Ready to discover how Lloyd & I would market a brand new business and drive sales with minimal budget?
In this episode, we chew the fat and get into some deep, insightful, strategic discussions. We also dissect Lloyd’s approach to buying gardening tools & how we would market to him which gets pretty meta.
Prepare to listen to a bunch of great, low-budget Marketing ideas!
00:00 – 03:20 Intro
03:21 – 04:37 Taking time to develop a strategy (steps to consider)
04:38 – 07:01 Step 1: Who is it you're trying to convince to do something?
07:02 – 09:19 Step 2: What's it going to cost you to market this product or service?
09:20 – 10:32 Step 3: How are you going to execute on those platforms to attract new customers?
10:33 – 11:29 Step 4: Be clever with your copywriting.
11:30 – 14:30 Gardening Business Example from Lloyd.
14:31 – 28:50 What we would do if we were starting a new business.
28:51 – 29:10 Outro
10 Ways To Market A New Business With Minimal Budget
Hi, Pat the podcast editor here. How do you stop or restart a successful business without the budget? But this week, Dan and Lloyd discuss what they would change if they had to start over on a shoestring.
Look for inspiration from the people that have done this. What are Gym Sharks doing to reach new customers? So a business like that's grown crazily over the last few years, finding parts of really successful businesses and emulating that.
from knowing your market to the way you can reach the most people for free. You'll hear about actionable steps that you can apply to your business, whatever the level, you're at.
The type of thing I've seen on tick tock that really pops in the kind of creative world is a video showing the process of creating your product, the opportunity to reach 1000s and 1000s of people for free is massive on that.
Right. Let's get stuck in notepads at the ready. This is episode 97 of the business anchors podcast.
If we were to start a brand-new business today but had a minimal budget. What would you do to drive revenue and build this brand? Dan?
That's a good question. A whole range of things that we're probably going to discuss in this podcast episode, I would have thought.
Hopefully. So I'd be so excited to I don't know why I, I would feel excited to like start again. And like building a business from nothing.
We've even spoken about this before. So you know, when the pandemic hit and everything and no one knew what was going on. And we thought our business could go to nothing, we both honestly looked at each other and said to each other. If our business completely goes to nothing, which hopefully it doesn't, we're both confident that we can build something else together.
And I think it's because of all of the lessons we've learned along the way. It's not like because we're brilliant, it's because we've made lots of mistakes and learned how to do things well and not so well. And all of those experiences led us to where we are today. And hopefully, in this podcast, we're going to share kind of what we do, knowing what we know now. And I also think, because of talking about the pandemic, lots of people, it’s kind of careers have been shaken up.
Lots of people have started businesses. And also, lots of people probably don't have a massive budget to start a new business. I thought this is a good kind of episode to talk about.
Also, can I give a shout out to a business that I think has done this? Shout out to the pot gang.
Is it to do with gardening?
Yes, it's a business local to hear that started, like, a subscription for vegetable seeds? Because people are gardening more and stuff. And they I saw recently and they've been really creative on social when they've looked at like these cartoon veg, like for each of the different characters and stuff.
I think it's really cool. And then recently hiring for like more positions and stuff. And it seems like they're doing really well. I just think it's a good example, of how this can be done and how you can use creativity. And, and like clever ways to market. Yeah, to grow your business. But anyway, shout out pot gang. Yeah, check them out. I think on Instagram, they've probably got the most stuff pot gang and you're into growing veg.
So I want us to this is a bit of a different episode, because I'm quite excited to talk about this as well. I want us to actually both have a bit of a discussion and think about if we were starting a business today with a minimal budget, and what the kind of process would look like. So can I start? So if I was starting a business today, with a minimal budget, the first thing I do would be to really spend time, which is what I have, because I have time, not a massive budget.
