If you only had $1000

by gpacx
18 replies
I'm very new to offline marketing but trying to understand it more in general. I have a limited budget but I'm looking to do some offline marketing for my company that sells software to post-secondary institutions like colleges and Universities.

I don't have a whole lot of education in marketing but I was trying to think of a few ways that I could get in front of the people that I need to and also how I could do a better job of getting our product and logo in front of the right people to increase awareness of what we're doing. Here are some ideas that I came up with:

1. A direct mail campaign that includes a brochure about our company and what we do. We would send it to the offices of the folks we are trying to contact and maybe follow up by phone a few days later to try requesting a demo and getting a sale.
2. Sponsoring a conference - this would take up the majority of the budget but give us a chance to appear in front of a lot of people in our industry at the same time and really look like an authority in our niche.
3. Students engage with our product so one avenue could be to go into public schools like high schools and middle schools and raise awareness about the project from the people that are actually going to be using it. We could also be posting signs around schools, doing talks at schools and providing school staff with materials that they can give to students.
4. Business Cards - We could drop them around in various places, pass them out at events and use that method to generate more buzz about what we're doing.

We're just looking for some methods to complement the effort that we're putting into direct sales right now - do you guys think that these ideas are good and what else would you recommend as and offline marketing method that can get some results for us? If I'm not thinking about the problem correctly in this moment, how could I change my thinking to reach a solution on my own?

Thanks for your help
  • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
    Originally Posted by gpacx View Post

    I'm very new to offline marketing but trying to understand it more in general. I have a limited budget but I'm looking to do some offline marketing for my company that sells software to post-secondary institutions like colleges and Universities.

    I don't have a whole lot of education in marketing but I was trying to think of a few ways that I could get in front of the people that I need to and also how I could do a better job of getting our product and logo in front of the right people to increase awareness of what we're doing. Here are some ideas that I came up with:

    1. A direct mail campaign that includes a brochure about our company and what we do. We would send it to the offices of the folks we are trying to contact and maybe follow up by phone a few days later to try requesting a demo and getting a sale.
    2. Sponsoring a conference - this would take up the majority of the budget but give us a chance to appear in front of a lot of people in our industry at the same time and really look like an authority in our niche.
    3. Students engage with our product so one avenue could be to go into public schools like high schools and middle schools and raise awareness about the project from the people that are actually going to be using it. We could also be posting signs around schools, doing talks at schools and providing school staff with materials that they can give to students.
    4. Business Cards - We could drop them around in various places, pass them out at events and use that method to generate more buzz about what we're doing.

    We're just looking for some methods to complement the effort that we're putting into direct sales right now - do you guys think that these ideas are good and what else would you recommend as and offline marketing method that can get some results for us? If I'm not thinking about the problem correctly in this moment, how could I change my thinking to reach a solution on my own?

    Thanks for your help
    What are you currently doing (that is producing sales) to market your product?
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  • Profile picture of the author atrbiz
    I've been running my own web development agency for over 5 years now. I've generated leads and signed on clients from several channels. Your budget is limited, I'd recommend advertising via, Adwords, hiring a telemarketing to work from home and set appts with potential clients, paying to sponsor or attend an industry event relevant to your target audience. I could go on and on, but unfortunately I have limited time to spend on WF
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  • Profile picture of the author gpacx
    Thanks for both of your replies.

    Ron - we're mostly doing direct sales that is generating results for us. Connecting directly with clients by e-mail and telephone to get discovery calls and book demos to show our product. Because of our limited budget, it's hard for us to market through other channels. That's why we want to be as judicious as possible.

    atrbiz - These are great suggestions, I especially like the idea of using Adwords as I really hadn't thought of that before. I also hadn't thought of hiring a telemarketer - we are looking at hiring someone that can get us predictable lead generation, basically someone to qualify prospects and set appointments for myself and the other founder to take care of.

    We do have more money coming in our pipeline so we may be able to get another person involved sooner rather than later. What has been the most productive channel for you in terms of marketing your web development agency?
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    • Profile picture of the author atrbiz
      Originally Posted by gpacx View Post

      Thanks for both of your replies.

      Ron - we're mostly doing direct sales that is generating results for us. Connecting directly with clients by e-mail and telephone to get discovery calls and book demos to show our product. Because of our limited budget, it's hard for us to market through other channels. That's why we want to be as judicious as possible.

      atrbiz - These are great suggestions, I especially like the idea of using Adwords as I really hadn't thought of that before. I also hadn't thought of hiring a telemarketer - we are looking at hiring someone that can get us predictable lead generation, basically someone to qualify prospects and set appointments for myself and the other founder to take care of.

      We do have more money coming in our pipeline so we may be able to get another person involved sooner rather than later. What has been the most productive channel for you in terms of marketing your web development agency?
      I've had success strictly with PPC (Adwords and Bing), and hiring a telemarketer. I'm actually ramping up operations in the coming weeks and I plan on expanding my PPC budget. I've gotten some connections and clients from networking events/conferences, however, it's not consistent and I don't rely on it.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by gpacx View Post

      I also hadn't thought of hiring a telemarketer - we are looking at hiring someone that can get us predictable lead generation, basically someone to qualify prospects and set appointments for myself and the other founder to take care of.

