Businesses grow in very different ways depending on the type of business model you have.
You might own a startup that requires ferocious growth from the very beginning or a retail shop that aims to have a slower gradual growth instead.
But for whatever goals you have for your company, we all know that marketing is an essential part in gaining consumer acquisition and for building on your brand awareness.
If you fit into either one of these two categories:
1) A company that is heavily funded and backed up by a competent marketing agency
2) A startup that is bootstrapping your way through
Here are 14 cheap marketing strategies that I will like to share with you!
Low in marketing budget? Forget about influencer marketing!
These cheap marketing strategies can be used for cases where you are not in the ability to spend or if you feel that the money could be saved for a more important area in your business.
And yes, to answer your question of doubt, these marketing strategies DO work.
14 Cheap Marketing Strategies
Guerrilla marketing is one of the common business marketing strategies that enable companies to come up with creative and eccentric low-cost marketing approaches.
With many big companies tapping on this unconventional way of marketing their brand, it is proof that this strategy really works!
Here are some examples of Guerrilla marketing by big companies:
(Source: Marketing Ideas 101)
(Source: Marketing Ideas 101)
Even with a very tight budget, it usually helps small companies to achieve a greater return of results in gaining awareness or acquisition.
The trick is for your guerrilla marketing campaigns to be as quirky as possible, but also relevant at the same time.
Let’s say you own a new fast-food chain that specializes in selling fine dining menu dishes at an affordable price.
Forgo the typical flyer-giving strategy!
Spice that up by having “waiters” in roller skates carry silver trays of flyers, discounted coupons and a few free food samples to give out.
The only costs incurred in this marketing strategy is the payment for your “waiters,” the cost of free food samples and the printing of the flyers and coupons.
With discounted coupons and free food samples being entertainingly delivered to your targetted audiences, it is no longer just a flyer marketing strategy.
It is an experience.
And soon enough, you’ll see people flocking in to use their discounted coupons and hopefully be amused enough to want to share it on their social media.
Because I mean who doesn’t love redeeming food discounts?
*Cues cash register sound*
Cold emails are usually seen to be a waste of effort because of the number of people who actually respond.
If you’re getting very little to no response at all, try tweaking factors like…
– Introducing yourself first, rather than jumping straight into selling.
– Making sure you’re sending it to the right target audience.
– Paraphrasing your message in a more exciting way where it talks about how your company is able to support them in reaching their goals.
– Creating an enticing email title (if you were the recipient of that email, would YOU open it?)
Here are more bite-sized tips on what you should do for cold emails contents:
With the economy today, cold emailing usually work hand-in-hand with…
When LinkedIn came into the market, it changed the whole networking culture.
Before it launched in the year 2003, you could only get to meet clients via referrals or if you took the effort to be physically present during an event.
Cold emailing in the past was paired up with finding business contacts through the yellow pages or the early days of the internet, which usually resulted in generating a meager percentage to zero leads.
I’m not saying that with LinkedIn, you no longer have to attend networking events or forget about asking for referrals.
What I’m saying is that you should take full advantage of LinkedIn to connect with your potential partners and clients, using it as a cheap marketing strategy tool to give them a brief introduction of yourself and your past experiences before you drop them an email to meet.
It allows people to get to know more about you before deciding if it is worth to run through an email from a (corporate) stranger.
What more to give up a valuable fraction of their time when they could be working on their business?
If you managed to secure them from the brief LinkedIn introduction, you know you’re doing something right.
And if you don’t? Tweak your approach and try again.
Treat your profile as a portfolio page for your business or the company that you’re working for.
Won a relatable award? Post about it.
Got invited to an event as a speaker? Post about it.
Have an impressive social media marketing strategy result? Post about it.
You will never know when these “testimonials” could come into hand when securing a project.
(Source: Unsplash – Daria Shevtsova)
Although technology has significantly advanced and allows us to “e-meet” one another, it does not mean that we should completely cross out attending networking events physically.
I know that there are many projects and collaboration deals that have been closed via the internet, but face-to-face interaction is still as important as it was before.
Don’t get me wrong; you can still make an impression without having to meet the client in person.
But how long can that impression last, compared to another company who shows up all the time?
Networking events not only allows you to make new connections, but it is also an open opportunity for your current relationships to introduce/refer you to their circle of partners, clients, business friends, etc.
Pair the networking method by connecting with them on LinkedIn, and dropping a follow-up email after the event.
And you’ve just started a new chapter with a potential lead called relationship building.
Not in the position to pay to attend networking events?
Not an excuse.
