Marketing is essential to any company’s bottom line. However, traditional advertising channels such as newspapers, radio and television can get expensive really quick. Furthermore, they may produce little or no ROI. Contrary to these earlier practices, your own marketing strategy does not need to break the bank. Here are several tactics for saving money on marketing while still ensuring that your message reaches your target audience.
1. Do partnered giveaways.
Team up with other brands to generate large contests with grand prizes instead of organizing small, standalone giveaways. All of the involved businesses should pool distribution support and marketing manpower, as well as share email lists and social media followings. One example to take inspiration from is Oklahoma’s News on 6, a TV station that has partnered with different local businesses in Oklahoma to promote giveaways.
2. Foster user-generated content.
Get users to build content and broadcast your company. BuzzFeed utilizes this method by encouraging community posts. HerCampus.com is largely community-driven, with the majority of its site content created by university women. Another tactic is to create a contest for the best user-generated content. For instance, Doritos hosts a yearly Crash the Super Bowl contest with a cash prize to get fans to produce Super Bowl video commercials for the brand.
3. Promote customer referrals.
Encourage customers to refer their friends to your product or service. Airbnb and Uber grew considerably thanks to their powerful referral programs, both of which only involved small incentives. All you need to do to bolster your referral program is to provide a little money or discount to the source and recipient of the referral.
4. Use social media.
Social media provides many cost-free avenues for advertising your brand, including Facebook and Twitter. Another growing opportunity is hosting a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) and inviting Reddit users to ask any questions. A wide range of individuals and companies have hosted Reddit AMAs, from celebrities promoting movies, to employees of large corporations, to founders of start-up companies. Before hosting one of your own, be sure to read through a few relevant threads to get a sense of what the best practices are for marketing your business and for answering questions.
If you have more money in your social media budget, consider creating a YouTube video. Get ideas from “Dumb Ways to Die,” a safety PSA for a local Australian train company that went viral due to a skillful combination of animation, catchy music and black humor.
5. Hire brand ambassadors.
Employ friendly individuals to be brand ambassadors for your product or service. Brand ambassadors act as representatives of the company and spread the word to the public in many types of ways. Businesses like Lyft and Amazon hire university students as brand ambassadors to advertise their services across college campuses.
6. Transform old campaigns into new ones.
Instead of starting a marketing campaign from scratch, repurpose or update a previous one to save time and money. Refashion what works and toss out aspects of the campaign that were not successful. Moreover, this strategy should help maintain the consistency of your message, and according to Rand Group, a consistent advertising message may improve brand recognition. An inconsistent one on the other hand can be costly – it can lead to significant setbacks for brand recognition.
7. Exploit online marketing tools.
There are many free or low cost marketing tools on the Internet that help companies save money and time on marketing efforts. For market research, SurveyMonkey provides free online survey and questionnaire tools for polling your target market and analyzing their responses. MailChimp offers a free email marketing service for sending emails using newsletter templates, managing subscribers and tracking email results. If you want more powerful tools, try a 30-day free trial of HubSpot, an extensive inbound marketing and sales software.
8. Dispose of weak ads.
Stop wasting money on poorly performing ads. This may sound like common sense, but an estimated 46 percent of ads go unseen, so many businesses do spend money on ads that never reach an audience. Keep track of what you are paying for and why you are pursuing certain tactics. If there are marketing channels that have little ROI, then curb your ad spending, reevaluate your current strategies and carry out more effective advertising approaches.
Marketing your brand can be an overwhelming and costly process, but these tips will save you loads of money and time. There are many more free and inexpensive tools available today than ever before – take advantage of them!