Looking at developing a strategy. First of all, I think this is the first kind of hurdle that a lot of businesses make a mistake with is just, we're starting a business, let's just dive in. And let's sign up for every social media account. And let's start creating content. And let's do this and that. And without any clear direction. It's just let's just do everything people get excited about, which is we would.
Yeah, I'd be exactly the same. And I am just thinking about it. But people just get excited and start doing stuff. And in reality, so much of that time is wasted effort. And moment, as Dan said, what you have is a time when you start out. So that time is really valuable. And it's really vital. You use it on the things that are gonna get you the most return for your investment of that time.
Yeah. And when it comes to coming up with that strategy, there are a few key really key areas I'd focus on. So starting out the kind of key thing to think about is who is it you're trying to convince to do something? Who is it you're trying to convince to buy your product or sign up for your service? I'm sorry I just burped.
Um, so I don't just mean like, what's their age? What gender? Are they? Where do they live? Really spend some time thinking about it? What do these people actually give a shit about? What are they talking about with their friends, when they pick the kids up from school? What kind of TV shows are they watching? What interests do they have? What kind of language do they use? Because then you can start to work backwards and actually build a strategy that's targeted to the people you actually want to draw in rather than just a generic strategy.
Can I add something to that as well, that's slightly outside of marketing, but vital for your business not to fail as well. At this stage, when you're working this stuff out and putting a strategy together, work out like if my business went well, I'd have this many customers, they'd be paying this much for this, and work out that the finances actually add up. Because I've had experiences over the years where people have asked my advice, and then I've seen them go on to, to kind of start their business.
And they failed, because actually, the math never added up as a really good plan, it's like, they would have had to sell like 1000 hours of their services, but it's only them each month, but it's only then working and there are not 1000 working hours in that month. Yeah. And it's kind of, it's really, it's sad with that sort of thing. Because if they had just done the calculation at the start, it would have stopped them from losing money and all that time going into the idea.
So it might mean that you adapt what you're doing or the pricing, you're planning to go ahead with all the products that you're selling. So really vital at this stage, like, oh, I'm selling five-pound products, I can sell this many a month, and that will make me this much money. And if that covers your costs or your small team's costs, and then there's a profit, then it's like, great, let's move forward with this plan. If it shows a loss, then go back to the drawing board before you go into your marketing strategy, Does any of that work out that it's actually going to make money at some point?
Yeah, that's a really good point. And also make sure you're when you're working out, you're allocating like, the cost of acquisition. So what's the cost? What's it gonna cost you to market this product or service to actually get customers rather than just what's it cost to make? Because you need that as well? And the time that you need to invest to do that? So yeah, so we've got we've spoken about the who the next thing would be what? So what platforms are these people using? Where do they consume information? Once you understand who you're targeting, and who you want to buy your product and service? Where do they go to consume information? And the reason you really need to know that is that this is a way of working backwards to map out a marketing strategy in the places where these people actually spend time.
It's pointless if you're someone who manufactures paper, and you're thinking, I'm going to have this thing on Twitter, and I'm going to sell it through Twitter or through Etsy. But no one goes on Twitter that's in your target market, or no one goes on Etsy to look for paper, it's not going to work. So really start to think about where these people actually spend time and there are a few ways you can do that. One is actually going and speaking to them.
So like doing focus groups, or, you know, if you haven't got any budgets at all, think about your friends and family in your network, who in your friends, family and network are in that target market that you can send a nice message to and say, Hi, Dave, I know you're my cousin's friend, but you're the kind of person we want to sell our product to. Where do you actually go when you're looking for gardening tools? Or do you use TikTok? Or are you on LinkedIn much?
Yeah. gardening tip to Huntington. Good. Yeah, there you go. My favourite things. When,
Where do you go to look for gardening stuff? A serious question, Lloyd.
I'm actually thinking, does it matter? But so if I was a gardening brand?
