Put Some Skin In The Game & Become a Better Marketer, Guaranteed.

Description: check-blank-money.jpg

I believe there’s a process that any person can go through that will make them a better marketer, guaranteed.  I started my own business in 2001 after spending seven years at a large company.  I found out very quickly that when you venture out on your own, you truly are alone.

And it’s a lot scarier of a place than being in a corporate bubble.  I found out that when you start your own business, the line between success and failure is razor thin.  And when the decisions you make directly impact how well your business performs, you tend to look at things differently than when you are spending someone else’s money.  And that’s an incredible lesson, and one that’s hard to learn elsewhere.

When It Gets Personal, You Learn Quickly

After launching my own business and mapping out my services and solutions, it was time to market them.  That included taking a chunk of my own money to fund my marketing budget.  And let me tell you, it was an entirely different feeling when I was spending my own money.  Using my own hard-earned money to fuel marketing campaigns was an incredible experience and yielded some powerful marketing lessons.

You can’t learn those lessons in class, from a book, or even at a company that’s giving you a budget to spend.  And the effect it has on your own business perspective and how you manage client campaigns is priceless (no pun intended).  So, if you have never spent your own money to market a product or service before, you should (and I will quickly explain the process I recommend below).  Then I’ll explain some inherent learnings you will gain during the process of “putting some skin in the game.”  Are you up for the challenge?

The Process

If you’re ready to become a better marketer by funding your own campaign, then follow the process below.  Believe me, you may never look at a client’s budget the same way again.

1. Identify Your Product or Service

The first thing you need to do is to identify the product or service you are going to market.  You can market your own freelance service, a product you developed, training you built, an ebook you’ve written, or anything that you feel comfortable selling.  If you don’t have anything to sell of your own, then find someone close to you that does.

For example, approach a family member or good friend that has a business and tell them that you’re going to help them market their product or service using your own budget (for a generous commission of course).  Hey, if you are putting some skin the game, you should have the ability to be rewarded.  Once you identify what you’re selling, make sure there is content online that you can drive prospective customers to.  If a landing page or site hasn’t been created yet, you’ll need to build one (either by yourself or by using part of your budget.)

2. Stretch Out Those Alligator Arms & Reach Your Wallet

Yes, now you need to fund the campaign.  Reach into your wallet and find your budget.  To make this fair, let’s use a percentage of salary that could work for a majority of people.  I recommend taking 5% of your total salary as the budget for your marketing campaign.  So, if you earn $25K per year, you’ll spend $1250.  If you earn $50K per year, you’ll spend $2500.  And if you earn $100K, then you’ll spend $5000.  And yes, it’s obviously ok to use less, if needed.  Just make sure there’s enough budget to make some type of impact.

3. Develop Your Marketing Strategy

OK, online marketing big shot… now’s the chance to put your money where your mouth is.  At this point, you need to map out your strategy to generate sales.  Once you start brainstorming ideas, you’ll probably notice a transformation occurring.  You might be taking this conversation a little more seriously now that your money is in the game.

Will you run paid search, Facebook advertising, how strong are your organic rankings, do you have an in-house email list, and what assets can you leverage that are already in place?  You might experience a sudden feeling of excitement, fear, and nausea, and you might realize that you never felt this way until your own dollars were on the line.  Don’t worry, you’re experiencing a side effect of entrepreneurship, and it’s hard to reproduce that feeling without funding your own gig (or riding roller coasters over the age of 35).  By the way, I’ll explain more about the lessons you will learn during this process later in the post.

4. Projections and The Upside of Entrepreneurship

Even though you run the risk of losing your own money (and some of you will), you can also end up making money (if you do a good job and generate a profit).  I’ll explain more about Return on Investment (ROI) later in the post.  At this point, you should run projections based on various performance scenarios.  Run the numbers using various success levels to identify how much you can earn.  Once you have your strategy in place and your projections, you can get ready to launch.

