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How to Promote Your Business in Uncertain Times

How to Promote Your Business in Uncertain Times

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Bootstrapping entrepreneurs face numerous challenges and many of them are, for long periods of time, uncertain if their company will have a future. Giving themselves a year or two to make it is common with people who left behind a decent 9 to 5 job to chase their dreams. Getting new clients and losing them, getting a lucky break and then entering a slump, all take a toll on an entrepreneur’s mental well-being. They might start wondering if it’s all worth it, if they should continue or just close shop and move on.

In uncertain times, making decisions about how to promote your business can be more difficult than ever. If you’re not promoting your business, how are you going to land new clients, attract new customers? You know you should promote your business but you’re also scared you’ll waste even more money and get no results.

As a frugal marketing agency, we take these concerns very seriously. Many of our clients reach out to us when they’ve already spent 70-90% of their marketing budgets and got nothing or almost nothing in return. So their (legitimate) question is:

Should I keep promoting my company like I did before or change the way to do it?

To answer this, you actually have to dive deeper into the question, because it involves a bit of decision engineering. You see, the issue here is that the decision problem is framed as a binary one: keep doing vs. change. This amplifies the tension. It looks like you don’t have any other option, which is usually untrue.

An amazing woman named Michelle Florendo, a career consultant for Type-A professionals, usually deals with clients framing their questions this way (this vs. that). Very often it’s about staying in or quitting a job. What she does is to ask:

What other options might they be leaving out?

There are always ways to widen your options. So that’s also what we do. We explore other options and the decision to be made gets reframed, and just like Michelle’s clients, ours also discover that many options aren’t mutually exclusive.

Promoting your business while dealing with uncertainty

Let’s say your business is struggling to make money and you think the problem is that your communication isn’t effective – people don’t know your product exists or your product is presented in a way that puts people off. There are a couple of questions you should answer in order to figure out your next steps:

  • How do you know you achieved product/market fit?
  • What were your marketing goals and what did you actually achieve?
  • How could you implement the same strategy but cheaper?
  • What would it take to change your strategy?
  • What would a new strategy entail?
  • How could you implement a different strategy cheaper?
  • Could you keep on implementing your old strategy and add some new elements?

Of course, we’ll get as many different answers as many entrepreneurs we talk to, but there are a few things that apply no matter the market or the product. So, when you’re trying to promote your product while your business is struggling:

1. Leverage your assets.

If you have an email list, figure out how to get the people on your list to promote your product. If you have a social media following, find a way to get your followers to send in buyers.

2. Track the hell out of your Customer Acquisition Cost.

If you don’t know how much you’re spending to get new customers, you don’t know if your strategy is effective. Include all your marketing and advertising related activities in the cost, not just your media budget.

3. Stop looking at vanity metrics.

Ignore them completely. Sales will improve your business, not likes. You can worry about consumer engagement and the number of people following your brand on Facebook after you’re out of the woods.

4. Stop paying to remove the software creator’s branding.

There are hundreds and thousands of tools to help you build an email list, get traffic, improve your lead generation. Few people care if you’re using their free or the paid versions, they’re interested in how they help them get what they need – your product or services.

5. Creativity matters.

Think just of Facebook ads – good design and creativity capture people’s attention = people interact with your ads = your costs drop. Creativity is a great competitive advantage.

 

The are no easy fixes and there are no recipes, but if you’re working with a team that has your best interest at heart, and you’re transparent and open to experimenting, you can surpass any obstacle.

lead magnet ideas

Lead Magnet Ideas: 41 Types to Choose From for Your Business or Blog

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Everybody’s talking about the importance of lead magnets, but it can be difficult to pick the right ones for your website. First of all, you need to figure out what is it that you could offer. Then you need to find out what is it that your prospects want so badly that they’d share their personal information with you. Last, but not least, you gotta figure out how you’re going to package the bribe you’ll offer.

So, let’s back up a little and start in the right place:

What exactly is a lead magnet?

Lead magnets are “bribes” to get your potential customers to give you their contact details.

Because they’ve mainly been used by businesses in the B2B sector, they’ve often been portrayed as white papers, industry trend reports, eBooks and guides. Lately, bloggers have also started to use them, disguising the bribes into recipe eBooks, checklists, and printables.

The truth is that anything can be a lead magnet. What makes a lead magnet an effective tool in generating new leads is its value. People aren’t giving away their email addresses because they love collecting PDF files, but because they want the info the PDF file contains, and they want the info because of what they can do with it. That also means that you can offer many other things than eBooks, guides, reports, or printables, and that you can ask for other things than a user’s email address.

