Most small businesses don’t have the budget for a billboard or a Super Bowl ad (heck… most large businesses don’t either!) but there are still plenty of affordable — and effective — ways to market your products.
Use these three low-cost marketing ideas to get more exposure and sales for your business without going over your budget.
1. AdWords Display Ads
When I talk to clients about using AdWords as a digital-marketing channel, they often respond with a mix of frustration — It’s a money pit! — and resignation — Yes, I know I need to do it anyway.
And the cost for ads on Google, known as the Search Network, can add up very quickly because there is serious competition in some industries.
However, the Google Display Network is generally more affordable.
For most verticals I’ve consulted in, there are lower costs on Display when compared to Search. You’ve seen these ads when you surf online. They may be text, image, or video ads on various websites.
But, the approach to advertising on the Display Network is different from the Search Network.
- On the Search Network, people are often lower in the funnel, actively searching for the service or product they want to purchase.
- The Display Network works better for brand awareness. With those ads, you reach customers on sites they visit anyway, which is good. But — it may not be at a time when they are actively looking for a product or solution.
If you need to reach a new audience or engage previous visitors to your site without a large budget, the Display Network is worth trying.
Fortunately, there are no long-term commitments or minimum budgets with AdWords so this low-cost marketing tactic is worth testing for a couple months.
2. Google My Business
Setting up a Google My Business page is a no-brainer because it’s free! And who doesn’t love free? Not only free, but it is low maintenance. (Google encourages you to add content regularly to the page once it’s established but it’s not required.)
These pages are eligible to show up in the search results page or on Google Maps, which is a must for local businesses.
If your business does not have a physical location, there are other options, such as a Brand Page.
This gives you an edge over competitors who do not yet use Google My Business and can boost engagement as your site potentially shows up more frequently on Google.com when people search.
Ready to try this low-cost marketing idea?
Here’s what you need to do:
- Visit GYBO.com to see if there is already an existing page for your business.
- From there, you can claim it or walk through the process of creating a new page.
- Fill the page out completely. Include your business hours and images that represent your brand.
- After your page is live for a while, check the insights provided by Google so you can see how many people visited your page.
I would not recommend this in lieu of a website. You want a website with a domain name you own. (Google probably will not go out of business but if they do, they own your Google My Business page — you do not!)
However, if you have not yet built your website, this enables you to at least have a digital presence in the meantime.
3. Refine Your Email Strategy
Email is not dead. Although communication preferences change over time, people still use email and use it as a preferred means to get information about brands they like or are interested in.
And if many people prefer it for brands, that implies there are a lot of other businesses sending information to your audience in addition to you. And data shows that many businesses will increase their spend on email marketing since there is a return for their efforts.
But there is a right way and wrong way to use email. The wrong way starts with sending messages to people who have not opted in, whether through a pop-up form or other method. The messages are all about you and what you sell.
News flash — no one cares. If you are cringing because that is exactly how your email reads, you can redeem yourself!
What we all care about as consumers is how a product will benefit us. Our interest lies in what a brand can do for us, rather than only what the brand can do.
For an email newsletter that people want to read, share tips that readers can apply without having to buy something.
Depending on what you sell, you might:
- Inform people about industry trends
- Share recipes
- Create how-to videos
- Offer fashion tips
- Share DIY decor instructions
Although these are strategies that may not immediately bring in revenue, they do keep your audience interested and engaged. Think of it as a long-term low-cost marketing strategy.
This does not mean that you will never talk about yourself. You do so indirectly when you share your expertise. And if the content is interesting, people will not unsubscribe and still be around when it is time to sell something.
If you are new to email as a strategy, using an email provider does not have to expensive. There are a number of low-cost tools out there, such as MailChimp, which has a free plan for those starting out.
Digital Marketing on a Dime
All businesses need to market through multiple channels, such as those listed above.
But if you’re not sure where to start, follow this strategy:
- Start with Google My Business since it’s a free option and does not require ongoing maintenance.
- Next, either start collecting email addresses or look at your current email strategy to see if you do too much selling. Look at the stats for an existing email newsletter for unsubscribes and opens to see if you engage your readers.
- And finally, test a small budget on Google’s Display Network, especially if you are a newer business needing to attract new customers.
Use these low-cost marketing tactics to keep new customers streaming into your business year-round, whether in person, online, or both!