The chief executive of one of the first companies I worked at would often tell stories of how he grew his business by bartering services. I will never forget being amazed at how entrepreneurial he was. And, whenever times got tight with the businesses I was involved in, I often would remember that story and it would re-invigorate me.
After having started, shut down, and/or sold five different businesses over the years, I cannot tell you how many times the “success by barter” story has given me the inspiration to keep pushing through to find a solution. So much so, that over the years I built a list of ways to market companies both big and small for $5 or less. A few people have recently asked me to share my $5 marketing plan with them, so here it is:
Free marketing often has the highest conversion rates. Use it whenever you can. Start with family and friends. Ask for people to help you. If you do it with honesty, they will. And their referral will come with more credibility for your brand than you could ever pay for. If you are a large brand and don’t know where to start, reply to any 10 people who have left a comment or post on a social network for you and what happens.
At one time I bartered marketing services for dental services. It worked. Bartering is like playing a game – sometimes you don’t barter for coverage, but for access. One time I bartered marketing exposure for tickets to an LA premiere, which I used to close an advertising test with a big brand, which I used for a case study to land an even bigger advertiser. Bartering works.
Leveraging free and barter marketing will build your base and brand interest – now its time to go in for the kill. Spend money! There are a few ways you can effectively spend your $5. The ultimate choice for use of funds is based on your business needs:
- Affiliate payout. If you pay 5 percent of a sale to someone you know you will only be spending money after people pay you money. There will never be a time when you need to invest more than $5 to get an affiliate program up and running.
- Prizes: Offering your precious $5 as a prize for something happening with your company can also often make a good bit of sense and drive purchasers who replenish you $5 fund.
- Services payment: Sometimes you have to pay someone from the outside to assist you with your work. Starting by giving them $5 as a down payment, and then a percentage of the revenue they drive can often work wonders. People love a good challenge.
- Fiverr: When all else fails, find your biggest need and head on over to Fiverr and invest your $5 wisely.
And that’s it. My $5 marketing plan. And now, my $5 marketing challenge to you. Try to make a marketing plan for your company using just $5 to get started and see just how far you can make your money go.
Image via Shutterstock.
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