Small business owners are busy folks; they are often wearing 10 different hats, and they don’t have time to devote themselves to an elaborate marketing strategy or the cash to purchase a system that will do the heavy lifting for them. However, marketing your small business is really important if you want to have control over your growth. It helps you stay front of mind with current customers and engage potential customers, driving people further down your funnel.
At Less Annoying CRM, we get it; we built our marketing strategy from the ground up, too. We started by using free tools, and our marketing team is mostly composed of CRM coaches who work on marketing for just one day a week. For example, I run our newsletter, social media, and content production, and I only focus on these projects about 20% of the time. Given that we know what it’s like to wear a lot of hats, and we also want to make the most of our marketing time, we thought we would share our top 5 tips for efficiently marketing your business without spending extra money. This is a companion piece to a webinar on the same subject; feel free to watch and use this article as a step by step guide!
Taking stock of LACRM’s audience data gave me so many insights as to who we were talking to and what kind of content they wanted from us. It also helped me create targeted email lists so that I could better engage my audience moving forward. Here’s what you need to do:
You can create groups in LACRM under your Manage Groups page.
Total time spent: several minutes per spreadsheet
Need help? Contact LACRM support! We can import your spreadsheets and show you how to group them.
If you’re not willing to spend money, social media probably isn’t worth your focus with marketing right now. Social media platforms want to capture the wealth you create by making you pay for ads; they don’t want you to generate leads for free. Plus, you can’t take your social media followers with you in the same way that you can with email lists or contacts in a CRM. Since social isn’t our ideal platform, we just want to make our company look alive and engaged on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and the like. Here’s how we do that:
You can schedule posts in Buffer for multiple sites at once, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Total time spent: 30 minutes setting up your account and scheduling posts out for a week or two.
Need help? Buffer has a great blog with social media how-tos, free email courses, and even webinars. This is what I read when I need social media advice.
While social media isn’t the best tool to focus on when you don’t want to spend time or money, I’m going to make a case for email marketing. Email marketing is worth focusing on for a few reasons: you have direct access to someone’s inbox (something most of us check every day), you can take your list with you wherever you go, and it’s still your most effective conversion tool. Here’s how you can invest in email marketing without too much time or money:
You'll want to sync one LACRM group with one list in MailChimp; lists and groups don't have to have the same name to sync!
Total time spent: 1 hour; syncing takes just a few seconds, but creating your campaign will take longer. You can save time by using premade templates; since I started using templates and planning out my content in advance, it only takes me 15-30 minutes to put each email together.
In order to make the most effective content you can, we recommend learning about your content funnel, otherwise known as TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU. That stands for top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel, and it explains what kinds of content your leads need at different stages in the funnel. If you’re not sure what that means or what kinds of content your leads will need, check out this quick explanation of your content funnel. Once you understand what your funnel looks like, let’s start to build it from the bottom up:
Here's a snapshot of LACRM's content funnel!
Total time spent: 2-3 hours, depending on how long it takes you to come up with content ideas and put pen to paper. Since your writing and analyzing time is built into your schedule, it’s important to stick to it and not double book yourself with meetings or other work.
Need help? If you’re having trouble coming up with BOFU ideas, talk to your customers. Make a habit of keeping track of the questions customers have, and use them for future blog posts. Check out this post about building feedback-gathering into your business so that you always have content ideas!
Testing your marketing strategy is the only way to know if what you are doing is working. Since we’re focusing on email marketing at the moment, let’s talk about how to test your email marketing strategy (although this kind of testing can be applied to just about every aspect of your business):
MailChimp lets you A/B test subject lines, from name, campaign content, and send time.
Total time spent: 1-2 hours. Analyzing your data and learning about A/B testing will take the most amount of time; once everything is scheduled, you just have to make sure you stick to running the A/B tests!
Need help? Feel free to email me at [email protected]! I’d be happy to share some A/B testing advice. Plus, MailChimp has tons of articles and tutorials on using their program for A/B testing.