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Low Cost Marketing Strategies For Startups

Friday, December 22, 2023

Low Cost Marketing Strategies For Startups

There are many low cost marketing strategies for startups, to be frank, most you do not even have to pay for. When you’re first starting out, having marketing to pay big marketing agencies or advertise on platforms that require thousands of dollars can be very hard.

I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again – I am an enthusiastic advocate of Direct Marketing for most businesses, small or large, because Direct Marketing consistently delivers the best results for every dollar spent.

But how do you recognize, use and possibly transform other strategies into Direct Marketing strategies?

Well, Direct Marketing can include:

  • ​Media Advertising that asks for a direct response, such as the ad being a coupon that’s to be cut out and sent in, or brought in, or a phone number to call with a code somehow attached to identify the source of the call. Direct response advertising is 99% measurable.
  • Direct Mail that asks for a direct response, like (a) coupons sent through the mail to be redeemed at stores or dealers or by mail, (b) a letter announcing a sale with an invitation that must be used for admission to the store after hours, (c) a letter with a card enclosed good for two-for-one dinner special at a local restaurant or (d) a mail piece that asked the recipient to call to request a certain free booklet.
  • Radio or TV commercials that ask for a direct response, asking the customer to call in or write in or come in and mention the station's call letters in order to get a discount or free gift. Any advertising media can be converted to direct response type advertising and can be results-measured.​Telemarketing that asks for a direct response, such as an appointment for a salesperson, an actual purchase right there on the phone or inviting the person to come into the place of business either by appointment or with a certain assigned code, entitling the customer to discount gifts.​Personal Selling. (A quick story) My home doorbell rang. I answered the door. There was a young guy in a clean, neatly pressed gas station uniform (yes, this was a while ago).I asked around during the next few days and found that my brother, another person in my office and a neighbor had all bought two.

    I suspect that the salesperson keeps most, maybe even all of the money. The gas station acquires new customers. It is a brilliant, direct marketing idea that many different businesses could use.

    He handed me a vinyl wallet with a cardboard insert filled with little coupons; one for a free front-end alignment, one for free lube and oil with filter purchase, a free battery recharge, $30 in gas discounts, and so on.

    He quickly delivered a pitch, ultimately offering me the $240 coupon book for $25. I bought instantly, partly because it was a great deal and partly because I appreciated the technique in the initiative.

Of all these direct marketing methods. I'm most partial to Direct Mail.

Many Reasons Why I Like Direct Mail

Many Reasons Why I Like Direct Mail
  • ​There's lots of options regarding format and cost.
  • ​You get things directly into the hands of the prospect.
  • ​At least for a brief moment, you have the person's undivided attention.
  • ​It provides completely measurable results.
  • ​It can be combined with other marketing methods.
  • ​You can learn to do your own copy and graphic work.

And to get your mind working, there are several different ways you can use direct mail too, including:

  • ​Acquiring new customers
  • ​As a pre-approach prior to a call
  • ​To communicate with existing customers.

I suggest you immediately begin opening and reading all of your so-called ‘junk mail’ and building swipe files for each of the categories of uses I've mentioned. Keep the pieces that strike you as interesting and effective.

I love junk mail!

Thousands of companies are spending millions of dollars to educate me about solving marketing techniques that I can adapt to my businesses.

The big companies that do a lot of direct mail marketing are very sophisticated in their methods.

They employ the very best writers and consultant people who often command anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000, just to write a sales letter. These guys are sharp.

You can learn from the results of their work and monitoring of all sorts of variables to get the best results. These companies, test, test, test, and test some more.

So your junk mail brings you the end results of collaboration between the brightest direct marketing minds and the costliest marketing research in the country. How dare you throw it in a waste basket!

I can promise you this: it doesn't matter whether you are a salesperson, a small business owner or a corporate executive. It doesn't matter whether you sell to businesses or consumers.

If you thoroughly study and consider the information and ideas in Direct Marketing and take appropriate follow up actions to switch the emphasis of your marketing into methods that bring direct response and are measurable, you will improve the profit of your business.

