Staying ahead of the marketing curve is more important than ever for business owners. But when you’re doing it with limited budgets, staff and resources, creating an effective communications strategy can be a daunting task.
The good news: Marketing your company is now easier and more affordable than ever.
If you are looking to broaden your networks and build trusting (and profitable) relationships with your customers, consider incorporating a few of these budget-friendly marketing ideas into the mix.
Social Media Marketing
This channel has drastically changed the way we communicate and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. For businesses, social media provides a means to communicate directly and honestly with audiences.
You can interact in real time with customers, solve their problems, answer their questions and acknowledge their concerns. It also allows you to develop a rapport with them directly, instead of relying solely on traditional media.
Of course, you can’t expect to generate new business just by creating an account on the social platform of your choosing.
As the best practices in Monitoring Your Brand Across the Web show, listening to conversations on social can help you identify which channels are the most popular with current and prospective customers and how to adapt your brand’s contributions, voice and style to each channel.
Approach social media as a long-term resource for building customer loyalty, gathering a community around your brand, and then driving eyes to your owned channels.
Budget-friendly tip: Social media advertising can be as affordable or expensive as you make it. If done correctly, according to one study by MarketingSherpa, Facebook ads can generate on average a 450% ROI.
Content marketing can be a cost-effective and high-impact tactic to strengthen your online presence and generate new leads. To maximize its benefits, though, you must plan and develop your strategy thoughtfully.
Before you begin creating content, you’ll need to identify your content’s purpose and research your target customer to learn their preferences and informational needs. (See Mastering Your Content Marketing Mission Statement for tips on getting started).
Once you’ve identified the topics and types of content that interest your target customer, you’re ready to begin creating. Content types that can spread your message to new audiences include blog posts, white papers, instructional how-to videos and press releases.
Budget-friendly tip: Consider repurposing and repackaging your existing content into a mix of new formats. Doing so can save you time while delivering curated information you already know your audience values.
When allocating budgets, email marketing shouldn’t be overlooked. This tried and true method allows you to appeal to your readers by offering limited-time promotions to encourage click-throughs and foster customer relationships.
Depending on the size of your email list and needs, it’s also economical and – more importantly – measureable. You can take a deep look into metrics such as email opens, link clicks, and time spent reading the emails, as well as what devices recipients are using to access your email.
Detailed reporting can provide insight into what is working for your campaign and give you the flexibility needed to make changes.
Budget-friendly tip: Using email automation workflows or drip campaigns is an easy way to keep your leads engaged. Clean your database regularly to ensure the leads you’re emailing are the most qualified. It will also help you avoid overpaying your software vendor for storage fees.
Industry events should be an integral part of your marketing strategy and can come in many different forms to accommodate your business and budget needs.
The preparation involved in event planning can be rigorous and extensive, but if you take the necessary steps to develop a strategic checklist in the pre-planning stage, you’ll ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck. The key is to identify and get ahead of any possible issues that can cost you additional time and money later on.
While events can bring high levels of exposure to your brand and help you to build and solidify relationships, participating in every single one would be nearly impossible due to budget and time constraints.
It is extremely important to not choose events simply because they are trendy. You need to identify the types of events that make the most sense for your goals and then decide what mix of hosting and attending you should incorporate in your overall marketing strategy.
If you have a topic you’d like to generate conversations around, want to drive traffic directly to your properties, or are looking to reconnect with customers, consider hosting a local conference or seminar. If you’re looking to make valuable new connections with influencers in your industry, don’t forget tradeshows and other networking events.
Budget-friendly tip: Hosting webinars and other online events are often more cost-effective than in-person events. Additionally, they enable you to easily reach geographically dispersed audiences with thought leadership content that positions your brand as the expert in its industry.
As the marketing landscape continues to expand, maintaining visibility continues to become a greater challenge for businesses.
Consider implementing a few of these cost-saving strategies to generate buzz that reaches well beyond your company’s core audience, then download our white paper Monitoring Your Brand Across the Web for more tips on staying ahead of what your industry is saying.
Author Amanda Eldridge is the director of strategic channels at PR Newswire where she educates small business owners and nonprofits on affordable PR & marketing solutions. She has 15 years of experience in both communications and journalism and has worked in a variety of roles to put her into a position of expertise in her field. Follow her at @prnsmallbiz for tweets about small business marketing trends.
5 Comments on Blog Post Title
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It is interesting that social media marketing is basically what you make of it. This makes it a really great tool for businesses, especially if you are on a budget. It is pretty helpful to be able to choose how much money you spend on at least one marketing area. I appreciate all of your detailed and professional information about the different kinds of marketing that are available today, I will be keeping this in mind!
Good post, so much truth behind what you are saying.