Email is good, other details are better

Almost every lead capture software out there focuses on capturing emails, but that’s not always the best way to reach a potential customer. This happens because for too many years people were ashamed to ask for a lead’s contact details and tried to go around the bush saying something like, “we can only give you this if we email it to you, so please give us your email address.” Well, yeah, by email is a great way to deliver a PDF file, but not all customers look for that in the first place.

So, that is why I’m proposing a different approach to identifying the best lead magnet ideas for your online business or blog. Let’s focus more on the value the potential customer is getting, and also bring social media handles and phone numbers in the mix. SMS marketing is 10 times more effective than email. Having potential customers in your own secret Facebook group is also better than emailing them to an address they rarely use (let’s be honest, we all have that one email address we use to sign up for websites we’ll only access once).

Creative and Popular Lead Magnet Ideas

With those side notes out of the way, let’s dive into a short list of lead magnet ideas, what contact details you could ask for, and how to deliver them:

#1 Free Shipping Code

If you’re selling physical products, you must already know that people don’t like to pay for shipping. You can offer free shipping for their next order or for a whole month in exchange for their phone number. Tell them you’ll text them the free shipping code and also ask for permission to send them marketing messages.
(I’ll get into SMS marketing compliance some other time, but make sure you keep proof of people’s opt-in).

#2 Dropbox File Link

People love snooping around other people’s folders. Why not give them the opportunity to do just that? Ask people for their email address in exchange for a Dropbox link to a folder where you keep things you have collected over the years (past articles, infographics, digital assets you created for your business, presentations, audio files, vectors) – anything that might be useful and relevant to someone in your niche.

#3 WhatsApp Chat Invite

You can have a phone number you could use just for business and you can connect with potential customers by using modern technologies and channels. For example, Millennials hate talking on the phone, but they text all day long. You can ask people to give you their phone number, so you could add them on WhatsApp for chat sessions. You can schedule the chat sessions with a few leads at a time, and answer their questions on your desktop computer or laptop since you can also use WhatsApp’s web version.

#4 Text Summary

Your potential customers are probably super busy, so anything you could do to save them even a few minutes will be greatly appreciated. You can ask your website visitors to opt-in to receive text message summaries every time you post a new lengthy article they might be interested in. As I said before, make sure your form clearly states what they’ll receive once they opt-in for your SMS marketing list.

#5 Quiz

Depending on your niche and what current trend is on your prospects’ radars, you can also bribe people into giving you their email with a quiz. You can do it yourself or work with a digital agency to create it. It doesn’t even have to be very complex, but it should really help the user figure out something about themselves/their needs/their potential.

#6 Template

What makes a template truly magical is the effort to end result ratio. That’s why designers love downloading all sorts of mockups, and why marketers love swipe files and templates in general. You don’t have to invest too much time into something and the end result is spectacular. It’s not really about offering people something they could never do on their own, but rather something that will save them a lot of time. You can ask people to give you their email to be able to download your amazing template.

Facebook Secret Groups for Lead Magnet Ideas

#7 Facebook Secret Group Invite

If you’re seen as one of the top experts in your field, you should take advantage of Facebook Groups. While there isn’t that much value in a group that anyone can join, being among those chosen to be invited to a secret group is a quite exciting. The best part about secret groups? You don’t have to worry about your competitors coming in and stealing your prospects. Also, you can really make your customers feel special. After all, they were granted access to a place where you share all sorts of goodies and knowledge.

The easiest way to get people into your secret group is by asking for the email address used for creating their Facebook account. If you plan to use those email addresses for anything more than adding them to the Facebook Secret Group, don’t forget to state that in the opt-in form, you know, just to be on the safe side.

#8 Timeline

Timelines facilitate learning. They also help you show off – if you’re able to create a timeline, explaining how things were and how they changed over time, you must be really clever. So, if there’s something in your niche that needs explaining, for which a timeline would work wonders, go for it. If it’s something people really want, they’ll have no problem with sharing their email address with you to get it.

#9 Industry Benchmarks

You’d be surprised how many people have no point of reference for evaluating the performance of the things they do – business, writing, conversions, you name it. Only when you’ve acquired many years of experience you can sometimes establish some benchmarks, so you could figure out how good or bad your results really are. If you’re a thought leader or aspire to be one, being able to share some benchmarks relevant to your niche will help you consolidate your expert status while getting people to subscribe to your newsletter or join your secret social media group.

