You may have heard of business-to-business marketing, but did you know you can build your own online or location-based marketing business? Online platforms already exist and are very popular, but they’re not for everyone. With the right system and attractive offerings, you can build a profitable B2B marketing gig without a lot of money. Check out our startup guide to get inspired, form a company, and start making money.
This guide covers:
By the end of this guide, you should be able to launch your business online and find everything needed to build and promote your brand. Let’s get started!
The name says it all. B2B marketing occurs when an advertising business sells ads to businesses that want to market products and services. In years past, companies that wanted to advertise had to track down ad agencies through the yellow pages and word of mouth. But the marketing landscape has changed drastically, thanks to the Internet and social media.
With just a few clicks, a business can find loads of online marketing firms and even manage their own ad campaigns if they’re willing. The truth is, there’s no shortage of business marketing solutions, but there is plenty of room to cash in on the industry. According to Statista, US businesses will spend about 15 billion dollars on traditional advertising between 2016 and 2023. If you’re willing to do the legwork, you can potentially cash in on some big business. A business-to-business marketing startup is a profitable idea that doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Let’s face it – every successful business spends money on advertising. Inc. Magazine shares a report stating that 14% of new startups fail due to poor marketing. The problem though isn’t as easy as spending cash to get sales. Ask any new business why they don’t advertise, and you’ll hear answers like the costs are too high, value is low, fear of no return, no control over the content, and a host of other reasons.
Most small businesses start out with very little expendable cash, so marketing is often shoved out of the business plan. Owners also may not understand how marketing works, which can deter them from building a strategy. The truth is, businesses need to see the potential for results before they make a financial commitment. And even then, some folks just don’t see the value of marketing, so not everyone is a potential customer.
There are plenty of sensible small business owners who would jump at the opportunity to advertise for little to no upfront cost. Companies with a limited budget might go for a marketing strategy that only costs money when a purchase is made. B2B marketing is really popular online, and you can cash in with a smart website and tools to promote your marketing gig. But you can create an additional revenue stream with a marketing agency for in-person advertising (more on that below). Your initial investment would include a website or printed marketing materials, but you can deduct business expenses when you file tax returns.
You don’t have to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars on a website and advertising materials. We actually offer simple and affordable web packages that you can launch without knowing web design. And our Vendor Network is an extensive list of recommended suppliers and exclusive pricing for MyCompanyWorks clients.
Cross-promoting various products and services can pay off for both you and your clients. Here’s an example of how it works:
ABC Beauty Salon just opened in the neighborhood, but they don’t have a great location and need help getting the word out that they’re open. The salon provides hair, nail, and skin care services, so their customers can often be found in store aisles where those products sell. You can approach local grocery and cosmetic stores to promote the beauty salon to their clients.
When store clients see ads near relevant products, they can get store info and a discount or special offer using a promo or QR code. If shoppers make a purchase at the beauty salon, they pay you a referral fee for the sale (based on your agreement). You can also entice stores and carriers of targeted products and services by paying them when sales are generated from codes at their locations.
Any eager entrepreneur can start a simple offline marketing system using unique referral codes, like “XYZSTOREPROMO” or QR codes to generate buzz for paying clients in brick-and-mortar businesses. A local marketing business could generate income by posting signs with codes in storefronts, on table tops, near cash registers, etc. So you can approach local businesses to determine their client base and cross-promote with other local places where target customers shop and do business. You could develop both digital and storefront marketing strategies to make the most money.
Promo or promotional codes have been around for years, and they’re still popular and used by companies everywhere to attract interested buyers. You’ll find them in emails, on social media, at the top of websites, and anywhere else they can be posted. Promo codes often show up in shoppers’ inboxes to bring them back to an incomplete purchase. SaleCycle reports that while abandoned cart rates have increased, offering a promo code to complete the purchase still converts sales. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, but may very well be worth the investment.
QR codes or Quick Response codes are a newer form of promotional code that can take anyone with a smartphone directly to a website, newsletter, coupon, etc., and they’re popping up everywhere. QR codes can be found on signs in storefronts, on cars, at bus stops, and even on grocery carts. You can display QR codes on TV and streaming services to share videos and podcasts too! There’s a link to a free QR coder later in this guide, but you can point your smartphone camera at our website code to see how it works.
Check out this free referral code generator and QR code generator to learn how to make promo codes for your clients.
Every successful startup begins with a business plan. You can save yourself some money and headaches if you’ll take the time to put your plan together, then review it to see if you can even make money with your marketing ideas. A business plan is like the roadmap to success. It doesn’t have to be complex, but you should have a clear picture of startup and recurring expenses compared with potential profits. Crunching these numbers is a must if you intend to be successful. Doing so before you spend money on startup costs can actually spare you the expense if your strategy isn’t profitable.
Once you have a basic plan, calculate how much money you would have left after startup costs. If you do see the potential for profits, but the current plan doesn’t agree, simply tweak your strategy until the overall plan is profitable. For instance, if your profits cover 98% of all your expenses, consider ways to get the missing 2% from future sales. Perhaps you can pay a little less commission, or require more ad buys to offer preferred pricing clients. If you’re paying staff to do marketing tasks, perhaps doing the work yourself until sales can cover additional help can help you reduce costs.
