March 31, 2021

What to invest in first if you've got a small budget

About this episode...

What to invest in first if you've got a small budget

There are so many options for you to spend your money on, it's important to choose the ones that will get you the results you're after.

While it's tempting to jump straight into paid marketing, there are a few things to consider first to get your foundations right.

In this episode, I share a few prompts to help you decide where's best to spend your money and put it to the best use for you right now.

Read the full episode in the transcript tab.

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Transcript of the Marketing Morsels podcast with Lauren Taylor

Lauren Taylor:


Hello, this is Lauren Taylor, and welcome to episode 16 of marketing morsels. This week, we're going to talk about where to invest your money if you've only got small budget. There are so many options out there for you to spend your money on. And it's obviously important that you choose the options that are going to get you the best return for your investment and get you the results that you're looking for. But it's also important to think about how much time you've got to invest in the activities, as well as your budget. I'm going to share a few prompts and questions for you to think about, to help you decide where to invest your money and a few things that you can consider first. So let's go. The very first thing before you do anything else is to decide what it is you actually want to achieve.


There's no point spending your hard earned cash somewhere, unless you've got a real clear goal for what it is you want to get out of it. And the reason, the purpose you're doing it in the first place. So if you've reached the point where you would like to invest in marketing, why would you like to invest in marketing? Is it to grow your business? Is it to increase your audience? Is it to get new customers? Is it to get more traffic to your website? Is it to build your mailing list? Is it to get more people to listen to your podcast? There could be lots of reasons. And although ultimately the aim of all of this is to get you more customers and help your business grow, the specific goal of the activity that you choose and the channel that you choose to invest your money in, the goal will vary.


So it's important you decide what your goal is for the activity you want to get started with. So don't get bogged down in the, I want to get more customers, take a few steps back and think about, almost work it backwards. Getting more customers is at the very bottom of that process. What's the next level up? What do they do before they become a customer? How do they get to know you? How do they decide if you're the right person they want to work with? And again, going one level up, what do they do before they even find out about you? How do they know that you exist? And knowing the answer to those things will help you get a bit more clarity around what your purpose is for what you're trying to achieve, because without that, you're just throwing your money into the wind and hoping for miracles to happen.


Okay. So next, we'll talk about a few things that you can invest in. There are a few things that you can spend your money on, that you might not strictly see as marketing, but are really, really valuable and make a massive difference to your business. So let's start with the first one. If you've got a little bit of budget, one of the most valuable things you can do, and the most useful thing you can do for you and your business is to invest in yourself, invest in a training course to learn something new. Do you want to start offering a new service that you'd like to brush up your knowledge on or learn something you haven't learned before? Or do you want to learn even more about a topic that you really enjoy or do you think you would benefit from something like a business coach or a mentor?


So if you do have a little bit of money to spend, I would always recommend thinking about how you can invest it in you first to help support your learning, support your self-development, to help you feel more confident in areas that you maybe don't feel so confident about at the moment, help you offer new things. If you know that your customers are asking for new services that you maybe can't offer at the moment, is there one that you really fancy, that you can get started with and take a little course. And not all courses have to be thousands of pounds with official governing bodies. There are some really great courses from little independent freelancers and agencies and providers, thare are less than a hundred pounds that you can learn loads and loads of useful stuff from. So it's worth having a look around. You can find people on Instagram, do some Googling and have a look at the kinds of things that they write about in their blogs and what they post on social media.


Do they do any videos on YouTube? Are they doing any workshops you can try? And by having a look at all those different things, it'll help you choose. Are they going to give you the right knowledge that you're looking for? Are they on the same wavelength as you do? Do they know what they're talking about? So, you know you're investing in somebody worthwhile that can really give you some extra bits of knowledge that you can then put back into your business to help move it forward. Okay. Next, invest in your business. Now this sounds a bit broad, but what I specifically mean in this situation is invest in software or equipment. Is there some piece of software that will help you do things faster, help you improve your processes, help you automate things or create better content? Is there anything that's going to make your life easier?


That's going to save you anxiety, going to save you time that you can invest in, pay a few pounds a month. And I know it can be hard and it does add up. So be selective about this. If you are going to invest in software, you see things that are maybe eight pounds, 10 pounds, 15 pounds a month. And it does add up quite quickly. But say, for example, if you invest in something like Canva, that can help you create images for social media quicker, helps you do presentations. I think Canva's around 10 pounds a month. But on the flip side, the time you will save from using whatever software you decide is worth its weight in gold. So have a think. You might've already seen something that you think looks great and really useful for you, but be ruthless. Try it out for a few months.


