A recent thread in a LinkedIn group discussed clients that can't afford higher-level inbound marketing retainers. What, the poster asked, could he offer a prospective client for an inbound marketing budget of $500 a month?
I suppose that all depends. Maybe nothing, maybe discreet strategic guidance or maybe a regular review of created content.
Firstly, if you believe in inbound marketing and you are committed to inbound marketing then, regardless of your budget, you should do it. You may not have the budget to hire a larger agency or develop detailed buyer personas or even create detailed infographics. Don't let that stop you, as Nike says – just do it. Forward progress.
A commitment to inbound marketing is essentially a commitment to consistent, fresh, content creation. Most people translate this commitment to writing a blog every day or every other day. If you enjoy writing (and can write quickly) that's certainly a good idea. But if you're squeamish at the thought of sitting down to write a single sentence, then blog writing isn't for you. Don't worry, you have options.
Option 1 - Video
You may be a crappy writer but an excellent speaker. If you're an effective speaker and articulate ideas well, then record yourself. Practically every smart phone available these days has video recording capabilities. Record yourself talking about your company and your offerings and how your company brings value to clients or customers. Then post your video as part of a blog or even on YouTube. You'll get better as you record more videos and, regardless of the video quality (be sure of course you are in a well lighted room with no ambient noise), if you know your subject matter, viewers will see that.
Be warned. Capturing video can be tough, speaking to a camera is different than speaking to a person and you may not be a one take wonder. See if it works for you. If not, there's option 2.
Option 2 – Sourced Blogging
So, video didn't work and you can't write so now what. Try Blogmutt, they work like a dog to fill up your blog - nice catchphrase. $79 for a blog a week? That's value, if you're happy with the quality of the content, of course. Need more content? Try Zerys, the content marketplace with the content project management tool. Don't think that sourcing content is a set it and forget option - you still have to review and approve content and ask for revisions if you're not satisfied with it.
Option 3 - Email
Inexpensive email tools like Mailchimp let you send regular emails to your subscribers. Some caveats. You have to get subscribers - maybe that's an email sign up list in your store and on your website. Secondly, don't spam people. Give your email list something of value - a subscriber-only coupon or access to products before everyone else, for example.
Option 4 - Budget Shifting
Are you spending $3K a month on a traditional mailer. Consider gradually shifiting some of that budget to inbound. I remember speaking with a prospect who said she just can't afford inbound marketing right now. After a bit more poking and prodding I learned that she spends $10K a month on Google pay-per-click ads. Clearly she wasn't that commited to inbound if she was doing that. But if you do drink the inbound Kool-Aid, scrutinize your marketing budget for opportunities. In fact, review your company budget for opportunities. Do you need a housekeeping crew every night? Can you pair down your office landscaping? Can the monthly office luncheon become the quarterly office luncheon?
Where there's a will, there's a way. If you build out your inbound program - the leads will come.