If you have a business or are considering starting one, you have probably been asked what is your marketing strategy? In other words, what is your game plan to reach your target audience and turn these consumers into customers? A marketing strategy is how to ensure that you get your product out there to those who will benefit from it and pay for it. Marketing is imperative for a successful business!
Investing in marketing can be expensive, and depending on where you are on your business trip, it is sometimes just not possible to raise extra cash or hire a professional marketing agency to do it for you. The good news is that there are many affordable and free marketing opportunities out there that we will cover below.
But before we do that, let’s go over the basics …
What is marketing?
By and large, marketing includes everything that has to do with promoting, selling and advertising your business and services. Marketing is an investment in advance to help you make money later! It usually involves market research, communication to potential customers, brand and product promotion, advertising and ultimately the sale of your product.
Types of marketing
- Paid advertising – While the obvious downside of paid advertising is that you have to pay for it, it is one of the best ways to reach your target audience. Recently, social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have become effective platforms for paid ads.
- Cause-related marketing – Involves a for-profit business that collaborates with a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. The collaboration usually includes activist messages in the advertisement or the promise that part of the profits will be donated to a good cause. An example is Pampers and UNICEF.
- Relationship marketing – Relationship marketing is about building a customer relationship. While most other marketing is focused on transactions, relationship marketing focuses on customer retention and satisfaction.
- Stealth marketing – Stealth marketing is undercover marketing where the consumer does not know they are being advertised for. The classic example is product placement in movies or TV.
- Word-of-mouth marketing – Traditionally, just “word of mouth” or people sharing recommendations with others have mostly moved online. Word-of-mouth marketing involves both targeted efforts and naturally occurring sharing. Examples include testimonials and product reviews.
- Internet marketing – An all-encompassing expression of the component of marketing that takes place online or over the Internet.
- Diversity marketing – Also called inclusive marketing, it is used to communicate with a wider audience to include more groups that can benefit from a product. It usually involves a mixture of different communication methods. One example is the Dove campaign for true beauty, which challenges the standard of beauty and includes women of all ages, races, shapes and sizes.
Why is marketing important to your business?
- An effective way to interact with customers – Marketing allows you to reach your target audience and keep them informed and engaged in your brand and your services.
- Builds and maintains brand, reputation and relevance – It is especially important to remain relevant. Times change and trends are set quickly and are always one step ahead with a well thought out marketing strategy that keeps your consumers interested.
- Builds relationships with customers – It allows customers to learn about your business and your values, and depending on the type of marketing, it allows for something back and forth between business and consumers to deepen the relationship and strengthen your customer service.
- Informs customers – Keep consumers up to date with what you offer and why you are the best!
- Increases sales Hi, there is nothing wrong with making money while providing a great service or product.
- Provides insight into your business – Helps with future planning, projections and growth, which ultimately makes your business better and keeps your customers happy.
- Increases revenue opportunities -Through marketing, you can reach the customers you really want to work with, as opposed to getting the one you can get (also nothing wrong with this, but it should always be a goal to have your ideal client in mind).
- Helps you stay competitive – You need to stand out and have a game plan for how you want to let your current and future customers know why going with you is their best option.
10 Ways to Get Free Marketing
1. Create all social media accounts
This day in age, it is almost unheard of to have a company that not least has a basic presence on social media. The biggest benefit of being on social media is that it is very accessible to your customers who can easily measure your credibility and decide if they want to go with your services. The second biggest benefit is free marketing! Because social media is public, you can get your company name out there for free! Create accounts on all platforms, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
2. And engage with them!
It is not enough to have a page on social media you need to use them! If your ideal client grew up with the internet, they will immediately be able to spot a well-oiled Instagram and an updated Facebook page. You do not have to be very active on ALL social media, pick a few and make an effort to post regularly and often. Engaging with social media also means interacting with people yourself instead of just posting and then logging out. Reply to comments, post on Facebook walls, interact with twitter experts, create Pinterest boards, use these free public spaces to get your name out there!
Post regularly to get noticed
Not only does posting regularly improve your brand presence, but frequent posting helps online algorithms share your posts more widely to help reach your target audience. Frequent posting also allows your customers to interact with you and learn about your products and services. Make a goal to post at least once a day! Regular posting may also include the use of email marketing or sending out newsletters.
4. Encourage UGC
User Generated Content (UGC) is content created and published by your fans and customers! This is a great way to “market” because it is genuine, authentic and reaches your key demographic. Although UGC seems natural, you can always encourage it! Highlight your customers in your IG history, share the best reviews on your Facebook page, create other incentives to get your online customers engaged as prizes and gifts!
5. Give away freebies
Talk about giveaways – no harm in getting your name out there with contests, giveaways, freebies and discount codes! Sometimes you just want to generate a little buzz. A common technique for online contests is that the opt-in criteria involve a follow-up and a sharing, this builds your followers and spreads the word.
6. Provide valuable content that drives traffic to itself
Whatever your product or service, having a blog or other content on your site brings customers to you, and if your content is really good, it gets shared, which extends your reach. You are an expert on your brand and your industry, share what you know to help inspire and educate your customers. Delivering valuable content gets everyone on top!
7. Ask for opinions
Opinions and reviews are crucial and yes they fall under marketing! Think of it this way, if there are two almost identical products on the market and one has customer reviews and one does not, which one will you go to? Always the one reviewed! It’s the devil you know, so to speak, no one likes to invest in a mystery. There is no shame in asking your customers for opinions or product reviews.
8. Use guest posts as free marketing
Get guests with bigger followers to take over your Instagram in one day to strengthen your business!
9. Offer trades
When money is tight, shopping is a great way to get your name out there. You have products, services and expertise that are of value. Just because you are unable to pay cash at the moment does not mean you have nothing to offer.
Spend time learning to maximize SEO
This is where you need to invest your time and learning! Professional marketing agencies understand SEO why they succeed in bringing customers to your site, but you can do this alone, it will just require an investment of time on your end. SEO or search engine optimization is the practice of increasing the visibility of your site through internet searches.
Well there you have it, marketing has never been so easy and so free! Now, even though these tips are cost effective and easy to implement, they will still require a lot of time and attention, what you save in money you have to make up in other areas. If you want to maximize your time and your budget is less worrying, we recommend that you hire from a professional design agency that specializes in marketing or other marketing experts in Vancouver. Whatever you choose, marketing is crucial to the success of your business.
Now, what are you waiting for !? Get out there and start promoting your brand, the world will see what you have to offer!