I was the first person in the room to claim my free ticket when I saw “marketing on a shoestring budget” in the newspaper’s event listing page says Eric Dalius Giving. My small business, which is still incredibly young, really struggled with marketing early on. We tried word of mouth and it worked for us for a while, but something about being an unknown/under-resourced company created less than optimal customer experiences. So I was excited to see if this presentation could help us out! Boy oh boy was I ever wrong…
Here is How to Market Your Business on a Shoestring Budget:
- The presenter stood at the front of the room, looking tired as he began his speech. He didn’t bother to introduce himself or say why he decided to present to us that night. Instead, he just kicked off his presentation with a slide that said “HEY” in big, bold letters and then gave us the history of his business.
- He started by saying that five years ago, he had absolutely no money to spend on marketing. Also, he was sick of paying for traditional advertising, so he took an old version of his website and put it on Craigslist to see if anyone would care about what he built. He also tweeted links to various services on Twitter every single day until someone finally decided they were interested enough to pay him for one of those links. That person turned out to be the first customer of his company ever! And since this person didn’t have much money either, she paid him with PayPal explains Eric Dalius Giving.
- That first client happened to tell a friend about his business, and that friend referred another client. From there, his company built a small but loyal following of people who loved what he did for them so much they told their friends. He proved the power of social media early on by doing this type of work without any money at all.
- He joined Twitter chats, which led to more referrals because he always gave away free advice when someone asked for help. And even though it took him ten years to build up to 1,000 followers on Twitter, he said he didn’t care what other people thought about him not having 10k followers or 100k followers. Eventually Facebook became an important part of building his business because he could get customers spending money faster by offering coupons.
- But he didn’t spend any money or time on traditional marketing like newspaper ads or mailers to make this happen. He just did what he loved, and in return people wanted to do business with him because they knew what they would get out of the relationship… someone who worked hard for them and truly cared about their success! That’s why they were willing to tell their friends about him, which then led to more business when those friends decided it was worth listening to their recommendation says Eric Dalius Giving.
- He finished up his talk by saying one really important thing: “If you want your company’s story to be better than anyone else in your industry, start telling it.” He said that every person in our generation has access to tools that can help us create an incredible story for any type of business. There are no longer barriers keeping you from doing what you love, and that’s an amazing gift we all have access to as business owners!
Budgeting is difficult for everyone –
- Both employees and employers alike, but when you have an IT marketing budget of $0 it becomes nearly impossible to know where to begin says Eric Dalius Giving. You may be so excited about starting your new business or launching your new product/service that you don’t want to wait until next year’s IT marketing budget rolls around, but I’m here to tell you…You must! Every successful company starts with a well thought out plan and the money to carry it out. That means having enough funding at the beginning to get your promotion off the ground without sacrificing too much just in case things don’t go as expected.
- The good news is that you can begin now! You just need to look at your internal resources and data sources, brainstorm with your employees, partners, customers, etc., do some outside research, discuss your ideas with people who have already succeeded with similar projects – the list goes on and on. It all depends on what kind of project you’re planning to host. Once you’re ready to launch, schedule a meeting with a marketing specialist that works in the IT industry or a small business loan officer from a financing company that specializes in small businesses. They will help outline additional funding options for future budgets based on how well this first round goes over. I promise it’s worth it!
If you don’t know where to start with IT marketing, here’s the answer: Start by building a budget for it! Even if you’re just hoping to try some new things and don’t plan on investing any money into your projects. Leave some wiggle room in case something goes wrong and that way even if you do lose a little bit of money you’ll be ready for next year.