It always amazes me.
So many social enterprises, ‘green’ businesses and more-than-profit companies with little or next to nothing in the way of marketing budget.
Yet they expect to be on Google’s Page #1.
They simply don’t understand the problem they’re facing.
There’s no doubt we are living in amazing times. The Internet has significantly lowered the cost of starting and maintaining a social enterprise. And, of course, social media has made it relatively easy to connect with people all over the world.
But ~ with everyone and his brother out there telling his story and selling their stuff, it’s harder now than ever to market your Cause ~ especially if you’re a small social enterprise with no money for marketing.
Two important changes have to happen, if you want to be successful online.
Tight budgets no longer work
The signal-to-noise ratio makes it very difficult to stand out, even for uniquely talented individuals. And that’s just as true for a major corporate brand with a £5,000 a day keyword habit.
Marketing today is confusing, chaotic, and constantly changing. And what worked yesterday may not work today. Google, for example, now changes the way its algorithm works over 500 times a year.
For more years than I care to remember, I’ve prided myself on getting results despite having to work with tight budgets. I’m a small business owner, too. I know what it takes to make the decision to spend money on a custom-built website versus putting that money back into your family, your house or other endeavours. I’ve always had fair pricing ~ I’m not out to gouge anyone.
But first thing to learn is ~ tight budgets no longer work.
Effective marketing takes time, it takes consistency, and it takes money. Winning strategies and talented individuals don’t come cheap.
So what’s the answer?
Well, for a small social enterprise to succeed today, a couple of mind-shifts have to occur.
First, it begins with realising the game has changed. I’m sorry to say this, but you’re not going to get on page one of Google with a monthly marketing spend of £500 or even £1,500 a month. Just as sure as you won’t generate leads by letting your site sit neglected month after month.
The second shift is this very important realisation.
Marketing is an asset ~ not an expense.
Effective marketing is an asset ~ not an expense.
It’s an asset because marketing is all about investment in building relationships, which happens way before a sales conversation is even considered.
And you need to protect, nurture and grow that investment over time.
When I look at my own personal budget: far more money goes into my biggest asset ~ my house ~ than anything else. This is because my house sustains me and my partner.
It’s the same for marketing. Inbound Marketing, which used to be the poor relation to Sales, now does the lion’s share of building those relationships that pave the way to endless supporters, donors and paying customers.
So once you understand that ~ and you begin to see marketing as an asset ~ next thing is, you’ll realise your budget has to grow. You’ll realise you have to invest more if you want it to be worth more. Then, the more you invest the more you can expect to your asset to increase, until it’s actually producing the return on investment you need.
Now you’ll understand why you can’t put the minimum into a ‘bargain basement’ website ~ then expect stellar results. Well you can, but you’ll be disappointed. You’ll begin to understand why you need compete with an amazing website design and content that fascinates and attracts your audience.
To be constantly creating remarkable, actionable web content is a crucial part of successful online marketing. For most people, website content writing means hiring professional writers who can create content for you, because ~ let’s face it ~ you don’t have the time or the specialised expertise to do it yourself.
And when you finally do call someone who has effective marketing know-how and a solid track record, it will mean you won’t be surprised when that person has to charge money, to help you develop your asset and get you the results you want.
Its either that, or you don’t succeed.
And from where I sit ~ observing what dozens of organisations do online, every day ~ it really is that cut and dried.
But what are your thoughts on marketing budgets? How do you decide what’s enough and what is too much to pay? I would like to hear how you decide how you allocate money to generating effective marketing in your organisation.