2017 is now upon is whether we like it or not. I can’t believe how quickly 2016 blew past. Yeesh.

Did you get all your marketing goals completed before the end of the year? Do you have your 2017 plans already in motion? If not, you’re not alone. Believe me.

I did a quick, informal poll of my readers, and asked them what their #1 marketing challenge is right now.

  • 1/3 said they didn’t have time to market their business
  • 1/3 said they didn’t have the budget to market their business
  • 1/3 said they needed more tools or leads

So fully 2/3 thirds of us need help with time or budget to market our businesses. I can’t help you with your time management processes, but maybe 2017 will be the year to work ON your business instead of just working IN your business.

Furthermore, we’re always looking for the latest, shiniest, coolest next thing that will generate hordes of adoring people that will buy our stuff, right? You just know that somewhere out there, someone has a magic button that we can push that will make it all better, right?

Let’s Get Back to Marketing Basics for 2017

It takes money to make money.

Yes, that’s absolutely true. But it doesn’t mean we have to spend buckets of money. There are tons of free or nearly-free marketing tools available to you:

  • Social Media (free) – build a following, build your reputation and keep in touch with your customers directly
  • Search Engine Optimization (free) – learn how to use SEO to get your website found on Google and the other search engines. It’s not hard, it’s just a process.
  • Local Search (free) – Make sure your local customers can find you on Google My BusinessBing Business and other local resources.
  • Manage Your Online Reputation (free) – Use Google My Business and Yelp to make sure you’ve got great reviews so people will gravitate to you. Always ask for a review from your happy customers. It’s simple and it works.
  • Blogging (free) – Use your blog to communicate to your readers and answer the questions they’re already asking. The blogs go directly into your email newsletter and your social media, so you automatically have content to fill both. If you don’t like to write, use video blogs (vlogs), or hire someone to write for you that can translate your ideas into great content. Zerys is a great platform to get quality writers on a budget.
  • Email Marketing (nearly free) – Email is not dead. It’s the number one most effective method to get your target market’s attention. We recommend Constant Contactbecause the platform is easy to use, and studies have shown that for every $1 spent on email marketing, your average return is $44 (that’s a whopping 4400% ROI!). You can try it out for two months for no cost, and you don’t even have to put a credit card in. They’ll even call you within a day or two and help you get set up.

Time is Money

Yup, you’re right. But if you don’t take the time to schedule it, it won’t happen. The easiest thing you can do is sit down right now and put together an editorial calendar for the year or at least the next six months.

Write it out and put it on your calendar. Schedule the time to:

  • Write your blog posts (or have someone write them and publish them for you)
  • Schedule your email newsletters (weekly? monthly?)
  • Schedule your social media posts – remember, these are tied back to your blog posts. You can even pre-schedule them in Facebook or use Hootsuite to go out when you want.
  • Schedule your lead magnets using webinars, white papers, or whatever else you want to entice people to sign up for your newsletter. Keep it fresh and change it out.
  • Send out press releases announcing your webinars, classes, workshops or other great stuff that you’re doing.

If you don’t have the time to do it for yourself, then hire someone to do it for you. You can train someone to do this for you or hire a virtual assistant.

Marketing in 2017 really isn’t rocket science, and you don’t have to have the latest, coolest, shiniest killer “thing”. Work the process and chip away at it. The more you do this, the more you’ll reap the rewards. I promise.

P.S.: I hope you’ll join me in my next live webinar: Tom’s Top 3 Internet Marketing Strategies You Must Do in 2017. It’s January 10 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific/2:00 p.m. Eastern. See you there! [Note: Registration is closed.]

(This original article was written by Thomas Petty, appeared here and was re-published with permission.)