The world of marketing is changing and it’s changing fast. In a digital boom, traditional marketing methods, like billboards and mail marketing, are becoming obsolete. Since 2019, the focus in the marketing world has shifted away from in-person events and networking and is rapidly moving towards digital strategy and content creation. Now, the cheapest and most effective way to meet your customers is on their terms — on their laptops, tablets, and mobiles.
If you’re a social media user, when you hear the words “digital marketing,” your mind might jump to paid Instagram and Facebook ads. But, these may not be the best options when looking for an inexpensive approach. Generally, the visibility of your ads depends on your marketing budget. The less you’re willing to spend, the less successful your paid social media marketing strategy will be.
So, what are some marketing strategies that are equal parts affordable and effective? Let’s look at three of the most affordable marketing strategies in 2021.
1. An Omnipresent Brand
When shopping, consumers aren’t just looking for products/services that satisfy their needs. They want to invest in brands that they can connect to, ones that deliver memorable experiences.
Your brand is more than just a logo. As we explain in our What is Branding? blog, your brand is your reputation, it’s a conversation with your clients.
Having a brand story will help users interact with and become attached to your company. This is not only important for reaching new customers, but also for creating customer loyalty – one of the most rewarding benefits of brand equity. As customers become more invested in your brand, they will be more likely to make repeat purchases.
Businesses do not have to spend a lot of money to implement a brand strategy. It’s all about being intentional in the micro-touchpoints – the little moments where consumers interact with your brand. This can be the first moment someone looks at your Instagram profile or a time where a customer talks with your customer service rep. Any interaction that your business has with its customers is an opportunity to present your brand in these micro-touchpoints.
Use each of these moments to tell a story about your brand. Train customer service representatives to reflect the tone of your company. Emphasize your identity on social media with a uniform aesthetic. Create packaging that engages customers, and makes the experience of opening a product memorable.
And, most importantly, be consistent. In a world where customers have learned to expect the unexpected, brand consistency is a welcome reprieve. For actionable tips on branding that you can implement for free, check out these resources:
- The Brand Refresh eBook: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Updating Your Brand
- How to Implement Branding in Your Social Media
- The Benefits of Brand Equity
- 5 Ways to Make Customers Fall in Love With Your Brand
2. Content is King
“Content is king.” You may have heard this phrase before. The philosophy that content reigns supreme builds on the idea that, in the digital age, high-quality content is much more valuable than paid advertising.
Paid advertising is going out of style. Many users have started to utilize ad blockers, while others find themselves scrolling past irritating banners and messages.
Meanwhile, with countless social and online platforms, content is everywhere. Unlike advertisements, consumers actively seek out content and find value from it.
So what is content?
- something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts.
Put simply, content is any type of media that your company uses to interact with customer bases. This can include social media posts, website blogs, email lists and email campaigns, ebooks, etc.
Like a branding strategy, implementing a content strategy is relatively inexpensive, although it does require time and a solid strategy. Instead, the focus itself is on attracting users by creating text that is entertaining, informative, and reader-friendly.
There are many benefits to content marketing:
- Increases brand awareness
- Boosts visibility and traffic to websites/blog posts
- Generates new leads
- Allows you to connect with your target audience
- Lets you control the conversation
- Gives your business credibility
And, what’s even better: all of these outcomes will help your business attain and retain new customers! When they said “Content is king,” they weren’t lying.
3. Invest Time (Not Money) In SEO
Here’s a hard-hitting fact:
SEO remains one of the most cost-effective methods of increasing inbound leads. If you want to help your business get to the first page of Google (and trust us, you do!), implementing an SEO strategy is essential.
Put simply, SEO or “search engine optimization” is a practice used to increase the quality and quantity of website traffic on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It increases the quantity of traffic by boosting your website rankings for organic search results; it increases the quality by allowing your online media to target users that are interested in content similar to what you create.
For instance, a doctor’s office business owner might use SEO to increase their rankings on search queries like “dermatologist office in Plano, TX” or “should I see a doctor for a cold?”
SEO is incredibly useful because it allows businesses to connect with customers who are already in the process of looking for a similar service or product. By optimizing your website, you can better ensure that your product/service is the first one they see.
Search engine optimization is very affordable, even for local businesses. It may take time to learn the ropes, but its benefits outweigh the costs (in time and money). On platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and town directories, small businesses can optimize their listings to ensure that they are one of the first results seen by potential customers.
A possible con to SEO is that it takes time to see results. You might not know right off the bat if it’s working or not. However, with frequent attention, businesses can see a big payoff.
For useful information on SEO, check out these resources:
- How to Improve Your Website Ranking: DIY SEO Tips for Entrepreneurs
- Should I Hire An SEO Expert?
- How Voice Search Tactics Have Changed SEO
- 5 Incredible Benefits of SEO for Your Business Strategy
These three affordable marketing strategies are extremely useful for connecting with customers and increasing your visibility. As 2021 is sure to be a year with increased digital communication, it is very important to consider implementing online marketing strategies and campaigns into your overall business strategy.
Curious how this compares to last year? We wrote about 3 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2020 last January, and man, did we get these right!