Sure, it’s unlikely anybody would pass up an unlimited budget to launch a new marketing campaign, but for a savvy marketer, even a campaign with little- to no- budget is not a dealbreaker.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to start a campaign with a ton of money,” says Brett Burky, an affiliate marketer and the head of growth and business development at Paperstac, a mortgage note trading platform for real estate investors. “I’ve done it a lot of ways, and I’ve found a lot of times that the no-budget approach is better.”
Low-budget marketing (many call it growth hacking) depends heavily on networking, getting hands-on, and thinking creatively. Below, Burky and digital marketing consultant Rob Croll, who both teach in the Internet Marketing Master’s degree program at Full Sail University, share their tips for launching a successful campaign with a minimal budget.
Don’t promote the brand; promote the subject matter.
Nobody wants to like a Facebook brand page that’s full of boring posts lacking any substance, day after day after day. Even without a budget to buy Facebook ads and sponsored posts, brands can still promote their product or service.
“People may not get excited about their neighborhood pet store’s online presence, but what they do get excited about is their own pet, say, a pug,” says Burky, who teaches the Online Campaign Development and Affiliate Marketing courses in Full Sail’s Internet Marketing Master’s program. “So instead of trying to drive traffic to your page about your business, create a page about pugs and share entertaining and informative content about them. If you do that correctly, then you can drop your business stuff in there every so often.”
Croll agrees: “A lot of small businesses think that every post should try to sell something, and it should definitely not. There’s a great book by Gary Vaynerchuk called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook that talks about how not to constantly try to sell things to people, and how to customize content based on the channel that you’re using.”
Use other people’s audiences.
One of the most cost effective ways to spread the word about a brand’s product or service is to get other people excited about it. Multiple people spreading the word about something on social media is essentially free advertising. Burky suggests trying to get on a podcast related to the brand’s subject matter, or writing a blog post that subtly promotes the brand or service that many people will share. When promoting his company, Paperstac, he wrote a blog titled, “The 50 Most Influential People in the Real Estate World,” which briefly mentioned what Paperstac was. Of course, all 50 of those people proudly shared that post on their social media platforms.
Know (and flatter) prospective advertisers and partners.
Networking is key when the budget is small, and there’s a way to be smart about it.
“My business partner and I would go to conferences, and I would find out from the pre-attendee list who would be there,” says Burky. “Then I’d look at their social media profiles – Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. – so we could learn who they were and choose who to target. I’d find the similarities where we’d have some sort of rapport and then we’d guerilla market them. We used that as a way to kind of hack our way into relationships at conferences.”
Find an intern.
“One of the big hurdles marketers face is even if they know how to do the marketing; they don’t have time for it because they’re too busy running the business,” says Croll, who is also program director for the Internet Marketing Master’s degree at Full Sail. “There are plenty of students who would be willing to help a business for little or no compensation because it gives them experience they can put on their resumé. Many of our students at Full Sail are eager and more than capable of doing the things that a small business would need to do.”
Marketing campaign strategies is one of the many topics explored by students in the Internet Marketing Master of Science degree program at Full Sail University. Click here to learn more about Full Sail’s accelerated online programs, and get started on your path to a master’s degree today.