Chris is the CEO at Lean Labs. He enjoys strategizing and creating content that drives results. When not typing away, Chris is exploring nature with his two daughters, wife, and dogs.
It's ridiculous how expensive paid ads cost these days.
You're given a budget, but the amount allocated across your campaign is completely dependent on the cost per click of your search terms. And every campaign, it seems that number climbs higher while your budget doesn't.
Not only does this mean you're limited as to what else you can spend on, it means you have to get pretty creative if you want to see that money bring in results. And let's be honest, without results, no one is expanding your budget.
But, there's another approach you could attempt, even with a limited marketing budget. It'll give you the most bang for your buck, and the best part is that it doesn't require you waste time bidding on keywords.
Taking Your Limited Marketing Budget Further Than Before
"Ultimately, the business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins."
We've all heard that quote, but unfortunately, it's not always easy to get the money needed. Sometimes, you're bootstrapping a campaign and considering the break-even point as your success metric. Other times, money is allocated elsewhere and you're forced to make do with what's available.
Fortunately, there are ways you can use that limited marketing budget to think creatively, driving results you'd only imagined possible from expensive campaigns.
Organic marketing is one of the lowest cost approaches you can take. With this method, you're creating content so that when people use search engines for an answer, your site is presented.
At first, organic marketing can appear intimidating. After all, there's a lot to optimizing your content for SEO and ensuring it's relevant to your target audience. The good news is that there are a lot of free resources online, like the our blog or HubSpot's Inbound Marketing certification, so you can learn the ins and outs of the approach.
The main expense of organic marketing is time. First, you have to have enough time to create the content you need. If you're a one-man operation, this could take a while, because you don't want to rush and produce materials that aren't valuable to consumers.
One option is to hire freelancers, but if you're limiting your spending, keep in mind the top performers cost more. Still, you may find the expense worthwhile if you'd rather have an article that you can level up with your own editing. It can dramatically reduce your time if pushing out a rough draft takes you a while.
You could also get other members of your team to contribute material. Articles from your sales team or technicians could be extremely beneficial to your strategy as they're already familiar with your company and audience.
The second way organic marketing requires time is that your content can take a while to gain traction on the search engine results pages (SERPs). This is where patience is required in your strategy. While some articles may see immediate engagement, search engines will display your content closer to the top position when they can validate its worth. This means, your content needs time to build performance metrics.
An extremely fast and effective way to get new content out is to create a repurposing strategy. This involves taking a single piece of content and exploding it into many more. For example, you could pull clips from a lengthy video you've produced and use it for a more specific piece of content. Similarly, you could turn that video into a blog post or graphic. Repurposing is the ultimate limited budget strategy.
To further save funds, you can also create lead magnets by repurposing your content. Side Hustle Nation does this with all their podcast episodes. They provide a list of highlights from the episode that can be downloaded in exchange for an email address.
Leverage Social Media
Social media is another area that doesn't have to cost money. Many companies will spend on advertisements because of how useful Facebook's targeting algorithm is, but it's not necessary to generate engagement on the platform.
What's required to build traction is that you interact with your audience by sharing content, joining discussions, and acknowledging their concerns. You can drive a significant amount of traffic to your site from your social profiles by adding them to your content distribution strategy.
Many companies use social media as a secondary effort. They automate posts and rarely engage with their audience. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it creates an opportunity for other marketers. If you're willing to invest time and engage with your audience, you can dramatically increase the chances that people will flock to your brand because of the interactions.
Another cost-free option on social media is to engage with other brands who may support or partner with you. By sharing content on each other's pages, you increase the number of unique impressions your content gains and stand a better chance at finding new customers.
Keep Your List Engaged
While most email marketing services charge by the size of the list, more people means more potential for sales.
Scrubbing your email list for inactive subscribers could end saving you money as many email platforms charge based on the number of emails sent. Some services come with a spam detection tool you can use to determine if your emails are hitting the recipients' inboxes. This may be a worthwhile area to spend money if you're not seeing the open rates you expect.
Writing emails that are punchy, with a distinct purpose, and offer value are a great way to engage your list. If you can do those three things, you'll have a better chance of providing content they'll want to engage with.
This is a fun and valuable way to use your limited marketing budget. If your product or service isn't resonating with the right audience, you're losing customers. It's probably one of the reasons you have a limited budget in the first place.
People don't want to buy your product. They want to buy what it does for them.
If you can position your brand to attract more customers because they see your product as a solution to their problem, you have the potential to grow exponentially. This could be as simple as positioning your company as the most reliable, or most versatile. Whatever you do, though, don't position as the cheapest unless you're selling a commodity and willing to join the race to the bottom.
If you can highlight your company values and develop a brand bible to ensure all interactions follow a plan, along with your brand's positioning, you'll be capturing the attention of significantly more consumers.
Optimize Your Content
Something that often doesn't cost a lot is the testing of pages and content you already own.
A/B or multivariate tests will help you optimize your landing pages, CTAs, and user experience so they can drive more conversions. These tests can also provide insights into what materials aren't working across your brand or with your specific audience.
For example, if you find your graphical CTAs are converting higher than those without images, you can swap them out. Because you've already created both iterations of the CTA, the process adds no additional cost but can offer increased conversion rates.
You should start by testing any of your pages that aren't performing as well as your others. You can earn quick gains by optimizing these pages, but you should also test your stronger pages and those with more traffic.
Referral and Affiliate Programs
Finally, you can make use of referral and affiliate programs, especially if you're in an industry that's better known.
If you know the total value of a customer (as you should) you can offer kickbacks to anyone who helps bring them in. For example, if one sale is worth $100, but the average lifetime value of a customer is $1,000, you could offer $100 for every person they refer, knowing you'll likely make $900 from the new customer.
This doesn't technically cost you anything since the first sale hits a break-even point. You're simply banking on the fact that a satisfied customer will come back to you for their next purchase as well.
In the example above, the Morning Brew offers rewards for anyone who refers new members. They also stack as you go, so it turns the referral system into a game that people want to succeed at.
You can also add incentives and discounts for influencers to share with their audiences in hopes it'll drive more customers your way.
Get The Most From Your Marketing Budget
No one wants to be limited by the budget, but it does give you an excellent opportunity to test creative ways of accomplishing your marketing goals. And while others may be able to throw money at a problem, you're developing new experiences and enhancing your skills so that when the money does come in, you can make it go further.
Regardless of budgets, the best strategy for the long term is organic marketing. If you can provide the value customers are searching for, a single piece of content will pay for itself time and time again. And with a repurposing strategy, you'll be amazed at how far a small budget can go.
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