      I'm not going to tell you what to do... Obviously a joint venture with an mlm company who has thousands of agents needing web pages, or a joint venture with a person who can hook you up on auto pilot with hundreds of clients is best...


      However, I PROMISE you, that , at very least 80-90% of the people on this forum who are succeeding at offline marketing, and getting results, are using some variation of the strategy you just described above. Most of the ones who stay on that path will end up coming across killer joint ventures.
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      • Profile picture of the author animal44
        Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

        However, I PROMISE you, that , at very least 80-90% of the people on this forum who are succeeding at offline marketing, and getting results, are using some variation of the strategy you just described above.
        And most of them are having to hit the phones every day to feed their families...
        Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

        Most of the ones who stay on that path will end up coming across killer joint ventures.
        I doubt it.
        IMHO successful JVs require a total change in attitude. If you were to propose marriage to a total stranger, what response would you expect...?*

        * Of course the Animal has to fight them off...!
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        • Profile picture of the author John Durham
          Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

          And most of them are having to hit the phones every day to feed their families...

          I doubt it.
          IMHO successful JVs require a total change in attitude. If you were to propose marriage to a total stranger, what response would you expect...?*

          * Of course the Animal has to fight them off...!

          I must disagree. One day while cold calling , I called a modeling agency, not realizing it was a major one, and the president picked up the phone. I had no idea the number went straight to his desk.


          I didn't know it was a major agency... the guy wasn't interested, and then before I hung up he said "Wait a second... I have a model that I just signed with Victoria Secrets... Design a web page for her for free... and if I like it I will have you do her page , and maybe give you some more model sites..."


          As it turned out he had quite a few celebrity clients... He ended up being a huge celebrity agent himself... (again, this was all an accident on my part) We formed a great relationship and created a modeling site together and made truck loads of profit... He funneled all kinds of business to me, more than I could mention here.


          The ultimate modeling site that we created was an excellent joint venture, and it came from a straight up, ignorant cold call.


          So, I for one must disagree, because my experience has been otherwise.


          Respectfully,
          JD
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  • Profile picture of the author Digital Traffic
    I'm guessing that selling your software to the market you have selected is going to be a lengthy process, and not an event.

    Not knowing anything about your software, what it does, or what it costs, and only having a $1000.00 budget to get the venture started, I would invest my money in phone calls and gas money.

    Perhaps instead of selling your software to schools and universities, you figure out a way to give it away free to the students and try to monetize your product through that channel?

    More details would allow for more suggestions.
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  • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
    I honestly don't think you will get a lot for $1000

    1. A direct mail campaign - you will need to cover design, printing and also delivery which is way more than $1000 plus it doesn't really target your audience and is a bit of a blanket effect.

    2. Sponsoring a conference - I doubt you would have enough for this in $1000 unless it was a fairly small conference. You might consider purchasing a trade stand instead and this could be a good option and you can get your flyer into all of the bags for the delegates.

    3. Students and school campaign - this is a hard sell, getting into the schools and showing you have an educational edge often means you need to go through the school board and that is a tough one. Unless you know people in your school P & C you could sponsor some signage on the school oval or possibly sponsor the school fair or fete.

    4. Business Cards - this is fine, and cheap and could work. Include an offer on the card and you might get a better response.

    You might also consider doing an eMarketing campaign and also some other digital marketing or banner advertising too - this might be cheaper than traditional advertising.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Russell
    Find a reputable company that sells complimentary products to your target market and is not a competitor and arrange a mutually beneficial deal where they endorse your product in return for a percentage of sales.

    You can tag along with their reputation and authority in the industry.

    It's a win-win situation and the cost to fulfill is minimal. Email a promotion - free, postal mail - a small expense that can be deducted from the profits.

    If you have a proven sales piece/funnel, your all set.

    Jack
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    • Profile picture of the author animal44
      Originally Posted by Jack Russell View Post

      Find a reputable company that sells complimentary products to your target market and is not a competitor and arrange a mutually beneficial deal where they endorse your product in return for a percentage of sales.

      You can tag along with their reputation and authority in the industry.
      Which is about as low cost as you can get.

      If you can't make sales with the above strategy, then any form of advertising will undoubtedly fail...
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  • Profile picture of the author EugeneWHZ
    You can also try to find some other software developers selling related products (which are not yorur direct competitors at all) and try to cooperate (even pay them) so they have your product offered along with their own. That could be quite useful cooperation for both of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Russell
    Eugene,

    Thanks for reiterating what I just said. Very astute.

    Great share.

    Jack
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    In a scenario such as yours.. Linkdin should be your best friend. Obviously the phone calls and emails are working... but most other offline methods at an institution level have to many barriers to getting to the decision maker.