Glenn Gabe
Featured SEO Writer for SEJ Glenn Gabe is a digital marketing consultant at G-Squared Interactive and focuses heavily on SEO, SEM, Social Advertising, Social Media Marketing, and Web Analytics. Glenn has over 18 years of experience and has held leadership positions both in-house and at a global interactive agency. During his career, Glenn has helped clients across a wide range of industries including consumer packaged goods (CPG), ecommerce, startups, pharmaceutical, healthcare, military, education, non-profits, online auctions, real-estate, and publishing. You can follow Glenn on Google+ here.

Comments are closed.

21 thoughts on “Put Some Skin In The Game & Become a Better Marketer, Guaranteed.

  1. I surely like your perspective on SEO.

    Once you experience the SEO effect on revenue and compare the ROI of organic search to your paid efforts, you’ll turn into a big fan of search engine optimization. You might even where a giant “S” on your chest. :) – totally agree. Great post.

    1. Thanks Bharati. I appreciate it. When you are using your own money to increase sales and see how powerful strong organic rankings can be, it's hard not to buy a shirt with a giant “S” on it. SEO surely can be a super channel. :)

  2. Glenn, although I read your post like it's written for an individual or small start-up… the funny thing is there are plenty of mature businesses out there that continue missing even some of the basics within what you have listed.

    I also know from experience that good SEO (the kind that drives daily business) tends to sometimes create laziness when it comes to employing other tactics that can impact growth… consider this a confession 😉

    1. Those are great points Jason. There are definitely times that larger companies with deeper pockets can overlook the analysis and optimization pieces of what I listed above. Again, that's because it's not tied to someone's wallet. :)

      Regarding SEO, I definitely hear you. That's related to the “working 24/7 without an advertising budget” reference I included above. The funny part is that strong SEO (business-wise) can fund some of the other, less tested channels. I guess that's only if you need those other channels!

  3. Great post. I own a small start-up and couldn't agree more with you as I was definitely one of those people checking analytics every 2 seconds. Spending your own money always makes you look at things differently and question your ideas. We are lucky in that we are starting to reap the benefits of SEO. I agree that once you nail SEO ( or nail as much as you can) it becomes best friend!

    1. Thanks and I'm glad you liked my post. It's amazing how important analytics becomes when it's your own money on the line. :) I'm glad to hear your SEO efforts are paying off. Did you order your new shirt yet? The one with the giant “S” on it?

  4. This is a comprehensive list of how to become a better marketer. This will greatly help those upcoming marketers but the real concern is the strategy and the implementation as it is where most had failed.

    1. Great point. Implementation is critically important. And, you'll learn that quickly when you're funding your own campaign. That's one of the side effects of entrepreneurship!

  5. Thanks so much for this. Helped a lot.A while back when I gave it a shot I was a noob and wanted all sorts of help. This will totally help me out. Thank you again.

  6. Awesome post. I started with paid adverts for one of my online businesses, and it was very frustrating at first. Spending more than you are making isn't fun at all. That got me to start investing in seo. 11 months now and i can say it was indeed a good learning experience. High rankings is organic rankings truly rocks!

    1. Absolutely, it's easy to see the value of SEO when you're spending a certain $ per conversion via paid efforts. Glad to hear that's working out for you.

  7. Hi Glenn,

    Its nice that when we spend own money then we get much better experience than job and new excitement appeared at our face.

    Your post is very real and original.

    1. Thanks and I'm glad you liked my post. I hope a lot of marketers take the challenge and fund their own campaigns. Like I said in the post, you'll never look at a client's budget the same way again. :)

  8. I was going to try and beg for a mentor but with this article I can breath a bit more with your great advice. It's going to hurt puting 5% into marketing but if I don't invest in myself then who is going to buy from me. I will def be heeding your advice and work on my website analytic skills

  9. I totally agree with your perspective on spending you own money. You can learn everything in class, and read thousands of books on marketing but there is nothing more valuable then you own experience, especially when it comes to spending your own finances. Great read!

  10. SEO is really the way forward but only when combined with other efforts such as PPC and video marketing it one part of the overall marketing pie

  11. This is a comprehensive list of how to become a better marketer. This will greatly help those upcoming marketers but the real concern is the strategy and the implementation as it is where most had failed.