A limited marketing budget doesn’t have to mean limited marketing potential.
When it comes to product research, 60 percent of all consumers start the process on a search engine rather than on a specific website. This means that you can’t opt out of digital marketing entirely, nor can you expect to get very far without a concerted effort that’s geared toward getting your name — and your website — in front of the right people.
If you’re running a small business, however, then you probably don’t have an endless pool of money to throw at your marketing budget — and that’s totally okay! There are simple, cost-effective, and untapped marketing tactics that can help you build brand awareness and nurture more leads; no arm-and-a-leg payment required.
Here are some ideas for funneling your marketing dollars into low-cost, high-performance marketing tactics.
10 Untapped Marketing Tactics Worth Pursuing
Standing out is a good thing in marketing. Once you’ve got the basics down (including a website, social media, and emails), try out these ideas to get the most out of your marketing efforts:
1. Create Short-Form Blog Posts
Short-form blogging helps you produce news-like snippets that you can then push out on a regular basis. They’re much quicker and easier to write than standard blog posts and can often be multi-purposed as social media posts. Keep ‘em short, sweet, and to the point, and use them as a way to establish thought leadership and stay top of mind with your audience.
2. Snag Some Press Mentions
There’s a ton of value in attention (and backlinks) from reputable publications. Write press releases around company updates, events, and product/service launches. Then send them out to local media contacts for a possible mention.
Before you start worrying about costs associated with these efforts, rest assured that there are ways you can get free press for your small business. Just put a process in place and be willing to offer an exchange, and you’ll see the opportunities roll in.
3. Share Guest Content
Reach out to brands and publications that are relevant to your audience for guest posting opportunities. Some accept submissions and have guidelines outlined on their site, while others will require some back-and-forth first. In either case, guest posting is an excellent way to tap into a new audience pool and share both your expertise, and get a link or two back to your site.
4. Apply for Awards
You’re doing great work, so why not be recognized for it? There are many small business awards, including several that are free or low-cost to enter. If you win, you’ll get industry recognition — and, depending on the organization, a potential prize as well.
Awards are a great way to show your audience that you have authority in the space and that industry peers recognize your accomplishments. Make sure you add any badges to your site so visitors can immediately see them.
5. Engage in Social Groups
If your social media presence revolves mostly around letting your audience come to you, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to engage with them on a more personal level. Join local and interest-related groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with additional prospects, lend your voice to the conversation, and share your content.
Make sure you search for groups related to your industry and focus. It needs to make sense for you to be joining these groups, and that’s the best way to reach an audience that could actually use your product or services.
6. Create a Google My Business Account
If you haven’t done this already, now is the time. Having a Google My Business profile — and updating it as needed — will help your business appear higher in local search results, including searches through Google Maps.
The more online real estate your business can take up, the better. It puts you in front of more people and adds another level of credibility to your brand.
7. Recycle Old Content
Creating new content all of the time can be costly (if you’re outsourcing content creation) and time-consuming. Scale back by investing some of that time into recycling and repurposing old content instead. Update and add to old blog posts. Then turn those posts into additional materials like images, infographics, and even video content that you can then share widely through other channels.
8. Host a Giveaway
People love free stuff, and it doesn’t have to be an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas in order to get their attention. Consider running a giveaway around a free consulting session or a couple of free products — which won’t cost you much but could end up with a huge engagement and lead generation boost.
9. Engage with Other Businesses on Social
Social media isn’t only good for communicating with prospects. If a relevant (but non-competing) business has a big update or posts an interesting article, start a conversation about it and tag them. If they write back, you’ve got a mention and opened the door to a potential co-branding opportunity.
It’s also smart to reshare content from other brands or create content that mentions brands so you can easily tag them on social when sharing it out. Plus, it can lead to more re-shares, follows likes, and comments.
10. Start a Referral Program
Customers who are referred by a friend are four times more likely to make a purchase. To encourage those all-important referrals, start a program that incentivizes your customers to share their positive experiences. For example, PandaDoc, a document signing software, offers up to $2 for an inquiry on their website and up to $5 for a confirmed application.
Going above and beyond the competition with your marketing strategies doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money. The ideas above are all about acquiring more benefits from the tactics you’re already engaged in, getting more bang for your buck, or, in many cases, simply trying out free marketing methods that you might not have thought of doing before.
Start by choosing a few of these ideas and track performance to see what’s working, and make sure you use content marketing tools to help you be more effective. You should have no trouble finding additional avenues for increasing your digital presence and making more of a mark with your audience.