Times are tough, and even if they weren’t, it’s always necessary to consider more budget-friendly opportunities. Even large organizations don’t have the marketing capital they used to, while smaller operations unequivocally don’t.
A great many marketing strategies and solutions experiment with dazzling, high-cost experiences. From big-budget advertisements to sweeping sponsorships, marketing isn’t the same as it used to be and there’s an argument to be made that things may never return to that point.
With tight budgets a given, the question is how to proceed, especially in the current climate? What kind of inexpensive marketing opportunities exist, which have the same levels of effectiveness — if not better — as past solutions?
The Best Low-Cost Marketing Techniques
Here are some excellent, affordable marketing techniques that every team can and should try:
1. Reinvigorate Content Marketing Efforts
Good old fashioned content marketing comes in many forms, but it’s an incredibly low-cost, low-effort way to boost exposure. With the right copywriters and topics, it’s an excellent way to drive traffic to a website or brand portal. Content also comes in many forms, from text and blogs to videos or even podcasts.
2. Encourage Referrals and Empower Customers
Word-of-mouth and referral-based advertising are a couple of age-old and highly effective ways to market a brand, without actively doing any marketing. People are four times more likely to buy a product from a company that’s been referred by a friend or family member.
One of the best ways to make it happen is to empower customers and encourage them to share, discuss, and advertise. Turn customers into brand ambassadors. Reward them with exclusive discounts and deals for referrals. Perhaps send free products or similar incentives for reaching a particular referral goal? Make it work for them and you.
3. Stay In the News
No press is bad press, or at least that’s what many say. A more relevant point, however, is that companies that can stay visible tend to reap more rewards. Make it a goal to stay an active and highly-discussed organization. There are many ways to achieve such a thing.
In the current climate, for instance, helping others can go a long way towards building trust and exposure for a company. Other strategies include hosting local and live events, sponsoring influencers and other partners, and making a positive impact on the surrounding community.
4. Explore New Communication Channels
Likely, people are already talking about your brand on social media, online forums, and even within local communities. A solid strategy is to inject yourself into the conversation in a positive way. For instance, when you see customers asking questions or expressing problems they’re having, that’s a great time to chime in offer support.
People love to see brands interacting with customers outside of normal channels. It also introduces new audiences to your brand who may come across the interactions, or hear about them later.
5. Host Some Classes or Workshops
Become an authority by offering classes or educational material that fits your market. Lowe’s and Home Depot are excellent examples of this, and both companies have been offering DIY classes and workshops to customers for a while now. It’s also an opportunity to highlight just how much you know about a particular subject or field.
By positioning your brand as an authority, it not only builds respect and Klout but also gets people interested in your products and services.
6. Provide Industry Advice
As an offshoot of the above tip — on educating others — you can also provide industry related advice to customers and contacts. Maybe someone doesn’t have a question about one of your products, but just wants advice about a particular project, decision, or opportunity? Again, it’s about establishing your brand and representatives as an authority in the field.
Air conditioning and HVAC companies do this exceptionally well. During a routine inspection, they might offer customers advice and guidance on finding a new unit, choosing a more efficient thermostat, or by discussing any number of semi-related tasks.