Weirdly, yeah, gardening tools are one of the only things that I go somewhere in person to a physical location. Interesting. And that's because I go to buy plants. Yeah. And then they're there conveniently, and I can see them and be like, Oh, I'll get that. Whereas almost everything else I buy online. Very interesting for our listeners. Yeah. Anyway, about might gardening. So we should talk about gardening some more?
No, no, we're fine. That's fine. I think they get the example.
No, no, honestly, I can.
Honestly, we're fine. So we've got you've, you've mapped out the who you've mapped out the what, then it's the how, how are you going to execute on those platforms to attract new customers? So if you've if you found out that Dave, the gardener, goes to a store like Lloyd to buy his gardening products, as part of your marketing strategy, what can you do to get in store in front of Dave when he's looking for a market for gardening tools so that you can be a potential gardening tool that he would buy? You know, you could reach out to smaller local gardening centres and sort of say, Oh, can we have a stall there?
Yeah. Well, what can you do? To convince me that I don't need to go to the store. So What content do I need to see? Yeah, this, you know, because actually, my main thing, I was like, I hold the tools, and I can tell they're strong and stuff, if you can show me content that is like, we're hitting this tool with a hammer, and we made an elephant stand on it, and it still works. That's probably enough for me.
Maybe not using an elephant bit cruel.
No, not an elephant, I put a heavy rock on. And you know, and then that gives me what I need to not have to go in the store.
And also, I think something you can be really clever with. And again, this doesn't cost a huge amount of money, is clever with your copywriting to really speak to Dave. So that using this weird example that we've just made up on the spot, Dave, the gardener who goes in the store, you could create copy for social that's like, do you usually go in store to buy your tools? Because you're concerned whether they're strong enough, and whether they're whatever reasons you do that followed? And then that will draw Dave in? And then you can be like, well, you don't need to do that. You can save 20% by buying it through our store. And we've got videos with rocks on them showing that they're durable.
Yeah. I think the copy could be, it could say, did you know our tools are 20% cheaper and 40% stronger than the ones in the store? I mean, look at this rock on this one.
The Rock on the tool? if that would actually work?
Well, I'm just saying from Dave's point of view.
What would? What would in honesty, because I'd be interested if we had a gardening business, what would you need someone to see someone doing a video to show you that it's strong enough or whatever that you want to see to prove that you would normally do like tap it on something? Or?
Or what would I need? But I do think it would be something more extreme than I would ever do with it. Right? So if it's a thing to be like, Yeah, I'm gonna dig through concrete with it by whacking it against it, or like finding something that's normally very durable, and destroying it with it, because it's so strong.
It's like, have you seen that really famous ad? Where there's a big tank of water? And it's like the tape and he like slaps it on the hole.
There's a tiny bit of tape on this like tsunami, basically. Oh, yeah, I wonder if that actually works. If it does.
I think this is a really good point, actually, in terms of going into a bit more detail, a type of content you can create to overcome objections that can be used on the product pages of your website, or for social media and that kind of thing.
Another one of my objections would be now how negative or positive the effect on the planet is from that. So my purchasing decisions, at my point in life, how much money I have, and my values are, I want to find something that I can use for the next 20 years that isn't going to break.
And that also hasn't been made by, you know, like children being paid two pence an hour. So it's, you know, you create content around, you know, how is this manufactured? Why is it better for the planet than the ones I'm driving down the road to the shop floor?
This is like, this is really making me think you know, you mentioned a key thing, a strategy is understanding the who imagine how valuable it would be to an actual gardening company to speak to someone like you, who is you're not, I mean, like, yeah, all of this really detailed info you're providing is so valuable for the marketer from that gardening company.
So many businesses don't ask any questions like this. Yeah. It's kind of they tell you what they want to tell you. Yeah. Not what actually you need to take the decision to buy.
It's making me think literally going through this that this is really valuable. From your marketing perspective. Okay, so. So that's the broad kind of way I've looked at this strategy, keeping it simple, the who, the what, in terms of where they are, and when they spend where they spend their time? And then how are you going to execute on those platforms. And, again, you've got no budget, so you need to do this for free.
