Champagne Marketing on a Beer Budget

Dear Professor Bruce: I’ve got a small retail business, and I don’t have a lot of time or money to spend on marketing. I’ve got a great product that people love, but they can’t buy it if they don’t know I’m here. How can I get the most bang for my buck?

If there is one thing I know a lot about its “champagne marketing on a beer budget.” The Small Business Professor has just celebrated a milestone. Defying the odds, this column has been up and running for ten years. Like most entrepreneurs, I could not have sustained this venture without professional support. I’d like to extend a special thank you to the McClatchy Tribune News Service.

Over the past ten years one of the biggest hot buttons for readers is finding prospective customers. Old marketing strategies are no longer cost-effective, but fortunately, there are new approaches that require surprisingly little time or money.

Your prospects are looking for you on Google, but how can make sure that they can find you? Alfred Poor, author of “Power Marketing for Small Business: How you can boost sales with low-cost video,” offers some excellent advice.

Your link must appear on the first page of the search results because people rarely click past the first page. A study showed that the first link in search results gets more than three out of five of all the clicks. Second place gets about half that. Tenth place gets just 1% of the clicks, and everyone else shares the remaining 1% of the total traffic.

You have to be on the first page. The easiest way to do this is to add video to your web page. It does not have to be fancy or funny or go viral; just share some useful information. A video can make your page 53 times more likely to show up on the first page of a Google search.

Okay, but video is expensive, right? Wrong. In fact, it can be much cheaper – in both time and money – that many marketing strategies you might use already such as newspaper ads or direct mail pieces. You can hire a professional videographer to shoot and edit a three to five minute video for $500 or less, and you can post it for free on YouTube. From there, your webmaster can add it to your page in just minutes.

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