Part of your business plan needs to include your payment or commission structure. You’ll also need to draft a contract that includes how much and when clients get paid. There are free templates you can download and customize for your business.
IMPORTANT: Contracts are legally binding, so we highly recommend using templates that have been reviewed by attorneys or hiring an expert to draft the contract for you.
So how much should you pay for referrals and sales? Ultimately it depends on how much you can afford to pay and still be profitable. Here are a couple of examples using percentages and flat-rate payments. Also note, you can offer tiered commissions based on volume to motivate clients to promote other businesses. You can build your payment structure to be simple or complex. Just make sure it’s easy to understand and benefits both you and your client.
Let’s say we’ve worked out our business plan, and we’re going to pay a 10% commission to our clients for qualified sales. We also need to pay ourselves within that 10%, or Qualified sales are any transactions that are made using a special code, link, or unique identifier (business name, owner name, etc.). Joe Customer visits the local pizza place and sees a QR code for the upcoming local Italian festival on his table. Joe holds his smartphone camera up to the code, then follows a link to the festival’s website or social media channel. He decides he wants to go, so he buys a ticket for $30. The QR code has generated a sale and the owner of the pizza place has just earned 10% or $3 in commission.
Instead of using a percentage, you can offer a set payout for each qualified sale. This commission can be negotiated for each client, service offered, etc. So from our example above, instead of the place making a percentage, it can earn a flat commission, say $5 or $7 for each Italian festival ticket purchase.
The other side of pricing is how much you need to charge businesses that pay you to promote their products and services. Again, you can build a tiered pricing structure or negotiate on a case-by-case basis. You can also charge either a percentage or flat fee for each qualified lead or sale.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, even if you haven’t formed an official company, you are doing business as a sole proprietor, or an independent contractor the minute you generate a sale. Many startups begin as sole proprietorships, and that’s ok…unless or until you get sued. The biggest problem with doing business as a sole proprietor is that your personal finances and belongings can be taken to pay off a judgment.
This is why many entrepreneurs choose to form either a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation. When you form a company, it becomes its own entity, like a person that is separate from you. That entity should own all the company’s assets and use a business bank account to keep money separate from your personal finances. This separation between business and personal assets is called “limited liability protection”.
Liability protection means that if your business is named in a lawsuit, your personal assets cannot be considered to satisfy judgments or pay business debts. When you’re first starting out, it may be hard to part with the cash to form a company. But when you think of how much it could cost to be financially wiped out, the cost of starting a marketing business is well worth the expense. Business formation costs are tax-deductible, so you’ll get credit for them on your first tax return.
To get paid as a business instead of as a sole proprietor, you must first register a company, either an LLC or Corporation. There are other business structures, but generally aren’t the best fit for startups and small businesses. An LLC (Limited Liability Company) usually costs less and is easier to manage than a Corporation.
Unless you intend to build a complex business model or hire a lot of employees, the Corporate structure may be overkill. Forming a Corporation can also cost more in taxes, so make sure to get expert help to make the best decision. If you need help choosing the right business structure, you can contact our tax partners for a free consultation.
When you receive your filed registration paperwork, you can contact banks to find the best banking solution. Remember, to keep business and personal finances separate, you’ll need to run all your sales through a specified account. All of our startup packages include business bank solutions to help you start collecting payments fast. Simply review the options in your free account dashboard when you order an LLC or Corporation formation.
Caption: Apply for a business bank account in your free My Account Dashboard (MAD)
Whether you’re marketing online, offline, or both, a website is a critical component to business success. Most of us don’t run for that giant yellow page book when we need to find something. Over 70 percent of all consumers to the Web to find businesses that offer what they need. That’s a lot of business to miss just because you don’t have a website.
Professional web designers abound online, and there are several good DIY website solutions available if you’re tech-savvy or know someone who can help set up your site. Since most entrepreneurs would rather run their businesses than set up a website, we offer a custom domain, email, and web solution so you can start fast without spending a bunch of time on design and setup. For a low annual subscription, you can start and manage your website and email all in one place. You have total control over the look and feel of your site, and you can even get support from our partners if you need help.
If the marketing biz seems like a good fit, you may be able to make some cash as a MyCompanyWorks affiliate or partner. If you serve clients who need business formation services, we’re here to help. Our Partnership Guide outlines different ways we can connect your customers to a comprehensive business startup and management portal, while you earn commissions when sales are made using your links, reseller program, and more.
Order an LLC or Corporation today, and we’ll start working on your order, usually by the next business day. Many orders are completed in just one day, but turnaround times can vary by state and depending on things like identity verification, document review, and other requirements. You can check live turnaround times for your state on our order form. Simply select LLC or Corporation for the business type, then select your state to get current pricing information and processing times.
Check out our blog for other great business ideas and review our helpful Frequently Asked Questions page to find answers and start building your business today.
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2022 at 3:33 pm and is filed under Starting A Business, New Business Ideas. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.