E-Commerce has completely transformed the way we buy products and services. Online shopping has witnessed massive growth in the last decade. According to Forbes, the world’s top 18 marketplaces have more than $1 trillion in annual sales! With disruptive innovations coming rapidly, marketers need to evolve fast. Gone are those days when sending an email would be sufficient to attract customers to an online store and buy something.

Marketing is witnessing novelty. Newer ways must be carved to replace the less efficient older ones. It is essential because online traffic has exploded, and a businesses’ marketing efficacy decides how many visitors they get and how much profit they earn.

Here are five high-impact marketing techniques that are relatively low-cost.

1.Content Marketing

The core idea of content marketing is to attract individuals with engaging content, stimulate interest, and ultimately convert them into buying customers.

Content marketing relies on a storytelling approach – the marketers create appealing content and make it available for free. Content is a vibrant mix of media, and the following are commonly used:

  • Videos, photos, and infographics
  • Blogs, Q&A articles, how-to guides, email newsletters, and whitepapers
  • News, and podcasts

Individuals typically do not buy products in a short duration after the first exposure to marketing content. Various forms of media must be used to keep the interest alive. Traffic and purchase depend on recall. If marketing content is engaging and unique, individuals would remember it and the business would be the first choice if they required the product.

According to research carried out by The University of Minnesota, the human brain processes visual content about 60,000 times faster than it processes text.

An image is worth 60,000 words and a video worth millions of words – we could say so.


The above-mentioned forms require resources only during creation.

Blogs can be made for free if the content is ready.

YouTube and Facebook are here to post your videos.

Websites like Quora and forums like Reddit can help customers with Q&A, and so on.

This is in contrast to the paid methods like sponsored advertisements, which need a lot of expenditure, and yet there’s no guarantee of conversion.

In the case of content marketing, content creation requires relatively lesser cost. With multiple exposure points, the impact is high.

Case 1: GoPro

GoPro manufactures action cameras that are frequently used to capture adventure sports. In 2014, the leadership decided to modify the company’s image from a camera manufacturer to a global enjoyment-platform provider.

Thousands of videos of adventure sports filmed using GoPro cameras are available on YouTube and other websites.

GoPro hardly creates content by itself. Most of it is user-generated.

People have filmed wave surfing, parasailing, bungee jumping, and endless other activities. When netizens watch these videos, the message registers loud and clear – if you want to capture action or adventure sports – GoPro.

Their YouTube channel has 7.9 million subscribers, and the company recently celebrated two billion views of its videos.

Case 2: Monetate

Monetate is a platform that provides personalized e-commerce solutions. It leveraged content marketing to drive traffic and generate revenue.

It followed a journalistic approach and posted articles relevant to visitors outside of its business solutions.

Topics like “Demystifying personalization,” “Vineyard Vines has a Whale of Time,” were present on the company’s website.

Not surprisingly, the company reaped its reward. As per this case study

  • 255% growth in website visits
  • 353% growth in unique visits
  • 46% of brand traffic originated from referrals

2. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing. Individuals who are considered experts or authority in a niche area can prove to be a great source of the traffic to your web presence and validity to your products/services.

Individuals with a large number of followers on social media can help businesses immensely if they connect with the right influencers and formulate an effective campaign. Instagrammers, bloggers, and YouTube video channel owners are amongst the top influencers with the maximum following. Inlandaquatics, often get reviewed by passionate aquarists who visit their aquarium and this has resulted in increased footwall over the years to their store.

Even corporate giants with billions of dollars of disposable income can generate a more significant impact through influencer marketing, potentially free of cost. A report by Mediakix states that the market for Social media influencers is going to be between $5 to $10 billion by 2020!

Symbiotic Relationship:

When a company and an influencer engage together, it is a mutually beneficial relationship. The influencers earn endorsements from companies, with which these businesses get millions of exposures for free.

Consider a car-reviewer who operates a website with a discussion forum. Assume that the site has 500,000 registered members, and the discussion forum has 25,000 active members.

Imagine if Ford launches a new car and sends a test vehicle to the reviewer, who posts a review on his website. Ford gets the potential of reaching 500,000 individuals overall and 25,000 passionate car fanatics who would start discussing the car. The reviewer’s expertise and authority get a shot-in-the-arm because Ford willingly sent a car to him for review. This means that the manufacturer, too, respects his authority.

Case 1: Walmart’s #FIGHTHUNGER campaign

Retail giant Walmart, as part of a charitable initiate, connected with seven Instagrammers to fund the cause of fighting hunger. The company had pledged to donate 90 cents for every like, share, or #FIGHTHUNGER comment they receive on the sponsored post.

Influencer and vlogger Logan Paul created his post with a goal of 1 million likes. Paul has over 16.2 million followers. Walmart was able to create positive sentiment with Paul’s 16.2 million followers, as well as followers of the other influencers, and Instagrammers in general.

Paul and Walmart both benefited immensely.

Case 2: ExxonMobil

Oil and gas company ExxonMobil partnered with the creators of the YouTube channel “What’s Inside.” Lincoln Markham and Daniel Markham run this channel. Exxon wanted a promotion of their newly developed motor oil.

The Markhams create videos where they cut equipment and open it to explain its working. For ExxonMobil, they cut open a car’s engine and talked about motor oil.

