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How to Market Your Small Business on $3,000 per Month (or Less)

June 26, 2017

Do you feel like you’re not able to contribute enough to your marketing to make it worthwhile? Have you been running short on cash recently? Do you even have a marketing budget for your small business?

 

As small business owners, we struggle with the thought of a monthly marketing budget for these reasons and more. The key is to find what works for our market and slowly re-invest our profits to maximize long-term growth.

 

Here are some highly effective, yet affordable, ways to market your small business on $3,000 per month or less.

 

Company Website & Email

 

Your small business needs a website. It’s the face of your company and often your calling card. It presents a full picture of who you are and what you do, and without it you lose major credibility (and probably a LOT of business). While it is fairly affordable and easy to create one with platforms like Wix and Weebly, it also comes at a cost.

 

You have to purchase the domain, the platform, and email. Here’s a quick breakdown:

 

  • $2 per month for the website domain through GoDaddy

  • $25 per month for the website platform of your choice

  • $5 per month for one email domain (i.e. your name@yourdomain.com)

 

That’s $32/month, or roughly 10% of you overall marketing budget.

 

Email Marketing

 

Email marketing is one of the most affordable ways to grow your small business. The best way to leverage the power of email marketing is through funnels. The purpose of a sales funnel is to bring prospects from the awareness stage to the purchase and loyalty stages of the customer lifecycle. The best part is that these funnels can be optimized and automated to give you more time back in your day for other marketing activities.

 

Services like MailChimp and Constant Contact offer free or very inexpensive versions of their software and are very easy to use.

 

It will cost roughly $25/month, depending on the vendor you choose.

 

Related: 5 Email Marketing Best Practices for Small Businesses

 

Content Marketing

 

Content marketing is what helps you drive new leads to your website, improve brand awareness, build your lists, and ultimately sell more. It’s all about providing VALUE to your audience. When you understand and can truly engage with them, your marketing budget becomes less consequential. Start a reference library on your website of tools they can use to better their business. This shows them you are invested in helping them. It also makes them excited about the additional value you will surely add when they pay for your products or services.

 

You’ve got the tools in place to launch your content marketing campaigns, but what about writing and designing them? As a small business, it’s unlikely that you have a dedicated copywriter or graphic design team on staff. This means you will have to outsource some of this work to a professional. Luckily, there are a ton of websites out there like Fiverr and Upwork that help you find these resources quickly and affordably.

 

Your costs here will vary, but let’s estimate one funnel and one new piece of designed content per month to make it easy. Here’s what that will look like:

 

  • $30 per piece of marketing content (i.e. e-book, whitepaper)

  • $400 per email marketing campaign

  • $200 per designed piece of content

 

That puts you at $900 per month on average, or roughly 30% of your monthly marketing budget.

 

Related: 5 Small Business Content Marketing Challenges (& How to Overcome Them)

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

 

SEO is an important part of any marketing strategy. It helps you build targeted traffic and scale your small business month over month. Considering the majority of businesses are found through search engines, SEO is critical to your success as a small business today. Tools like Moz are affordable and can help you improve your SEO month over month without spending hundreds, or even thousands, on a dedicated SEO agency or expert.

 

Fresh content, optimized web copy and continuous keyword tracking are arguably the most important day-to-day elements of a good SEO strategy. With that in mind, here’s what your monthly marketing spend on SEO will look like:

 

  • $400 per month on a blogger to produce relevant, high-ranking posts

  • $99 per month on a tool like Moz Pro

 

That brings your SEO costs to roughly $500 per month.

 

Related: 10 Small Business SEO Strategies You Need Now

 

Social Media Marketing

 

Social media marketing does not cost a lot of money, but it is a time-intensive practice. You have to post every day, sometimes multiple times per day, just to stay relevant. The best investment you can make, in this case, is not a financial one. Instead, spend a few hours at the beginning of each month filling out an editorial calendar with post titles, themes, links, and images to simplify and streamline your social media efforts.

 

Tools like Buffer, for example, can help you become even more efficient. You can use them to schedule posts in advance on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. You can also leverage their reporting tools to optimize your social media campaigns based on the times of day, topics, and tags that are working best.

 

Here are the costs associated with basic social media marketing:

 

  • $100 per month on a editorial calendar (if outsourced)

  • $10 per month on a social media marketing tool like Buffer

 

So, you’re looking at $110/month on social media marketing.

 

Related: Social Media or SEO…Where Should My Marketing Budget Go?

 

Online Advertising

 

Online advertising is going to be your most expensive marketing expenditure, hands down. The key is to understand and optimize your advertising campaigns so they begin to pay for themselves (and then some!). If you’ve already tried some online ads and found them to be ineffective, figure out what the problem was.

 

Did they get great impressions and limited clicks? Were they costing too much per month with no returns? Were you using the right platforms for your audience? Did you have a fully baked campaign, or was it thrown up to see what worked? Did you test a variety of images, headlines, and calls to action? Whatever the issue was, there is likely a workaround or way to fix it.

 

The fastest way to maximize your ad performance and ad revenue is to go where your audience is. Advertise on the platforms where your audience is the most present and engaged. Is it on social media, in trade publications, at events, or on Google? What types of content are they reacting to most strongly and why? What topics interest them the most? These are the questions you have to ask and answer to make the most out of your online advertising spend.

 

Online advertising is such a broad topic, but here are some examples of popular items small businesses spend their advertising dollars on each month to maximize profits:

 

  • $625 per month on Google PPC campaigns ($25 per day, Monday-Friday)

  • $125 per month on Facebook ads ($5 per day, Monday-Friday)

  • $350 per month for someone to write ad copy and optimize your campaigns

  • $250 per month on landing pages for your ads

  • $30 per month for a subscription to Adobe Stock to get royalty-free images

 

That’s $1,380 per month, or nearly 50% of your monthly marketing budget and brings your grand total to $2,947 per month on marketing.


 

Justine Beauregard is the Owner of Mirelle Marketing, a marketing consulting company dedicated to helping small businesses grow on small budgets. She has nearly a decade of experience working for small businesses and startups as well as larger companies such as Citrix Systems. Her company website is www.mirellemarketing.com.

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