When you first take the step into the marketing world, it can be daunting considering the amount of time and money you will need to spend in order to get your business off the ground, and in front of your customers. But, you don’t need to subscribe to expensive marketing strategies in order to promote your business. Here are 10 low-cost (and easy) strategies to give your marketing strategy that initial kick.
#1 – Start a Blog
If you don’t already have a blog on your website, you’re missing out on a seriously easy and effective marketing strategy. A blog is fantastic for several reasons:
- SEO – Regular updates of relevant content to your website are something that search engines look out for. They value websites that are regularly updated, as this indicates that the website is up to date and relevant. In addition to this, a blog allows you the chance to target more varied keyword variations, using each post to target a different set of keywords.
- Relevance – As with search engine bots, users are more favourable towards websites that are regularly updated. It shows that the business is current and up-to-date. There’s nothing worse than finding a website that hasn’t been updated for years. It indicates that the company may have gone out of business.
- Knowledge – Who knows more about your industry than you? Show off your knowledge to potential customers, and they’re more likely to come to you when they’re looking for a service/product within your industry. It’s one of the core principles of content marketing.
- Interaction – Interaction with your users is very important, and a blog is a great way to start this dialogue. Add a comments section, and reply to your customers, and you’re on your way to building a loyal customer base.
Think about it. Writing about your industry should be easy, as you’re an expert, so you don’t need to hire a copywriter to do it for you. Get blogging!
#2 – Use Social Media
As well as a great place to share the blogs you’ve now started writing, social media is a great place to keep the conversation going (or get it started). The best thing? It’s totally free!
Well, for the most part it’s free. If you’re using Facebook, you may need to put a little spend behind your posts to begin with in order to gain a followership, and you may want to do the same with Twitter too.
But you don’t have to. Social media profiles are still a great place to represent your business, as well as providing customer support.
#3 – DIY Infographics
You may have already heard about infographics and dismissed them. The best infographics on the internet took hours to craft, and cost the companies that commissioned them a fair few pennies.
But, you don’t need to hire a designer in order to create an infographic for your business. There are a variety of free tools out there that will allow you to do this by yourself.
They’re incredibly easy to use, and will have you creating your own infographics in minutes.
Why are infographics a good marketing strategy? It’s said that users are up to 600 times more likely to interact with a piece of content that has a visual element, making infographics one of the cheapest, easiest ways to increase your audience.
#4 – DIY Videos
As with infographics, videos can be expensive to make as well as time-consuming. Also like infographics, they increase the chance of interaction with your content from your audience, so are a great marketing strategy.
There are also some great free tools out there that let you create your own videos.
Why not try:
As with the infographic softwares, both are really easy to use, and come with a wide variety of templates for you to drag and drop your images, videos, and desired text into. Both do have additional features which you can pay for, but the free versions are so great, you won’t need to.
#5 – Recycle
If you’re stuck for ideas for content, try recycling something you’ve done previously, which helps you get more out of your content. You can do this by changing the medium (e.g. turn an infographic into a video), return to an old subject but cover it from a new angle, or just add to previous content (look out for 10 MORE Easy Low-Cost Marketing Strategies, coming soon…).
As well as recycling your own content, take a look at some of the things your competitors are producing, and build upon it. It’s a commonly used marketing practice for anybody that needs a little inspiration.
You should never copy content though, only be inspired. Duplicate content will have a negative impact on your search rankings.
#6 – Competitions
A great way to raise awareness of your business, gain some interest from potential customers, and collect email addresses, this marketing strategy has it all. And, other than offering a prize this strategy is pretty much free.
Just set up a page on your website, with a contact form, and promote your competition on social media.
#7 – Awards
Awards are a great way of getting your name out there, as well as a great thing to show off on your website and email signatures. They also add credibility to your company, meaning people who visit your site are more likely to approach you when looking for your service/product. Just take a look at our awards and you’ll see that we subscribe to this practice. We don’t just do it for marketing reasons though. We do it because we love awards, and it makes everybody in the office feel even happier than we normally are.
Increased credibility, free marketing, AND a more productive office? What’s not to love? Just scour the internet for any recognised awards within your industry, and submit an entry.
