There’s a high degree of desperation for marketing departments that have little or no budget. Marketers are tasked with promoting their business, developing leads, and creating awareness, but when budgets are non-existent, it seems like every avenue is closed.
Sure, there are plenty of videos that get millions of views without any budget behind them, but seriously, can you imagine a video about your business being compelling enough to generate hundreds of thousands of shares and millions of views.
Startups and small businesses take on their marketing challenges without the luxury of a big budget. Still, they face the same challenges as their big-budget competitors to break through the clutter and get their message out to their customer base. It seems daunting, in a world where nearly every article is bemoaning the death of organic social marketing, to succeed.
And yet, here are three strategies that can help you break free.
Develop Your Messaging
Jonathan Kaftzan, VP of Marketing for Deep Instinct, Inc., believes the marketing departments for early startups should “be focused at that stage on getting the clearest and sharpest messaging of the company. What is our value proposition? What is our mission? How are we going to change the world?”
Kaftzan’s strategy is actually brilliant. Creating messaging doesn’t cost anything, but it is frequently overlooked by businesses who confuse messaging with slogans, vision, or mission statements.
To get started on developing your messaging, begin by identifying your target market, and understand your target market’s deepest pain point. Once you know where your target market is hurting, you can position your solution in a way that soothes their pain.
You break away from telling the world how great your newest widget is, and start telling them how their problems will be solved by your widget. And while you are doing that, you’re explaining what makes you different from your competitors.
Marketing communication won’t be effective if you haven’t spent the time defining your messages. According to Kaftzan, “Until you have that [the message] clear, people who come to your website won’t understand what you’re about and won’t understand what makes you different.”
Keywords to Define Your World
Yanay Sela advocates a second zero-budget approach. “If you have one person and zero media budget, what I would do is extensive keyword research,” says the Appsee CMO.
Interestingly, Sela is recommending a lot more than simply optimizing your site for Google inbound traffic. Once you have your list, take the top 20-50 words, and run Google searches with those keywords that actively describe your business, service and customers.
Sela points out that the first 10 pages of Google search results are effectively your world.
Your competitors live here, and your target market visits these pages looking for answers to their problems. It is a treasure trove of information, where you can see how your competition positions itself, as well as third-party information related to your field.
Of course, keyword research should also be used while creating zero-cost content, such as web content, blogs or simple infographics. But by expanding your understanding of the world in which you are doing business, you have the opportunity to communicate more effectively once your budget increases and you are able to create content.
Start with Your Product
If you do have some room in your budget, “the first dollar goes to a product package like a video,” recommends Aviv Cohen, CMO for Pcysys. With that asset in place, you have your “shiny object” you can move across your social media channels.
The key, according to Cohen, is doing great social work with the assets you are able to develop.
Infographics, product videos, and other assets are critical for companies that are trying to develop a social presence and drive inbound customers to their websites and landing pages.
Cohen encourages low-budget marketing departments to write content, such as blogs and social media posts, as a way to support company messaging and to promote the assets you’ve created.
Putting it All Together
For zero- and low-budget marketers, there’s no reason you couldn’t combine the approaches advocated by Kaftzan, Sela, and Cohen into a powerful start-up marketing approach.
Begin with Sela’s keyword approach. It will help you get a better understanding of your business environment. Specifically, it highlights the approach your competitors are taking and provides a roadmap to your target market’s pain points and struggles.
That information is critical when crafting the messaging that is so important to Kaftzan. The words you use are so important in conveying the message you want your public to hear.
That messaging should be integrated into both the written and paid content that Cohen believes is essential. Readers and viewers who come across your content on social media or through landing pages should get a clear picture of who you are, what you do, and the way you are different at each engagement.
Learn how to prioritize with a one-person marketing team and no budget here: