I’m Meggie, a marketing expert at Omnicore Agency with more than six years of experience in the field. At the beginning of my marketing journey, small businesses just started to advertise through digital marketing channels. Many of them still believe that it’s something they can’t afford, so I’ll try to explain how you can market your small business on a budget.
My uncle ran a small business 30 years ago. He was selling car parts and had two employees. It was back in the day when ads were seen only in newspapers and businesses relied on word of mouth. Today’s marketing happens mostly online, yet numerous new and small-scale companies struggle to advertise on a low budget successfully. The customers still care about hearing from their favorite brand or discovering new ones, so you have the chance to get through to them.
Every small business is similar according to one parameter: it has to fulfill the needs of a specific and often small customer base. However, only a few can say that they allocate a significant portion of their budget for digital marketing. The level of businesses’ online growth is not only a matter of funds but the structure of the business; most of the time, a small company will have only one person employed in the marketing section.
Luckily, digital marketing online B2B marketplace are such a vast field that anyone can enter with a little effort and little to no cost. In this article, I’ll present to you some of the low-budget digital marketing ideas you can implement to your small business right now.
Create a YouTube Channel
The first idea that comes to my mind when thinking about low-cost digital marketing solutions is to create a YouTube channel. Naturally, you can’t just leave it there once you make it and hope for the best. Let’s presume you’re not a professional video maker. You can post weekly or bi-weekly videos filmed on your smartphone. Consider some of the following types of videos:
Make videos that introduce your brand and present what you do and how you can help the customer. These can be as little as 30 seconds long. Just make sure to explain what you do in the simplest form possible. You can also get a bit more creative and make technical animation videos.
Product presentations/How-to videos
Product presentation comes in handy when you have a new product launch or if you’re promoting a service of yours. You can get into detail about the product’s benefits, its features and show how to use it. If you’re in construction, you can film your crew working on a small project. Here’s an example of a woodworking video that shows how to build a dog house.
Educational videos don’t have to present the product but are instead used as a means of educating the viewer about the niche. For example, had my uncle been able to use digital marketing for his car parts shop, he would probably post videos about cars in general, fun facts about the car industry, or tell a story of why a particular car part is crucial for a vehicle to drive. You can use as little as a few text slides accompanied by images and music. Here’s a similar example from Volvo Trucks.
Make a Webinar
Once you posted a few videos to your YouTube channel, you can leverage the viewer base and do a webinar. It’s a form of a live video, where you hold a presentation for the viewer. In other words, the viewer connects with your brand through learning without leaving the comfort of their own home.
Small businesses can benefit from webinars since their narrow field has an audience that’s genuinely interested in what you’re selling. My uncle would have most likely done a webinar on how to change a specific car part. However, before the webinar goes live, you have to follow specific steps.
- Collect email addresses from users on your site.
- Send the webinar announcement email to your subscribers.
- Announce the webinar on every social media channel you use.
- Go live or prerecord the webinar.
- Partner with another small business owner and make the webinar together. It’s called a “partner webinar” and can generate more revenue than any other I previously mentioned. Make sure to check the partner webinar template before creating one.
Here’s a great source to get you started.
Write Weekly Blogs and Guest Posts as a Real SME
Not everyone can write; that’s a fact. Nonetheless, if you’re the SME (subject matter expert) in your niche, you can come up with a comprehensive chunk of text. Weekly blogs and guest posts are an excellent free digital marketing tool for small businesses. You can write about almost anything that fits into the niche. Here’s how to execute a content strategy.
Do a keyword research
Keyword research is a fundamental part of developing a content marketing strategy. It consists of knowing what you want to rank for, what the users are searching and using the right keyword research tool to get your data.
What keywords do you want to rank for?
First, let’s presume you have a list of keywords you want your products to rank for. Note that your keywords can differ from the keywords your customers are searching for. You can enter them in one of the research tools to discover other related keywords, questions, or topics.
What tools can you use?
There’s an array of keyword research tools out there, so I’ll enlist the ones you can use for free.
What is the monthly search for those keywords?
The tools I enlisted can help you to find out what is the monthly search volume and which similar keywords you can use. See what the users look for and tailor your content accordingly.
For example, if I was to search for the term “flower bouquet”, Google Trends gives me the interest over time, interest by sub-region, as well as related topics and queries.
