself time and money by getting a decent filtered marketing list from a list broker. You can buy a list of businesses within a given industry, that have a certain revenue or employee count and you get the business owner’s name. Then direct mail or call them.
Remember: when you are choosing a marketing method and you are on a tight budget, always aim for the most targeted channel possible with the shortest buying cycle – this means you won’t be left short of cashflow.
#3 – Your No-Brainer Offer & Hypnotising Copy
Now that you have a hungry audience looking at your new promotion or ad, you maximise the number of leads it drives for you.
That is where your “dream come true” offer and salesmanship comes in:
- You offer is what action you are trying to get your prospects to take when they look at your ad
- your copy is what you say to get them to do it
You need copy that grab your target prospects by their collar, prick their deepest emotional heartstrings, and have them diving for their phone or laptop to buy from you.
And you need an offer that is low risk, and a complete no-brainer.
As easy as that right?!
The value of a decent offer and great copy cannot be understated – it is also something I go into deeply in the 70/20/10 rule podcast that I mentioned earlier.
So, rather than repeating myself – go listen to that if you want some copy and offer tips – this podcast is about cost cutting.
As a short recap, improving your offer and copy is the easiest and fastest way to get massive gains with your marketing you are already doing.
Why? It can double your leads and halve your lead costs overnight.
Now, cutting your offer and copywriting costs for a business owner is often one of the easiest to do – because they aren’t spending any money on it currently.
And it’s nothing short of marketing blasphemy.
Alas, here are my tips for killer copy on a budget:
- Get a crappier designer or outsource the tech stuff – so you actually have some money to spend on a copywriter
- Write the ad yourself – provided you haven’t been out of the sales game for a long term, a business owner can be one of the best copywriters in their business. Just record yourself pitching this product, service or offer to an imaginary prospect that you just met a friends bbq. List the main benefits and features of your offer – and tell them what you want them to do next.
- Read some copywriting books – Read blogs, articles and books by Gary Halbert or John Carlton.
- Aim for personal – pretend you are selling to one person, not everyone and drop that professional tone – character cuts through and grabs attention.
Remember: AIDA: Get their Attention, Generate Interest, Create Desire, Call To Action
4# – Your Flashy-Looking Creative
Now we get to the real cost savings – the design and technical implementation of your campaigns.
Let me run a scenario with you for a moment, with a hypothetical financial strategist named Bill.
Bill has a way for people that have $50k in savings to turn that money into $1 million dollars in 5 years, with little to no risk.
90% of the people that bill has worked with over the last 10 years, more than 100 people, have achieved this – with the other 10% doubling their money.
So, Bill is a smart, budget conscious marketer and is getting his new campaign ready:
- Bill has spoken with an expert in marketing to the affluent who has given him a strategy and template letters for a direct mail campaign
- Bill buy a list of people’s names and addresses whom earn over $120k a year and are over 30 years old that have an interest in growing their wealth
- Bill has sharpened up copy by making it local to the area he is mailing it to so it sounds more personal
- Bill has opted to offer them a free video explaining the strategy they can watch online in exchange for their contact details
- Bill has made sure the letter is laid out well, and includes some proof of your claims in the form of case studies and testimonials
OK – so let me ask you an important and cost-cutting question:
Couldn’t Bill pretty much send out this marketing campaign in Crayon and still have it drive leads like crazy?
Abso-bloody-lutely he could!
Because he has nailed the strategy, list, copy and offer.
So, why does business after business spends thousands of dollars on designers?! It astounds me.
Here is the hot tip from today’s podcast – stop spending money on that fancy designer for your website or advert…
And just tell people what they need to hear to be compelled to enquire and buy your product or service.
The best looking ad with a crappy offer will send you no leads – I guarantee it.
Now, I am going to put a little asterisk here – because design DOES have it’s place – and that is when you are trying to sell something that’s primary appeal is the way it looks.
But, I will leave it at that – because I don’t want any of you to have any more excuses to not work on getting better lists, and making better, more persuasive offers.
Now, I am not saying your design work should look like a child has done it – here are the keys to cutting your design costs:
- Focus on layout and readability – rather than trying to get fancy, just make sure your layout is right, your headline is easy to see and you have clear benefits visible
- Use images only where words wouldn’t serve better – images are rarely worth “1000” words as the saying goes, but images of peoples faces can draw attention to your key elements
- Get a design layout and customise it – Use the envato sites to get great quality designs, then just customise them. Graphics, Videos and even website designs.
- Get a designer from Upwork – This is a site that you can use to find designers to help you whip things up for only a few dollars an hour.
Remember: Unless you are selling perfume and makeup (in which case I have no idea why you’re listening to a lead generation podcast) then people don’t buy because of design – so feel free to cut your costs here.
5# – The Tech Stuff
From setting up the ads, linking things together and setting up your tracking – these techy tasks are key to get some more modern campaigns running.
Agencies and tech people used to be able to prey on the complexity of these tasks and charging you hundreds of dollars an hour to do them.
And some even still do…
The advantage that we now have as business owners though is that more and more of the tech stuff simpler and simpler to do.
The technology has gotten better and the different platforms have a vested interested in you setting things up well – so most provide pretty decent step by step training.
Having said that – it isn’t always a good use of your time AND it is likely to be sticking point in getting things moving
So, here are some ways you can cut your tech costs:
- Hire a specialist on Upwork – as I mentioned in design, whether it is fixing up or changing the words on your website, setting up a new adwords campaign or adding in the tracking you need – you can find experts from around the world who can do this for you for peanuts. $3-$20 an hour for someone with 5-10 years experience.
- Follow the step by step tutorials – As I mentioned, a lot of this stuff you can now do yourself – so watch the training and tutorials and get it setup. Or better, delegate it to one of your staff.
Remember: Don’t let the tech-stuff be a sticking point in your campaign – if you are really looking to cost cut, DIY it, otherwise just outsource it and check it.
In Summary… No More Excuses!
Most of the key elements that are most important are things that you can do for free should you choose to.
Except the list, or your traffic source.
So, if you want to stretch your marketing budget further and get better results – spend more time focusing on having the right strategy, getting in front of the right people and giving them a decent, compelling offer.
And. spend less time worrying about your design or that button not working.