It is often known that no matter how much you persevere for your business, you can be easily defeated by your competitors if they have connections to the right people that you did not concentrate on building.
The “right” people I am talking about here, is not referring to your potential investors, partnership companies, clients or product users.
One cheap marketing strategy that businesses often tend to overlook, is to build on your connections with the “right” people, like reporters from local or international related TV channels, writers from newspapers, magazines or online blog sites – Forbes.com, Inc. Magazine, etc.
Mind you, nothing free comes easy. Although it might be a long and tedious process in building the interest of making them want to cover your story, the results are definitely worth it.
The amount of outreach and influence that these TV channels and news companies have usually covers the entire nation and beyond. Better yet if they belong to the government body, because that will help in building up your company’s reputation even more.
The best way of being able to stand out and have them interested in your business is to story-tell your value proposition in the most “news-worthy” way and always be genuine in building relationships.
As much as you’d like to avoid people you feel are taking advantage of you and your business…
what makes you think they are not avoiding you?
Before social media marketing channels like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook came about; many companies made use of Blogs to push out articles as a form of social media marketing strategy.
Up till today, companies are consistently publishing articles and making use of the current social media channels to help boost their reach and shares.
“Nah, a blog will be of no use to my company for this day and age.”
That was what I thought at first until I learned the reason why Blogs are still widely used by companies all over the world.
It is for the main purpose of boosting their sites SEO.
It is one way of generating leads to your website, where potential clients who land on your articles might find the need for your products or services.
At the same time, other websites or blogs who link your article to theirs will help in increasing the rank for your site.
This helps your website to increase in “ranking” and to appear on the first page of the relevant keywords that people are searching with regards to the products or services that your company provides.
Writing factual and informative contents will also allow your target audience to view you as an expert in that particular field.
Because ultimately, companies work with businesses they trust.
With YouTube readily available as a platform for you to make use of free social media marketing, coming up with video contents can be part of your cheap marketing strategies.
I’m not talking about high-cost marketing videos that require talents and a whole videography team, but just something where you can create on your own.
You’ll easily be able to create a video relevant to the industry you’re targeting with just a camera and your knowledge.
(Even if you don’t have a camera, the resolution of your smartphone camera should do the trick.)
Pick a topic related to your business and give bite-size tips where people in your industry or clients who require your services will be able to benefit from.
Always create content for the primary purpose of wanting to help, instead of thinking of it as a marketing strategy.
Because only then can you create great content that your audiences will genuinely benefit from, without feeling that you have an ulterior motive of selling them something.
These video contents can then be uploaded onto YouTube and embedded onto your blog, posted on your Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and more!
Here is an example of a simple and effective video content by Patrick Bet – David (Valuetainment):
One way to spread more awareness about your business is through the method of guest writing on other blog websites that have an enormous amount of traction.
Many companies are applying this method, to lead more traffic to their page.
Do make sure that the article you guest write for eventually leads the reader to your page with a link of your website or anywhere else that you would like to direct them.
That means that your call-to-action step has to be very clear, precise and enticing enough.
Sending newsletters is a cheap marketing strategy that reaches out to contacts you have already made, or for audiences who willingly signed up to be part of it.
It is used to act as a reminder (hey guess what, it’s me again!), to promote a new service or product, or to provide an update on what your business has been doing the past month.
Newsletters allow you to promote your other marketing strategies like blog articles, or even build on your credibility by announcing some of the success of your business.
Use it as a more intimate way of marketing with a smaller group of audiences who are already showing interest in your service or product.
Think about how you will be able to retain them and the topics that captured their attention in the first place.
Is it because of your service/product? Did they sign up to know more? Or did they sign up to receive information on the freebies you promised?
Try out the different type of contents and see which of it engages more attention.
Here are some examples of great newsletters:
b) Austin Kleon
The biggest mistake of every business is to take every other business as competition.
One of the best ways to market your business will be to partner up with relevant companies, or companies whom you find will be able to help your business grow.
This method helps to spread awareness of your company in the industry, acting as a form of free marketing to clients who might require your services or products.
It is also a way of building beneficial relationships with companies whom might be of great help to you somewhere along the way.
And sometimes you’ll find that working in a collaborative environment (as business owners), helps you to grow faster than trying to compete with everyone else.
One other method of partnering with other companies will be to propose a partnership deal with more established companies.
Come up with proposals where it will not just greatly benefit them, but it should also help your business as well.
And if you managed to score the partnership deal, you’ve just won yourself free marketing and an increase in credibility for your business.
One example of a collaboration or a partnership could be in the form of…
This is one of the marketing strategies for small businesses or startups to help in building their credibility as well.
