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Marketing on a Budget
So, you’re strapped for money, but still need to focus on acquiring leads and marketing. Well, luckily, you do not have to have a huge budget to effectively market your business. Plenty of businesses survive and thrive with little to no marketing budget. Here are a few ideas to help you market with a very limited budget!
Chances are there are tons of blogs and websites that speak about your industry. Take some time to find these sites and put together a wishlist of all the websites and blogs where you want your brand to be featured. Then, simply start to reach out! Provide the people you reach out to with free services or products to incentivize them to write about you. If that’s not possible, then make sure you personalize your pitch, comment on and share their past articles, ego-boost, and definitely follow up!
Bloggers and journalists/reporters are always on the search for content, so make sure to give them a compelling perspective on your company, product, or service.
The cost? Simply put, man hours. Outreach is a tedious and time consuming process, but it definitely pays off! Consider the reader impressions, social media engagements, and website referrals you will get from one article? If the story is in a notable publication for your industry, then you are looking at a good amount of exposure!
Post/Comment in Relevant Communities
LinkedIn, Reddit, Quora, niche forums, and other targeted communities are great online destinations to build some buzz, showcase your expertise, and raise awareness for your company. Create an account and start searching for discussions and topics you can chime in on. You will also want to post/share your own content on these sites. Just make sure it is not too promotional!
The cost? Time!
Apply for Industry/Business Awards
A lot of publications, websites, organizations, and associations have annual awards. Find out what these awards are and apply for them! Simply go online and search for relevant awards and compile a list of those that you are eligible for.
For example, our local San Diego Business Journal gives out a number of awards each year for local San Diego businesses as well as hosts the award events. We submit GreenRope to any awards we are eligible for and then attend the award events for networking. Winning an award or even just being nominated will give your company a ton of free press!
The cost? Time! You will also need to pay for the event itself, which is never too big of an undertaking.
Implement an Affiliate or Referral Program
Incentivize your clients and fans to promote your business to their own networks. When a customer refers you to one of their colleagues, reward them in someway, whether it is something free or a healthy discount. When your clients reap the benefits of promoting you, they will do so more often.
Affiliate programs are a great way to build up a following and have other people promote your business. At GreenRope, we offer commissions to all our affiliates who send over new customers.
The cost? Creating a good strategy and process can take a little bit. Then, there is social promotion, possibly some Facebook advertisements targeted to ‘Friends of people who like your page’. Finally, you need to account for the cost of discounts and commissions, however, this should be much less than the return of this strategy!
Become a Guest Blogger
This tactic is time consuming, but effective. Reach out to the blogs you like and follow and ask to become a contributor or submit an article of your own. Blogs love getting new and fresh content, so many accept contributor inquiries. For example, GreenRope contributes to Business2Community, CustomerThink, CMO Essentials and more. It is a great way for us to showcase ourselves as experts in what we do and reach a much broader audience than just those who read the GreenRope blog.
The cost? Yet again, time!
Networking is a classic, but still highly effective. The more people you meet, the broader your network becomes. Plus, never underestimate the power that meeting face-to-face has on the memory and building a real connection. Research local Meetup groups, business associations, and other relevant industry events. Attend as many as you can and encourage your team to do the same.
The cost? You guessed it…time! Also, the cost of tickets.
This one may not seem so obvious, but volunteering is a great way to spread the word and look good while doing it! GreenRope volunteers at beach cleanups! The whole team gets together wearing our GreenRope shirts and we walk and clean the beach together. This is great exposure, since people see our branding and associate us with a charitable cause. This shows our commitment to the community and exposes our brand to people at the event as well as onlookers.
The cost? Time! But, who cares? You are benefiting your community and the cause you are working with!
Trade is one of the oldest forms of commerce and still works today. Trade your services with another company that can offer you something. For example, GreenRope recently gave a charitable organization a twelve-month subscription to GreenRope for a sponsor position at one of their events. Now, we are included in their newsletters, their event brochures, website, and more. We are boosting our exposure and getting our name in front of a whole new audience by simply exchanging services.
Find companies that you would be interested in partnering with and reach out to them. You never know where a lucrative partnership will pay off big time!
Get Social on Social Media
At this point, we all know that social media is a must. We also know that social media takes time, and lots of it. However, if you can leverage social media to benefit your business, than it is worth putting in those extra hours.
Find out who the influencers are in your space (who talks a lot of about your industry and has a lot of klout) and start engaging with them. Post regularly and make use of hashtags. Involve yourself in conversations and utilize keyword searches to find people that are talking about your product, service, or industry.
The cost? Time! Yes, it is getting repetitive, but it’s true. You will also want to invest in social scheduling platform and utilize each network’s reporting and analytics. We recommend Sprout Social, HootSuite, and Buffer. Try to allocate a small portion of your marketing budget to social as Facebook is merely an advertising platform at this point. If you want the engagement, you kind of have to pay for it. Look into Facebook ads for website clicks, boosting posts, and more!
Create Great Content and Recycle it
If you are like most marketers, content reigns supreme, however creating content takes a lot of time. So, if you are strapped for both money and time, first create great content, and then repurpose it. Turn snippets into social posts, repost your content in different places, and share it multiple times. Include your blog posts in your emails, and maybe even write posts that spin off the original.
The point here is to maximize the power of the content you already have. If you do not have the man power to create tons of content, then don’t. Take the good content you have and repurpose in different ways. Videos, infographics, social posts, etc are all great ways to share the same type of content because people consume them in different ways.
Marketing on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult and stressful. It is actually quite possible and can be very effective if you employ all the tactics above.
If you are interested in learning more about marketing on a small budget and other ways to maximize your marketing efforts, visit the GreenRope Success blog.