Looking for a good marketing strategy that won’t break the bank?
Call them strategies or tactics, but here are 14 ways you can promote your business that a) work, b) don’t require a large budget, and c) won’t hurt your brand in the long run.
Before pouring resources into any promotion strategies, make sure your clients are happy with your product or service. Otherwise, you may end up with the leaky bucket effect.
The leaky bucket effect is when you spend resources to bring people to your website, but they don’t perform any action on it and don’t come back.
Usually, it happens when businesses focus only on promotion and forget about the value their offer brings the customer.
Of course, you’ll never be able to turn 100% of website visitors into customers. However, when you’re starting to notice none of your marketing tactics bring results, you need to introduce changes to either how you drive traffic to the website, your pricing, or even what you offer.
This is your chance to ask your customers what they like and what can be improved. You can use that data to improve your marketing communications or even your product because, chances are, other people will like/dislike the same things.
Also, as you start talking with your customers, you may even come across candidates for brand ambassadors.
Reach for some basic market research tools:
Recommended reading: How to Achieve Product-Market Fit (5 Steps)
In case you haven’t created/claimed your Google Business Profile yet, make sure you do. It’s one of the most important marketing tools for small businesses operating locally.
Google Business Profile makes your business visible to potential customers in your vicinity in three ways:
1. Google Map Pack:
2. Google Maps:
3. Local knowledge panel (when the search query includes your brand’s name):
Create or claim (option for already created GBPs) your Google Business Profile for free here.
And to make sure your profile is optimized, you can read our guide on the topic.
We’re talking about websites that offer listings of businesses like yours, providing basic information like address, operating hours, contact information, website, etc.
Some directories are free; others are paid. But you may want to consider even the paid ones because directories give you three significant benefits:
List your business, starting from:
You can list your business manually or use a submission service to manage your citations from one place. You can also see where your competitors got their citations and go after the same ones.
Two resources that will help you in this process:
According to a study by BrightLocal, 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
And it makes sense when you think about it. When dozens of people have tried a product before you, it’s hard to completely ignore their opinions.
Moreover, positive reviews can impact rankings in the Google Map Pack.
Ask your customers to leave online reviews and try to answer all of them (good or bad). This will show existing and potential customers that you really care.
You can ask for reviews whenever you get a chance to contact your customers (personally, via email, via text message, in a thank-you note after purchase, etc.). But you can also use tools for generating reviews like this one from Google.
You can easily find online tools for managing your reviews. Some examples are Grade.us, ReviewPush, etc.
SEO content is any kind of content designed to rank in search engines.
When your content ranks, it can drive consistent, organic search traffic without any additional costs. That’s when you tap into search demand.
The basis of this strategy is finding relevant keywords with traffic potential. The more relevant the keywords, the higher the chance that the traffic you get will convert into sales or other forms of engagement you need.
It’s good to keep in mind that even when you rank #1, it’s not forever. You may need to revisit your content and update it when your rankings drop.
First, determine if SEO content is right for your business. This is the case if the answer to at least one of the below questions is yes:
You can answer that using a keyword tool. You can use our free keyword generator to look up keywords that pop into your mind. You can even check their search demand in different countries and four different search engines.
Once you determine that SEO is worth it for you, use our detailed step-by-step guide on creating SEO content.
Selling something that looks good in a photo or video?
Ask your customers to share a picture or a short video featuring your product. Happy customers create more happy customers.
Saying something as plain as “share your photo with us” may not be enough.
You can encourage more user-generated content (UGC) when you make your request more exciting or offer something in return.
For example, brands like Vans or Apple launched an official hashtag for users and fans. Sharing photos under those hashtags creates a feeling of being part of something bigger and gives people a chance to pay attention to them.
Brands, such as clothing company Pakker Trousers, launch contests where people can win stuff for sharing a photo of themselves using the product.
Sharing a free resource can attract visitors and give them a taste of your offer. Think ebooks, product samples, online calculators, free courses, free consultations, and so on.
If your business relies on direct contact or has a long sales cycle, you can ask for contact information in return for your free resource. This type of marketing tool is called a lead magnet.
Start with choosing a proven topic for your free resource.
One of the methods is doing keyword research. Not only will you know what actually interests people, but you’ll also have a chance to rank for relevant keywords and drive organic traffic to your resource for free.
Here’s how you can do it in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer:
You can also find proven topics by analyzing your competitors and studying your niche. See this guide for details.
Video marketing is especially good for two things:
And if you combine video blogging with SEO, you get a highly engaging content format with free distribution.
Find video topic ideas with search demand:
From that point, you can adjust the filters and sort the results to fine-tune your research.
Let’s move one step back because video blogging is not something everybody “feels” like doing.
Equipment cost, talent, and a language barrier. These are some common objections to doing video marketing. But based on our experience, they are not deal breakers. Here’s what our video marketing master has to say about that:
Recommended viewing: YouTube SEO: How to Rank YouTube Videos #1
Sometimes, you don’t need to create new content to get more traffic.
