Marketing Your Business on a College Budget
BY KEVIN FABER
How College Student Entrepreneurs Can Improve Their Small Business Marketing Efforts
College is understandably a time when finances are tight. Your personal budget may be heavily focused on paying tuition, buying books and living on a meager income while you attend classes on a part-time or full-time schedule. If you have decided to start your own business while in college, you may have great plans to enjoy significant profits from your venture. Marketing is one of the most important factors that can ultimately determine your level of profitability and success. However, marketing can be expensive, and you may be wondering what you can do to improve your small business marketing efforts. With a closer look, you will see that there are cost-effective solutions available to help your business grow.
Develop Your Marketing Budget
A first step to take when exploring small business marketing on a dime is to establish your budget. Depending on the size of your venture and the ability for you to raise capital, you may be working with as little as a few hundred dollars. While this can seem nominal and even impossible to work with, Internet marketing can effectively be used to help you generate the results you desire with minimal capital.
Build an Email Distribution List
One of the best forms of email marketing to consider when funds are limited is an email marketing campaign. It costs little to no money to send out an email to your target audience, but the results can be substantial. As a first step, however, you must find an effective way to obtain an email distribution list. Some will purchase a list, and this option may be available to you depending on who your target audience is. However, buying a list can cost money, and spamming people who did not opt-in to your emails is bad practice that can ultimately hurt your business. It is best to build an email distribution list over time. Capture contact information at the point of sale by asking customers if they want to opt in to receive newsletters and promotional offers from you. You can also capture additional leads by creating an opt-in feature on your home page.
Set Up a Drip Marketing Campaign
Now that you have developed an effective way to capture leads and to grow your email distribution list over time, you may want to take a closer look at drip marketing campaigns. This type of marketing is appropriately named because the email messages can be scheduled to go out to your leads at regular intervals or when your customers take specific steps. You can create a series of email messages up-front, and you can review drip campaign examples to give you some wonderful ideas that can spark your creativity. You can also use an automated software program to help you to manage distribution of your emails. For example, you can send out a specific automated message to new subscribers after that subscribe to your email distribution list or if they have put items in a shopping cart but never finalized their order. You can also send out regular marketing messages to all members of your distribution list each week or two.
Analyze and Refine Your Results
As with any other type of marketing, it is important that you analyze your results periodically, and analysis may help you to refine your drip marketing efforts. For example, if you notice that your email sent after a customer places items in a shopping cart but fails to make a purchase is not effective, you may need to adjust the wording of that message or even alter the meaning of your content to generate better results.
As a college student, funds are limited, and so is time. With a drip email marketing campaign, you can easily invest some time and effort in your campaign during summer, winter or spring break. Then, you can enjoy the cost-effective results for months to come.
Kevin Faber has experience starting his own business from the ground up and he is passionate about helping others achieve their goals. His background is in finance/investing.