How to create a killer marketing strategy when you don’t have a budget
Many small companies and start-ups can’t afford to apportion a large amount of investment into their marketing activity, but they still need to be seen to grow their business and raise their profile among consumers and their target audience. Working out how to market your business on a shoestring budget can seem like “mission impossible”, but at Slava Communication we’re here to help with some tips on how you can create a killer marketing strategy when you’re on a tight budget.
Where do I start?
Have you ever been to a fancy-dress party when you didn’t manage to order a ready-made outfit on time, so you had to get creative and make your own out of what you found lying around the house or from rummaging in thrift shops, and it actually turned out to be the best outfit of the night?!
Why? Because you had to get inventive and think outside the box. Well, marketing without a budget works in pretty much the same way! It’s all about dreaming up engaging content, good planning, getting creative, and even repurposing existing content to come up with a marketing strategy that will turn heads and make a lasting impression.
A robust content marketing plan helps a business attract more attention and generate qualified leads. This can be achieved via social media management (community building), establishing your niche, having a great methodology (be consistent and coherent…), repurposing existing content and setting out a marketing budget that you can work with. Here are some points to keep in mind when planning your marketing strategy:
For your marketing plan to be effective, you need to have done your groundwork. That’s why it’s worth taking the time to really examine the essence, core values and objectives of your business. To put it simply—why you exist. What are you offering customers that’s different to your competitors? Who are your customers and what are their needs and desires that you can fulfil? What channels can you use to connect with your target audience and how can you convince them that they need your product or service in their lives? Once you have the answer to these core questions, you can begin to roll out your marketing activity. For businesses on a budget, the most effective initial marketing avenues to raise awareness and raise your profile are likely to include:
- Building an online community via social media channels
- Leveraging user-generated content to promote your business
- Interacting directly with your customer base
- Making use of tools such as Google Analytics to research your target market
- Telling your company’s story in a way that is authentic and engaging.
This leads us to the cornerstone of your marketing activity: Content.
Content Marketing on a Budget
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Content is KEY! Engaging content raises awareness, enhances your relationship with your target audience, and ultimately, generates leads and drives sales. Don’t expect your content marketing to send your revenue figures skyrocketing overnight. A good marketing strategy aims at long-term growth through a consistent, coherent and creative approach. And you don’t need a big budget to come up with great content. Here are a few options to get you started.
1 – Get blogging
Blogging is by far one of the easiest ways to promote your business and the content possibilities are endless. Blogs can drive traffic to your website, foster audience engagement, enhance your online visibility, and bolster your SEO. You can use blogs to tell your company’s unique story, promote new products or services and provide useful information that offers solutions to your potential customers.
Blogs can serve to enhance your reputation as an expert in your field and position you as a trusted voice within your industry.
2 – Make use of user-generated content
Make the most of the ready-made resources you have at hand when it comes to your marketing content—your team members! Happy employees make for perfect brand ambassadors and can enhance your brand’s personality and help you to connect to your audience. Feature key members of your team in posts to personalise your business, and ask employees to promote your company to their own friends and family for word-of-mouth marketing that is completely free.
Customers also provide a valuable source of content for your business. Incentives such as referral schemes or giveaways can encourage customers to post about your company and thereby generate organic content that builds trust in your brand. With Nielsen finding that 77% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product if it is recommended by a family member or friend, the value that content from loyal customers adds is inestimable.
Influencers also offer another source of content generation when you find a good match for your brand. Search for an influencer who is relevant to your industry and has high engagement rates.
Once you’ve identified the right influencers for your business, you can offer them free products or services in exchange for a review and thereby connect with their followers to expand your audience and target market reach.
3 – Google it
Google offers a fantastic array of tools that many businesses don’t use to their full potential. And the best thing about them? They’re completely free! Having a Google Business Page is an essential first step for any company. You can use it to link to Google maps, post updates about new products and services, as well as photos that all count when it comes to improving your SEO ranking. Google reviews further help to increase your visibility and enable potential customers to find out more about you from existing satisfied clients, thereby encouraging conversions. In addition to utilising
Google for posting content, its Analytics features enable to you to carry out your own research into what your clients are searching for, their online behaviours and your core customer profile, enabling you to fine-tune your content marketing to ensure you are capturing the attention of your audience.
4 – Engage with the community—online and offline
Being a part of your online and offline community can be achieved through sponsoring of local community events or initiatives, offering donations to worthy causes that align with your company values and ethos and collaborating with other businesses to offer webinars or podcasts that
entertain or offer useful to solutions to your target audience. Such activities can all help to build a strong relationship with your client base and increase customer loyalty.
Further online tactics to grow your community also include any activity that opens up a dialogue between you and your followers and strengthens your company’s personality. Examples include running polls and requesting feedback, and tagging loyal customers and other brands to grow your organic reach. Taking the time to respond to queries that are relevant to your business offering on platforms such as Quora and Redditt also offer the opportunity to reach a whole new target audience and further expand your online community.
Offline activity to raise your profile can also be an invaluable asset in terms of lead generation and providing content for your online activity. Networking is a fast, effective way to build relationships to grow your business and get your name out there among the industry movers and shakers. You can attend networking events, participate in industry fairs or local business events and then post about it on your online channels.
5 – Repurpose your content
Capitalise on the work that you’ve already done. If the content you post on one platform creates a buzz, then recycle it for other channels. Turn content from a blog into a video tutorial on YouTube, or transform a successful Facebook post into a direct email campaign to your client base. Don’t be hesitant about reworking your old content and promoting it again. If it was successful the first time, then it’s likely to be a hit the second time around too. By reviving and repurposing the content you can attract and engage a large audience segment who didn’t see the original post or refresh the memories of those who did.
6 – Be social
An active, engaging and consistent social media presence is essential for any business in today’s online-centric world. Taking the time to plan and schedule content on platforms including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn and Twitter reaps rewards when it comes to raising your company’s profile and keeping you on the radar of your target client base.
Bear in mind that the primary function of social media is to build relationships, rather than to sell directly to your customers. Check out the posting style of each platform to ensure that you are relevant and on target to solidify your online presence and build brand awareness.
7 – Call in the professionals
Of course, it’s perfectly possible for you to run your content marketing strategy entirely alone if you have the time and adequate personnel. But apportioning a part of your budget to a specific aspect of your marketing plan and entrusting it to a professional service can also be a very wise move. One professionally produced promotional video that tells your story with a great narrative and showcases your business to its full potential can have a greater impact than a series of videos produced in-house that don’t quite hit the spot. Similarly, if you don’t have the time, or any budding writers within your team, making use of a professional blog-writing service can be a budget-friendly and effective option. Not only will they come up with innovative and engaging content that connects with your audience, communication agencies offering a professional blog service will also know how to write content that boosts your SEO and send you shooting up in the Google rankings.
Ultimately, marketing your business doesn’t have to break the bank. Those companies on a tighter can budget can employ many of the above tactics and more in-house to produce content that increases website traffic, raises brand awareness and helps your business to grow.