9 Surprising Free and Low Budget Marketing Techniques That Work

Marketing

You have a great new product or service, or have just opened a new business, but you can’t seem to find a way to let people know you are here. Finding your target audience can be a challenge, but you can contact them effectively, even on a low or non-existent budget. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1)   Video Contests

Let’s face it, video marketing is snowballing, and it’s here to stay. Most people would rather see and hear than reading your message. One way you can help your video marketing for free is to offer a video marketing contest. Have users show how they use your product and how it has helped them solve a problem. Or, maybe, have them demonstate how they use your product in a way that is different and unexpected.

Do’s

  • Do make sure that your contest rules list that any videos may be used on YouTube and in other video marketing.
  • Do share your
  • Do offer prizes. You might offer multiple prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. These prizes don’t have to be big, but people are more likely to compete if they get recognition and a bonus. And, Afterall, they are getting you free advertising.
  • Do make sure you use hashtags for both the contest and the videos you use.

2)   E-books and 101 Guides

Share your expertise. I know it is counter-intuitive, but this is a staple of inbound marketing. I have found more resistance from business owners on this technique than any other. The most common complaint? “But if I tell them that, they won’t need me.” The truth is the opposite. Not only do you establish trust and position yourself as an expert, but your customer likely doesn’t have time nor skills to do it themselves. They may also realize that they would rather have an expert do the heavy lifting with better results. Stuck on new material? Repurpose your blogs. (I told you a blog was important.) Most of the time, your potential customers will not have read your full blog. If offered in an E-book format, they will not only read it but start sharing it with their friends. Remember the adage, as I often quote, “people don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.”

3)   Memes, comics, and infographics

Memes, comics, and even infographics are more likely to go viral and sell. That being said, there are things to remember when using this technique.

·       Do

Make sure it is something your potential client would enjoy and maybe even share. You can plug your business underneath, and, of course, link to your business.

·       Do

Add copyright or logo in the corner. If you add a logo, make sure it doesn’t detract from the content. If you do a lot of these, do say, if you enjoyed this, see more here.

·       Don’t

Be specific to your business, but rather more to your industry.

·       Don’t

Have those skills? Many meme apps and comic strip creations have apps online. And many are free. Infographics are harder, especially if, like me, you have no graphic skills, but they are well worth the effort.

4)   Influencer marketing

Ok, I know. When you hear the words “influencer marketing” you think of high-profiles stars. However, this technique is perfect for smaller, local businesses. No, you don’t have to know someone famous. You should know someone that would refer customers to you. For instance, if you are a gutter installer, likely a roofer would be an influencer. Are you an exterminator? Maybe a real estate agent will refer you for a free termite inspection. In fact, any home improvement site should find real estate agents with whom they can trade referrals. Real estate agents usually network more than any other field and are often glad to exchange referrals. But, don’t stop at trading referrals. Is your influencer willing to recommend you on Yelp? Yelp allows recommendations. Recommendations are different than reviews. Can you trade recommendations on websites? How about guest blogs?

5) Guest blogs

Guest blogs are a great way to drum up a few clients. You can use this with your influencer marketing to trade blogs on your websites. Or, even better, get your guest blog published in a bigger market. Are you stuck on something to write? Your blog seems always to have the same topic, and you are at a loss as to what to say next? Use a past blog to write something new and fresh, and then submit it to a site like HORA (Helpareporter.com). While this may take time, they are always looking for sources and experts to quote. Talk about setting yourself up as an expert! Guest blogs and articles fall under the influencer marketing category. The one caveat is that this one is easier when you are a bit more established.

5)   Cause marketing

People love to know some of their money is going towards a “cause.” Donating a percentage of your profits can influence people to purchase from you rather than your competitor. There are a few don’t on this one, however:

·       Do

A local cause tends to be better. Something everyone can get behind. Feeding the homeless. Adopt a pet. Anything non-political. The more universal, the better. Plus, local charities may be willing to show you as a sponsor on their websites. Another backlink and possibly a referral. You can’t beat that.

·       Don’t

Advertise any cause that has a political context. Don’t do it. Ever. Even if you feel strongly about it. You may be able to get away with this if you are big and well established. But if that is the case, you are not likely reading this article. You don’t want to alienate half your potential customers, no matter how much you believe everyone should support your beliefs. You want your business to make money. Your political views need to take place on your time.

7) Use humor

You need to be careful on this one. Politics, religion and immutable characteristics should be amongst your taboo topics. Again, you do not want to alienate half of your potential customers. You can get away with immutable characteristics if a) you share that characteristic, and b) it is self-deprecating (though even then, use sparingly.) Advertising humorous stories that often happen within your industry and business are good topics. Once upon a time, Volkswagen showed a series of commercials that showed them being fallible; cars that were broken down on the side of the road. The result? Sales increased by almost 50%. Most importantly, make sure your humor is relatable to your target audience.

8) Crazy and weird works

Unless you are in a business where being serious all the time is a necessity (financial planners, banks, doctors), this idea is a marketing tactic to try. Being crazy and weird might not be your thing, but it does get attention. Figuring out your strategy requires thought and planning, but the results can take you from drab to fab and set you viral quick. One idea is similar to the video marketing contest above. Find a use of your product that is unexpected. You might hold a weird and crazy contest. For this content, you will want to participate. Bonus points for getting on local news or getting a video that can go viral on YouTube. While I have seen running down the street naked as one idea, I would avoid that one. But most any other idea will work. Just make sure it’s crazy enough to work.

9) Free and discounted stuff

An old staple. Offering something free or offering discounts. However, there are certain things to remember with this one. Even with free stuff. If you need the email address or other contact information, promise it as no obligation. We won’t spam you or sell your information. And then, stick to it. NEVER lie to a potential client or customer. It will backfire on you every time. Even though you are tempted to use this email list or contact list to send out special offers and solicit business, don’t do it. There are other ways to use email marketing, but this isn’t one of the better ones. Once you give them their free or discounted product, sit back and relax. If it had real value, they will either become your customer or refer-a-friend. That is the value of this tactic. Don’t try this technique if you haven’t already built trust and established yourself as an expert.

Again, the possibilities for reaching your target audience is limited only by your imagination. Market research will help define your target audience and their interests. Never assume you know your target audience without research. Just because you like it doesn’t mean you know who your target audience is. What are their demographics? Men? Women? Age group? What makes your target audience tick? What else are they interested in. Is there a pattern? How and where can you best reach them? Once you have these answers, finding ways to market your business becomes doable, if not easier. At Christy’s Marketing Solutions, we help you find your target audience and what makes them tick. Then, we help you find solutions to your marketing needs that won’t break your budget.