Of course, there are a couple of things you need to consider. Firstly, there’s normally a small entry fee for some of the more prestigious awards (it may be different for other industries, we’ve never really checked). Secondly, you (obviously) need to already be at a level where you feel you stand a chance of winning the award. If you start sinking money into entering for awards, and aren’t confident in yourself, you may start wasting money.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some companies have gone down the route of hosting their own awards in order to increase exposure. If you’re feeling a little creative, and think you’ve got enough knowledge within your industry to judge an award, why not make your own? As with the competition, you can set up a page for people to enter, and share it on social media.
Once businesses start winning your awards, you’ll get some free backlinks from relevant websites too, which is always a bonus.
#8 – Email Marketing
There are so many options available with email marketing, and it’s relatively inexpensive to boot.
Whilst most people go down the route of paying for a designer to create them a beautiful mailshot, there are other options available for when you’re just getting started out. For example, you could try creating your own graphics using some of the softwares we mentioned above for the DIY Infographics.
But, if you’re on a tight budget and can’t design your own graphics, you don’t even need graphics at all. You can easily run an email marketing campaign with just text. Whether you want to go down the route of promoting a whole blog via email marketing, or just a few lines of copy, the possibilities are endless. As long as you have a collection of emails, that is.
One great technique is to use email marketing to encourage people to contact you directly, by offering a special discount for a short amount of time. Try something like this:
“Good Morning (insert customer name),
We’re currently offering a 40% discount on (insert product name) for all customers that signed up to our mailing list. If you could give me a call whenever you’re free, I’d love to tell you more about it.
Call quick though, as this offer’s only available today!
The fact that it’s only available for one day adds a sense of urgency, and the explanation as to why they’re entitled to the discount adds validity, as well as lending a sense of reward for them. These things, combined with the personal touch of their name, make the customer more likely to respond.
There’s only one expense you need to consider in this example. In order to add the personal touch of the correct name (“Dear Customer” is far too impersonal”), you’d need some kind of email marketing software, which normally comes with a monthly fee (or a credits based system). Weigh up the prices of some email marketing softwares before going ahead with this practice.
#9 – Business Cards
A great way to get hold of email addresses for your email marketing campaign is to collect business cards. Think about it, everybody who is anybody within a business has business cards. You probably have one too (NOTE: If you don’t have one, get a business card).
You can easily swap them back and forth at events, meetings, and chance encounters. But, there’s another way to get business cards, which is fantastically simple and inexpensive.
It’s another competition! We know we’ve already covered this twice already (technically, if you count awards as a competition too), but it really is a fantastic way to market your business whilst keeping an eye on the costs. That’s because you essentially choose how much it’s going to cost you, based on what you’re willing to give away as a prize.
Anyway, on to the method. This is a technique used mostly by restaurants, but we see no reason why it shouldn’t work for any type of business. Put out a fish bowl (or any kind of bowl, really) with a note saying something along the lines of, “Drop your business card in the bowl for a chance to win (insert prize here)”.
People will drop their business cards in, and you’ve now got a collection of email addresses. Pick a winner (they’re already mixed up in a bowl for you), and email them to tell them the great news. As for the others, try and convince them to join your mailing list. Don’t just add them though. Nothing kills a customer’s opinion of you quicker than you signing them up for something without their permission.
Instead, send out an email to all of those that were unsuccessful, saying something along the lines of, “We’re sorry you didn’t win this time, but sign up for our mailing list and we’ll let you know about the latest updates and competitions from us.”
#10 – Customer Referrals
It’s a well known fact that customers trust other customers opinions over anything else. Think about all the times you’ve bought something online and checked the customer reviews first to see if it’s any good.
You can use this to your advantage, with a simple marketing technique that has been used by companies (small and large) for years. Customer Referrals.
Offer your existing customers a nice reward for introducing a friend to your product/service, and they’ll go out of their way to bring you new customers. You don’t even need to go out looking for them, they’ll come to you. Send out a quick email with a promotional code for each customer, and sit back and watch as they bring the customers to you.
So, there we have it. Ten easy marketing strategies that prove you don’t need a huge marketing budget in order to promote your company. Try some of them out, and let us know how you get on.
If you’d like to find out more about how to get the most out of your marketing budget, get in touch with one of our marketing team today.