Branding Blog

Are you confused about advertising on a shoestring budget?

Written by Dale Berkebile | Wed, Aug 18, 2010

Today I read an interesting article that a friend shared with me. This article titled Getting Noticed on a Shoestring Budget was published by Fox Business News.

Basically the gist of the story was trying to, again answer the age old question. How can we best afford to market our company with our limited funds.

The interview was with Jaclyn Smith, co-owner of Anzie, a fine jewelry company (by the way, this is not "THE" Jaclyn Smith of Charlie's Angels the famed TV series). Although I love seeing small businesses succeed, I felt this article was dated and misleading to the small business community.

Jaclyn sells jewelry and has been in business for about 11 years, roughly as long as I have been running my business. Over this time Jaclyn has found that one of the best ways for her to get exposure to her company has been either by PR or by doing celebrity "Gifting". So if you are able to get a photo of a celebrity wearing your jewelry you will get a ton of exposure right? Hmmm, well the question I raise is what if you are a plumber? Will a celebrity allow you to take a photo of them while they are on the toilet? It would get you some great exposure for sure. Heck, the grocery store trash rags might give you enough money that you may not have to ever work again.

The other option they mentioned was PR. Although PR might work well for some companies I do not know that all small businesses are doing big newsworthy things enough to get picked up on a regular basis. If the company has someone that can write articles, it might be wiser to publish these articles on your blog instead of trying to get picked up in a newspaper or magazine.

So basically this jeweler was spending $3,000 to $15,000 to go to one celebrity event. This would lead me to believe that she was spending somewhere in the range to $6,000 to $30,000 per year since one event probably does not carry you through the whole year. It doesn't matter whether she does 2 events a year or 1 event and some PR, she is still spending in this range.

So here is the real deal for all small businesses.
We have done plenty forms of (outbound) marketing - PR, Advertising, Direct Mail, Trade Shows, Networking, Sponsorships, etc., etc. What we have found is that there is a good chance $6,000 to $30,000 annually might be accurate numbers to really market your small business successfully, but celebrity gifting and PR are not the best solutions for all businesses.

So what do we recommend?

Here are the items that are needed to reach real small business success on a budget:

  1. A solid company name - keep it short and sweet, make sure it says what you do or something about the company, see if it is protectable by getting it trademarked, make sure it is easy to spell, read and say and that you can find a domain name for it (go here to search for domain names- WebCents branded domain names). To learn more on naming read Brand Development - What does your name say about you?
  2. Get a professional customized Logo Design - if you are serious about business then make sure everytime someone sees your company logo they know how professional your comapny is. Don't just spend $200 at the cheepest place online, hire a professional. Professional Logo Design samples can be viewed here.
  3. Build an Inbound Marketing Website - inbound marketing is online marketing that gets customers finding you instead of you trying to find them. This is done through the development of remarkable content on your blog and then promotign that content through email and social media sites. Make sure this system has a way to convert web visitors into sales leads and lastly can prove the results through analytics software. To see samples of website designs using inbound marketing click this link.

If you do not have any of these items, and start shopping for them, you could still walk away within the budget mentioned above. Keep in mind once you have a solid name and a professional logo design, these are once and done expenses (investments). Then each year there after, commit to the inbound marketing strategy for 2-3 years and then start adding other forms of marketing to help build brand reputation and awareness. The inbound marketing is the key to long-term success for the small business who wants to level the playing field and compete with the Coke's, Microsoft's and Nike's of the world. Your small budget goes a long way into taking some of the big dogs marketshare.

Don't believe us?
Check out what other small companies are saying.

"Many of the old tried and true methods of marketing are no longer effective. Marketers should not rely on a single approach or depend only on outbound methods anymore. If you run a small business and don't have a big marketing budget Inbound Marketing opens up new and better avenues to reach potential clients and markets unlike any outbound methods ever could."

Chuck Jones
Head of Sales and Marketing
Synergy Broadcast

 

"Since we started Inbound Marketing with HubSpot we have seen a huge increase in our conversion rates and closing deals faster than we can inspect the cars. With expert services like Brandwise on the job you don't have to search and beg for leads anymore. They just come to visit. You can then truly build it and they will come."

Steven Paul
Owner
Test Drive Technologies