This campaign has been very successful and has over one million views. Benefits of symbiosis are clear – ExxonMobil got a lot of exposure and publicity. The Markhams worked for an energy giant.

Walmart has a revenue of more than $500 billion, while ExxonMobil earns more than $250 billion annually.

Such is the impact of influencer marketing that firms with practically unlimited money at its disposal wish to use it.

3.Contest Marketing

Businesses hold contests that consist of simple questions or challenges, and upon completion, the user gets a reward. Rewards could be in various forms like coupons, discounts, cashback, or a free product.

This is an excellent way to attract customers and generate a buzz about your website. Contests could run in multiple phases – winners are declared after some period of time, and then another round of competition is held. Phases are beneficial for businesses in sustaining the level of interest.

The names of the winners may be shown, along with the gift they received. Contest marketing is an excellent way to generate word of mouth-led traffic. This can not only help you get customers on your website but also have them register for emails or newsletters. It is an intelligent tool to research demographics.

Case: Target and Barnes & Noble College Room Makeover

The contest had a prize of $2,500 in the form of a Target Gift Card that the winner could use for a college room makeover.

Target, along with Barnes and Noble, required the full name and email of an individual to qualify a participant in the contest. These two firms have a niche, and they serve students. For students, $2500 is a considerable amount, and participation was exemplary.

This contest received about 250,000 entries. Initially, only students were the target; but later, parents also started registering for the contest.

A mere $2,500 helped these two companies reach a lot of students. This has been a very cost-effective campaign.

Target and Barnes and Noble gathered the attention of a student or a parent for just one penny – a hundred impressions per dollar!

4.Cost-per-action (CPA) Marketing

Traditional advertisements require money for promotions. Accompanying the high cost is the uncertainty – you may not know beforehand how much you need to spend to get your desired traffic volume.

Cost-per-action (CPA) marketing is a cheaper and extremely effective way to promote your business and pay only when there is some benefit to you. This benefit is called “action”. Companies should define the CPA reward as per their business objective.

Some examples of “action” are –

  • User clicking an affiliate link and getting redirected to the home page of the business
  • Filling up a form with the required details
  • Signing up for an email newsletter
  • Product purchase through the affiliate link
  • Number of downloads

This is an excellent way of lead generation and puts the business higher in the value chain – the business and its stakeholders directly control action-based rewards. This can help achieve various business objectives such as –

  • Creating exposure
  • Market Research
  • Revenue maximization
  • Promotion of targeted products

Case 1: TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor has over a hundred million visitors a month. People read reviews about holiday destinations, hotels, restaurants, and much more.

Travelers post a candid and detailed review of their vacations and experiences. Based on user profile and previous activity, the website provides high quality leads to hotels, restaurants, airlines, travel planning companies, etc.

These businesses pay TripAdvisor for actions like –

  • Click on an advertisement (also called pay per click)
  • Click on links to booking sites like Booking.com, Expedia.com
  • Visiting a display advertisement
  • Subscribing to a hotel’s newsletter

TripAdvisor’s primary source of revenue is CPA marketing. In 2012, the CPA model generated about $200 million in revenue for the website.

Case 2: Amazon affiliate marketing

Amazon’s affiliate marketing has contributed a lot to the company’s revenue. Today, the company has a fixed commission structure for every product that is sold. Some percentage of income is shared with the website from where the user is back-linked to Amazon.

Even if a visitor does not purchase a product, the referring website shall earn some portion of the revenue spent by the visitor in the next 24 hours.

In 2015, Amazon’s revenue surpassed $100 billion. One-tenth of this came from CPA marketing – Amazon had $10 billion of revenue originating from CPA in 2015.

5.Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Netizens search for their wants on popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Typically, the first ten links are sufficient for the user to find what he is looking for. If a business’ website does not come within that number, it is a lost opportunity.

Websites, therefore, optimize their content to include keywords, descriptions, site maps and attributes that search engines require to index a website. Search engines are “crawlers.” They crawl the web and index the website based on keywords, tags, and other technical artifacts.

If a website enters the top five for its niche, it can enjoy bumper traffic. There is truly nothing that can even come close to a business that ranks high organically.

There is a lot of content in the form of articles, videos, how-to, etc. for creating an SEO-friendly website. Many tools and websites are offering SEO services at a charge.

Case: Adobe

Adobe had less organic traffic for non-branded keywords. The webpage listed 30 features provided by their software; however,there was no detailed description or a dedicated page for these features.

Google could not attach one theme or a single keyword for this page, and hence the rank was very low.

The SEO Manager at Adobe created fifteen individual pages, one for each feature offered by their product. These pages were specific not only to features but also had mention of non-branded keywords that the company wanted.

The company analyzed the results using Google Webmaster Tools. In the first year, there was an increase in organic traffic for non-branded keywords – it grew by 8%. There was also an improvement in the conversion rate.

Adobe then created dedicated pages for the remaining features. 63% of the total traffic from non-branded organic search was due to the newly added pages listing individual features in detail.

Adobe was able to capture 66% of all traffic being generated from those non-branded keywords. The company was tracking five competitors for these non-branded keywords. Those five players had a combined share of 34% traffic.

Search engine optimization completely transformed the sales of the company’s product and its popularity.