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Zero to low budget marketing ideas for SMEs

Marketing is a key driver of a business’s success. Simply put, marketing is all about attracting customers for your business and helping to ensure that they stay, spend more, and at its best, help you acquire new customers without any cost. So how do we excel at marketing? This starts with understanding your target audiences and trying to find ways to communicate with them in their own terms.

It is common that all business new and old find themselves having an insufficient marketing budget. Of course, this does not apply to the P&Gs of the world, but for most, marketing dollars are often “not enough” to support the ideal strategy.  We are often faced with the obstacle of having to forgo one channel for the other or to find ways to account for ROIs so as to get a budget increment. It is undoubtedly agreed that spending sufficiently on marketing helps promote businesses and foster a company’s growth. But what we do not agree with is that businesses with smaller budgets have to compromise. Below are some marketing ideas that are low to almost zero cost that you can consider trying! 

Use social media

We all use social media. All businesses today should be on social media! From Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest; these are all cost-friendly channels that allow you to effectively manage and scale your marketing budget.

Running advertisement campaigns on Facebook, for example, is an effective way to reach out to more prospects. While mass awareness and mass targeting can be expensive, there are some ways to achieve a similarly powerful impact with a much lesser price tag.

  • Encourage your customers to follow your account and leave reviews on your sites
  • Focus on creating quality content such as informative posts, high-quality shareable images or engaging infographics,
  • Organizing mini-competitions or campaigns that encourage your existing followers to invite more followers
  • Create conversations with prospects by joining relevant groups and engage in conversations with them. In doing so, you can also gain insights into what your prospect is interested in.

Produce high-quality content on sites

Content is king, and with the growing popularity of social media today, that saying has never been more true. Perhaps the main reason why many businesses love content marketing is that it can be supported internally and as such can be more cost-friendly, while the returns are quite astounding if you do it right; Well-created content attracts attention and builds positive awareness and talk. More importantly, if planned and integrated right, it can help improve your site ranking on Google, increasing traffic and possibly sales.

Content marketing, contrary to many people’s belief, should not be all about your products or services. It’s should also talk about relevant, but more wide-angled topics that will benefit your consumer. It should be able to value add them by giving them more perspectives and ideas. That said, creating great content is just part of the story. You need to promote it. Make full use of social media to increase targeted reach and engagement.

Website can help, too.

The rocketing growth of the Internet has led to the popularisation of a new marketing channel: inbound marketing. The term implies activities that encourage prospects to actively seek information about your business rather than pushing information to them. Inbound marketing has been a cost-effective solution for many businesses, especially businesses at its early stages.

To get started with inbound marketing, the first thing you will need to have is a website. It should be structured well with optimized user interface and content; you must include basic information such as product info, locations, contact information, but also not to neglect more engaging elements like to customer feedback, testimonials, blogs and more. It is important to ensure that all these content are well-organized and presented clearly on your website. 

With a good website, structure, and content, this will be where SEO kicks in. A good SEO ensures that when people are searching for relevant keywords, your website will be highly recommended by Google. 

Reach out to where your prospects are 

The ultimate goal of marketing is to engage with your customers, encouraging them to initiate action with your business. To achieve this, you have to be in places where your consumers are at; to consistently “appear” in their lives and influence their buying decision. Outdoor marketing (or out of home as it is commonly referred to) has always been known as an effective way for this. It allows a business a non-disruptive way to capture the attention of their customers and more. It allows you to stand out, not just to your customers, but to their community.

As effective out of home (OOH) advertising is, the downside is that this channel usually costs an arm and a leg, especially for a budget-conscious business. Or rather, this would have been true until a couple of years ago. With technology, a few other options have emerged. There are now solutions like airvert.com which allows small businesses to run their outdoor advertising campaigns without stretching their marketing budget. This is possible with the rise in trends for a business ecosystem, like those of Alibaba’s Taobao, and Airbnb. Platforms like Airvert allows businesses to advertise in highly targeted although smaller places. With tools like these, businesses can now advertise hassle-free in targeted places like restaurants, hotels, malls, school, building, gyms, spa, all at an affordable, waste-free cost. 

Brand Partnership 

We usually hear people saying it’s hard to survive without friends. The same applies to business. When you are too small to fight against other big guys in the industry, why not team up with other businesses to build a partnership?Share the marketing cost and reach out to the same target audience and give them an even more wholesome brand engagement.

Find non competing brands that share the same target audience as yours and find mutually beneficial ways to provide more value for your customer. The partnership does not have to always be with a big brand in the industry, it can be just about any other business that when coupled with yours, forms a complementing alliance that is able to create an impact in the industry. You can consider doing offline event, social marketing campaign or even a duo branded OOH activation!

Reference: 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel/2018/02/23/inexpensive-marketing-ideas-for-small-businesses/#643d7f5a353f

https://www.canva.com/learn/19-low-budget-marketing-ideas/

https://medium.com/swlh/6-zero-to-low-budget-marketing-ideas-for-startups-96c97a275e84

https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/10/01/marketing-ideas-for-small-businesses

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-marketing/strategic-partnerships-can-be-a-game-changer-for-your-small-business/article35854479/

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