The $100 Marketing Campaign That Packed the Room

low budget marketing tactics

As promised on Friday, you don’t need buckets of money to run a successful marketing campaign. The photo on the right represents my entire budget for a marketing campaign several years ago: $100. That’s it.

Here’s how I ran a successful campaign and only spent $75. Yes, I actually had money left over!

Low budget marketing tactics

My assignment in this case was to promote a small breakfast seminar.  It was a new program and they were hoping to get 15 paid attendees.  Since my budget was so tiny, I had to think creatively.

I couldn’t use any of the usual tactics.  Normally, I would do a series of mailings, with a save the date postcard, send emails, even rent lists.  Or, I would buy advertising space in relevant publications and newsletters.

But, with a limit of $100, I couldn’t do any of that.  I couldn’t even pay for printing, let alone postage.

Start with  existing contacts

The first thing to do was look and see how many contacts or relevant prospects I already had in my house list.  Since the seminar was about selling financial services to Hispanics, I sent text emails to people who had attended prior events concerning either Hispanic marketing or financial services marketing. But, that wouldn’t be enough. I also sent a fax marketing sheet (you could do that then); still not enough.

Reach more people without spending any money

I found a way to expand my marketing campaign and get it in front of more people (without spending money I didn’t have).

However, thanks to my previous job at The Economist Intelligence Unit, I knew someone who ran a multi-cultural marketing newsletter which went out to thousands of people, far more than I had on my list. She sold advertising in her newsletter, but at $250 for an ad, or $900 for a solo email it was way over my budget.

Try barter

I couldn’t buy an ad, but I could give her something else she wanted.  The names I already had were potential subscribers to her newsletter and other services.  They were people she wanted to meet and network with.

So, I negotiated a deal. She included the ad in her newsletter, in return for two seats at the table at the seminar.

I sent my emails and my faxes, and she sent her email to her subscribers.

Stop the promotion:  we’re out of space!

The original goal was 15 people. We got 45. We had to start a waiting list. I had to cancel the last wave of promotions and stop marketing! There was no more space in the room, it was becoming a fire hazard.

I can’t share exact results, but attendees paid between $25-$45 to attend, so at 45 people, the ROI on my $75 investment was tremendous.

Partnering can give you greater reach, bring in new business, and save money. More ways to stretch your marketing budget tomorrow.

Photo: kugelfish

2 thoughts on “The $100 Marketing Campaign That Packed the Room

  1. It’s great that you’re reminding us all that grassroots-level promotions can be as effective–or even moreso–than expensive campaigns. This is especially true in the Hispanic segment when credibility and word-of-mouth speak volumes. Thanks for this post!

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