There’s one solid instance when you truly don’t need a marketing budget: you don’t want to stay in business. You see, business and life are a lot like trying to run up the down escalator (which I totally don’t recommend, by the way – there are much better ways to get a good workout in!). You’re either moving forward or you’re going backwards. Even staying in place requires a good bit of forward movement.
So, yeah. You only need a marketing budget if you want to stay in business.
There are ways to make a small budget successful, though. The biggest way to do so is to use your time to network and ask for referrals. Sure, you’re not spending money – just time. But I can promise you that with a consistent commitment of merely 15 minutes per day networking, you can build an impressive network of connections, leads, and clients. 15 minutes a day won’t break the bank but it will help you build your business exponentially.
Based on the numbers I’ve seen, your business’s marketing budget should be about 3% of your total revenue. That’s still not a ton of money, which makes it less scary.
Think of it this way: if you’re clearing a few hundred thousand dollars in sales each year, do you really want to invest in a Super Bowl ad? Of course not. That’s way beyond your budget! On the other hand, would investing in a few Facebook and LinkedIn ads each year be beneficial? You can bet your bottom dollar it is!
What other things should I invest my marketing money in?
While ads are fantastic, there’s something else that’s far more effective: email marketing. Building up your in-house email list should be a *huge* priority. There are free email clients out there that work well (MailChimp works great), but I’m a huge fan of Aweber. That’s a paid service, but for $20 a month, I can set up an automated system to help me build my business, build a sales funnel, and create conversions. Plus, they do a ton of the tracking and analysis for me. As long as I can read English, I can understand their reports. Oh, and to build your email list I’d also invest in an irresistible offer: some valuable item that your target audience will want to download. By offering it for free, you’ll be able to build up your email list fast.