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How to Bootstrap Digital Marketing

How to Bootstrap Digital Marketing
February 26, 2019

How to Bootstrap Digital Marketing

Feb 26, 2019
Jennifer Rogina
Jennifer Rogina has been a digital marketing specialist since 2008. During those years she has focused on Pay Per Click Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, and Conversion Rate Optimization.

Hiring a small business marketer these days can feel like looking for a unicorn. You need someone who can write content, update your site, run paid ads, be the voice of your brand on social media, and also a designer. Plus, the digital marketer needs to understand your business and industry.

You've bootstrapped your business and plan to bootstrap your marketing efforts as well. How can you market your brand when you have no marketing experience and a very small budget? This can seem like an impossible task.

We’re going to go over three options you can use to start marketing your small business today.


Option 1: Limit to One Channel and Hire an Expert

Convinced you want to hire a marketer? Stop looking for a unicorn. Decide on one marketing channel to focus on. Then, you’ll have an easier time finding an expert marketer in that field.

My recommendation would be to start with content marketing. Find a copywriter. This is a person that not only writes content but is a storyteller for your brand.

Once you find a copywriter that fits for your brand you can focus on creating blog content. Depending on how much time this person has, you can branch this out to social media. That way the voice of your blog and website is also on your social sites.

The copywriter can also apply their voice to your product pages and the rest of your website.

As your company grows you'll be able to expand to more than one marketing channel. Your copywriter will be essential to every piece. From email campaigns to ad copy you will want to involve your copywriter.


Option 2: Hire Cheap Help and Prepare to Review

If you don’t want to choose only one marketing channel, and you haven’t found a unicorn, then hire cheap help.

You can use services such as Upwork and Fiverr to find marketers to do specific projects for very low cost. You can use these tools to start the conversation. Then if you are happy with the results you can start building a relationship with that person. This can be a tactic to build a team of marketers at a low cost.

The key here will be communication. Be very clear with exactly what you need for each project.

If you take this route make sure to double check the work you receive. You don’t want to run an ad with typo-s, you don’t want to post an inaccurate product description, and you don’t want to add broken links to your website.

Crowdsourced hires don’t have the same level of commitment as local hires. It will be up to you to make sure the marketing content that is being posted matches the voice you want for your brand.


Option 3: Educate Yourself or Employees about Marketing

Instead of adding to your team, what if you or any existing employees start tackling the digital marketing? If there is any extra time among existing business members this is a great solution.

Marketers know marketing, but not your business. If someone who already understands your brand and your industry can take charge of digital marketing, that will provide the best value for your community.

Instead of hunting for the rare digital marketing unicorn, build your own unicorn. It will take some time but you will likely be happier with the end result.

If you’re ready to take digital marketing into your own hands, here are some tactics to get you started.

Start Building an Email List

Even if you have no plan for email campaigns right now, start building your email list. You can create a Mailchimp account for no cost and add an email signup form on your website.

You can either go with a strategy of sign up for our newsletter or you can be stealthier. You can offer content upgrades within your blog. Include simple one page downloadable guides or templates that relate to your article. Then instead of including the download, prompt for an email address then send the content. Create an automated flow that follows up with the user in a week and prompts them to follow you by subscribing to your newsletter.

Another strategy is to create an email course. Instead of advertising your newsletter, advertise for a free course. Towards the end of the course you can prompt the user to subscribe to your newsletter.

You can start trying to build your list even if you don’t have a newsletter! But pay attention, once you start getting users interested and subscribing figure out your plan. You can wait until you have the audience, but once you have it don’t keep them waiting. If you wait too long they’ll forget about you and will consider you spam.


Create a Video Series

YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google. Create a video series to post on YouTube.

Creating video is now easier than ever. You can record video with your phone or you can screen capture your computer to share presentations or software programs. Then, you can edit it directly in YouTube.

Choose a theme that resonates with the audience your brand wants to reach. Post on a regular schedule Take advantage of YouTube features to make it easy for users to subscribe. Add an end screen to your videos that prompts users to subscribe and to view more videos on your channel.


Create Social Profiles But Don’t Get Sucked In

Determine which social networks make sense for your brand and create profiles on those networks. Don’t worry about creating an account on every social network. Instead, create accounts on the networks that make sense for your audience and your business.

Facebook and Twitter are worthwhile for most businesses. LinkedIn is a must if you are a B2B company. If your product or content lends itself well to visuals you may be able to leverage Instagram or Pinterest.

Completely fill out those profiles. If you have content and time to populate those profiles with posts, then do it. But, social media can be very time consuming and you don’t want it to monopolize your time.

The most important part about your social media profiles is to be reachable and listen to your community. When contacted on one of your profiles, make sure to respond. But don’t let social take up all your limited marketing time. 


Create a Routine

When marketing is part of your job, and not your primary focus, it’s more important than ever to create a good routine. A routine will not only allow you to organize your time better but will also help you not to forget a marketing task.

Leveraging a personalized marketing task list tool such as ClearPath Online will support your digital marketing efforts. That way you not only will have a go-to list of marketing tasks but you won’t need to worry about creating your own routine. The system will only provide tasks when you need to do them. This varies depending on the task and your personal history.

Knowing what needs to be done is one problem, but remembering to do each digital marketing task at a regular interval is an entirely different problem. Create a routine that works for you so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to do the digital marketing tasks that will grow your online presence.


Listen to Your Community

Be ready to make iterative changes based on the needs of the users in your community. Don’t tell them what they need, listen to what they want. If your product eliminates a pain point for your audience your digital marketing efforts will be more effective. You’ll convert more customers if your product fits the need of the community.

Not only does listening to your community help fine-tune your product, it’s also the only way for long-term marketing success. You can try to game the system but ultimately Google is trying to provide the best user experience. If you are also trying to provide the best user experience than your website has a better chance of surviving algorithm updates throughout the years.


Start Now and Reassess Later

Whether you choose to keep searching for a unicorn, focus on one channel, hire low cost marketers, or take charge of digital marketing yourself you’ll be off to a great start. Get started marketing your business with the approach that makes the most sense for your business today.

Each option will provide a different learning experience for you. Whether you’re learning how to work with a marketer or learning how to do it yourself this will help you down the road. Even if your long term plan is to hire a marketing team or work with an agency you’ll be better off with at least some knowledge on the topic. This will help you hold others accountable. You’ll also have a better understanding of what results match what level of effort.

As your business evolves your marketing strategy and approach will evolve as well. Choose the option that makes sense to you today and then reassess next year.

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