There are tonnes of websites and resources and things like if you're looking to learn everything about social media marketing, social media examiner.com. If you're looking at content marketing in general Content Marketing Institute is a great website. There are loads of YouTubers and creators that show you how to use all these platforms. So you utilise those free resources online to learn that how bit because you need to use the time you have because you don't have the budget, obviously.
So in terms of what we would do, if we had we're starting a new business, there are a few things I've I've thought about, there's a few things I thought okay, let's start with you. Let's start with what what what kind of things would you do.
I would do unscalable one on one conversations. So if you've got a massive business, it's very hard to do this. But if you're starting out, and you've got time, it can be I think it can be crazily effective. So This is something you can do depending on your business, you can do this in person with people, or you can do this on social messaging, with people commenting on things. But having, say I own a cafe that I'm opening up, and it's just me and my wife, and we're the only ones working in that we haven't got any team yet or anything like that.
What we can do when a customer comes in, we can have detailed conversations to try and maximise how much they'll spend with our business in the future, and how many people they'll tell about our business. And this isn't something you can do when you have a hugely busy cafe. And you're really busy, and you've got a big business. But when you're quiet, and you're starting out, you can say someone comes in from the business across the road, that business has 55 employees, 55 potential customers, I would be telling that person, oh, yeah, we're a local couple, we've just started this cafe, we're really trying to get more people to eat locally, that is something we feel strongly about, and we're trying to create better quality food, then, you know, like McDonald's down the road and stuff, we want to provide really great quality and great tasting food. And then give them an opportunity, like give them something to reason to tell other people about it.
Oh, and by the way, if you're from that business owners road, tell everyone their first coffee they have they can have a half price, or they can have it for free, give them a reason to say oh, by the way, all of us get half price coffees over there the first time we go, I think when your business is bigger, you don't have time to keep having these conversations. But when it's small, if it's an online business, it can be that one, it can be DMS saying to people, Oh, I've seen you're really interested in this. You've created this great thing in your garden. I love how many cucumbers you've grown.
I'm doing this business. I've just started out with my wife making these tools. But have a look if you can, yeah, I think you can't scale that. But at this stage, you can invest a lot of time in that and it can have a massive effect. I love that. That's a really good one. Have you got one that's just as good? Even better?
Well, maybe my starting point for this. So got no budget, but need to bring in new business for my new business. I'd look at how other people have done this really effectively to get inspiration. So for example, one of the ones that really pops to mind whenever I think about brands that have really grown dramatically with minimal budget Thursday is the dating app. So it's Thursday is basically a dating app where I think you only use it on a Thursday to hook up with people and you go on dates on a Thursday and then the rest of the week. You can't use it. And when you look at their marketing, they've been really creative with the way they've done like these virals viral stunts in London, where they have people like dressed up as stuff and have big signposts on it with witty creative and yeah, definitely look at what they've done because it's really interesting. They also have had some slack Have you seen recently they asked people to copywriters to come up with ideas for their, their print ads for free and all the creative communities like oh, you're not paying.
But it's probably that thing that all PR is good PR they're getting a lot of people talking about them.
And they also again, another thing I did they put they got hired a camel in central London and had it with a sign. They had some witty sign on it and then all the animal people. But yeah, I mean, I'm giving a rounded view here Lloyd. Yeah, but something really specific thing you can do is listen to the social minds podcast, the founder of Thursday, went on to social Mine and talked through in detail their approach to marketing.
And it's really interesting and useful. So that would be one of my first steps. Just look at like other people that have done stuff. So, I'd be thinking, Oh, they've been doing these viral stunts. Maybe we should try a viral stunt, let's dress Lloyd naked in a weird outfit and in the middle of town.
That will definitely get us, customers. You're such a good marketer Dan.
Who's this weird naked man.
