Creating a marketing strategy can be overwhelming. When budgets are tight, it may seem downright impossible. However, in today’s digital world of constant messaging, getting your name out there is actually easier than ever.

Debra Jason, marketing consultant and author of Millionaire Marketing on a Shoestring Budget, has come up with a plan to increase your marketing without spending much money. Her philosophy on marketing is about using your knowledge as a spa professional to create interesting, sharable content. In this month’s Conversations, we asked Jason about her unique marketing strategies and how spa professionals can use them to succeed.

PULSE: What sparked your passion for helping others learn the secrets to successful marketing?
Jason: After 9/11, many of my clients started to pull back on their marketing. They were scared and nervous. However, when consoling them I let them know that it was possible to continue building credibility and gaining top-of-mind awareness in the marketplace (important to do, especially when times are tough) without breaking the bank. That sparked my passion to inspire and empower others. So, I started
guiding them, as well as delivering presentations, on cost-effective ways to market themselves and their businesses.

You see, for any business to be successful, people need to know about you. Otherwise, how can they do business with you? Marketing involves building and nurturing relationships so that you get your message out there in a big way. I’m passionate about focusing on the value of relationship marketing to help professionals succeed.

P: What is your number-one tip for brands wishing to expand their marketing efforts without spending a fortune?
J: Share your value with the world. This isn’t about hype and pitching; it’s about building the KLT Factor (know, like and trust). People do business with those they know, like and trust. For example, if you’re a spa owner you can establish KLT Factor by letting people know “Three relaxing ways to de-stress.” You can do this by writing about it in an article, speaking about it at a community or industry event, blogging about it, or even posting it on social networking platforms.

It’s not about pitching a product, it’s about sharing tips, pointers or guidelines that make your clients’ and customers’ lives easier. When you share how you can help people, you’re strengthening the KLT factor while enhancing your credibility, increasing your visibility and being seen as a subject-matter expert in your field.

P: In your book, Millionaire Marketing on a shoestring budget, you talk a lot about content and writing. Why is content marketing important, even for people who don’t think they’re strong writers?
J: Content marketing—be it a blog, a LinkedIn article published on your profile, or an article in a business or trade publication such as Pulse—allows you to reach (and help) a broader audience while demonstrating expertise in your field. For those who aren’t strong writers, I suggest you sit down with a pen and paper and just write. Let the content flow freely without censoring yourself. Rarely, if ever, is the first draft your final draft, but this gives you the opportunity to get your thoughts on paper. You can go back, revise and delete content or you may decide to hand it over to someone else to edit and fine-tune.

P: How important is social media to a successful marketing plan?
J: You can’t ignore social media marketing any longer; it’s a vital component of your personal brand and any strategic marketing plan you implement. It’s word-of-mouth online. We all know the value of word-of-mouth. After all, 90 percent of consumers trust recommendations more than they trust advertising. Word-of-mouth is the most cost-effective marketing there is!

P: Why do you think people can be overwhelmed by social media and how do you suggest they overcome it?
J: People get overwhelmed by social media because they try to do too much, too soon. It’s tempting to dive in quickly because of FOMO (fear of missing out). My advice is to give yourself permission to start off simply. Pick one (or maybe two) social networks where you feel most comfortable, where your ideal clients are hanging out, and where you enjoy spending your time. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it. And, there’s no way you can do it all.

P: Where does your marketing knowledge come from
and what makes it unique?
J: I started my business from scratch, without a degree in marketing. However, what I did have was enthusiasm and a desire to succeed. To succeed, I knew I had to get my message out there. Now, over 28 years later, the marketing knowledge I share comes from experience. I share the business-building strategies I implemented throughout the years (and continue to use today). I don’t speak about theory, I share real-life, practical strategies that I (and my clients) have implemented over the years.