Get All Access for $5/mo

8 Ways to Do Big-Time Marketing Without Spending a Fortune When it comes to building your brand, how you spend your money is at least as important as how much money you spend.

By Eric Samson Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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.

Related: Millennials Spend 18 Hours a Day Consuming Media -- And It's Mostly Content Created By Peers

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.

Related: If Marketing About Avoiding Death Can Be Funny, Why Is Your Content So Somber?

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!

Related: 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Google AdWords

Eric Samson

Founder of Group8A

Eric Samson is the founder of Group8A, a boutique consulting firm focused on developing and executing integrated marketing and digital solutions for companies of all sizes.

 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Leadership

I Was Reappointed as CEO to Drive My Company's Profit — Here Are The First 3 Things I Did to Make That Happen

When stepping into a new CEO role, striking the right balance between listening and action is the key to moving the business forward

Starting a Business

3 Things to Consider Before Your Perfect Business Partner Becomes Your Perfect Disaster

There are many reasons for start-up businesses' high failure rate, including lack of cash, not doing enough research and poor marketing. But this one reason is definitely not getting enough attention.

Side Hustle

This Former Disney Princess Lived 'Paycheck to Paycheck' Before Starting a Side Hustle at Home — Now She Makes $250,000 a Year

Victoria Carroll's income was "sporadic" until a friend encouraged her to take her talents to Fiverr in 2018.

Growing a Business

How to Overcome the Challenges of Remote Work in the Professional Services Industry

Some businesses need to meet in person, but for many service companies, the question is whether being remote has advantages. We look at what the challenges are and how to overcome them.

Business News

Amazon Is Reportedly Tracking 'Coffee Badging' Workers and Their Real In-Office Hours

Leaked Slack messages showed employees had a minimum number of hours they needed to be in the office for the time to count as an in-office day.

Science & Technology

How AI Is Being Used to Improve Cybersecurity for Businesses of All Sizes

Discussing the role of AI in cybersecurity, the challenges that cybersecurity teams are facing and future trends that governments and businesses need to be aware of.