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Marketing Without Money Checklist

Marketing Without Money Checklist

No Cost Options

Assuming you have nailed the Holy Trinity of Product, Position and Price, the next stage is to formulate and implement your No Cost communications plan. The obvious “No Cost” tactics are:

  • Content; Case Studies, White Papers, References, Tenders, RFIs, emails, web content, social media posts and other promotional collateral. Talk to your customers and update your existing materials. Solicit customer references containing your messaging for your Google My Business and similar storefronts. Tweak your positioning statements to include geography, quality, service, fulfilment and flexibility.

  • Design, Video, Photography and Illustration: Unless you are qualified or gifted, these are better left to professionals, but most people can rework existing templates without the results being actually repellent. Obviously, if you have not already done so, make PDF versions of all your collateral for electronic distribution, rather than print, and make them available across all channels including social media, website, CRM and PR content libraries.

  • CRM: Outbound email/newsletters, Abandoned Basket emails, Blogs/Vlogs, Podcasts and Tag Manager/Remarketing. Using the free level of Mailchimp or similar, especially when integrated with your CMS, will deliver targeted content. Integration and automation are the keys to efficient CRM. A few hours spent setting up these systems will repay the effort.

  • SEO, PR & Sponsorship: Although you need to subcontract SEO when you scale, any marketing professional should be able to establish a competent base level using headings, metatags, captions and the tools and resources available on-line. PR and Sponsorship are not strictly free, but you can often trade product for coverage. Social media influencers fall within this area. However, don’t underestimate the power of reviews and promotions in traditional media.

  • Network: Networking is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can use. Attend local business events, join trade associations, or join a business networking group to meet potential customers or partners. I once advised a London Law Firm on digital transformation where their product was, in essence, one large collaboration.

  • Collaboration & Barter: Working with partners to share exhibition stand space and in-store/Point of Sale promotions is a good way of aggressively seeking market share while defensively protecting your relationships. I helped a US software company grow its share of the EMEA market by doing deals with systems integrators and other strategic partners to share exhibition and conference stand space, allowing us to generate more impact, prestige and reach from our limited budget.

Controlled Cost Options

I have described these tactics as Controlled Cost, rather than Low Cost, because in theory you can set budgets or manage your downside. You can guarantee your Google or Microsoft PPC analytics will tell you they are delivering and recommend increasing the budget whatever happens, but set your own parameters and monitor and manage them using your own analytics KPIs. Each of these is a topic in its own right, so you need to research them carefully before committing a budget.

  • Signage: Many businesses do not optimise their assets such as frontage, windows and vehicles. At the very least, a new van wrap or shopfront shows you are still in business.

  • Self liquidating trade promotions: Run promotions through partners or channels limiting your downside cost. BOGOF or Cross/Upsell promotions will reduce margin in the short term, but should help “prime the pump” and generate future revenue. Be wary of voucher schemes which could be open ended.

  • Specialist media: Your business may be going through tough times, but so are publishing companies. Building up a rapport with the best specialist publishers in your industry at heavily discounted rates will help ensure you both make it to the upturn.

  • Paid Social Media: PPC campaigns on social media can be cost effective, just be aware your own GA analysis will bear no relation to the figures shown you by Meta/Twitter/Youtube analytics. Set low budgets and use ad hoc content based campaigns to judge what topics are getting traction with your target audience.

  • PPC: By setting accurate targeting, keywords (including negative) and budgets, it is possible to run a cost effective paid search campaign. Bear in mind there will still be wastage, so you will have to manage the targeting criteria regularly.

  • Markets: Google, Amazon, eBay etc. Again, tight budgeting based on research is essential if costs are not to run away, but at least you can relate campaign spend to revenue rather than clicks.

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