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How to Do PR on the Cheap The digital world has opened up a whole new world of marketing when you have a shoestring budget.

By Jim Joseph

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Q: If your company doesn't have a lot of money, what is the best way to get publicity or get noticed?

A: This question has a very simple, two-word answer: Go digital.

Years ago when I first started in marketing, we didn't live in a digital world. So we really struggled making small marketing budgets work effectively, particularly for small-business owners.

Not anymore!

Related: How to Generate Publicity on a Shoe-String Budget

The digital world has opened up a whole new world of marketing when you have a shoestring budget, creating strategies that allow small brands to market like bigger companies.

Digital can mean a lot of things, and it can mean different things to different people. For me, "digital" means all things digital marketing, including social-media marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing and yes, even word-of-mouth marketing. That's a lot of marketing!

You can do a lot of marketing via digital channels and often doesn't cost much more than your time.

First you must decide which digital channels to use. Figure out first where your customers live digitally and then make sure you have a strong marketing presence there. Go where your customers live, digitally and socially.

So if they are on Facebook, then turn your Facebook page into a marketing page. If Twitter is a common vehicle for your customers, then get very clever with your presence on Twitter. You get the idea.

Related: 7 Steps to Get Publicity for Your Business

Once you choose your channels of choice, make sure you have a content strategy that shows off your professional expertise. Create a content calendar of engaging information that will motivate your customers to get to know your business better. Content can be anything from a written point of view, a photo, video short or even content from someone else that you are passing along. Also, remember that most people are tethered to a mobile device, so keep that in mind when creating content.

Now truth be told, my first sentence was a bit of an exaggeration; it's not all that simple and it's not just digital.

Word-of-mouth marketing can go a long way towards marketing your business and that truly doesn't cost a penny. But you still have to drive it. In addition to creating a digital and social-marketing plan, you should also craft a plan that will drive referrals and word of mouth for your business. A referral or a third-party endorsement can be much more efficient in generating new business than almost any other form of marketing. But as an entrepreneur or small-business owner you have to make it happen.

Ask people for a referral. Make it easy for them to pass along your information to others. Find influencers in your business space and ask them to write about your business. Promote their reviews on your website and social channels.

This is where the digital marketing you've done creates synergy with a word-of-mouth initiative. They should work hand in hand to feature testimonials and other content that shows powerful influencer opinions about your business and drives content sharing among your now expanding network.

Then and only then will you magically be doing marketing that uses influential digital and social channels to drive your business forward -- and at a very low cost.

Related: 4 Ways to Get Publicity on a Budget

Jim Joseph

Marketing Master - Author - Blogger - Dad

Jim Joseph is the chief integrated marketing officer and president of the Americas for New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, part of the media company WPP Group PLC. He is the award-winning author of The Experience Effect series, teaches marketing at New York University, and is on the board of directors for the number one branding school in the country, The VCU Brandcenter. Joseph's new book, Out and About Dad, chronicles his unique journey as a father during a unique time in our cultural evolution.

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