How To Deliver Marketing Tactics That Create Happiness In Your Customers

How To Deliver Marketing Tactics That Create Happiness In Your Customers

As Halbert used to say, harken, listen up, I’m going to tell you how to make mucho fungolas. Yep, no rants or philosophical meanderings. Down ‘n dirty money making.

Right before lunch, two crisp $100 bills arrived in my mail, from my Insiders’ Circle Member Bill, paying off his losing wager with me on the Auburn-Alabama game. Getting two hundred bucks in the mail made my day. Being right is even better, but two hundred bucks is good. I don’t need two hundred dollars.

That isn’t the point. That day I also got an expected $26,000.00 check from a client, but I was much more excited about the $200 from Bill.

There is endorphin-releasing pleasure from opening an envelope or a package and finding something unexpected and good or fun or interesting.

Bill sent this in an envelope that looked like it contained an ordinary Christmas card. Instead, hundred dollar bills. Joy to the world!

This is a very simple marketing tactic anybody and everybody can use.

I used to do it every once in a while with the No B.S. Marketing Letter – adding on a grabber (people tell me they kept and still have the little door hinge I glued onto an issue), sticking in a baggie of candy corn at Halloween, a tiny American flag in July or a little “toy surprise” (obtained cheaply from Oriental Trading).

With sales letter packages for myself and for clients I’ve sent toy trucks, little stuffed bull dolls in farmer overalls, superhero buttons, a humor book (Dave Barry’s MONEY) to financial advisors.

This year, in stores, they sold “prank” gift boxes for phony, satire-on-Sharper-Image kitchen gadgets like the combo alarm clock and waffle maker or the in-shower coffee maker.

I bought and used two, and think this is a great idea for a direct-mail campaign, maybe a “customer appreciation gift” promotion.

The idea is simple: Surprise, Delight (and, if selling, Disarm.)

Make them smile, even chuckle. Take something home and give it to their kid. Put something on their bookshelf.

In an ongoing relationship, set up a pattern of non-pattern surprises, a little wondering about what you’ll do next. Go over to the nearest, big Dollar Store, a Spencer’s Gift store, a Target store, and prowl around. Shop for an idea. Play.

These days, personalization is easy and cheap. For Christmas one year, I got a suitable for framing 8x10 of George W. and Laura, with a personalized notation, using my name. I know it’s junk mail, but I still hesitated in throwing it out.

Personalized cartoons can be made with software called “Doodly”, obtained from Stu Heinike, the New Yorker Cartoon Bank, commissioned from Vince Palko. It’s cheap and easy to make your own little joke book or page of jokes – lawyer jokes, doctor jokes, golf jokes. Play.

So you can use these strategies and they require close to nothing out of pocket, but most won’t and that is why YOU must, which brings me back to my next topic.

The #1 Overlooked Marketing Strategy

Overlooked Marketing Strategy

It’s called Testing – Most do too little of this.

We're all in a hurry. We all think we know a heck of a lot more than we do and all too often, we're not intelligently doing one of the most important things in marketing.

Now sometimes you can do well without it - and what has to be present is huge margins, a lot of talent, and some luck.

The very first full-page ad I ever created for a client, we bought $220,000 worth of media without ever testing the ad. We got lucky more than anything else. But you know, I got a lot of talent.

The product had a huge margin and we got lucky, but that’s no way to buy media. What you want to do is what's called a ‘control’ in direct response.

A ‘control’ is whatever it is that works for you reliably at a level that’s acceptable to you, be that a sales letter, a postcard, a broadcast fax.

You’re gonna have that control for a long period of time. Then you test one variable at a time to try and improve its performance.

Only one.

If you test more than one, you don't know what worked and what didn't.

Now if you're gonna test and change the headline, you can't change anything else. If you change the headline, and the price of the photograph, you've accomplished nothing, because now you don't know which worked. So you always test one thing at a time.

The reason very few people do this is because it's painful, it takes time, and it requires discipline (meaning somebody's gotta track the numbers), and so very little of this gets done. But if you are concerned with maximum profitability in a business, you will discipline yourself to do it.

