Your marketing budget is low. Your faith in marketing is lower. Does anyone offer valuable free marketing support? I do. Five hours’ worth per week.
In March 2020, all of the persuasive writing courses I teach around the country were cancelled for the rest of the year. My scheduled brand strategy workshops in Denver and around the country were cancelled as well.
At the time, I was the fractional chief marketing officer for four small businesses. In March, all four businesses closed their doors. One reopened a year later, one reopened 16 months later, and two never reopened. Twelve other February/March clients couldn’t or didn’t pay me substantial sums owed.
My story was everystory. March was one hell of a month.
In response, I experienced what I would have to call shock. I felt frightened in a way I hadn’t since the 2008-2010 bursting real estate bubble. At one point during that earlier period, I personally knew more than 150 people in the marketing field who were out of work.
In 2020, I did some soul searching. I wrote or rewrote 32 resumes for my friends, family, and peers — on the house. I began building online courses in marketing essentials, brand strategy, and persuasive writing. And I spent hours on Zoom working with one small business after another, most of them confused and alarmed by recent events. All of them needed help, and I found some solace and sense of purpose in helping them. At no charge.
Small Businesses Need All the Help They Can Get
Entrepreneurs, small businesses, small nonprofits, and growing businesses often earmark next to nothing for marketing. Sometimes they literally have no extra cash. Other times, they don’t know what to do or how to do it. They don’t want to throw away good money on random acts of marketing. Still others hire bargain freelancers from Fiverr and Upwork.
When the pandemic hit, many of these companies wondered if they would be able to stay in business. Some received PPP loans, EIDLs, stimulus checks, and unemployment payments. Others received nothing. They buckled down and held tight to what money they had. They looked out on the horizon, panic in their eyes.
Starting in August 2020, one after the other began calling me for guidance. It happened unexpectedly, almost out of the blue. It was a godsend. I hope for them. Definitely for me.
Many of the businesses that called me are certified women-owned small businesses like mine. Some had been in business for years and had little to no marketing presence. Others had worked with freelancers or agencies for years with little to show for it. In 30-60-minute increments, I reviewed their online presence and weighed in. I told them what to do and how to do it. I gave them plenty of free examples, models, and templates so they could handle the work themselves if they chose. In every case, I gave them what I could, free of charge.
All in all, I provided free marketing support to more than 100 small businesses and solopreneurs in 2020. To this day, I’m still providing 30-minutes of free marketing consultation.
Free? For Real?
The people who called me told other entrepreneurs and small businesses about my free marketing support. The calls kept coming.
The question I’ve received most often is this: “You offer free marketing guidance? For real?”
Yep. For real.
One guy was referred to me by a colleague of mine at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. The guy emailed to ask “What’s the catch?” Surely I wasn’t going to simply give him advice and send him on his merry way. I replied that I work with businesses that want my support and that I teach online marketing essential courses that help many small businesses. I told him that many businesses are committed to going it alone, and I do what I can to set them up for success.
He wrote this: “Bull. Shit. You’re just a salesperson and I’m not about to listen to your 30-minute sales pitch.”
Yikes. Angry much? Yeah, me too.
I’m angry about so many small businesses going under and my clients disappearing in one fell swoop and the stunning amount of money my February/March 2020 clients owe me. I get it.
He got one thing right: I am in sales. All business owners are. All of them. But being in sales and being a sleaze-ball salesperson aren’t the same thing.
We’re all so used to spam and scams and hard-sell sales pitches that we’ve become jaded. What’s the catch, we all want to know. The catch is that you can hire me to provide marketing consulting and C-level support if you want to. I’m not running a nonprofit, after all. However, you’re not desperate to hire me, and I’m not desperate to land you as a client.
The real deal? I’ve been experiencing incredible joy that comes from showing so many small businesses how to get out of the marketing abyss. To be clear, a 30-minute consult isn’t the end all, be all for struggling businesses. Not even close. But the overarching clarity, guidance, samples, and next steps I provide in 30 minutes is saving many small businesses months and years of DIY time and frustration and tons of money on random freelancers who specialize in doing random, often mediocre work.
Free Marketing Support
Today, I do 10 free 30-minute marketing consultations per week. Schedule a consultation, and here’s what we’ll do:
- Review your entire ecosystem together — home page, other site pages, on-page SEO, lead magnets, assets (e-books, white papers, blogs), PR efforts, and social media pages.
- Discuss the top 3-5 things you should be doing to (1) communicate your identity and value to your customers and prospects more clearly and (2) optimize your site, SEO, and social presence.
- Point out templates and samples offered on my site and elsewhere to get you started.
Want to go it alone? Great! Hoping to work with me? Great — now, let’s see if we’re a fit. Prefer to work with an agency? Great! I can point you in the right direction or help you vet your selections.