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Marketing on a Mac & Cheese Budget

Posted on Thu, January 1,2015 @ 15:56 PM

Most subscribers to this newsletter or readers of our blog don’t work for a Fortune 500 company or consult with Madison Avenue about multi-million dollar campaigns. Marketing budgets around these parts are limited – some of you would tell us that’s putting it nicely.

Fortunately, there are ways to get more bang from the marketing buck, or lack thereof.

You are likely doing it already in the case of e-mail. For many, e-mail has replaced direct mail and its associated printing and costs.

Still, there are a number of things to consider when crafting and sending an e-mail. First, follow a few simple and essential tips related to content. Second, you can easily manage lists and create e-mails using ABC Signup or inexpensive e-mail marketing programs like MailChimp. Third, if you seek to grow your programs and events, try to continually expand your e-mail distribution list. Tactics for doing this include creating a website link to collect e-mail addresses for company offers/news/etc., or post resources, or contests or conduct webinars that require an e-mail address (and agreement to terms) to participate. Just be sure not to spam potential customers, and always give recipients of your e-mail campaigns a mechanism to opt-out.

If you can write an e-mail to market your program, you can write a press release, a topical article, a calendar of events notice or some other submission for the appropriate media outlets and websites read by your prospects. Or, you can write a speech (that includes a pitch for your event) to give at a forum that includes your prospects. Public relations can be the most cost-effective means to garner free advertising/exposure to boost your marketing efforts. One caveat: your media relations efforts need to be appropriately targeted. Event announcements, for instance, won’t get the time of day from Time Magazine, but they may be of interest to a reporter covering your industry or a publication’s events calendar – it doesn’t hurt to call and ask.

If you can’t leverage what you don’t have (a marketing budget), consider leveraging what you do have with a special offer or promotion. Give a company logo shirt to one of the first 20 who sign up for your program, make a buy one/get the next event free offer, or occasionally present a “bring a friend free” promotion that may create a new prospect if not a new customer.

Don’t ignore the potential of special events. Guerrilla marketers can turn an open house – or a car wash for a charity – into a lead generator or program promoter. A software training company can spin building a home with Habitat for Humanity into a promotion for classes to help others build home pages. The opportunities here are only limited by your creativity (or the speed of a Google search).

Oh, and hey, there is a whole new medium for free marketing out there called social media. You may have seen the movie about it. At no cost, you can “tweet” (Twitter) about your programs or events, post about them on Facebook, pen a blog or upload a video promo on Youtube. The trick with the latter is rising above the clutter, and the challenge of the former three is extending your reach beyond insiders/existing customers.

Finally, use your website. The event page you create becomes your electronic brochure that can be sent to anyone at any time via e-mail, or accessed at any time via the Internet. Plus, your page is searchable, so you just might have customers come to you.

This article only offers a few of the many free or low-cost tools that can better market your programs or events. Please feel free to share some of your tactics with us or post them below in the blog’s comments section. Keep Reading

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