8 Affordable Small Business Marketing Strategies

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Marketing strategies can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be: an affordable marketing strategy can help you grow your business without breaking the bank. They may require more time and effort, but when your budget is tight enough, a little savings can go a long way.

8 Affordable Marketing Strategies for Your Small Business

Some of the more affordable strategies include:

  1. Create a branded hashtag campaign
  2. Publish case studies on your website
  3. Engage your social media followers
  4. Partner with a micro-influencer
  5. Start a video series
  6. Organize a giveaway
  7. Optimize your website for local SEO
  8. Run A/B test email campaigns

1. Create a branded hashtag campaign

Hashtag campaigns can increase awareness for a specific cause or content topic. However, when they are unique to your business, it also adds an element of brand recognition. One of the most popular examples is Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign:

To distinguish your hashtag from other more commonly used hashtags, be sure to include at least part of your company name or a phrase that speaks to your company’s core values. Next, decide what type of content you will feature in your campaign. These parameters should be specific enough to be easily recognizable, but broad enough that your subscribers will want to engage.

A social media management tool can help you plan your campaign posts, and a tool with social listening capabilities like Hootsuite can help you keep tabs on other users who are also using your hashtag.

2. Publish case studies on your website

Case studies illustrate the effectiveness of your product or service. Especially if you have a B2B audience, your case study can focus on how your customers can cut costs, generate more leads, or expand into new markets. Case studies can also take a variety of forms, including videos, infographics, or blog posts.

To get started, find a case study subject whose experience with your business tells an interesting story. Maybe they were able to achieve a major goal through your product or service or saw significant results after leaving a competitor. Regardless of the specifics, your case study should be featured on your website as a demonstration of how your product or service works through the lens of an existing customer.

Related: The best website builder for 2021

3. Engage your social media followers

Engagement might be the most important ingredient when it comes to social media. Impressions alone will not generate more revenue opportunities, nor will they help you grow your existing audience. Most social media algorithms elevate accounts that actively encourage engagement from their followers, so prioritizing engagement will benefit your business in more ways than one.

In most cases, this strategy involves evaluating your current social media content and identifying areas where you can invite your followers to take some type of action. Or, you can develop a campaign focused specifically on driving engagement.

Engagement ideas could include asking your followers to:

  • leave a comment
  • Tag a friend
  • make a suggestion
  • Click on a link
  • Like or share a post
  • Create your own message

4. Partner with a micro-influencer

Micro-influencers are the people who are the natural advocates for your business and want to work with you to amplify your message to a wider audience. Micro-influencer strategies typically have high returns, making them an effective use of marketing money when executed well.

If you’re looking to increase your brand awareness and market your business to a new audience, a micro-influencer campaign could be the perfect fit. The cost of such a campaign can vary, but influencers with a smaller, highly engaged audience typically don’t charge as much to promote a brand as those with a large number of followers. Once you’ve found an influencer who might be right for you, work with them to set expectations around budget, creative control, and deliverables.

Read more: Is micro-influence marketing right for you?

5. Start a series of videos

Video marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage your audience and promote your business. In fact, Biteable’s 2021 survey of marketers and small business owners found that 74% of marketers say video has a better ROI than static imagery.

A single video can generate buzz around your business, sure, but a well-planned series can build rapport and brand recognition. For example, Warby Parker’s Oddcupations series showed a fun side to the eyewear company’s brand:

Some companies have astronomical video marketing budgets, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money to have an effective video strategy. With a smartphone and a few inexpensive accessories, you can create high-quality videos that show your product in action, share a customer testimonial, or showcase your brand in a unique way.

Read more: Video Marketing: A Case for Small Businesses

6. Organize a giveaway

While giving away your product or service might not seem like a great way to close more sales, a thoughtful gift can have an indirect effect on your revenue goals. Giveaways can grow your following overnight, whether your goal is to get more social media followers, email subscribers, website visitors, or even foot traffic through your doors. In turn, potential new customers who don’t win the giveaway will be more likely to solicit your business in the future.

The cost of the gift depends on the item you choose as the prize. The specific product or service you’re offering doesn’t have to be your most expensive product or service – it can be a limited edition, custom, or exclusive. Either way, your prize should be exciting and valuable enough for your audience to motivate them to take the necessary steps to participate.

7. Optimize your website for local SEO

Local search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential marketing component if your business has a physical location or is concentrated in a specific geographic area. Even if your target audience is not using location-specific keywords in their search queries, you need to optimize your website to ensure that search engines can recognize where your business is located.

This includes adding your physical address information to your contact page (or individual addresses to individual pages if you have multiple locations) as well as your site metadata. You should also ensure that your business listings are up-to-date on Google My Business, Yelp, and similar sites to take advantage of location information from these publishers as well.

8. Run A/B Testing Email Campaigns

A/B email testing can reveal hidden opportunities in your email marketing strategy. If you’re not already using email marketing software, look for one that supports A/B testing so you don’t have to segment your audience and manually track the performance of each email.

When creating the test campaign, make sure you have a hypothesis in mind that will dictate the differentiations between the two emails. For example, if you want to understand how your contact list responds to personalization in emails, create an email that includes the recipient’s first name in the subject line and an exact copy of the same email without the customization.

Then write down the test results. Does one email have a higher open rate than the other? Does an email get more clicks? This information can inform your future email campaigns to ensure your overall email strategy is optimized for your audience.

Save time and money on marketing strategies

All of the strategies on this list have two things in common: they are all affordable, and they all require more time and effort than strategies that require more money. Fortunately, digital marketing tools can help streamline these strategies and simplify your efforts. Check out our list of the best digital marketing tools for small businesses to find the right one for you.

This article was originally published on May 20, 2013. It has been updated by Kaiti Norton.

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