So, I went to a conference a couple of weeks ago, and if you followed my Instagram stories, you probably saw that my FAVORITE swag that anyone gave out was a $2 bill stamped with the company name and logo.
(My husband immediately said, “THAT’S A FEDERAL CRIME! DEFACING MONEY!” But I’m not too worried about it.)
It was great! They had a big briefcase on their table full of $2 bills and they would give you one — in exchange for scanning your conference badge, which gave them your name and email info. It was very attractive because
- seeing a briefcase full of money gives you pause immediately,
- they’re HANDING OUT MONEY, and
- it’s super unique when you’re at a conference where every other table has tote bags and water bottles.
Problem is, I had no idea what the company is or what it does. The name is not descriptive of what they do. It’s just a name. I honestly just wanted the $2 bill.
But today, I got an email from them (expected). It’s actually pretty good. Here’s what it says:
It was great to meet you at Digital Summit! Have you spent your $2, or did you save it for good luck?We heard a few people threw them away because they thought they were fake!!Quick question, do you have any SEO needs that we might be able to help with? Maybe link building or blog content?If so, we’d love to chat. You can schedule a call with one of us at this link.Hope to hear from you soon!-Joe
P.S. If you set up an account at this link, we’ll give you a $100 credit in your account to try us out.”
OK, so they’re an SEO company. Interesting.
What that tells me about this company is that they know that they can spend AT LEAST $2 per email lead at a conference like this. (I say at least because they also had to pay to sponsor the conference and pay to have people there passing out $2 bills.)
They also know they can give away $100 in free services to more qualified, interested leads. (See the P.S. in the email above.)
That means they must understand the value of their average customer and know how much they’re willing to spend to acquire one — something I see is LACKING in the small business owner space.
What you can learn from that $2 bill
We talk a lot around here about blogging and content marketing and social media, mainly as FREE promotional tools for your business, costing only your time and energy — which, let’s face it, many small business owners are more willing to pony up than cash, which can be hard to come by.
But the reality of the current marketing climate is that free promotional opportunities are dwindling, FAST.
I’ve had several people come to me over the last few months, wanting to know how to use a content marketing strategy to grow their businesses. But when I suggested that they should invest in SEO, or advertising, or video to grow their business (all part of content marketing strategy, by the way) they balked.
They were still in the mindset that they could write a blog post, share it on Facebook, and grow their business.
And yeah. Maybe. But it’s not a guarantee. And it will be SLOW.
A statistic I learned at the conference that I didn’t share in my post on scary statistics is that, on average, companies with high performing marketing teams (meaning, teams that get RESULTS) who want fast growth budget 13–30% of their projected revenue.
In practical terms, that means if you come to me wanting to grow your business to $250k next year, and you’re at $50k this year or less (actual numbers customers have told me), you need to be ready to budget $32,000–$75,000 on marketing.
I will just tell you flat out that kind of client has never come to me with that kind of budget! LOL! 🤣
But when they have those kinds of big goals, and don’t even want to pay a few thousand dollars for my services, or a few hundred dollars a month to put some advertising money behind it, it gives me pause.
It means they don’t have clarity around how much they can spend to acquire a new customer. (Or, they have a mindset issue around spending money to make money, which is a whole other ballgame.)
There are still “free” ways to drive traffic and leads to your business — but what I’ve noticed over the past six months in particular is that when I tell people what these free ways are, they don’t want to do them. Why? Because they’re uncomfortable, labor intensive, and active (as opposed to passively posting something on Facebook and watching the leads roll in).
When it comes down to what your time is worth, it’s often a better bang for your buck to invest in paid strategy and promotional avenues than to spend hours and hours and hours chasing the “free” methods.
That means you have to ask yourself:
What’s my $2 bill?
What am I willing and able to spend to acquire a lead?
That number is going to vary for everyone based on your business model and financial model, but if you can come up with a number, you can figure out how much you can afford to spend on content marketing, including advertising, SEO, content production (ie: having us write it for you), strategy, and so on.
I predict that knowing and understanding that number is going to become more and more important for small business owners in the near future as the free ways of driving traffic and leads continue to dwindle.