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Marketing on a Small Budget: 10 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

When you’re marketing on a small budget, you need to find ways to get creative. Not everyone has the pleasure of managing a million-dollar marketing budget, but marketing on a small budget can be just as effective — if not more — when done correctly.

As a business owner, how do you determine which marketing activities will bring in the highest number of leads for the lowest cost? You can get the biggest bang for your marketing buck by following a few tips:

Know your audience

The key to spending your marketing budget effectively is knowing your target. The more specific your audience is, the more likely you are to reach someone genuinely interested in your product or service.

Enhance your social media presence

Social media is one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing. To attract your customers, make sure your posts are fun and engaging. Consider boosting your posts to reach a targeted set of people.

Publish great content

Create a company blog. Positioning your business as a thought leader in the industry is a free and effective way to increase the number of prospects visiting your website.

Make your website SEO friendly

One of the single most important components of any organization’s online marketing presence is a solid SEO strategy. An SEO-friendly website will help ensure you appear in search results and drive traffic to your website.

Rank in Google with Google AdWords

The best way to guarantee you’ll appear in search results is with Google AdWords. With a Google AdWords campaign, you can control your advertising costs and easily measure the success of a campaign.

Don’t forget about traditional marketing

Traditional marketing methods are still as effective as digital. Consider sending an eye-catching postcard or carefully written personal letter to your prospects. Include a call-to-action to entice people to connect.

Build relationships with email marketing

With email marketing, you can engage prospects and maintain relationships with your existing customers. Develop a monthly newsletter and include success stories from existing customers.

Develop a referral program

Word of mouth is always the best and most cost-effective way to promote your business. Encourage customers to share their experience with friends and family and reward them for their loyalty. Don’t be afraid to ask for online reviews.

Make your employees brand ambassadors

Your employees are your No. 1 asset. A well-defined company culture that’s inclusive and empowering increases employee satisfaction, creating brand ambassadors who are thoroughly engaged, connected and committed to your company.

Analyze and adjust

Not every marketing tactic works for every company. Analyzing your marketing efforts and adjusting your tactics ensures you’re spending your budget effectively.

Even if your marketing budget is small, it can still be powerful. Get the most out of your budget by taking the time to create the perfect marketing mix for your company. Like they say — sometimes less is more!

Does your business need help developing a marketing strategy that won’t break the bank? Contact the marketing experts at GREENCREST today to get started!


Key Trends to Watch for in 2018

While it can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of changing technology, business owners should pay attention to the certain technological trends that are quickly taking root and promise to change the way businesses operate.

If you pay attention to the buzzwords, you’ll be hearing a lot more in the coming year about automation, Artificial Intelligence and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools.


The biggest growth in technology will likely come in the areas of automation, whether that automation comes in the form of bots, self-service check-out stations, robots or autonomous vehicles.

If you’ve eaten out lately, you might find that you can place your order and pay for it without ever talking to a waiter. Many fast-food outlets are investing in automated kiosks allowing customers to place an order, pay for it and then pick it up at the counter when their number is called. Big-box retailers are experimenting with scanners that shoppers can carry with them throughout the store. The scanner tallies up the purchases as the shoppers go through the store, and then the customer just has to visit a kiosk to pay for the purchases at the end.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is helping boost efficiency in some industries. Augmedix, for example, has invested in Google Glasses for its doctors to wear during a patient’s employment. During the appointment, via live streaming through the Google Glasses, the doctor is interacting with a human transcriber who is taking notes and updating the patient’s chart in real time. This advancement, according to Augmedix, has freed up the doctors to spend more time with the patients and less time updating the electronic health care charts.

When he recently spoke to a group of Columbus business owners at a First Merchants Bank event, Gene Marks — a public speaker and frequent contributor to The Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine — talked about the importance of bots in reaching customers. Have you ever had your pharmacy call you to alert you that it was time to reorder a prescription? That bot is merely a software program that is using messaging to carry out a task that will ultimately lead the customer to a human who can help them. The bot is connected to the business’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, another technology that Marks says business owners should fully embrace.


A good CRM can do three things for a business:

  • It will ensure that no prospects fall through the cracks.
  • It will make you look smart, because it can provide lots of detailed, unique information about your customers.
  • It will increase the value of your business. In the Big Data world in which we live, the information in your CRM — names, detailed information, phone numbers email addresses — is worth money and can raise the price that someone is willing to pay for your business.

What’s important for businesses owners to remember as you embrace all of this technology is that there is no substitute for the human touch in customer relations. Automation, AI and CRMs can take care of many tasks. But when it’s time to have a conversation with a customer — whether it’s a retailer taking care of a 70-year-old customer who doesn’t know how to use the self-check-out counter or a manufacturing plant trying to sell a $500,000 part to another business — that is a conversation best left to humans and not robots.


When Opportunity Knocks, Be Sure Your Brand Value is Ready

Brand Value

As a business owner, you want to be as prepared as possible should someone come courting to buy your business or for when you are ready to sell it. There is a lot of preparation involved and much of that advice comes from attorneys, lenders, financial planners and brokers on how to position your company to achieve the best multiple.

