How I Made an Income Marketing On A Budget and You Can Too

How I Made an Online Income Marketing On A Budget and You Can Too

Let me start with an apology. All too often marketers like myself say things like, “Just use Leadpages with ActiveCampaign and you're good to go,” without thinking that the costs involved might be too much for some people. Sorry!

Something like that is easy for me to implement because I have ActiveCampaign and Leadpages so creating something has very few costs involved. If you don't have Leadpages or AC, those costs can be a major hurdle!

I was reminded about this by an email from a customer who wanted to know the costs involved in setting up one of the new marketing “hives” I had emailed my list about. That email really helped reframe my thoughts on marketing.

Hold tight, I'll explain what a “hive” is shortly.

Tools Can Be Expensive

We all know that the tools you use for marketing can be expensive.

$47 for this, $67 for that, the costs soon mount up.

Those costs all start to affect your profits, and when you aren’t making much to start with, the costs can become the straw that breaks the camel's back.

When I started marketing I had to do everything myself as I couldn’t afford any tools.

When it comes to tools or food… food always wins.

However, these costs needn't be prohibitive. There are always alternatives to using expensive tools.

As a result of the email I received, I created a video for Hive Marketing about marketing on a budget. I wanted to see how cheaply I could create a fully functioning hive.

The way I set up the hives in the training could cost a decent amount of money if you don’t have an email service provider or a lead capture tool. (The cost gets cheaper the more hives you add).

So I set out to see just how cheaply I could create a perfectly functioning hive using free or cheap tools.

The answer? $15.99

Yep, I could set up the first hive for less than the cost of a pizza. (Why do marketers always compare stuff to pizzas?)

For $15.99, I purchased everything I needed to build that first hive:

  • a domain name
  • hosting
  • an email service provider

I used the cheapest hosting I could find that was long established and also included a free domain.

I searched around for the best offer from email service providers that had the features I needed.

$9 for my first 500 subscribers. That's more than enough to get started (it turned out to be ActiveCampaign)

Rather than buy Leadpages or SumoMe to generate leads, I used AC's own forms and made them look a little presentable. Having said that, a free SumoMe account has enough features to help you capture leads.

I know it's possible to get set up the first hive for even less money. By using special offers I found that were valid for a day and a $1 trial account at an ESP, I could have got to less than $4.

Here is a challenge for you, how cheap can you set up a site to generate leads and earn money? Let me know in the comments section.

Now lets look at “hives” and why they are important.

What The Hell is a “Hive” And What is Hive Marketing?

Hives are the basis of the new marketing strategy I’ve developed over the past year that is extremely successful.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 10.46.37

The philosophy behind hives is simple. Streamline everything while simultaneously generating leads and sales that can be repeated and scaled by everyone, no matter what their level of experience.

I believe that certain aspects of marketing are foundational. Everyone needs to know how to master:

  • Building a list
  • Creating content that sells
  • Creating emails that sell
  • Driving traffic

Hives work incredibly well for generating leads and sales, so for $15.99 you should be able to start generating an income in under a week using free traffic.

The moral of this post is: you can create an income generating site for less than you think.

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Forget Niches, Forget Avatars

For too long the advice from gurus has been to find a niche then create a customer avatar. Forget it!

Hive marketing turns that advice on its head.

Forget about your niche or your avatar. You can do all that stuff later when you have real people on your list and real data to work from.

The hive marketing method is this: find a source of traffic, find out what they need and want, then market that to them.

Does that make more sense?

As a very brief example, think about one of the best selling gifts last Christmas, activity trackers.

Let's suppose you sold a guide to activity trackers.

Do you think that if people who were given activity trackers as a gift saw an article the week after Christmas called “The Top 10 Ways to Get The Best Results From Your Activity Tracker” that they would click on it?

In that article, if they saw a free guide showing “7 Hidden Activity Trackers Features” do you think they would opt in to receive it?

Now you have someone on your list who has recently got an activity tracker. Your exact target market!

Are these subscribers more likely to purchase your guide than someone in the fitness niche whose “avatar” says that they are a 35 year old woman who recently got an activity tracker and likes to walk for 1 hour a day? Not only can you email your new subscribers and ask them to do a short survey… now you know their exact avatars.

Start simple, add fancy later!

Because Hive Marketing is foundational, it can be used for B2B as well as B2C marketing.

For example, if you are looking for businesses that need leads from social media, you can quickly generate leads for multiple businesses using hives.

Marketing Should Be Simple

I've long been aware that in order to sell courses marketers make things as complicated as possible in order to justify the course costs. I am sure you've seen the diagrams that have lots of steps and actions. (I actually had to reduce the image below to 1/10th of the size to fit it in.) Marketing doesn't need to be that complicated.


If anyone but an advanced marketer tried to create something like that they would soon give up and move onto something else.

You need to get the basics right to start with. You can always add the complicated things later.

“Start simple, add fancy later”

A Typical Hive

A typical hive consists of just 4 elements:

  • A Simple Blog 
  • 4 or 5 Articles
  • An Opt in Form
  • An Email Sequence

The magic happens in the way you put them together.

Get it right and you have a high performing website that generates leads and sales.

You can get hold of a Free Guide to Hive Marketing by joining the Facebook group

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  1. Martin Messier on August 11, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Hey Mark!

    Awesome post. Let me ask you something… Have you tested building hives on a single domain?

    For instance, couldn’t you create a hive on this domain tied to Facebook Ads? It’d be a cluster of 5-6 posts on that topic, perhaps tied together by a category in the URL. As to the rest, everything would work as you describe in the training.

    • Mark on August 12, 2016 at 9:07 am


      I think the issue for that would be the distractions, when I build Hives I want nothing to distract the reader, here there would be links to other parts of the site and content on other topics.

      You could do it with subdomains I suppose but my OCD likes to keep them separate. 🙂 In an ideal world that part of me would probably have a separate convertkit account for each successful hive !

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