5 Steps to Marketing Your Blog Even if You’re Broke

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I’m not going to sugarcoat this. Your blog is a big deal. It’s the hub of your content marketing strategy and your first and probably best opportunity to market your business. It deserves your full attention.

There’s a catch. Its easy to pet, tweak, and optimize your blog and totally ignore marketing it. Most people hate marketing. They think it turns them into an oily unscrupulous salesman. Plus it’s sexier to work on design and buying fancy software and plugins. Even though its wrong, it’s tempting to hang on to the hope that if you build a great blog, someone will come.

So marketing is given a seat at the kiddie table.

I wish this was the only problem because I could show you the power of blog marketing, how it saves money, accelerates your growth, and creates customers for life.

But I would be missing the real issue for many solopreneurs and small business owners –

Marketing costs money and you’re broke.

All the excellent blog marketing posts in the blogosphere won’t matter if you just have $2.44 in your bank account. (Believe me, I’ve been there)

Don’t beat yourself up. Most of the people I work with are in the same boat, bailing water as fast as they can trying to find a way to keep their blog afloat.

Right now, let’s resolve to do something about the problem.

Don’t succomb to the myth that you’ll have the money to do marketing “right” when you’ve sold enough. You and I know that sales come after savvy marketing rarely before. Let’s also agree that blog marketing isn’t easy. There’s a lot more to it than just writing guest posts and pleading for attention on Twitter. Agreed?

Good. You’re probably wondering what to do next.

Step #1: Get Real about Spending

Understand that you will need to invest in your marketing. Yes, you think you are broke but are you really?

Start with your business expenses and determine where you can shift funds to marketing. Are there any paid subscriptions you don’t need? Are you spending money on advertising that isn’t working? Honestly review your spending and find the cash to add to your marketing war chest.

You just need a little capital to get the marketing ball rolling.

I raised $545 / month to start Pushing Social from:

  • Making my coffee at home instead of buying from Starbucks. Savings: $115 /month
  • Moving from Aweber ($40/month) to Mailchimp (Free): Savings: $40 / month
  • Canceling online subscriptions to magazines and paid newsletters I didn’t read: Savings: $200 (ridiculous, I know)
  • Canceling online tools that I didn’t need. I had bought access to fancy analytics and lead nurturing services that weren’t needed for a new blog: Savings $190.00 /month

I used the $545 for Step #2

Step #2: Get a Plan.

Notice I didn’t say create a plan. Even though many people believe they are great marketers, most aren’t. If marketing was just a skill then everyone would be great at it. But, marketing is an art that requires tons of trial and error experimentation. It’s not easy and nothing is guaranteed.

But you can boost your success by getting an extra pair of eyes to take a look at your business. Call up that family member who is a whiz at marketing. Find a local fast growing business, call the owner, and take them to lunch (or two). Talk to me. I can help you immediately.

You are looking for solid advice on what you are missing, where you should invest, and how to reach your ideal reader and customer. In my case, I knew what I had to do based on 15 years of helping other companies, I used the money to get expert help designing my products.

Step #3: Execute the Plan

Once you’ve received good advice, create and execute your plan. It sounds simple but it isn’t.

Many people I’ve worked with had an “idea” about their marketing plan – none of them had executed their plan. You can’t move to the next step until you put your plan into action and get some sales. Your plan may not work, but you want to know that now rather than later so you can correct your course and keep moving.

Step #4: 10% Marketing War Chest

Now, take 10% from every sale and put it into a separate account.

If you sell $1 set aside a dime. Again this is simple. The trick is doing it. The fastest growing blogs see their marketing as a cost of doing business and religiously set aside the money to market it. Do the same. Put aside 10% no matter what.

Step #5 Reinvest in What Works

Take your marketing war chest funds and invest in the marketing tactics that work. This investment will “leverage” the tactic by using your extra investment to get bigger results quicker. Soon your marketing program will be completely funded by sales.

Can you do this? What are some of the ways you can get started on your blog marketing now? Talk to me in the comments.

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

13 thoughts on “5 Steps to Marketing Your Blog Even if You’re Broke

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  3. Teresa

    Thanks for the great tips. I just got a second job to help build up cash for the blog. I understand broke, but having a spirit of perseverance is worth enduring the trials of life. Instead of giving up, keep on keeping on…

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  6. Sonia

    I started a business 12 years ago and everything online either was free or coming out with the dot.com era. Once that all went bust, anything that was free was either cobbled up by bigger companies or they got rid of their free model quick. I had to rethink my strategy quick. Today, I still manage to promote my blog with little or no money.

    Networking is such a great tool and I am still surprised by bloggers that don’t do it enough. I always love getting new readers just from word of mouth. The best marketing tactic of them all.

  7. osaze

    Hi Stanford,

    Great article you have here. And I think its applicable to other forms of business too.
    Gave me an idea for mine.
    As for my blog, I try to market it through connecting with people. Probably would take longer than if I just pumped some money into it, but then, priority counts.

    Thanks again for the post.

  8. Stanford Post author

    I’m sure you aren’t looking for a free marketing lottery ticket. That’s a fairy tale that you and I understand doesn’t exist.

    Mike, here’s 5 options just for you…

    1. Write your butt off. Write amazing content that is helpful, authentic and concise. You may not have cash but you have time.

    2. Become an SEO Ninja. Google is still the broke man’s wonder drug. Type in SEO and become a master. Learn how to optimize your blog posts so that they show up in the search engines.

    3. Master Video and Audio: Video can be recorded on your smartphone, audio on a cheap digital recorder. It won’t be great quality but at least you can get your message out there. YouTube has hundreds of millions of users, so does iTunes. Put your content there.

    4. Create 10 posts that are truly “epic”. Not something you dash off in 15 minutes but ebooks that will boggle your prospect’s mind. Now give those posts away to the top blogs in your niche. You will immediately attract a following of quality readers.

    5. Find a second-job you can do in your free time. Again, if you are broke, then you have to use time. For years, I wrote salesletters for $50 a pop to earn cash to bootstrap my marketing. I worked 50 hours a week, came home, and wrote another 2 hours to earn an extra $200-300 a week.

    Mike one day I decided that I wasn’t going to use any more excuses. Broke was just a state of mind. If I was breathing, walking, and talking, I could be earning. Simple.
    Funny thing happened, although I was tired, I had the resources to move forward.

    Hope that helps.

  9. Mike

    Unfortunately, this isn’t actually marketing even if you are broke, this is marketing for those who can cut elsewhere to market. Some of us don’t even have the spending to cut elsewhere to put into marketing. I was really hoping this was going to be an article to help those of us who are truly broke, but it’s not.

  10. Rosie Slosek

    Ah, someone speaking to the real world and not an ideal :)

    I have a similar approach to my accounting services. Yes, some people want to – and can afford – to outsource it all. But no matter how much of a good idea it is, if you don’t have the money, you can’t. Get the numbers wrong, like your marketing, and you won’t have a business to get sales from in the first place.

    I decided to have a really wide range of options from £25 right up to my bells and whistles £75/month Gold mentoring.

    For everyone reading this, please apply the same principles Stanford has here for marketing to your accounts. And that’s good marketing!

    Thanks Stan.

  11. Lou Rodriguez

    Splash, splash…..Watch out Stan, I don’t want any water to hit you through your screen from me bailing water as fast as I can trying to keep my blog afloat. :)

    As Fred Sanford use to say, “I’m coming to join you”, just as soon as I plug this other hole!

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