But don’t forget the marketing side of that equation: How well you are known in the marketplace, your company reputation, proprietary trade names or processes all adds value at the end of the day.  It factors into how well you played the game of business while it was under your leadership. This equates to brand value. For companies such as Coca-Cola, Apple, Google and Starbucks, brand value trumps book value by leaps and bounds.

So how do you get your business value to increase based on your brand value? Great question. It starts with winning in mind. Every industry has a multiple average. Brand value represents the multiple that can be attributed to future sales generated from brand loyalty. Your company can fall on either side of that industry average. Your goal from a marketing perspective should be focused on scoring an above average rating and to be considered best in class in order to increase your potential multiple. It is easier to be average today and harder to be exceptional at what you do. How can you be exceptional?

Know What It Takes to Be in the Lead

Be proactive rather than reactive. When you rethink best practices, you stop reacting to the market and start shaping it. Have a keen understanding of what makes your company different. Understand how your product or service offering is different from what is available in the market. Understand why what you are offering is important to potential customers. Ask them. Why should they choose your company? Address core needs that are overlooked by everyone else in your market space. Lead somewhere exceptional. Own the mind share.

 Look Like the Leader

Start by investing in your business. Do an inventory of your marketing and how you measure up to others in the industry. Do you look like the leader? Your online marketing should be solid, including an up-to-date website that is competitive and well-optimized to compete online. You should have a strategy for generating and tracking online leads, and, if possible, know what share of online opportunities you receive.

How do you present your products or services? Do you create a memorable experience or just appear like a “me, too?” Are your trade publications regularly including your company in editorial coverage? Build brand assets by naming and trademarking your processes. This allows you to be the only one in your industry that can offer the iPhone® or iPad®, or proprietary ingredients, or own the search algorithms, or loyalty club that has millions of members.

Act Like a Leader

Operationalize your unique brand position. Build an internal and external culture that breeds brand ambassadors. Create processes around what it takes to deliver first-in-class service. Communicate with passion and ad nauseam what the company brand stands for and why it is important to assure brand clarity, educate and inspire all employees to live the brand. Also, keep customers and their needs a top priority. Figure out what it will take to earn a customer’s trust and business for life. Then hang on to those customers for dear life.

At the time of sale on the balance sheet, these are all considered intangible assets. These intangible assets have been known to push the value of your company 30 to 70 percent beyond book value. So, while it does take some initial investment, the return can be greater than investments in tangible assets such as real estate, inventory, equipment and the like. Focusing on the intangible assets may make more sense, both practically and economically. Investing in building brand value can produce nice rewards when your time comes to cash in on your business investment.


Embrace the negative… keywords, that is

By: Kelly Borth

As the owner of a Google Partner marketing agency, my digital team has taught me to love and embrace the negative … keywords, that is.

By now, many smart business leaders are familiar with keywords and search engine optimization or SEO. But not many are aware of negative keywords. What are they, and why do they matter?

Keywords vs. negative keywords

Keywords are words or phrases that are relevant to your business. They are words that people use when searching for your product and/or service on the Internet. When marketers identify the relevant keywords that are used most often in online searches, they strategically add them to your website and online advertising campaign. That way your website will show up in search results.

Negative keywords are words or phrases that get added to your campaign to prevent your online ads from showing up on the search results page when a search is not relevant to you. Negative keywords are like bouncers: They help filter out who will see your ads and who won’t, depending on what people are searching.

The benefits of being negative

There are many ways you can use negative keywords to help improve your campaign performance.

  1. Add names of products or services you do not offer.
  2. Add terms or adjectives that don’t describe your product well. For example, if your company focuses on quality more than competitive pricing, you might include “cheap” or “discount” as a negative keyword. Therefore, if someone searches for “cheap” your ads will not display.
  3. Add negative keywords that don’t apply directly to the goal of your advertising campaign. By adding terms such as “job,” you prevent your ads from displaying when someone searches for a job in your industry.
  4. Use negative keywords to help ensure your most relevant ads display for the right search terms. For example, you might have multiple ad groups promoting different products. When people click an ad, they go to that specific web page on your website. Therefore, it would be a good precaution to add negative keywords that would describe alternative products you offer to lead people to the right part of your website.
  5. Use negative keywords to filter out pop-culture references. Sometimes, you might have a keyword that is the title of a popular movie or song. It’s important to add negative keywords that prevent your ad from displaying for popular, but irrelevant, searches.

The more negative, the better

It is a good practice to add more negative keywords to better optimize your campaign over time. Many search advertising platforms such as Google AdWords have a report where you can see the actual search terms people are using to find your ads. When viewing this report, you may find that some search terms people have used are not at all relevant. It would be a good idea to add those terms as negative keywords.

Are you looking to add digital marketing to your marketing strategy, or enhance an existing AdWords campaign? GREENCREST can help! Contact the experts at GREENCREST today.


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