If you don't use it, get rid, and don't be tempted to tie yourself into a year long contract to get a discount. Only do that if you a hundred percent know you will use that and get the value out of it for the whole year. Okay. Next one. Think about what you can outsource. And by outsourcing, I mean is there anything that you spend time on at the moment that either takes up a lot of time, or you just don't enjoy, that you could be paying somebody else to do for you. Maybe they've got more experience. They could do a better job. They can do it faster. And I don't want you to panic and think this means you are employing somebody or turning your business into an agency. That's not what it's about. It's about getting a little bit of help. The same as you would pay somebody to do some design work for you or to build you a website. Have a think about the things that are taking up lots of time in your day, that if you paid somebody else to do would free up your time to focus more on creating great content, supporting your customers, working on actually growing your business, working on building up your business and your future plans without getting bogged down in the day-to-day of having to do everything in your business.


And only do this if you really have the budget. If you're not bringing in enough income to cover this, it's not really worth outsourcing at this stage unless you know you're going to get far more income in the near future to cover it. But trying to invest in outsourcing when you haven't got enough income for you to live and manage your business and pay somebody else to help you. That's just going to get stressful because then you've got to make sure you're covering this extra money that you're paying out for help. But as soon as you're at the stage in your business where you can afford a few hundred pounds, somebody to help you out with things like admin, invoicing, get a virtual assistant. We'll talk about other bits and pieces later. Think about the things that you can outsource and free up your time to spend on the things that you're best at.


That's going to make a real big difference to your business and your mind. It's so freeing to be able to trust somebody else to help you with something. It's just a massive relief that you know it's going to get done, but it's not on your shoulders. You've got more time to focus on other things. Okay. Next one. Invest in copywriting. Now, unless you are a professional copywriter already, having good copy on your website, within your marketing activity, in your adverts, good copy can make or break your campaign and your business. And what I mean by copy, copy is basically the words within your marketing that convince people to become a customer. And apologies to anyone if it was really offensive that I've just massively simplified that. So for example, if you are updating your website, if you've written your own copy for your website and you're constantly changing it, feels like it's not quite right.


Not quite hitting the spot with people, investing in a copywriter to write it for you. That's the difference between really great copy on a website that readers really connect with and gets people excited about. You know when you read somebody's website and you just think, yes, you look amazing. You completely get me. It's very clear how you can help me and what I need to do next and what I'm going to get out of it. That's the difference a really good copywriter can make. And it's usually a one-off investment. If you've got a project that you know you're gonna need some copy for, there is huge value in investing in getting some help from somebody. Because they will, they will listen to you and let you empty your brain of all your thoughts and ideas and what it is you want to try and get across.


And they will turn it into beautiful, concise words that do exactly what you need. Or if you know you're regularly going to need support from a copywriter, you can pay them a little bit each month and you know you've always got somebody on hand that can help you out. And again, it helps take the anxiety out of everything because you know you've got somebody you can turn to when you need to, rather than having to try and do it all yourself and not quite getting it the way you want. Okay. Next one, similar to copywriting, invest in design support. A good designer again is worth their weight in gold. There are lots of design tools. Things like Canva that can help you create really nice looking assets. But again, unless you're a professional designer yourself, the difference between using a template and making something that looks okay and looks pretty, versus having it professionally designed completely how you want it to your spec, to your style, to your brand.


That really stands out when people are deciding whether they should choose you. When they're looking at your social profiles, your website, your marketing activity, can really see the difference. And again, you can invest in one-off project or you can invest in having a designer on hand each month. Again, it lifts that cloud of anxiety of having to worry about, oh god, it's going to take me ages to design this. And it's never going to be quite right. And you spend hours fiddling around with tiny little bits and pieces when actually your time is much better spent getting customers, supporting customers, growing your business, taking some time for yourself and letting a designer worry about the design-y things. Okay. Next one. And you'll notice we haven't strictly talked about anything specifically marketing-y yet? Yeah. And that's because I believe there's a lot of things you can invest in first that will make a massive difference to your brand and your business and the way you're perceived, which will make people choose you because they love what you're offering.


And it's only when you've really reached that point, that it's worth spending money on getting more traffic to your website. So slight tangent. So the next one is invest in somebody to manage your social media. Now for anxious, introverted, freelancers, social media is, for want of a better word, hellish. It's the opposite of everything we want to do, which is keep things private and not expose all of our thoughts to the world. Now, by all means you can manage your own social media, but there's a very good chance you're spending much longer on it than you need to because of the overthinking, the fear and all that fun stuff that comes with posting and being public on your own social media. And again, if you have got a little bit of budget to invest in this, get somebody to help you with it because that removes having to second guess yourself all the time..


And think should I be posting this, oh god, what should I talk about? What if nobody likes this? When somebody else is doing that for you, those things don't matter anymore. It just gets done and it gets done well. And the person that you get to help you with this will listen to your style. And it's not like they're going to be posting in a completely different way, and it's not going to come across in the way that you want it to. That's what they're great at. They'll spend time getting to know you the way you talk, the phrases you use, the messages you want to get across. And then all you need to do is focus on recording any videos, helping give them some guidance on ideas, but they can do a lot of that for you as well. Your most important part there is giving them enough information about you, your business, your style, so they can replicate it.


