Effective marketing can be expensive. If you’re a start-up trying to get going with limited resources and a minute marketing budget, it might seem impossible, yet without it you’re never going to grow. So how do you break the impasse?
Fortunately, there are ways of marketing your business effectively without paying the earth. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Use Social Media Effectively
It’s estimated that last year 67% of the UK’s total population used social media, and of that number 96% used it at least once a month. This makes social media arguably the most powerful tool for reaching people.
The problem is that there are hundreds of social media platforms, several of which are extremely popular — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat and YouTube, among others. Each needs to be approached in a slightly different way, so it’s best to pick the one most useful for reaching your target clients and master that before expanding.
2. Content Is King
Great content is vital for marketing, both for connecting with readers and for SEO purposes. Regular high-quality content will help your website rise up the Google rankings, while readers are likely to want to find out more about you when they’ve finished the piece.
Traditionally, new content has tended to take the form of blogs, but there are many other options. Videos and infographics can feature on your site, while creating podcasts or writing authoritative articles or guest blogs for prestigious platforms will encourage traffic back to your website, as well as raising your reputation as an authority.
If you don’t feel confident enough to write the material yourself, or if you don’t have time, you can hire a freelancer to write it for you. Eventually, you can also start repurposing old material, as long as it’s different enough not to show up as duplicate content.
3. Give Something Away
Let’s face it, we all love a free gift, and your potential customers are no exception. Giving something away will help you connect with them, building brand awareness and goodwill.
A free gift doesn’t have to be anything expensive. You could offer online products that cost nothing but your time, such as white papers, eBooks or checklists. Or offering a discount for a review of your work — though it’s important you make it clear you’re looking for honest reviews, otherwise it could backfire. Alternatively, you can offer small branded items like pens, key-rings or fridge magnets as promotional gifts.
A more left-field approach could be to create an online challenge or event that can be tied back to your branding. Think of how widespread the ice-bucket challenge was a few years back. If your challenge could go just 1% as viral, your brand would be seen across social media.
4. Partnerships Are Powerful
Whatever business sector you’re in, it’s likely there are other businesses with complementary goals. Perhaps they’re suppliers or customers, or else in sectors that are looking for similar clients without being in competition with you.
You may be able to share client lists, though this has to be done with full consent of the clients to ensure you comply with GDPR. Perhaps a more powerful approach is to share direct mailing, splitting postage costs to send leaflets together.
Any business’s most powerful marketing tool is its existing customers. You can use your existing client base by offering a reward system for referrals.
5. Affordable Advertising
Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive campaigns through TV, radio or newspapers. If you don’t have that kind of marketing budget, online advertising like Google Pay Per Click or Facebook Ads can be far cheaper and often more effective. There are also free online directories, such as Google Business and Yelp.
Other methods of cheap or free advertising include car stickers with your message that can be given to customers, or stickers for the windows of your premises. If your phone system has a “hold” message, you can use it to advertise your services — though make it entertaining, or it could do more harm than good. And don’t forget to advertise yourself in your letterhead and email signature.
6. Make Yourself News
The most effective, not to mention cheapest, marketing is the kind that doesn’t appear to be marketing at all. Getting your business featured by the media can be invaluable publicity. Look for reasons to interviewed, whether for print, TV, radio or online outlets — wherever your target customers are likely to notice.
Other options include:
- Launch a community-based project and send out publicity material to the media. Think of cases, for instance, where hairdressers or food outlets have provided free services for the homeless.
- Enter a business award. It will be great publicity even if you don’t win, and even better if you do.
- Create a publicity stunt. The more outrageous the better — as long as you amuse rather than offend the people you’re trying to attract.
- Offer yourself as sponsor for an event. For example, you could provide products or services as prizes for a raffle at the event.
7. It’s All About Them
Effective marketing should be all about the people you’re trying to reach. To engage them, rather than seeming pushy, you could:
- Educate your audience by providing useful and illuminating information. This can be done through online content or by organising a group or a Webinar. You’ll not only be engaging your audience, but also positioning yourself as the obvious solution to their problems.
- Answer questions on online platforms that cover your areas of expertise. This will not only get your name out, but also demonstrate your expertise in your field.
- Don’t forget to be entertaining. Think of advertising. Which is more successful — a talking head selling at you or a bunch of comedy meerkats? It doesn’t necessarily have to be funny, but make sure you engage your audience’s emotions.
Marketing on a budget is not only possible, it can also be highly effective. You just have to be creative. If you are trying to increase your online visibility and credibility and you have a website that isn’t performing, you need to read our ‘How Not to Have a Useless Website‘ article.
For a discounted website review or a search engine optimisation audit just quote this news article when you contact us.