For any business marketing campaigns can get incredibly out of hand when it comes to trying to control its budget. A simple banner ad can cost a decent amount of money to run for a reasonable amount of time just on one site, so it’s not hard to see why a widespread campaign can get scarily expensive. Many small companies avoid marketing in the fear that it will break their budget and be the end of their business before it has even started, but this does not have to be the case. There are many way of promoting a business that cost little or no money at all, so if you are one of the many business struggling to get your brand out there on a tiny budget, the below tips may just be the answer you’re looking for.
Focus on good content
Good website content often carries a business. A filled and informative webpage will keep visitors caught up in your page for longer than browsing or shopping for products would and also keep them coming back for the latest updates. It may not seem like a form of advertising, but it will help you stick in the mind of your current consumers and make it more likely that they will return. Depending on what kind of content you decide to use it can also bring in new customers through their search results, for example if you post a blog with instructions on how to do something that is commonly searched, people who search terms included in the title of your content will see your it come up in their search results. This gives an opportunity for you to bring that person in as a customer by first introducing them to your content and once they have spent some time on your site, letting them browse your products which they would not have found otherwise.
Videos are more interactive than blog posts, they allow people who do not want to read large pieces of text get the same information as people who do. They are also more engaging as they offer some sort of visual stimulation for their audience, offering them can add even more content to your website resulting in more traffic from search results. Videos do not have to be expensive and can be created cheaply but well by someone who knows what they are doing. Once a decent amount of videos has built up, or even before they can even be transferred over to a public youtube channel, offering yet another place for new customers to see you. The key to having your videos found on youtube is the same as on search engines, try giving your videos titles that your audience would likely search and your videos are more likely to show when they do.
Make business based infographics
If your industry thrives on information and visual stimulation, or is even lacking in a little colour making infographics can draw people in. Use bright colours and images to get information or fun facts across to your audience. They tend to be more attractive than an average list of points and a lot more eye catching, which can be a huge benefit when used the right way. Make them stand out by being as original as possible, make their topic clear and try to make them stand out, offer fresh information that is usually not found in this kind of content and expand until you fill a page with interesting content. Infographics are not expensive to make and do not always require the best editing software to create, having someone with some basic editing skills and a little imagination is good enough to get started.
Reuse old content in new ways
If you’ve been posting content for a while don’t exhaust your resources on finding or creating new data to present to your audience. You can create the same effect that new information does by polishing up your old content a little. Take an old video and turn it into a blog post, take an old case study and create a colourful infographic or even the other way around. Create new content from the bones of old, just be careful not to make them too similar by adding a small amount of fresh information too, also change the layout or phrasing of some parts to stop the reuse of copy from being obvious. It’s not hard to put a new spin on old work, and definitely not expensive, the main thing to be wary of is the gap between the original content and your revamped version, as if it is too small your readers may start to catch on.
Write in magazines
Posting sponsored articles in magazines, physical or online can cost money and a lot of it. Get around this by not trying to promote your business within the article content but in the footer with the writer information. Offer to contribute to a magazine with some content relevant to their topic and make it as interesting as possible so it will get noticed by their audience, which will no doubt be reasonably large. If they agree politely ask that you can credit the work to a specific writer at your business by putting their name and occupation such as ‘*name*… writer for *company*’ and see if they agree, if so their readers will likely see your organisations name at the bottom of your interesting post and come to your website to read some more, as long as you have more content on your website to offer.
Comment on content
Get your name out there without talking about yourself. Commenting on existing topics and content under a company account can give huge exposure when done right. Most forums and blogs are free to make accounts on and use, sign up to those related to your industry and spend some time locating popular threads that you can get involved in, even if the comment section has been dead for a small amount of time comment and join the conversation as there is no guarantee that no one is visiting the page because there are no recent comments. Doing this will also promote your brand or company as being social and friendly, which is what many consumers look for in an online store, a company that isn’t just a name but a personality that they can actively get involved with and communicate freely.
Online contests can create a huge stir in an audience. The limited offer of free merchandise or even a feature on your website can be largely exciting for your target audience as it means they have a chance to get some of their much loved products or services for free. Not all contests have to give away free items however, you can run them as a content creation content offering to publish and promote their work through your site as a reward or offer a chance to simply come to an event with your company if the industry is applicable. Even if the prize you give out may cost you a little money contests can be promoted easily for free, publish them on social media or on banners placed around your website, write about them in your blog and remind the customer of it at checkout, the buzz around your competition can even bring in some new customers if your old ones mention it to their friends.
Run an Event or Class
Offer to share your skills, if you cannot afford to rent a room go out in public and see if you can rent an open outdoor space. Set up some equipment you already own, bring chairs or even tables and offer makeshift classes that relate to your business. You can even use the event to showcase your products and offer samples to people whilst handing out fliers and cards, if your budget allows. Doing this locally will help bring in customers from the local area, which in beneficial if you also have a physical store as well as an online one. If you can afford it spread out further and reach a larger community, just remember to present your brand as much as possible and make it obvious who you are rather than looking like part of the public behind a table with free merch.
Promote social network presence
Social network is the most effective cheap form of advertising when a page is run properly. Create or start posting on your company page with relevant and interesting content, tell your customers facts they may not have known, give them advice and show them engaging images that will invite them to follow you. To spread your reach further comment on posts that are relevant to your business, use hashtags on appropriate platforms and generally get involved with your industries community. If you get your pages to a stage where your audience are actively engaging with you make the most of it, share the posts that they tag you in and comment on things, but most importantly reply when they comment on your content or have a question and try to do it fast. A company that can keep their customers happy on social media save themselves losing followers from an audience that feels ignored.
Become a known business on Linkedin
It’s not just your customers that you have to promote yourselves to, be sure to communicate with other businesses around you and help eachother out. Your competitors may not be too friendly but loosely related industries might be. Offer to collaborate on events, blogs and other content together and try to work toward a relationship where you openly but occasionally promote each other on your websites and social media. The extra exposure to another audience with the same interests as your own can boost not only yours but your fellow businesses brand identity and even bring in new customers. This incentive is why doing this will probably not cost much if anything at all depending on the kind of company you engage with.
Start an email marketing campaign
Email marketing campaigns can start to get expensive, but for a small business with a small audience it shouldn’t cost too much, as many email services offer packages based on the size of a company’s audience. Advertise the campaign as an exclusive newsletter on your website in banners or even as an option in the signup process when customers buy items. Be sure to let your audience know what is so exclusive about this newsletter before they sign up to entice more readers and watch your list grow. Content for newsletters does not have to cost anything and can be sent out as little or as often as you want, but adhering to a set schedule is likely to work best. Offer early information such as upcoming products or discount codes that can only be received through this email and make your readers feel prioritised.
Take up advertising where possible
Using SKU Feeds to promote your products can help with exposure, whatever price plan your on but occasionally an offer for personal advertising will come along that may not be too expensive and also worth your time. Getting banners and links to your page from relevant websites is never a bad thing and more than likely always beneficial. If your marketing budget does not suit the offer at the time do not get involved, but if it is doable without costing more than expected seize the opportunity to bring in new customers. Text links are usually a lot cheaper than banner ads, simply because they are a lot less eye catching and take up less room, but this does not mean they are not worth taking up, with the right surrounding text they can be just as successful.