Your old content may just need an SEO “do-over.”
You need to find a good candidate for the do-over. Not every page will be a good fit.
To do this, you will need two things:
Repurposing content is about taking existing content and “repacking” it for other marketing channels.
This simple technique allows you to reach a wider audience without the need to create new content from scratch.
So for example, a blog post can become a video, or a course, or a series of social media posts, and so on and vice versa.
You can take your best-performing content and repurpose it for other marketing channels. If it worked in one place, it probably would in other places too.
Sometimes, you can repurpose content that didn’t perform well in the past (but you have reasons to think it will work elsewhere). For example, you can take your unique, quality articles that just didn’t get enough backlinks to challenge fierce competition on the SERPs and share them in a different format on social media platforms.
For the above techniques, follow our full guide on content repurposing.
Chances are, your target audience is similar to other websites’ existing target audience. And that’s a good thing.
You may reach somebody else’s audience with your message through:
Except for newsletters (without a web format), all of the above are also opportunities for getting a direct link to your website—which may help boost your SEO. And even being featured in a newsletter may indirectly lead to links from newsletter subscribers.
Method 1. Use Google with search operators to find opportunities
Helpful operators here are:
“OR”. You can use them to find websites that meet complex queries instead of just one keyword.
Then, click through the results, find websites that look like a good fit for your business, and pitch to them.
Method 2. Use Ahrefs to find opportunities and get instant performance data
Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar allows you to see performance data of websites as you Google them. So the Google screenshot from above turns into this:
This way, you can easily filter out websites that don’t get traffic or whose links have the lowest chance of impacting your SEO.
Another method is to see where other websites, such as your competitors, got their links from. This works for any kind of mentions that leaves a trace of a backlink: reviews, rankings, guest blogging, and PR (more on that in the next chapter).
Then you can pitch the same website with a personalized and relevant message.
Public relations is not reserved for big brands with entire PR departments on the payroll. Small businesses can get press too. And they can get it for free.
There are basically two ways to get free press.
One is to do something extraordinary (maybe your business is already doing it?) and issue a press release about it.
The other is to offer your expert commentary, per the journalist’s request.
It can take some effort, but it’s usually worth it:
If you feel your business is doing something that can make the headlines, tell the press about it.
Use this guide to write a press release and send it to the magazines where the story is most relevant.
An effective tactic may be to start with reputable local media. If your story gets featured, you may use it in your pitch to more prominent media outlets. Additionally, other media may pick up the story organically.
As for monitoring journalist requests, use:
These two free tools from Ahrefs can come in handy too:
Recommended reading: Digital PR: The Beginner’s Guide to Making Your Brand Unmissable
Affiliate marketing programs allow influencers, bloggers, and other kinds of online content creators to promote your products for a commission from sales.
You can find affiliate marketing examples all over the web. Usually, affiliate marketers include links to products inside reviews or some kind of educational content (recipes, tutorials, etc.). Sometimes, they even run their own shops.
Affiliate marketing is designed to be mutually beneficial. The better affiliates promote, the more you sell, and the more they earn in return.
Depends on the affiliate marketing program.
For example, on ClickBank, you list your product on a public marketplace and wait for affiliates to find you.
But on platforms like Impact, you can choose affiliates from the platform’s contact list.
But if you want to spend the least possible time on managing your affiliate program, you can consider a program like GiddyUp. It will even take care of creating banners for you and your affiliates.
As for the costs, there are usually some small up-front costs paid to the affiliate platform. But other than that, everything is performance-based.
The oldest advice on the planet, right? Well, it still works.
While following your competitor’s steps may be harder in the “offline” world, it’s much easier (and cheaper) online.
By using competitor analysis tools, you can learn things like:
Get a competitor analysis tool designed for the type of marketing you want to analyze. Some examples are:
So say you want to see which topics you haven’t blogged about yet compared to your competitors. You can check that quickly by pasting your and your competitors’ URLs in Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool.
You’ll get keywords your competitors rank for, but you don’t. This way, you’ll save a ton of time on manually going through websites.
Recommended reading: How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis (Template Included)
The best marketing strategy is the one that brings you results. It’s common to see some strategies working for some and not for others.
Although it may sound cliche, it’s crucial to take any advice with a grain of salt and simply test things yourself. The best marketing strategy may be the one you haven’t tried yet.
And when you find a marketing strategy that works for you, double down on it.
As you can see, marketing strategies can be very different from one another. It’s actually kind of mind-boggling to see so many ways of growing a business.
So a good idea is to prioritize.
Try the classic “prioritization matrix.” Take a moment to think about marketing strategies you found in this and other guides and put them in one of the categories based on a) the effort they need and b) the value they give.
So for example, if getting free press may be low effort and high value for you, that will be something to put into action as soon as possible.
Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.
Source: ahrefs.com, originally published on 2022-08-30 00:30:00