Growing a Brand on $1k per Month

Growing a Brand on $1k per Month

Let’s get straight to it and address the elephant in the room: $1,000 per month is a really small marketing budget—but it’s probably on the high end of what most CPG brands starting out have to invest into their growth. So how do you make it work for your company?

The simple answer: you get scrappy. And getting scrappy means understanding consumer behaviors, focusing on revenue-generating activities, and being active (instead of passive) in your marketing efforts.

Why you should focus on D2C

The world is changing. (You already knew that.) But amidst the political, social, and economic upheavals, what you may not have considered is how our behaviors as consumers have changed. Ten years ago shopping online wasn’t a big thing. Many, many people grabbed their groceries at the local Kroger store and their clothes at the local Macy’s. They would discover new brands based on their impulse buys in store.

That doesn’t happen anymore.

Today, you can have your groceries delivered and you likely shop for much of your wardrobe online. You rely on social media suggestions and recommendations from friends to discover new brands.

And this shift in the way we consume has made our traditional ways of marketing obsolete. CPG brands can no longer rely on customers to stumble upon them—they must be proactive in generating brand awareness and building brand advocacy.

If you’re going to become profitable and scale, your CPG brand must be more than an impulse buy on a grocery trip—it must be #1 in the hearts and minds of your customers.

Let’s talk marketing myths

I’m going to say something that will shock you:

inbound marketing is dead. 

Let’s say you sell a chocolate product. Do you really think that there’s any amount of keyword research or blogging that will get your company to rank among giants like Hersey, Lindt, Ghirardelli, and Dove? You might be able to dominate local search, but that won’t be enough volume to scale your business.

It’s true that doing well in Google Search or with your Google Ads is ideal because you’re getting your brand in front of people who are lower in the marketing funnel and are ready to make a purchase. However, there’s one big caveat to consider: When was the last time you did a Google search for a CPG product?

It’s more likely that you already have brands you know and regularly shop and aren’t looking for replacements.

So if following inbound strategies aren’t the way to go, what is a CPG brand to do? Ditch the passive marketing strategies and start getting active by focusing on revenue-generating activities.

What’s a revenue-generating activity?

Focusing your budget and energy on revenue-generating activities is how you’ll spend your marketing budget wisely. And figuring out what is a “revenue-generating activity” is probably easier than you think. It’s going to be one of these three things:

  1. Activities that bring you leads NOW
  2. Activities that nurture leads
  3. Activities that build brand advocacy

In marketing, we talk a lot about funnels. They can be simple or they can be complicated, but either way, a funnel won’t work if you don’t have leads. “Brand awareness” is not enough for small brands; you’ve got to offer a lead something interesting enough to capture their contact information so you can continue the conversation.

Once you have that contact information, the ball is in your court. You can email, text, Facebook message, or even go old school with a phone call—but no matter what you choose, communication is key. This is your chance to build the know, like, trust factor with your lead and develop a true connection.

And lastly, building brand advocacy is key—especially in the world of D2C. Why? Well, the internet has changed everything. Today, people shop for convenience and connection. Amazon rules the world because of the convenience it provides compared to a Kroger, a Macy’s, or a Radio Shack. 

Small brands online, however, have a distinct edge (if they’re prepared to do their marketing right!) Your average consumer is more willing to spend more money for the same products they can find on Amazon if the brand that sells it is in alignment with their values and sense of community.

What does a successful funnel look like? 

You’ve probably seen a million marketing funnels. They use words like awareness, attraction, interest, consideration, decision, purchase, advocacy. (The list goes on and on.) Here’s the steps you really need to make your own funnel:

Spending your $1K wisely

So by now you’ve got to be wondering…. “That all sounds great, but how do I effectively spend by $1,000 each month?”

Put aside at least $500 per month for social advertising.

200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily. 62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories. Fully 81% of people use Instagram to help research products and services. According to Sprout Social, 77% of weekly Pinners have discovered a new brand or product on the platform and 83% of weekly Pinners have made a purchase based on content they saw from brands on Pinterest. 

Consumers ARE finding new brands on social media, and with a small budget, you can get your brand seen and drive relevant traffic to your website.

Plan on spending $250 to $500 per month on influencers.

One of my clients (who was an influencer on IG) shared her love for a new product she was sent on her stories over the course of one week. By the end of the week, the CPG company she was promoting had recorded over $1,200 in sales from her promo code.

I’ll be honest with you, using influencers for your marketing is tricky. There are a lot of people out there who will take your product, your payment, and do the absolute minimum. However, finding the right influencer can be a huge revenue booster for brands. Take your time. Do your research. Come up with creative ways to work with influencers like running giveaways where you can get new emails or challenges where they can get their followings involved in driving meaningful engagement around your product. The sky is truly the limit when you commit to getting scrappy!

Spend $250 to $500 per month on a support team.

Being active in your marketing efforts is truly a great deal of work. Having an amazing copywriter on your team could be a gamechanger. Having an administrative genius who does all your research and outreach gives you the space to focus on being the visionary of the company.

Put some budget aside for an assistant who can be responsible for developing email campaigns, sending DMs on Instagram, pitching your brand for podcasts, etc. The one thing successful CEOs always do is acknowledge that they don’t have the skills or the time to do all the jobs and hire out certain tasks as needed.

You may not spend the same amount on each aspect of your marketing each month, and that’s ok. Adjust as needed to stay within your budget and maximize opportunities as they arise.

Rinse, repeat, and optimize

Having a marketing budget is important, but having a small budget isn’t going to break your company if you know how to make the most of the money you’ve got. The key to success with a small budget is testing. Be flexible, yet attentive. 

Start with one social media platform and then expand to a second (or third!) once you’ve found what works on the first one. 

Test the waters with influencers and try different campaigns to see what really lights your prospective clients up.

Nurture the leads you’ve got and keep them coming back for more.

Once you discover what works well for your brand and your potential customers, you can do more of that and move on to testing new ideas and new platforms.

Sounds like something you might need help with?

Reach out to Shauna today.

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A little more on Shauna

Shauna Armitage is a fractional marketing director for early-stage startups, guiding founders at all stages of growth in developing an impactful marketing program. Bridging the gap between consultant and agency, Shauna takes a hands-on approach in each and every business which is quite innovative. She is a Hubspot Certified professional with a certificate in Women’s Entrepreneurship from Cornell University and is an active member of The Female Founder Collective and Hey Mama. Shauna has presented for organizations such as Women of Denver, Keller Williams Realty, and The Riveter.