I am new to the forum and also a new business owner. I started an online business last year and growth has been slow. As a startup, I don't have a ton of cash on hand and for the rest of 2016 my marketing budget is about $2,500. I'd like some advice on how to invest that in the best possible manner (no solicitations please). I will break down what we sell and what we have done thus far.
We are Make Great Light, and we sell fluorescent light filters that totally transform lighting. It removes the harsh glare and converts fluorescent light into more natural light (close to sunlight). And they remove UV radiation that can damage or fade materials, or cause photo-sensitivity issues with people.
We primarily market to 3 audiences:
- Office workers - Our product removes glare that can cause headache, eyestrain and afternoon fatigue.
- Schools - For the same reasons above, but also because natural light has shown to improve testing scores and help keep kids focused.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder - The full spectrum light our product produces is used to help with SAD symptoms. The light tricks the brain to think it has been outside all day, thus regulating melatonin/serotonin
- UV sensitive people - (Lupus, Fibromyalgia)
We are an entirely online business, no store front and do not sell on Amazon (for many reasons). The main site is in WordPress, the shopping cart part is in Shopify.
What we have done thus far
Last year our focus was building our brand and SEO up. I have some professional experience with SEO and some digital marketing, so this was the first place we invested in. We rank pretty good for our target terms and our time on site is pretty high. I have continued to work on content marketing this year and will probably keep investing in this area.
Our social presence has been pretty much limited to twitter, Facebook, and very little instagram.
I have been running highly targeted FB ads (A/B testing), with mixed results. FB ads have about a .30-.40 CPC and a CTR average of about 1.8%
I have done some PPC ads on Google and Bing, but I feel like that is a money suck.
Last year, I spent about $4k on a PR firm to compile a list of influencers and pitch them on writing an article or review. It was a very low payoff for the money, though they claimed that 2 blog posts and an article in a quarterly health and safety print publication was a good return. Media in general has been very cold, as I can't even get local publications to return emails.
I have also sponsored the local lupus foundation at some events (even participating in their 5k run) and also dontated products to a couple of classrooms.
Where do I go from here?
Currently, we are turning a small profit and have a positive cash flow. The growth has been very slow though and I would really like to make a decent sized jump in the next 12 months. I'm not looking to get rich quick, but I would like to make this a full time job at some point.
I have $2000 to invest in "something" and another $500 earmarked for site improvements and content. I was really considering going with the Digital Marketer's email automation program, but I currently do not have much of a list for email marketing (just current customers). The bottom line is that 2k needs to to net me 6k+ in sales.
I would appreciate any advice! Also, to all Warrior friends, there is a 15% discount if you want to upgrade the lighting in your office.