When you don’t have the budget to spend big bucks on massive, international marketing campaigns, it helps to think outside of the box. Creativity is key when you’re working with limited resources but need to maximise outreach. Fortunately, in the age of the internet, making an impact on a limited budget is entirely possible providing know how to go about creating a clever, eye-catching and engaging campaign. Read on for some successful styles of marketing that big brands employ, and ideas on how to implement them in a low-cost, small-scale manner.
Create an organically growing campaign
There are two main types of marketing campaigns that allow for organic growth.
Engaging and entertaining: Recent years have seen the increase in an interactive type of marketing. The coffee company Douwe Egberts gave a great example of how such marketing can capture the attention of people in public areas – in this case, an airport. Weary travellers were offered free coffee by a Douwe Egberts machine, but only when they yawned. Using facial recognition software, the machine identified when a person in front of it was yawning, and dispensed a coffee in response. This one form of interactive marketing, but there is also a cheaper method that can be executed online and which also allows for organic and even viral growth. When PokerStars got Neymar Jr and Cristiano Ronaldo to agree to promote a social media campaign called RaiseIt. Both footy icons were filmed doing impressive football tricks in a display of one-upmanship. These clips were posted to their social media under the hashtag #RaiseIt, with the footballers challenging their own fans and followers to post their own sporty tricks. Since the campaign was so easy to partake in, and since the premise allowed for a lot of potential for funny, amazing or bizarre tricks, the hashtag took on a life of its own – propelled by the many social media users who thought it was entertaining.
While PokerStars is one of the biggest online poker sites in the world and subsequently probably has a considerably bigger budget to work with than your business, you can implement the same idea – minus major celebrities – on a smaller scale. The millennial fashion brand Missguided retweet images of women wearing their clothes, which is smart for two reasons. One – Missguided have real women doing the modelling and promoting for them. Secondly – other women become interested in the idea of getting to be in the spotlight with a simple selfie, and post their own photos of Missguided wear, thus spreading the Missguided hashtag and brand awareness even further on Twitter.
Irresistible Content: ‘Content is King’ is still a saying that forms the basis of how modern day advertisers approach search engine marketing. Put simply, if you have an excellent piece of content then it will naturally attract people. Good content sells itself, and the work you’ve put into it has earned you the links and shares and views. So what makes a good piece of content? Think about the kind of things people typically like to share on their Facebook timeline or Twitter Feed. Research shows that content which is informative, controversial, funny, fascinating or bizarre interests social media users. It’s also worth noting that shareable content does not just come in the form of an excellent article, but could be a great video, interesting infographic or slideshow. The point is – putting money into producing fantastic content and its initial promotion is a worthy investment, and one of the most cost-effective means of marketing. Depending on what type of industry you’re in, an interview with an expert or someone else of interest could generate a lot of links and shares. This also appeals to the ego of the interviewee, who in turn could promote your interview content on their own social media or websites.
Free samples and giveaways
This is a traditional marketing technique that works equally well on city streets as it does on social media. From handing out tasters of a new food product in a market, to emailing out vouchers for the best ‘caption this photo’ contributors; free samples and giveaways always go down well. Since there is a wide range of online competition and contest types your business could employ, it’s important to choose one which suits the purpose of your particular campaign. Is the focus on spreading brand awareness? Getting reviews? Links? While giving away free samples might seem like the opposite of budget-friendly, it’s an investment which often works out in the long-run.
Collaborate and partner up
Cross-promotion is a good bet for smaller businesses or startups in need of getting their name out there. Find a business within a similar niche and consider which types of partnerships, contests or alliances could benefit you both.
Social Media & Self Promotion
Since utilizing social media is free – milk it for all its worth. At the very basic level you need to have a strong multi-platform online presence, with a social media expert or team who is able to stay on top of trends, reply to comments, organize ads and reach out to forums or magazines for mentions and reviews. Use free SEO tools to improve your website’s visibility in search engines – and take advantage of simple techniques like adding your business to Google Maps.
The only thing this type of marketing costs you is time, and although time is money, this particular method is money well-spent.
The digital age may have complicated marketing, but it’s also improved advertising campaigns and set the bar at a new high for what consumers can expect. As such, it’s opened up the door for those with good ideas but a limited budget. Gone are the days of sitting through ten minutes of TV commercials or listening to salesman pitches – the attention span of the modern era is short, so it’s more important than ever that you deliver a pithy and captivating message to your target market. The good news for smaller businesses? That’s not something money can buy.