Piggybacking on this is very similar to one of the points I wanted to communicate and it's I know I've mentioned this so something I feel quite strongly about finding inspiration from the best not from people in the industry you're in so like Dan saying, Look at the look for inspiration from the people that have done this best and emulate that with your marketing but you know, looking what Gym Shark are doing to reach new customers, so a business like that's grown crazily over the last few years.
You know, what does McDonald's do in the store to make you spend a bit more? Oh, they ask if you want to go large and it's only an extra 20p but you do it and they offer you? Oh, there's a McFlurry that will be nice. It's only an extra quid. Finding parts of really successful businesses and emulating that and obviously focusing on marketing for this how they reach seeing new customers, those really successful companies and how the best TikTokers’ in the world, getting eyes on their TikTok. Can you emulate that? If you only know that 1% You'll be smashing it?
Can I give you a really specific example that just made me think that a company that's doing this really well, that's tiny in our local area that I use? And it's to do with what you said before about the one on one conversations. So, we've signed up to a nursery recently that my son goes to, and it's brilliant. It's such a good nursery, and something that they do incredibly well. In that one on one conversation, when you drop your child off, they have a nice conversation with you and ask is everything okay with him? how's he been? did he sleep, alright? And they, they go and you kind of like taken away, they're like, Oh, they're really interested.
And then when you pick him up, they give you a detailed insight into all the fun stuff he's done today and how he was and how he was playing. He was making mud cakes the other day. And he really liked this. And he did really well, this speaking and they go that extra mile with that, with kind of making an effort to speak to you. And I think that didn't cost them anything. That's like a low budget or free way of making and I'm talking about it now I'm literally promoting their business because they've really had that impact on me goes back to your cafe example. Yeah. So yeah, that's something I've seen.
Again, that's one of my points I had, I think it's so important is, and it's making so I described the making your customers do your marketing, focus at that point, when your business is small, making their experience so good, that they're going to market your business for you by telling their friends and their family and their podcast listeners. How good you are. I think that's, you know, at the early stages of business, you don't have a big team of people to do your marketing.
You have customers. Oh, you know, you're trying, you're trying to get a customer, you got a few customers, that first customer might tell two people. And then those two people might tell two or three people and make sure that they're their experts focusing on making sure their experience is much better than they expect. So they're going to talk about it and do your marketing for you. Word of mouth marketing, when you're starting out with a business I think, especially with social how that can explode from your customers as well as something to really focus on.
Yeah. Another thing I'd really focus on. So thinking of social media, the lowest barrier way to reach the most amount of people for free, is by using Tiktok. Like I would really spend time-consuming content on Tik Tok, learning what types of content work and trying and testing creating my own content.
So for example, let's say you've just started a business where your hand making watches, and you're selling them on Etsy, I would be like, the type of things I've seen TikTok that really pops in the kind of creative world is a video showing the process of creating your product. So like, it could be a time-lapse video showing you making the handmade thing you'd watch, it could be you a video of you talking through all the different designs you've made, and that kind of thing, I would definitely be going because you can the opportunity to reach 1000s and 1000s of people for free is massive on the app.
So that's right now for May/June 2022. But there's always somewhere on the internet, or there's always a platform that is cheapest and easiest to get attention from your target market used to be Facebook. Yeah, for our business, it used to be Facebook. And in the years to come, it's been LinkedIn has been the cheapest and easiest place for us to get attention in our target market.
But it may be a platform, or it may be a new feature of a platform that they're pushing. So normally, when social platforms, you know, when they will introduce stories, suddenly stories was the easiest place on Instagram, we're finding Instagram reels to be the place that's easiest on that platform to currently get eyes on our content. So whenever you're listening to this or watching this, there will be somewhere and it will probably only take a couple of Google searches to work out. Where is it currently the cheapest and easiest to get eyes on my brand for my target market, there's always somewhere and it will change over time, it won't always be ticked up, there'll be something new or an old platform will really update the game with a certain feature and it will be a new place.