The same thing is true with racehorses. You can only change one piece of equipment at a time and then you gotta race them a couple of times and go change another piece of equipment.

This requires enormous patience, but if the payoff justifies the patience, then one variable at a time can make a difference.

And always remember the dinky little things can make a difference.

One thing I will mention whether you realize it or not – we’re currently in a recession, with that being said, entrepreneurs and business owners need to rethink how they look at their customers.

Whereas, if you asked most entrepreneurs and business owners, “what's the number one thing you’d like to get to help your business”, their answer is usually two words: new customers, or maybe three words more new customers.

So they all target getting more new people to sell to.

What we find during these hard times is that you really need to rethink your time and invest 80% of your energy, not necessarily in getting more new customers, but put 80% of your energy in the top 20% of all your existing customers.

And also to not only look at the top 20% of your existing customers but also look at the top 5% of your existing customers because it's far, far easier to sell more to your better customers than it is to sell to your bottom 80% of your customers or to easily sell to new people that you attract.

So once you identify these top 5% and 20% of your customers, what you then want to do; and this is not as hard as I'm gonna make it sound in a moment; is design specific products or services or programs or special pricing for these top 20% of customers that you have.

So think in terms of who these people are and what more of me they want?

Because there's a bias in everybody's customer list. You have it, I have it, and everybody has it.

I don't care what you're selling; whether you're selling widgets, they still have it, which is that 20% of your customers who know you and had a good experience with you, they want more from you.

And you need to be the provider of those services or products because if you're not the provider of that, they're gonna go get it somewhere else.

So re-designing this in a way that you can do special types of programs or product offers or resources for your top 20, and then the top 5% of customers — the really hyper, hyper, hyper-responsive customers — is a brilliant strategy.

And with that, what you need to do is to let those people know that you recognize them and value them as being in this elite group because people love recognition.

Once you’ve developed the 80/20 rule; and figured out your top 20% of customers; you still have the entire lower 80% of your customer base.

What Should You Do With Them?

Well, during recessionary times, you want to think in terms of offering more products and services to all of your customers, because the customer's ability to consume typically outweighs your ability to develop new products and services.

Many people, especially the top 20%, as I said before, are hyper-responsive people.

So what you want to do is you want to leverage relationships and you want to go to other people that you know who have products and services that the people that are in your customer base would also like to have.

And what that does is one, positions you more as an expert, as somebody who doesn't just provide the widget that you provide, but is really more of a consultant type of a friend to your customers.

And number two, if properly done, by offering other people's products and services, you can easily form very profitable joint-venture (JV) relationships with them in order to get some additional income out of that. And this is a very recession-busting strategy.

Here’s an example:

Let's say you own a jewelry store. You sell jewelry in the United Kingdom, and you have customers that come in and you sell them jewelry.

Obviously, if you have a jewelry store, clearly you have your top 20% people that are still buying jewelry and you have your top 5% that want every piece.

They're the hyper buyers of your jewelry business and are the obvious ones to add additional services to your jewelry. (Which what most jewelers think about is: jewelry, cleaning, watch repair, things along those lines.)

But think about what else your customers who wear jewelry also want. Since they have beautiful jewelry, they want a place to show it off.

So they want to be able to be invited to go to the theater or to the opera, or a large business event.

You could have a relationship with the theater and you could offer tickets to the theater to your customers where they can go and show off their jewelry. They might want to go on great vacations.

Build a relationship with people who can provide once-in-a-lifetime vacations that your customers can go on.

So you want to think outside of your normal world and think about “what else do people that I sell to, what else would they also like to buy?

And once you can identify that, then you wanna go seek out the people that provide those services.

So there you have it.

Low cost marketing strategies you can utilize in your business that can help propel your business – especially in recessionary times.

Truth be told – it is not easy. Some of the hardest times you go through are always the startup phase.

But if you can handle times like today, you’ll be able to handle times tomorrow. Through the dark tunnel you’ll eventually get to the light. I would recommend you to join us in our NO B.S. Newsletter, where you can have guidance on how to get your business off the ground and get the proper support within a tight-knit community.

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