And having somebody else managing your social for you, it takes a massive burden off your back because social, particularly for overthinkers, it can become quite a big chore and you can spend way more time on it than you need to be. So if you can, get some help and have look for somebody you can trust to manage your social media accounts for you. And if you're not quite at the stage where you can invest in somebody to do it all for you, you could get a social media coach that can help you improve the posts or come up with ideas and just help guide you in the right direction. They can read through your posts, give you some pointers and feedback on how you can improve them, edit them for you. And then you can learn for yourself and it will become easier and easier. So there are a few options if you're not quite at the point where you can outsource it all completely.


And again, similar to the last few, invest in help and support with content. So content being writing blogs, creating guides, creating videos, creating graphics. All that jazz can take up a lot of time, but is really important. So similar to social, you can invest in somebody to do it all for you. And again, they'll get to know you, the kinds of things you want to get across and create the content in a way that's right for you. Or you can get somebody to support you and coach you through it, to help you improve the creation of your own content. But what completely outsourcing will also do, a good content writer will also be really good with SEO, SEO being search engine optimisation, which means creating content that Google and other search engines want to see. Creating really good quality content that's written in a way and structured in a way that helps it get found in search engines, which then brings in the right kinds of people to your website.


Now there's a heck of a lot of technical stuff involved in SEO that, sure, you can start to learn that for yourself as well. If you know you're going to want to be doing it yourself long-term, it can be part of your investing in yourself. But if you just want somebody else to do it that can do it quicker and better than you at this point, then definitely invest in a good content writer that can create really good content with really good SEO. And then the last one invest in ads. Now I know it feels a bit weird that at the very bottom of this list is investing in ads. As I said earlier, it's only worth investing your money in adverts that get more traffic to your website or get your brand seen by more people, whatever your goal is. It's only worth investing at this point when you've got all the other bits, right.


Otherwise your ads aren't going to work the way that you want them to. They're going to be way more effective. If you're sending your ads to a great website. And your website doesn't have to be fancy. It's more about the words and the messages that you're getting across and making sure it's clear what you do. So when you pay for ads and get people onto your website, that they know straight away what it is you do, who you do it for and how you can help them, what they're going to get from it. Because when you're investing in ads, those people, they've never heard of you before. They want to know why they should care, why they should trust you. And these people. It's going to take time for them to be convinced and to get to know you.


And to go back to the purpose of this episode, if you have got small budget, you can still invest in ads. In fact, small budgets are really good for testing ads because you can spend maybe five, ten pounds a day, a few hundred pounds a month or week to test your ads. Test different versions of your content, your copy, your graphics, your messages, test different landing pages. So send, send people to different pages on your website or to download different products. Test them with a small budget. And once you've learned which ones work really well, you can start and invest more and more money to get more and more out of it. Now that's not a quick process, but as I say, once, you've got the foundations and all your other bits and pieces to a point where you're happy with them, you think they reflect what it is you offer people. And it does it in a way that people really get to know you what you're about and why they should invest their money in you to help them.


That's when you really get the most out of your ad. And it could be, if you've done all the other bits really well and you're producing really good content regularly, you're showing up consistently on social media. People can see that you're being openly helpful and your audience is starting to grow. That might be enough by itself to get you the level of business that you want to maintain the business that you want, the customers that you want, the growth that you want, and also the lifestyle and free time that you want. Because it's not all about money here. It's about creating the space for you to live the life that you want. So it could be, you've been through all these other steps. And now you've got a nice, steady amount of business coming in to maintain your time, your income and your brain in the way that you want, that you don't even need to invest in ads.


That's something you can come to in the future if you really want to grow even further. So I'll run back through them quickly just to recap. Decide what it is you want to achieve. What's the purpose of your investment? Invest in yourself first. Invest in your business software or equipment. Consider what you can outsource to free up your time. Invest in a copywriter to help you write really great copy for your website that will help your customers convert. Invest in a designer that will help your graphics, your activity look amazing and really stand out. Invest in somebody to help manage your social media, to take away that worry and the stress of having to do all yourself. Invest in somebody to help you create really great content and support your SEO to drive more traffic. And then invest in ads. So have a think. If you do have a little bit of budget and you want to make sure you're investing it in the right place, consider a few of those options first before considering investing in the more direct type of marketing activities. And all that will help when you do then come to invest in that side of things, it'll help make it better.


So you get even more from it. Okay. So.


Thank you again for joining me this week. Have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you next time.

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Gentle marketing goodness for sensitive souls and anxious introverts. Once a month (ish) I share general musings about life’s little joys. Beautiful things I’ve loved and learnt on my wiggly journey to build a peaceful life as a sensitive business owner.