Another thing I'd also be thinking about is my own set of skills. So we were advising all this stuff that we would do because that's where our skills lie. But you may be like a wicked writer, and you could make a wicked blog that could help attract new business or you could be really good at speaking on camera, or you could be really confident and you could speak at different events or you could make videos where you're speaking to the camera you could build a YouTube audience.
So really try to try to think what your skill was and where would they both best be matched to in terms of platforms? What else would you do? Lloyd? We've just started a business with no budget. Yeah. What? What would you be thinking about anything else?
I'd probably just be thinking about the things I'd already said, Dan.
good. Are they really good?
Yeah, probably just. Yeah. If I had a little while longer to prepare some more points.
Something else I'll do while you're thinking about it. Okay, cool is your personal brand. And this kind of merges in with some of the things we've said before, but having those one to one conversations, I would be thinking about how can you build your brand, by personal brand inverted commas I know it sounds a bit kind of wanky and we've done episodes on this before but your personal brand is just your reputation.
How can you build your reputation in your town, in your community, wherever, you know, on Pinterest, wherever it is, you're trying to sell your products and services? How can you build a reputation where people, attract new customers, people are looking at what you're saying, they're thinking, wow, this person really knows what they're talking about. When it comes to handmade watches, I'm going to look at their website, or if they've got some really cool handmade watches, I'm going to buy one. So really, yeah, try and think about how you can build your personal brand.
And we've done a whole episode on this a few I don't know which one it was, it was a while ago. So look for that episode. And listen to that, if you want to know more kind of practical tips around building your personal brand.
I have got a point. So just in the marketing of a new business, having a long term mindset over a short term mindset has constantly, it's been something that's helped us grow our business much quicker than we would have done without this mindset. And by quicker, it's weird, because at first, it's not quicker. And then it is. We've grown this podcast over like a year and a half and if you looked at the return on investment, at first, it wouldn't have been worth it. But we could see the opportunity and things going in the right direction.
And so we stuck with it and invested the time and the effort because we had that long term mindset thinking, Well if we keep going like this, we could have this many people listening in our target market. And they could be introduced to us and what we do and what we know, and they can become customers now plus grow our business. And I think that's just been so key along our whole business journey. And through other business owners that I've spoken to, it's been the same thing. And it's hard sometimes because you might be able to get make a bit more money this month, if you did something, looking at the short term, whereas long term, you know, in two years, you'll make double what you were making before.
Yeah, I think my final point with all of the things we've said, is for this to be effective, whatever you do, you need some kind of way of measuring the success of all of this stuff you're trying. Because if you're trying all these different things, we've said and you have no idea what's working, what isn't, you're just you're not going to improve, because you're going to focus the same amount of energy on all the different things and tactics and platforms that we've mentioned. So set up something that monitors you know, and use the analytics in social platforms.
When a customer comes to you ask them how they discovered you, and try and monitor these things so that you have an idea of what's working, and what isn't. And then you can start to invest more time in the things that are working less than the things that aren't, and have some spare time to try new things and kind of follow that process. And that's what I think that's what's really helped our growth over the last two years is getting better at doing more of the stuff that's working and testing new things and stopping things that aren't working.
That's a really great point. Because if you can just know how much time and money you're investing in this thing, and how much money that's creating income for your business and how much time and money you're putting in this thing and how much that's creating. It makes it so easy to make those decisions on what to keep on doing and what to change and what to adapt. Yeah. Great point, Dan.
Hopefully, you found this useful. If you do like this podcast, please do tell your friends and post about it on social and do all that stuff that helps us out. It's really useful to us isn't it Lloyd.
I like it too. Yeah, yeah. Probably more than you. I like it.
Well, you win by them. Thank
Should we see them in their ears next week?
Yep. See you in your ears next week.
Hopefully, this has been useful and helped you to understand how we would market a brand new business with minimal budget. If you have any more questions or want to know how Knowlton can support you Start A Conversation.