What do you imagine when you envision a comprehensive marketing plan across multiple channels from TV to social media? Does it cost you tens of thousands of dollars? It doesn’t. In fact, you can launch a successful marketing campaign for just $1,000.
The key to cost-effective marketing that still makes a big impact is to focus on high-return activities. Should you spend money marketing your business online? Yes. Should you promote your business on every social platform? Definitely not. To get the most out of every dollar spent, optimize your outreach and promote your company where your very best prospects spend their time.
Research -- $0
Research doesn’t have to cost a dime, but it’s still the most important part of any marketing campaign. If you don’t do thorough research first, you’ll never know where to focus your marketing investments, and that’s a recipe for a poor return, whether you’re investing $1,000 or $100,000.
To get started, talk to your target audience, analyze your past efforts, study what your competition is doing, survey your current customers and determine which social-media platforms are most effective. Pay attention to what your prospects read, where they spend time and what types of media they prefer. This research will serve as the foundation of your campaign and can cost nothing but time.
Certainly, there are ways you can spend money on research. There are organizations that sell reports with seemingly critical information, as well as tools that’ll pull data from around the web for your consideration. But I’d argue that, if you’re at a place where these things seem like necessities, you’re probably getting ready to spend far more than $1,000 on your first marketing campaign. For everyone else? There’s more than enough free information out there to help get you off the ground.
Email marketing -- $300
In an age of flashy new tools and techniques, it might surprise you to hear that plain old email marketing still maintains it’s position as one of the highest return-on-investment marketing efforts around. Surveys show that revenue from email increased 28 percent in 2014, and 68 percent of companies rate the channel as “good” or “excellent.”
Your email list is gold -- these are people who have responded to your outreach, opted in and are primed to hear from you. If you do nothing else, take advantage of email marketing and center your campaign around it.
So what does $300 get you? Right now, it’s the average cost of a one-year subscription to MailChimp. Depending on the size of your list and needs, you can pay more or less. Need it for free? MailChimp offers a free option for lists with less than 2,000 subscribers and no more than 12,000 emails sent per month (though you won’t have access to fun features like auto responders and automation rules). Test your email efforts as you go to see what successes you should duplicate and which ones to ditch.
Video marketing -- $489
Some 44 percent of people say that watching a video is their preferred way to learn about a new product or service. Take advantage of the trend and get started today. There are tons of ways to share video online. I use a branded YouTube channel myself. It’s true that creating a corporate video can run in the thousands of dollars, but it doesn’t have to. Basic equipment and inexpensive editing software is really all you need to get up and running.
Spending $489 gets you a basic video recording equipment bundle, plus one year of the WeVideo business plan. WeVideo offers custom branding, screen recording, advanced editing features, voiceover and more for one of the best editing values available, making it an ideal option for those without in-house video teams.
That said, as important as I think video is to modern marketing campaigns, resist the urge to overspend on videos. You don’t need $10,000 and professional actors to make a brand video that sticks. This isn’t Hollywood, and you’re not trying to win an Oscar. Start by putting yourself and your staff in front of the camera and use the simple videos you’re able to create this way to build rapport and trust with your viewers.
Social-media promoted posts -- $200
With the deep research you’ve already done for free, you should know which social-media platform to focus your content creation and promotion efforts on. This isn’t to say that you should forget about posting or interacting on other channels. But when it comes to spending money, nail it down to the one or two platforms you’re confident will get the best engagement.
Once you’ve identified your channels, start promoting your best content with paid ads. Get up and running with a business page on Facebook or promote content from any type of account on LinkedIn or Twitter. A Twitter card, for instance, can give you a brand boost and build your email list at the same time. LinkedIn not only offers boosted posts, but also detailed analytics that helps ensure your posts are reaching your desired market. That $200 budget will prove one of the most inexpensive ways available to get your message in front of new eyes.
Let’s say you decide to focus your paid promotions on Facebook. When people like a promoted post on your Facebook page, you can also invite them to your page directly. Simply go to the post you promoted on your business page, and click on “Likes” to see the list of people who liked the post. Next to each name will be a button that says “Invite.” When you click it, they’ll receive a direct invitation to like your page. When used effectively, this can help you gain traction and collect followers quickly, leading to more interaction and sales in the future.
Ultimately, the strategies you choose to invest in may be different, and they probably should be, as every business and every target audience is different. What works for one group of followers may fall flat with another, which is why research and ongoing testing are so important. But what I want you to walk away knowing is that marketing doesn’t have to break the bank to be effective. With just $1,000 and a little research, you can hit three of the top marketing outreaches available -- email marketing, video and social media. These simple efforts can rapidly increase your sales and success.
If you were starting from scratch, what would you spend $1,000 marketing dollars on? Share your thoughts and suggestions by leaving a comment below.