CAN YOU AFFORD MARKETING WITHOUT A BUDGET?
How many monetary units have you put into advertising for the next year? Or do you want to try all kinds of free methods? Then get ready to invest time and energy. Sobering no-budget marketing material for entrepreneurs and freelancers from business content expert Kira Kam.
A SOBER LOOK AT THE REAL POSSIBILITIES OF MICROBUSINESS
Not a day goes by that I don’t receive a request to develop a content strategy or a consultation for a small company that does not have the money for advertising and paid promotion methods. Some can indeed be helped, but many potential clients have to be turned down. And not because marketing does not exist without a budget, just not everyone can afford it.
YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY
If you don’t have the money to promote, you will be wasting other resources. For example, its time. The more results you want to get, the more resources you invest.
The reality is that not all freelancers, startups, project authors, and micro-companies have these resources: most of their time is spent on work, study, and internships, and there is also a family, and sometimes you want to sleep. None of this can be undone to carve out 6 hours of marketing every day.
Time is the most valuable resource
It turns out that in reality, most microbusiness representatives can allocate 2-3 hours a week for marketing, but they want a continuous stream of applications in the amount of at least ten per day. This goal is achievable when you are known when you have a large and loyal customer base. If you are a beginner, then 2-3 applications per month with 2-3 hours of marketing costs per week is a more likely result for most.
YOU HAVE TO BE DIFFERENT TOO
You’ve probably heard stories of how someone just entered the market, wrote just one text, gave one interview, made one landing page on a free service, and made hundreds of thousands right away. You rush to find out the secrets – there must be a recipe for such a text or landing page that you just need to repeat and get the same result in your business kitchen.
But there is no secret! There is no secret formula for superselling text or landing pages that the professionals hide from you. Everything you need to know is in open sources.
So why do you write about yourself, shoot a video, improve your site, and a miracle does not happen? If you look at most of the success stories in which the hero woke up famous literally from the first days in the market, you will see a strong product, a strong selling proposition, or strong informational support. One of three or all three components at once. Microbusiness usually has none.
WHAT IS A STRONG PRODUCT?
This is a product that covers the actual needs of the audience better than other similar products on the market. Forget Apple’s success, it has nothing to do with you.
There are hundreds of fitness trainers and online workout programs out there that teach you how to lose weight or build up.
There are hundreds of online English schools where you will drop out in a month or two.
And to be honest, most products are far from them. Far away – if not in quality, then in positioning, for sure.
WHAT IS A STRONG SELLING PROPOSITION?
This is a clear benefit.
If you are more profitable than your competitors, you are easier to notice and remember. And these are not banal “2 for the price of one”, “13% discount, but if anything, we will refund your money.”
To create a strong selling proposition, you need to understand the needs of the client. And here I can easily cite my agency as an example because we found such a solution: we learned that expensive conversion texts of any format pose too much doubt to clients. What if you can get more value for the same money? Is the investment worth it?
When we realized this, we began to simply offer not one text, but a ready-made set for A / B testing without having to pay extra for it. Now, instead of doubt, you just need to see what works best and use that option. Discounts did not cause any significant reaction – we tried.
AND A FEW WORDS ABOUT INFORMATION SUPPORT
Take a closer look at successful projects. A significant part of them from the very beginning was supported by friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Some of them had their own publications, client bases, or developed blogs with thousands of readers.
There are those who did not have such support. But there are fewer of them, and before the launch, these people spent a lot of time looking for information partners and networking. They entered the market and immediately appeared on everyone’s lips. This does not happen by itself, it is the result of proper seeding. And if you have no money, you have to make connections.
By the way, no amount of connections will help you succeed if you have a weak product and a weak selling proposition.
AFTER ALL FILTERS
Let’s say you are the kind of company or the person who has all the data for quick success, even without a budget. You’ve got a great product, a great selling proposition, you’ve built connections and found time to market. Now the work begins.
NO ONE WILL SPECIFICALLY LOOK FOR YOU
Of course, people are looking for a solution to their problems, but until the market knows you, people do not care who exactly will solve their problems – you or the same unknown competitors. They will find you, they may turn to you. They will find your competitors and go to them. And someone will immediately go directly to the market leaders, even though they are more expensive. The easier it is to find your competitors, the less likely you are to get the audience’s attention.
