What if an online panel company does not have a marketing budget?

show me moneyTo recruit panel members you need money – to hire sales superstars you need money – to buy state of the art panel management software you need money – to participate in offshore research conferences you need money – in fact to even take your client for a lunch you need money. In every aspect of running an online panel company you require money. So but naturally when it comes to prioritizing things your marketing department is left empty handed. The reason is simple – you don’t feel the urgency to create a marketing funnel – as obviously ‘if you shall build they will come to buy it’ – but unfortunately that is not true – your clients are selfish morons who will not nudge a bit until and unless it is very critical.

So as 1000 other online panel company you will do the obvious – forget about investing in marketing and straight away jump to ask for business.

The end result here is very predictable – you will be lost in the crowd of ‘me too’ competitors.

This article illustrates as to how an online panel company can flourish even if it does not have a marketing budget.

Let us first look at how a typical new start up company in online panel industry works:

1- Hire few experienced employees from an established competitor.

2- Give them a laptop and an internet connection.

3- Hastily create an introduction mail.

4- Give the team a list of potential clients and a licence to spam them indiscriminately.

5- Wait for business to come…….

The last part is really  painful and you will end up waiting indefinitely. If you are lucky few RFPs may drop in and you get super excited about your approach.

You give your best shot to the few RFPs that have trickled in and then you wait again for the confirmation.

Now here 2 things will happen: either you don’t hear back from the client or worse you get the project only because all other vendors have expressed their inability to pick such a tough project – the end result will be zero.

After few frustrating weeks the desperation inside you reaches penultimate levels – your employees have started complaining and you have started complaining about them.

Before you realize your dream venture of opening an online panel company goes down the DRAIN!

The solution in fact is really simple – ‘understand the truth’

TRUTH 1: Your potential clients are not your parent that they will go out of their way to help you.

TRUTH 2: You are not the best – it will take zillion years of achievements to reach there.

TRUTH 3: When you say ‘we have the best quality’ – your clients can see through your facade.

TRUTH 4: Neither the world nor your clients owe you anything – you have to earn it.

TRUTH 5: You are seriously lacking in common sense – trust me on this one!

Now that you have come face to face with some harsh reality let me share with you the single key to running a successful online panel company.

The key is -> WHY

Yes WHY – just keep on asking WHY at every steps of establishing your online panel company and thou shall succeed.

WHY will clients give me business?

WHY should I hire this employee?

WHY am I not getting more business?

WHY I am better than other vendors?

The more honestly you try to find the answers to WHY – the higher chances you have to succeed.

Coming back to the big question of ‘what if I don’t have a marketing budget?’ – here also the answer is damn simple.

Marketing is all about showcasing your skills or uniqueness – right?

So what if you can’t sponsor an ESOMAR event (although I will personally highly recommend doing that if you can afford it) – you still have something unique!

….and that is your knowledge about the online panel industry – the very reason you have started an online panel company is because you know how to run efficient online surveys.

I mean if you don’t know about this business why will you start it in the first place.

So use this knowledge and share it with your potential clients in a non-obnoxious manner.

You see most of the clients are not well versed with running online surveys – so why not YOU become the person who can teach them so.

So Akshay how do I go about it?

The answer is content marketing – simply put create a blog and fill it with awesome articles/content about how to effectively run online surveys!

This will enable to 2 things – first you will be seen as the subject matter expert in this domain and secondly you will earn the trust of your clients.

So the next time your potential clients have queries about designing surveys for online medium – they will automatically seek your advice.

Now here instead of YOU spamming clients by ineffective introduction mails – your CLIENTS will say ‘How can we work together?

Think about it – whether you want to WAIT for business to come by or you want to GET business?

If you want to know more about how content marketing can help your business – shoot me a mail editor@onlinemr.com
Akshay Kanyal

Akshay Kanyal

Akshay Kanyal writes survey research reviews on his popular blog Online MR. He’s an avid blogger, brand consultant and a content marketing expert, helping business owners to craft content that sells.

He provides content marketing advice to start-ups and innovation driven companies. He can be contacted at editor@onlinemr.com

You can also connect with him on LinkedIn ; Facebook ; Twitter