Welcome to TechSPARK’s digital advice column, Dear E Me.
We’ll be addressing digital marketing woes, to help a different business each month make the smarter choices about how they spend their money online. To submit your own questions, just email us at (firstname.lastname@example.org /email@example.com)
Dear E Me
Last year I created an App that connects local business with freelancers. We’ve just become profitable, so I want to invest in growing my business. But there’s only a small marketing budget, and I want to invest in something that gets us noticed locally. I’ve heard that podcasts or vlogs are a great way to spread your message, so I was wondering, should we spend it all on that?
Thanks for your question. Boy, does Gary Vaynerchuck have a lot to answer for. If I had a pound for every time someone thinks that launching a podcast or a vlog will save their marketing, I’d be a rich woman. In short, no – don’t spend all your money on a single type of content. It’s a risky strategy, and one that isn’t really based around your customers, or where they find out about your business.
Don’t feel pressured by what other companies are doing. Just because a video blog or a podcast is successful for one business, doesn’t mean it will be for yours. In truth, podcasts
have the highest set-up costs and lowest ROI of any form of content*. And vlogging is easy for some, but if you’re a small business owner, you might not have time for the editing and filming required for a great YouTube channel.
So instead of spending your budget on one type of content, here’s what I’d advise you do. Spend a day or two speaking to your current App users, find out what they love about your product,
and crucially, find out where they found out about you. This will give you some insight into where you should spend your marketing budget. Let’s say that your users found out about your App from referrals at a local business Meetup, and they love how easy it is to connect with freelancers because of your interface. This tells you some important things – that you can focus your marketing efforts on relevant business events, engaging with attendees online using social media, email (if you have permission to do so) and via third-party networks like Meetup. It also tells you what you need to be talking about – namely, that you connect businesses with freelancers more effectively than other tools.
You can map out a simple strategy to amplify your reputation in these relevant circles, and reach out to referral partners and influencers who can help you spread the word. For the price of creating a podcast or video blog series, you could hire a marketing executive part-time to connect with your online customers. I’m not ruling out a podcast or vlog, if that’s what you’re totally passionate about. But, at this crucial early stage of your business, your money could be much better spent on spreading the word in local networks, using the many different communications tools that are available to you for free.
To submit your own questions, just email us at (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)