By conducting a free class relating to the value your business brings and a topic where people are interested to know more about, it also helps you to let your audiences know how knowledgable and experienced you are in what you do.
It might seem pretty scary, but it is not difficult to host your own event or conduct a workshop.
All you have to do is to:
– Look for a venue sponsor
– Propose a partnership deal that benefits them as much as it benefits you
– Prepare the topic you’ll like to share
and you’re all set!
Even though we are living in a world of technology today, there are still many businesses who do not believe in the importance of using social media.
Building on a strong social media presence not only allows your business to push out marketing contents for free, but it also helps you to reach out to your target audience via a two-way communication basis.
It allows your business to tweak its proposition from the feedback that you get straight from the public, and your company is also able to communicate back to them directly via posts or stories.
Your audiences can connect to your brand more if you give your brand a particular personality and make it seem like they are interacting with a living character, rather than a subject.
That is the reason why some businesses decide to create a particular character to represent the face of the company.
For example, you have Mickey Mouse for The Walt Disney Company, Michelin Man by Michelin, and more.
With all the other marketing strategies mentioned in the article above, they can be used as marketing contents to be pushed out on social media to build on growing a stronger identity.
Since you have access to a free platform, why are you not leveraging on the advantages that it can bring instead of striving to afford other marketing strategies that are more expensive?
Create your own brand hashtag and build a community to make like-minded people feel more connected to one another.
If you are already active in using social media marketing and will like to learn more about how to strategize to achieve greater results, check out this infographic article that teaches you how to Create A Social Media Marketing Strategy In 8 Steps.
Now I know sponsorships are usually related to coming up with huge amounts of money, so how is this considered a cheap marketing strategy?
Well, sponsorships usually seem big because it is one of the common business marketing strategies that large corporations use to spread brand awareness to the large masses during events, conferences, festivals and more.
The other ways where smaller businesses or startups are able to make use of this strategy without coming up with large amounts of money is by giving out free products or offering free services that their business provides.
In fact, many smaller companies or startups are already using this method as part of their social media marketing strategy by sponsoring social media influencers in exchange for free marketing.
For example, facial spa businesses often sponsor services and beauty products to influencers in exchange for them talking about the results on their social channels.
Events are of a bigger scale as compared to sponsoring an individual. Hence, if you are thinking of sponsoring an event at a low cost, you have to come up with ideas where your partnership or collaboration is able to benefit both parties.
And it is also very important to take note of how much of an advantage it will be to your business in terms of gaining awareness from the right targetted audience, how many new users or followers you will be able to gain and if it is able to help you reach your ultimate goal.
The quickest form of marketing strategy that companies are able to obtain is to create something different or remarkable that is able to organically go viral.
With the numerous available vanity metric tools out there, many companies are buying followers and likes for their social media handles.
If it is your marketing strategy to kick-start the credibility of your social media accounts and to get people to visit your page, be our guest!
Just a tip: People can easily tell paid metrics from organic metrics and if you overuse it, it will, in turn, affect your credibility (as ironic as it sounds that you were purchasing it to increase your credibility in the first place)
Hence, instead of buying likes and followers, create a video campaign, a social movement or a community that people are able to greatly relate to.
It can be aimed at evoking emotions, a different point of view, or just something different altogether!
It will naturally make them want to share their thoughts with others, which will hopefully create a snowball effect of you not having to spend any money on boosting your post.
One example that I am personally very proud of is the use of our Plexxie hashtag on Instagram (#plexxie), that has generated over 11.4K contents generated by our community users over the span of 2 years.
The growth is purely organic without the use of any paid ads and was greatly supported and grown by our local creative photographers at the beginning by adding our hashtag (#plexxie) in their posts on Instagram.
When their followers started to take notice of the hashtags that they were using and the quality of photographs that were being shared, more of their friends started to join in, which helped us in reaching out to a wider scale of audience.
In about a year, we managed to gain followers worldwide! And if any of you are reading this, we hope you know that we are ever so thankful for your continuous support in Plexxie.
There you have it! 14 cheap marketing strategies that you can try out for your company if you have limited capital or if you rather spend your money on other parts of growing your business.
On the other hand, if you have the capital and if you are willing to spend, you may consider hiring agencies like Plexxie that will help to strategize and put your marketing ideas and plans into action.
Plexxie is a Creative and Social Media Marketing Agency, where we are able to cover the content creation and the marketing aspects for your company. With the efforts and time saved, you are able to concentrate on growing your business.
With that said, try these tactics out and let me know in the comments below on the impact it brings to your company!