    You send a post card... its going to go to the mail room - where some pre sorting may occur. Then to the secretary where some more sorting may occur.. then to the decision maker. I believe there are simply to many variables at play here.

    The phone process you either have the name, or can fish the name.. you then have a more direct link - hence you are currently closing deals.

    LinkedIn is a strategy where you can filter by liking people who is reading your content. You can create content that identifies a problem, and solution and how your product provides the tools needed for that solution. Its not so much you going after them.. its providing them the information so they can come to you. Obviously changes the sales dynamic a bit.

    Much like the linkedin process developing a network for JV purposes is also bringing the connection to you, vs you going to them.

    I would suggest keeping the $1000, you are only going to spend it with little if any results. Your targeting with adwords is terrible at best, and your reach with mailing printed material would be minimal.

    Spend the money to pay for your time to develop some content you can drip into linkedin.. that's what I would do.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Buy a spiffy suit, tie and shirt and shoes to go with. Open phone book, google local businesses. Locate address, walk-in or call and offer yourself to be the middle-man between two businesses.

    Or, place an ad on craigslist offering to buy accountant businesses; then place an ad on craigslist offering to sell an accounting business. Buy said spiffy attire and wait for people to contact you.
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  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

    I must disagree. One day while cold calling , I called a modeling agency, not realizing it was a major one, and the president picked up the phone. I had no idea the number went straight to his desk.

    I didn't know it was a major agency... the guy wasn't interested, and then before I hung up he said "Wait a second... I have a model that I just signed with Victoria Secrets... Design a web page for her for free... and if I like it I will have you do her page , and maybe give you some more model sites..."

    As it turned out he had quite a few celebrity clients... He ended up being a huge celebrity agent himself... (again, this was all an accident on my part) We formed a great relationship and created a modeling site together and made truck loads of profit... He funneled all kinds of business to me, more than I could mention here.

    The ultimate modeling site that we created was an excellent joint venture, and it came from a straight up, ignorant cold call.

    So, I for one must disagree, because my experience has been otherwise.

    Respectfully,
    JD
    Nice story. I'll assume it's true...

    Why isn't he still supplying clients...?

    When you're brokering deals (as opposed to the above where it's a simple leadgen), you need to be sure that all parties are trustworthy. I would be wary of doing a deal with someone I hadn't researched in detail... In this case, it's leadgen, so probably OK, though I think your client took a bit of a risk... No disrespect intended...!
    Originally Posted by DABK View Post

    Buy a spiffy suit, tie and shirt and shoes to go with. Open phone book, google local businesses. Locate address, walk-in or call and offer yourself to be the middle-man between two businesses.
    I don't wear a suit. Jeans and T-shirt is part of my branding...
    Originally Posted by DABK View Post

    Or, place an ad on craigslist offering to buy accountant businesses; then place an ad on craigslist offering to sell an accounting business. Buy said spiffy attire and wait for people to contact you.
    Who's been reading Jay Abraham then...?
    We've done something similar, inspired by Jay Abraham's story. We discretely wrote to all competitors asking if they wanted to buy out a business. We got several responses and quietly sold the business to one of the respondents.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claire Koch
    find a good course on using linkedin - maybe udemy or googling. That's where your customers are. Especially if you don't like cold calling. Then just put aside your fear. Business owners are people just like us.
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  • Profile picture of the author digichik
    Every method mentioned in this thread will work at some point or another. You need to know there is no silver bullet; however, if you combine marketing tactics you will get results. Figure out a system for yourself, using email, direct mail, telephone, LinkedIn to generate qualified leads, to start. The fastest ways to new business out of all of these are direct mail, email and telephone(not necessarily in that order).

    Personally, I really like direct mail(not postcards) and phone, to start with. Direct mail gets you around the clutter in the email in box, followed up by a phone call a few days later. This is a tried and true method for making sales. Then again, I'm one who prefers a few whale clients, over many minnows.

    My direct mailings cost about .75ea. this includes paper, envelopes, postage, printer ink. This price doesn't include labor. This is some of the best money I spend on marketing.

    To learn more about how to do effective direct mailings to businesses take a look at this:
    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...##post10417243

    It's funny Bryan Kruesberger's emailing system(over $500) is a re-working of this direct mailing system(under$20.00). The book Claude mentions was written in 1997, but the method is still extremely effective today, 20 years later. As long as people are people, these old school sales methods will continue to work. Don't listen to the naysayers, try them yourself.

    Learn how to effectively do large emailings, to your target market, without getting blacklisted. There are effective ways, without being spammy. This too is worth the money, to learn.

    After getting a consistent system in place, then hire an appointment setter. Overseeing a telemarketer can be time consuming.

    Be sure that every time you close a sale you ask for 5 referrals, do this without fail. You'll be surprised at how many referrals you'll get if you just ask. Make this a set-in-stone tactic of your overall marketing strategy.
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