Are you focused on zero budget marketing?

It sounds too good to be true…effectively and powerfully promoting your business without spending a single penny on marketing. But any company in any sector regardless of their size can do it.

Love the idea of reducing or completely eliminating your marketing budget and generating leads and sales without having to commit significant time and money? Well the truth is any company can do this if they stopped focusing on their marketing tactics and instead focused on their core marketing fundamentals.

Most business owners and businesses, regardless of their size and how long they have been around, do what approximately 99% of other businesses around the world do, which is jump straight into marketing activities to promote their service or product. These marketing tactics typically include the following:

  • Advertising
  • Social media activity
  • Networking
  • Sponsorships

They believe that just been seen ‘out there’ will generate the sales they want, and there is no doubt that potential customers having awareness of your business is absolutely essential if you want to make sales. However, what is almost always overlooked is the time and money invested to do this, and the generally very poor return on investment (ROI) that these activities deliver.

But the activities themselves aren’t the problem. After all, we probably all know businesses that seem to thrive thanks to their marketing activities and tactics (but in reality, most of these businesses also have a very poor marketing ROI and wish they could slash their marketing costs).

The real issue

The problem is that virtually every business starts or undertakes marketing activities without first being clear about their core messages and their core customer benefits. They believe that simply promoting their business name and the ‘functional’ services they provide is all that’s needed to win sales and grow.

They think a simple list of their services or products is enough to prosper and that their marketing should be all about what they offer rather than what’s in it for the client. To put it simply, it’s all about them instead of all about the customer.

Those businesses and business people who feel they don’t need to change the way they are doing their marketing should think carefully about long-term customer loyalty and how different their service offering really is compared to their competitors (or more accurately, how differently their service offering is being promoted compared to their competition).

Sadly in many cases, a business’s company name and logo in their marketing (be this online or off) could be completely replaced by one of their competitors without the customer knowing any different (because the businesses’ services or products are being promoted in exactly the same way).

Change your focus

To stop spending money unnecessarily on marketing, you need to stop what you’re doing now and change your focus.

Instead of concentrating on marketing activities and tactics that underdeliver, focus on the five core (and essential) elements of your ‘Pre-Marketing’ position that when you get right, will generate leads and sales without you having to spend any money on marketing (the term ‘Pre-Marketing’ is used because you need clarity on these five areas before you do any marketing or you risk wasting valuable time and money. What’s more, once you’re clear on these areas, they will form the basis of all the marketing you’ll ever do, saving you valuable time and money in the future and delivering a far greater return on investment than ever before).

The five areas of focus are:

  1. Your unique selling point (USP) – how your business, service, or product is different from your competitors
  2. Your customer benefits – the customer problems you solve
  3. Your value offering – the valuable extras you provide your customers
  4. Your strapline – the short form of words or phrase that powerfully gets across what you do or your values
  5. Your core messages – the key facts and statements about your business that you want potential customers to always remember.

Think ‘outside-in’ not ‘inside-out’

In developing these five key elements, it is vital that you think from a customer’s perspective rather than your own.

But a common and understandable problem many business leaders have in trying to do this is that they are just too close to their business to see it as an independent potential customer does. No matter how hard they try, they struggle to take an outside-in rather than an insider-out view because of their in-depth knowledge and experience of the business.

To get a truly impartial and powerful view that will transform how they market themselves, they need an independent third-party who understands customers and audiences. They should be able to provide the clarity needed and clearly outline each of the five key elements necessary for the business to effectively promote themselves regardless of their marketing budget (or lack of it).

The promise of zero budget marketing

Businesses that get their pre-marketing elements right find that they are viewed very differently by their potential customers and in a far better light than their competitors. Their potential buyers understand clearly why they should use them and what the benefits to them are of doing so.

And because the business is focused on those things that resonate and mean the most to customers, they quickly find they are being recommended and referred to others, generating new sales without spending hundreds or thousands of pounds on marketing.

Being distinctive and standing out against competitors also makes the business memorable, and being remembered is essential in developing a prosperous and growing sales pipeline.

Achieving consistent business success and growth without spending money on marketing is absolutely real and possible, and has worked (and is being achieved daily) by a number of businesses of all sizes around the world.

But don’t think this means there isn’t any value in paid-for marketing activities too; they can be incredibly useful in raising awareness of your business but (and it’s a big but) make sure that before you spend any money on marketing, you’re crystal clear on the five elements of your Pre-Marketing position and are seeing your service or product as a potential customer does.

Zero budget marketing is in your grasp; you just need to ensure you’ve got your marketing fundamentals right first.

Arup Biswas
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Arup Biswas

Arup is a former national newspaper journalist with more than 20 years’ experience in the media sector, including as a national press officer and spokesman for Oxfam. Thanks to this, and his experience in senior operations and strategy roles for national and international organisations, he has an in-depth and unique understanding of customers and audiences. As a copywriting and pre-marketing specialist he creates high impact and engaging content and custom fixed-priced pre-marketing position reports for organisations of all sizes and from all sectors. With this in place, organisations find their marketing activities are transformed and deliver a far greater return on investment than ever before.