We’ll have to make it convenient to find you.
I remind you that there is still no money. At this stage, you need to understand where your audience is looking for information, and what kind of information they are looking for. In search engines? We’ll have to develop a blog (from 6 to 12 months to the result), regularly appear on partner sites (media, friendly thematic blogs, and sites).
Are your audience primarily social media users? This means that you have to go to social networks and create your own community (from 6 to 12 months before the result) or start active cooperation with existing ones (you will have to be very useful in order to collect leads on external platforms without costs).
And there are also those who first read reviews on special sites, those who sit on the forums and do not stick their noses into your Instagram.
In general, you will have to regularly visit where your target audience is and give, give, give from 6 to 12 months in order to receive at least some regular applications.
PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT.
We all try to please potential clients – we study their needs, we turn into stalkers in attempts to track down places of congestion, requests, and preferences. But we do not take into account one thing: people often themselves do not know what they want until you offer it to them.
“So what do I need?”
Before Ilyakhov, people did not know that they needed an information style. They knew about the style itself – it was not Ilyakhov who invented it – but they did not use it, because they massively tried to get away from the bureaucracy and officialdom, and there were no other obvious alternatives besides Den Kennedy’s swaggering tricks. The majority believed that it should be so – write brightly, it hurts, there are no other options. Ilyakhov came, and in some places controversial, but proved the right of the information style to existing in the business. The business agreed (not all) and began to use it (not very skillfully, but still).
Until a strong thematic community emerges on Facebook or elsewhere, people don’t know they need it. They don’t even always feel short. Then someone comes who creates a platform for communication of like-minded people, and the platform acquires a loyal audience of many thousands, if, of course, it is worth it. From private messages, chats, instant messengers, people crawl into the open air and begin to communicate.
Until a decent paid mailing list appears, people do not even think that they will pay to receive letters in the mail – there are already too many of them! But then
I say this to the fact that you will not be able to blindly follow the course set by the audience. Yes, understanding the client’s needs and knowing where they live will make the job easier, but one way or another, you have to create demand. And this is long and difficult.
WHAT TO DO STEP BY STEP?
There is no universal advice that you haven’t heard yet.
Everything is obvious: tell about yourself, give, be useful, engage and motivate, and in 6-12 months you will receive your steady stream of applications. Maybe ten a day, or maybe once a month, depending on your niche, your product, the length of the deal cycle, and your commitment.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR BUDGET MARKETING THAT I WOULD HAVE GIVEN MYSELF A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO:
- Find at least one strong difference in your product, project or proposal – something that somehow sets you apart from others. Let it not work out with the first approach, do another and another – and so on until you achieve your goal. Just do not write about yourself what is not. Change your product, lineup, positioning better based on your capabilities and customer needs.
- Talk about your strengths in the context of your audience benefit. Speak not once, not twice, not ten, but constantly. But try not to be too boring and do not flirt with the lecturer. You can not only teach clients but also motivate them.
- Look, not at what the experts say, but at what they are doing. Even the guru often disagrees between words and deeds. Few will say: “I don’t know how it works, I just publish chaotically, sometimes restrained useful, then provocative emotional – somehow I get applications”. Each area has its own stars, who in our time are actively sharing advice. And it’s important to watch what they do. If you are an accountant, then look at those accountants who are successfully promoting on the web. Don’t listen to the fact that an accountant definitely needs a blog if you see that the most successful live without it and that clients are great in social networks. A blog may be needed – hypothetically – and the money is already coming from social networks. So should you start with the hardest and least tested tool?
Right now I would really like to give out a magic pill, but I don’t have it. Promotion without a budget is hard work and buying leads from context is much easier.
But the lack of a budget for advertising is not a verdict. The verdict is mediocrity, passivity, and a desire not to make a bargain by handing out free favors to your audience. But it is among small projects that I meet most of all people inspired by their work who are ready to give. And that’s why I believe in the potential of a microbusiness. Size is not the main thing, the main thing is desire. And, of course, a strong product.
We hope you have received a dose of inspiration, information for thought, the seeds for change, and even a concrete call to action. Don’t waste time looking for magical recipes for easy promotion – it’s time to choose what you invest and what you sacrifice for the sake of the result! Or maybe you want to object, and the same pill exists?