Here are 6 things you should have to start your own small budget marketing program. Of course there are lots of other ancillary things you would want, but these are the staples to get you started.

1. Marketing Roadmap – In other words, your marketing plan. I like to call it a roadmap because you have your starting point and you have some miles to travel and places to go before you reach your destination which is where your marketing program is up and running well. Marketing is always changing; your plan should be very fluid and should be a “working plan” which you can amend at any point in time. It never fails that just when you get to where you “think” want to be, another turn in the road comes along and off you go in another direction.   As a result you have to make changes on your roadmap. This is what makes marketing, pr and social media such fun and a challenge. You have got to have a plan down in writing though to help you stay on the road.

2. Website or blog – It would be nearly impossible to have a marketing program without one. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be fancy. But it does have to be able to grab your customer’s attention IMMEDIATELY. You have about 3 seconds to get the person viewing your website excited about what they are seeing and to take a deeper look at what you are offering. You can make a website yourself, but this is the one thing you should probably put a little bit of money into if you can. It is your calling card. If you don’t have a solid background in web design, leave this to someone who knows what they’re doing. Bottom line – your website or blog is THE cornerstone to your entire marketing program.

3. Media list – This is constantly evolving. I make changes/additions to mine almost weekly. It’s very easy to start – there are a variety of websites out there that list local, regional and state-wide media outlets. Those websites will give you the initial list to work with, BUT, that is only the first step. You must contact each media outlet that you want to use individually and find out WHO covers your niche. You don’t want to be sending your info to the wrong person.

4. Camera – It doesn’t have to be expensive. My absolute favorite is a FLIP Mino HD. I bought one last February, it is in my purse 24/7 so I always have access to it. It shoots HD video, but you can freeze any frame and make a snapshot. In the age of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter you need to always have a camera handy to shoot anything that might help your marketing efforts. I also have an expensive Olympus that I love, but it is too cumbersome to carry around constantly. Just a few weeks ago I bought a Nikon CoolPix. I wanted a basic camera that again was small enough to carry in my purse. I chose the Nikon as I had hosted a familiarization trip to Lake Arrowhead for Film Location Managers last fall. The majority of them used the Nikon CoolPix, so that was enough of an endorsement for me!

5. Basic Writing Skills – If you don’t have them, find someone who can help you out. One thing that will sink your marketing efforts quickly is poor writing.

6. Personality – Marketing is all about relationships. Your personality must stand out so you will be remembered. Your personality can shine via what you write on your website, what you post on Facebook or Twitter or via the good old telephone. Whatever method you use to build your relationships, your personality must be memorable. It is one of your most valuable marketing tools in my opinion.

With these 6 things you can hit the ground running and begin your own small budget marketing program. Pretty exciting!

As I always say ~ marketing, pr and social media does not need to cost you big dollars, it really costs you time and effort more than anything else. It might seem a little daunting, but you can do it ~ just Don’t Stop Believing!!

This is what has worked for me over the years, and I’m sure everyone reading this has lots of other ideas too. What has worked for you?