Five ways to Cinch the Belt on your Advertising Budget

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Making the most of your advertising dollars is critical, not just in today’s economy, but always!  A limited budget (or no budget!) is a problem for many solopreneurs, homebased business, and small business owners alike. Even in the best of times, no one has money to throw away on ineffective ads. Despite this, way too many businesses waste a good percentage of their advertising dollars on misguided or uninformed marketing efforts that never convert into paying customers for their business because they just don’t know any better.

Can your marketing budget use a bit of a low-cost boost? Here are four of the best ways to help you get the biggest return for your money & efforts:

1.  Zero in on your target market –

Everyone is not your customer! Sure, in a perfect world everyone would want exactly what you are selling, and customers would be lined up around the block just waiting for the opportunity to deal with us. In the real world, only a small percentage of the population will be interested in what you are offering.

By trying to target anyone and everyone, you are wasting the vast majority of your advertising dollars. Focus on exactly who your target customer is and how you can reach them.

For instance, if you are selling fitness products, don’t try to reach anyone who wants to get in shape. Instead, focus on a particular gender, age, and region of the market.

An example of targeting would be focusing on males under 25 who want to increase their vertical leap. You could get even more specific than this, but this is a good starting point.

This way, you won’t waste money on people who are not your customers. It’s more effective because you can target your message exactly to your potential customer.

** If you haven’t figured out EXACTLY what your ideal customer looks like yet you need to stop right now and figure it out. You simply can not create any kind of an effective marketing campaign (no matter what your budget!), without defining who you are marketing to!

2. Capitalize on your successes –

“Hey there! Remember me? I bought something from you a couple of months ago and actually I thought it rocked! But I haven’t heard from you again so I don’t know if you’re still around. Do you have other things that I might like? What other services do you offer again? Do I get a discount on my next order if I refer a friend, or maybe if I buy alot of stuff? “

Go after people who are already doing business with you. Many businesses forget about their current customers in their attempts to get new ones. However, your current ones are most likely to buy from you again.

This is one of the easiest and best methods to instantly increase your profitability. Selling to your current clients isn’t expensive because you already have their contact information. This might be the single most effective strategy for stretching your advertising money.

And don’t give up on them just because they haven’t bought from you in awhile. Do not be afraid to go back and market to people who purchased something one year ago or more. You will be surprised at how many of them buy again.

3.  Joint ventures –

This is a tremendous method of getting new business for free. This way, you just partner with people who already have a large client base. They then offer you their list.

Why would they do this? Because they will get a certain percentage of the profits brought in as your affiliate. This doesn’t cost you a dime. Even if you don’t make much money on the front end, you now have a customer you can sell to again and again.

Where do you find joint ventures? Try going to the top ten of Google for a major keyword in your niche, and see who’s ranking there. If they have an email opt-in form, you know they are building their list, and therefore likely have a large database of customers to sell to. This is an ideal candidate.

4. Co-registration –

Another form of joint venture is called co-registration. You know when you are on a site sigining up for something (maybe a tele-seminar, class, newsletter subscription, membership site), and you are presented with other opt-ins that may be of interest to you that you can select to sign up for at the same time? This is co-registration at work.

There are companies that offer co-registration services for a fee…but you are sticking to a budget here so the best approach is to follow the same guidelines as finding a joint venture partner. Look for relevant, complimentary, established businesses who have a similar target market to you.

The terms of the co-registration deal are always negotiable and it doesn’t have to cost you any money out of pocket. Often agreements include co-promotion (they list your opt-in and you list theirs), or discounts on services.

5.  SEO (Search Engine Optimization) –

This is another great source of free advertising. With SEO, you can potentially bring in hundreds of visitors a day completely free.

Search Engine Optimization requires a bit of effort on your part, but it is definitely NOT necessary to hire someone to do it for you. Yes, you have probably seen tons of people claiming to be able to “get you to number one on Google” for a fee because they are SEO experts. But on a limited budget, you need to be careful where you allocate your money. SEO is a place where you’re better off spending your time-currency rather than your dollar-currency.

Research and make a list of the terms you think you would type in to a search engine if you were your customer looking for the service or product you offer. Ensure that your website content (articles, blog-posts, product & service descriptions etc) contains these keywords & phrases. Ensure your meta data is unique, relevant, and keyword-rich. These strategies will help you drive organic (fr*ee) traffic to your site.

Marketing your small business doesn’t have to break the bank. Implementing these four strategies can help you squeeze every penny out of your advertising dollar!

What low-cost or fr*ee but effective marketing tips have worked for your small business? Comment below to share the wealth!

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  1. Time to cinch my marketing budget then. Like right now.

  2. Thank you for this. No more budget-related worries for me.

  3. Yeah. I really need to cinch the belt. LOL

  4. When it comes to paid advertising, it’s best to focus on one method first to see if it works. If you get on everything at once, it may cost you a lot.

  5. You really make it appear really easy with your presentation but I to find this topic to be actually one thing that I think I would by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very large for me. I’m having a look ahead for your subsequent submit, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!

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