4 Low-Cost Marketing Ideas Worth Investing In

Marketing, regardless of your business size, is often underestimated and never easy. Sure, there are growth hacks and tactics you can channel to more efficiently get the word out about your business, but anything you do will require effort.

As a small business, you may not have the budget for fancy creative agencies and celebrity spokespeople. What you do have though, is ingenuity. Consider allocating your time and effort to these four low-cost marketing ideas worth investing in.

Build Your Social Media Community

There are plenty of people willing to argue that social media is dead. And for those looking to sustain their business on paid social ad strategy alone, it very well may be.

Ad funnels continue to oversaturate, and consumers continue to grow desensitized to ad messaging. This isn’t to say social ads are worthless—especially when you’re talking about things like retargeting for eCommerce—just that the landscape is volatile and expensive.

For the long-term, your time will be better spent building your community on social media. Facebook Groups, for example, are making a comeback as users seek genuine connection with those who share similar interests.

Rather than seeking immediate gratification from your social efforts, view it relative to the long game. Make sure you’re engaging with customers asking questions and expressing brand sentiment across channels. Repurpose user-generated content, partner up with other companies or brands, and create content that doesn’t sell but serves.

Launch an Ambassador Program

A few years ago, people were encouraging marketers to hop on the influencer bandwagon. And now, guess what? Influencer marketing has become more diluted and expensive.

While small businesses may benefit from working with smaller, micro-influencers, it will require time to scale and maintain these types of programs. Also, don’t expect to see an immediate increase in sales overnight.

A potentially more effective way to think about influencers is in terms of your current customer base. An ambassador program can be a great way to engage the people who already love your brand and build word-of-mouth.

This might be a situation where you can create a private Facebook Group for ambassadors to congregate and express themselves. Provide ambassadors with a sense of importance—offering incentives like early access to deals, exclusive discount codes, and news about upcoming product launches.

Conduct PR Outreach

PR, just like social media, is often discounted as outdated and ineffective. However, more often than not, the ineffectiveness is a result of a business’ strategy—not the channel itself.

In the case of PR, it’d be unrealistic to expect every press release you publish to make it to mainstream news. However, there are plenty of other outlets to explore for getting the word out.

Remember, people love a good story—especially when it centers around small business. Look to your local news or radio stations for timely pitches around your involvement with the community. Additionally, seek out potential podcasts to be featured on relative to your industry or conferences you can speak at.

Before conducting any kind of outreach, make sure you define your story. How did you start as a business and more importantly, why? What makes what you do special and unique? Find the differentiators needed to pique the interest of whoever you’re reaching out to.

Create Content People Want to Share

Last, but certainly not least, position yourself as an expert in your industry. For many small businesses, this translates to creating useful content their followers and potential customers want to consume and share.

There’s a reason why both storytelling content and product take up an equal amount of space on the homepage of a successful brand like Patagonia. It shows they’re so much more than the sum of their fleeces and outdoor gear.

Channel this approach by sharing your ideas. It can start small, through an email newsletter, blog, or posts to LinkedIn. As you find your voice and narrow in on relevant subject matter, work towards writing for trade publications, start a podcast, or guest blog. It may not be easy but as your name grows in recognition, so too will your customer base.

By Staples Canada

January 29, 2021

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