#10 Contact Sheet

Maybe you’ve been super lucky and you’ve never struggled to find great freelancers to work with, but you’re in the minority. Most people dread having to find a designer or a PPC specialist because it’s a lot of work. That’s why business owners love recommendations. It’s so much more enjoyable to reach out to someone you’ve heard great things about, who is guaranteed to treat you with respect and be genuinely interested in what you’re working on. You can offer a list of contacts – the freelancers you’ve worked with, the support or sales people in the SaaS companies or ad networks you love, etc. Just make sure you ask for their permission before emailing the list to your prospects as a thank you for subscribing to your newsletter or giving you their phone number.

#11 PowerPoint Presentation Download

There’s something interesting about PPT presentations. For most professionals, they’re a pain in the butt. For people just starting out in their career, who just graduated or landed a new job, getting to see other people’s PPT presentations is a great opportunity to learn. If you’re a blogger or the manager of an online business, people might be interested in how one of your presentations looks like and what it contains. If you’re a public speaker you can just offer the presentation from one of your talks. You can even repurpose some of your blog posts to create a new presentation, just make sure the topic is one your prospects are interested in and ask for their emails.

#12 Fact Sheet

Think of something as simple (and delicious) as coffee. It’s good for you. Also, it’s bad for you. There are studies supporting both claims. That applies to many topics. People aren’t happy with the uncertainty surrounding so many aspects of their life. If you promise them to deliver a trustworthy fact sheet on something they care about, they’ll be willing to give you their email or phone number.

#13 Calendar

Once again, save your prospects time, and they’ll wanna hear what you have to say. If there are any important events, relevant to your niche, any programs, deals, or schedules people should know about, create a calendar and use it as a lead magnet. It should help you collect emails for as long as it stays up to date.

#14 Daily Planner Stickers

Some people are crazy about stickers, and it’s not that hard to see why – they’re funny, colorful, sometimes saucy. Now that we’ve reached peak laptop sticker madness, a new trend is coming – daily planner stickers. They’re tiny enough to fit in your planner next to your daily activities and deliver a bit of fun and motivation. They also fit perfectly in a simple envelope, so it won’t be ridiculously difficult to mail them. If you’re running an eCommerce website or a company that likes to have fun, you should totally create your collection of daily planner stickers and get people to give you their mailing address to get them.

#15 Challenge

Doing things as part of a tribe can build your self-confidence and motivate you to go on. That’s why so many artists are signing up for the InkTober drawing challenge. You can create a challenge that’s relevant to your niche, with results or goals that are important to your prospects. Get people to sign up for your mailing list to be a part of the challenge.

For the next ideas, I’ll just speed though, because you’ve probably heard them before. If you have any questions, do leave me a comment down below. If any of them sounds appealing, you can search for tips on using them online and you’ll certainly find some great examples.

Lead Magnet Ideas 16 to 40

I’ll end with one of my favorites:

#41 Mind Map

Mind maps can be fascinating. For some people, drawing a mind map is really easy, but for others things get tricky. A mind map, even though it’s simple in its shape, can start a lot of creative endeavors. Allowing your prospects to see your mind maps can help them solve problems, discover things about themselves and figure out how you think about important topics in your niche. The easiest way to share a mind map with your prospects is to send it as an image to their phone, and yes for this to happen they’ll have to give you their phone numbers.

No matter what niche you’re in, there’s something of value you could offer, and if you still don’t have an idea what that could be, post a comment below and we’ll figure something out. If there’s just one thing you’ll leave with from this web page, I hope it’s that you can be creative with the type of lead magnet to use. A white paper might be interesting in B2B marketing, but it’s an awful choice for a fun B2C brand. Content marketing really shouldn’t be about imitating other companies but identifying what value can we add to our prospects’ lives.

Hi. Let’s see if we’re a good fit!

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We usually work with small business owners, startup founders, and kick-ass brand managers who need to build their online presence with sales in mind.

On the other hand, we’re a small multidisciplinary team, focusing on the needs of our clients more than we focus on our own needs – we’re just built that way. Because we’re a bit more protective with our clients than many other agencies our size, and because we put our clients first, we don’t take on every potential client knocking on our (virtual) door. It’s not because we’re arrogant, it’s just about being honest with ourselves and the client about what we can offer and what they are looking for; and if we’re not a match, we’re always happy to refer work to people who might help better than we could.

We’re a match (made in Heaven) if:

  • you heard about frugal marketing, and you realised that would be a great thing to test out for your own business, or
  • you have a vision for what your business should be and become, and you genuinely want to bring something positive in the world, or
  • you are always in a hurry because you’re balancing your company’s growth and your family life and need someone reliable to help you get things moving.

If you think we could have a great relationship, beneficial to both parties, please give us a sign using any contact form on this website or by emailing us at hello @ nollar.co.