Step into my time machine.
I’m going to turn the clock back twenty years, and give you some advice for building your very own big brand for your business. Ready?
First, Let’s Create an Ad Campaign
We’ll need to create a “brand awareness” campaign for your company. We’re going to start with a perfect vehicle for advertising: your local newspaper.
Here’s your budget:
- $4500 for the “creative,” which includes copywriting, artwork and a photo shoot (this is 1992, so prices are cheap compared to today)
- $7500 for the ad buy. We’ll be running a quarter page ad in your local newspaper, five times a month over six months.
- $99/month for the 800 number you’ll run in the ad
- $350/month to pay the answering service to field the calls that come in
TOTAL: $14,694 over six months
Next, We’ll Do Direct Mail
Then, we’ll need to get you into some mailboxes. Direct mail is the best way to search for prospects and let them know about your offerings. We’ll be doing a three-part campaign with postcards.
- $5000 for the creative including copywriting, and artwork (we’ll use the photos from the newspaper photo shoot)
- $11,250 to print 15,000 postcards. They’re full color, so they’ll be 75 cents each. Color is expensive!
- $450 to print and apply mailing labels
- $2850 to mail postcards at 19 cents each.
I know it seems like a lot of money, but you’ll be able to reach 5000 people, three times! And you’ll have room for about 500 words. That’s plenty, isn’t it?
We can expect a 2% conversion rate, so you may get up to 100 new prospects. Wow!
Then, You’ll Need to Attend Some Trade Shows
We’ve got to get you onto the trade show circuit. That’s where the deals are made!
We’ll start out easy: just three this year.
- $7,250 for a custom booth. That includes artwork, banners and signage.
- $1,600 to reserve your space at each of the three trade shows
- $3,200 for airfare, hotels and restaurant expenses
GRAND TOTAL: $49,594
For less than $50,000, you’ll get your brand in front of:
- 25,000 readers of your local newspaper
- 5,000 residents of your region
- 6,000 bleary-eyed trade show attendees
Isn’t that just great?*
*(She says, dripping with sarcasm).
Fast Forward to Today
Now, let’s look at your options for creating a brand awareness campaign today.
The smart way to do it? Share content that is helpful, valuable and remarkable. Make your brand the trustworthy authority in your field.
Spread the word about your business with these tools:
Want to reach beyond your local community? In 1992, you would have had to create a national advertising campaign that would have cost you much, much more than the local campaign outlined above.
Now, for $100 (or less!) you can reach out to the world. Share great information, be a solid resource, and make sure you hold onto those prospects by gathering their names on a mailing list (see below).
Building an email list of interested prospects is one of the best (and least expensive) ways to reach a targeted group of people.
When prospects sign up to your list, they’re volunteering to hear from you. If they stay on your list, they’re still interested.
Hold their interest by offering useful information over time. When they’re ready to buy, your business will be the first one they think of.
What will you offer in exchange for that email address? Well, a downloadable PDF ebook is an excellent place to start.
There’s a lot to love about PDF ebooks. They’re cross-platform compatible, easy to share and you can put them together over a long weekend.
They’re a perfect vehicle for nurturing prospects. You can share useful information in exchange for an email address, for example. You can create special reports, buyer’s guides, helpful checklists, worksheets, and more.
No matter what others may say, I’m here to tell you that social media isn’t free. Oh sure, you can sign up for free, and maintain your account at no cost.
But you pay with your time. Not just the time you spend posting and updating all your social media outlets, but the time you spend getting yourself back on task after each social media distraction.
I’m all for using it, but plan out what you’ll say, how often and where. Be strategic about it so you make the most of its power.
I’d Never Go Back, Would You?
My design studio was founded in 1992. I remember the days when marketing your business was completely out of reach for many small business owners.
That’s one of the reasons I started the Big Brand System. I know what it’s like to bootstrap your way through your business marketing, and I want to share all I’ve learned in my 25 years as a designer and marketing consultant so your business marketing is easier, more effective, and more fun!
Thankfully, we have many more options today than we did back then. I wouldn’t step into that time machine for all the marketing budgets in the world, would you?
Question of the Week
What’s your favorite bootstrapper’s marketing technique? Share it in the comments!