eMarketing – How Much Will It Cost Me?

eMarketing – How Much Will It Cost Me?

It’s never easy to talk about money — but in business it’s always top of mind. So when I put a call out for questions, it was the first one that came in: “How much does it cost?”

Quick answer: “Much less than traditional media.”

I just checked in with a peer who’d hosted a booth at a regional trade show. Their spot wasn’t the greatest. Geographically they were pushing the limits of connecting to their target market. And it cost $2000. My first thought was she could have bought a lot of social media with that kind of money!

Shift Your Budget

Calculate your marketing budget of the previous year. If you’ve been investing in print, TV or radio, I guarantee you’ll reach a more targeted market with less money by switching to online tactics. And if you’ve been using snail mail to deliver your print promotions, then your savings increase exponentially.

By shifting your spend towards an online strategy, you’ll leverage the best of social media: free platforms and low-cost engagement tools to reach an ever-expanding – organically growing — network of family, friends and business connections. That’s why it’s called viral marketing.

Time Versus Money

Social media works best when you share content that provides solutions to the problems your customers are looking to fix. It’s about soft sell and sharing online resources that engage and inform.

If you’re comfortable creating and uploading your own content (text, images and video), with a bit of training you’ll save money by doing much of the work yourself. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do so, then we can help by setting up a monthly media calendar and sharing quality content on your behalf.

Geared to Your Business

To get started you need the basics: a bit of a plan, a good website and an active presence on one or two social media platforms.

Once we set your initial plan you’ll want to update it annually. Your biggest investment will be your website, so think of it as a long-term spend that will serve you well for several years. Set a fixed monthly budget — time and/or money — for social media mailings and posts to keep your business top-of-mind.

Remember, we’re shifting your spend to get more bang for your buck – from traditional offline marketing to dynamic online tactics.

By doing it right, eMarketing is sure to pay off!

Top 3 eMarketing Tactics

Top 3 eMarketing Tactics

In a recent session with a potential client, we talked about the various tools and tactics of effective eMarketing. We covered a lot of ground in an hour, so on her way out the door this small business owner turned to me and asked: “If I can focus on only three tactics, what should they be?”

The answer is easy: Plan, Portal, Post.

Start With a Basic Plan

Every business needs a marketing plan even if it’s only one page to start with. Focus on the coming year with an eye to the next two to four. Choose your marketing team, and engage them in a SWOT Analysis — Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Reflect on your goals, target markets, products and services, and the challenges you face building your brand.

Add a 12-month media calendar, and a block budget to track spending. Track your analytics, then update your plan annually to record what works and what you need to change and improve to reap the benefits of a solid strategy.

marketing plan iconSee PAGE 3 to read more about developing your eMarketing Plan >

Invest in a Responsive Website

About 50% of small businesses do not have a website, but it’s the smart entrepreneur who understands the need for an engaging online portal. While the upfront cost can be considerable, think of it as a long-term investment. If you build on a dynamic content management system, your code base should last at least five years.

With the ever-increasing use of mobile devices your portal must be responsive – which means the content reflows to adapt to various screen sizes from desktop through to mobile phone.

Once you launch your portal, remember that websites are organic entities – they must be fed to remain relevant and to increase your chances of rising to the top of various search engines. Make sure your web master optimizes your metadata – better yet, learn how to do the same as you add new content.

website iconSee PAGE 10 to read more about developing an effective website >

Share on Social Media

Social media is a powerful brand builder – statistics show its users are more likely to buy from the businesses they follow than from those they don’t. Determine where your audience gathers based on their interests and relationships, and become an active player in that online hub.

Start with one social media network, scan for problems you can solve, then post meaningful advice. The first step is to earn trust – never overtly oversell. Share original content by linking back to your website whenever you can, but also promote access to relevant online resources that you find useful and engaging.

social media iconSee PAGE 15 for helpful tips on optimizing your social media >

So there you have it: effective eMarketing in three easy steps. Depending on where you are in your brand-building, roll these out in concurrently or focus on one.