Make an editorial calendar with hot topics
Once you determine which are the best keywords you can rank for, you should create an editorial calendar. It’s a list of topics, due dates and publish dates you can easily follow when you create each piece. You can create it in an Excel sheet with a few rows and columns.
The topics should engage the reader and give him or her the reason to open the article. Make sure to stay within your niche to rank for keywords that are related to other ones in your articles.
Write posts by yourself or hire somebody else
Now, decide whether you will write the posts for your blog yourself or hire somebody else for the job. Naturally, if you have the time, write them yourself. You’re the expert, after all. If you can’t fit one weekly article into your busy schedule, consider hiring a professional writer.
Here’s a couple of resources you should definitely check out before you start writing:
- How To Start A Blog In 2019
- How to Write a Blog Post in 2019: The Ultimate Guide
- How to Write Better Blog Posts
The most important to remember, however, is that you should link to other stuff to your website, such as the shop or the products and the other posts you already made. Naturally, you should also link to external sources when citing someone else or giving statistics.
Send a few guest posts when you feel you have to expand your reach
Except for producing weekly or bi-weekly blogs, you can offer to write articles for other websites. The choice of websites will depend on the type of your business; few sites accept contributions that are way out of their niche.
Check the Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging; it elaborates on everything from finding your targets and writing a perfect pitch, to following up. Once you do submit an article, it will raise awareness for your business with the site’s current viewers. You can also establish your brand’s name after a while. Luckily, most websites accept contributed pieces if they’re coming from an SME. Look for a “Contact Us” or “Write for Us” section. Introduce yourself and your business and pitch them an idea or send them a sketch of the article, asking them if they would publish it.
My uncle would have contributed to websites that are in the motor vehicles niche and developed a backlink strategy.
Make sure the content is informative, up-to-date, and helpful to the reader
Any text you or your employee write has to provide value to the reader. You can’t expect to spend half an hour on a chunk of text and get a thousand shares on social media. The posts that have better performance are over 1,500 words in length.
What’s more, your facts have to be up-to-date. If you don’t have the time to update the post regularly, make sure to write evergreen content. Remember that the material has to help the reader in one way or another; had my uncle decided to write articles, he would opt for a review article of best tires (and maybe promote the companies that produce tires in the post).
If you’re still unsure how to write a blog post, do a little research and find best practices online.
Enter Facebook Groups
Up until now, I gave you the ideas on low-budget digital marketing. But not everybody can afford to market themselves with a small investment of their time or money. So, certain small businesses use a tactic where they enter Facebook groups and write a post, marketing their products.
If you want to market your brand at no cost, you can find the groups that are relevant to your niche where people are looking to get answers to their specific problems. For example, the “spare car parts” group is a narrow niche where my uncle could easily promote his products (with a discount, of course).
In case you already have videos or blogs from previous low-cost marketing campaigns, share them in Facebook groups you found. You can boost your businesses’ online growth by merely using this tactic. Here’s an example of posting in Facebook groups. Since it is a closed group, only the members will see your post.
Here’s how it looks when you post your blog/product or any other content to the group.
Send Out Specifically-Tailored Email Newsletters
As I previously mentioned, your current customers love you because you’re offering them an exceptional product. Why wouldn’t you offer them discounts and promo offers through email?
According to MarketingSherpa’s report, 72% of people prefer to get promotional content through email. It shouldn’t cost much. Take advantage of marketing automation and send out specifically-tailored newsletters. Your current customers will be thrilled to get great deals, while the potential customers could buy your product much faster than by visiting your site only.
Try writing an email yourself. People love to hear from the founder of their favorite brand. On the other hand, if you’re not the creative one, make sure to hire a writer to write a 300-word (or less)-long email for your newsletter campaign. I can tell you that my uncle would definitely write the newsletters himself.
A great example is intercom.com’s newsletter campaign, where they used only two sentences to engage the reader and make him visit their site.
Which Low-Budget Idea Would You Choose for Your Business?
Businesses’ online growth depends on many factors, and you can’t control every single factor. Nonetheless, you can implement one of the low-budget digital marketing ideas and slowly expand the reach of your small business. I’m sure my uncle would have done it, so why wouldn’t you?
Meggie is a marketing expert and a data junkie with more than six years of experience in the field. Aside from being a marketing nerd, she loves taking her life to the extreme with bungee jumping and skydiving when she feels some freedom.
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