Marketing big with a small budget

Generally for things like shoes or earphones, you get what you pay for. $7 earphones will last you maybe a couple of months at best. As for shoes, leather flip flops will get you through plenty of summers whereas the $5 foam ones from your local grocery store will give out after a week at the beach. Luckily, this isn’t the case for executing a successful marketing campaign. You don’t always have to pump money in to get more out. Companies can benefit from low-cost strategies that have high returns when executed correctly. Here are three examples of ways that you can market big with a small budget.

1. Use Decals

If you’re running any sort of marketing campaign, you’re most likely spreading the word on social media. But how do you build a following to begin with, without monitoring each account and following and unfollowing users throughout every hour of the day? Ordering low-cost decals can be your answer. On some websites you can order 500+ decals for under $40! Print simple decals, such as one with your logo and twitter handle. Encourage people in your company to place the decals on everything; water bottles, smartphone cases, laptops, cars. When people see the decal as they run on the treadmill at the gym or sit in rush hour traffic, it’ll spark curiosity and will most likely stick with them if the username is simple enough to remember.

2. Be Engaging, Be Creative

The cheapest form of advertising comes from eager customers who will willingly do it for you for free. But there has to be something in it for them. As your biggest fans, they want to feel like they have an exclusive in with your brand. They want to feel connected. And if you can fulfill their needs, they will fulfill yours. Take it from The Bonnaroo Music Festival for example. This year, Bonnaroo asked their fans and attendees to announce the artist lineup rather than simply posting it on the organization’s website. They provided a phone number to call between certain hours, during which time callers would hear the name of an artist and were then told to spread the news on social media by creating an original post that included the artist’s name and the hashtag #Bonnaroo. The team at Bonnaroo then chose the most creative and entertaining post for its “official” announcement of every artist in the lineup. Bonnaroo engaged their customers by disclosing the widely anticipated lineup of artists to them, and empowering them to be the first to spread the word.

3. Be Present, Physically

Relationships characterized by online communication have limited room to flourish. You have to turn your Facebook fling with customers into a long-term relationship by meeting them in person. Get people from your team out in the streets or grocery stores interacting with your customers by doing demo sessions or samplings! The other day, restaurant chain B.Good set up a truck outside of their downtown Boston location with free samples of their smoothies. They also had a wheel that anyone could spin to win free food, free drinks, free trinkets with the B.Good logo, or in my case, a free fist pound from one of the energetic employees (luck is never on my side). Afterwards, participants were given the option to sign up for B.Good’s free rewards card that would get them a complimentary basket of fries and extra points every time they ate there to use towards other menu items. The employees were able to bring the fast health-food chain to city walkers’ attentions in a fun and engaging way.

Another way to be present to your customers if you are in the food or beverage industry is to support local community events by offering your products for free. For example, if there is a 5K charity run coming up, ask to set up a table around the finish line to distribute a couple of boxes of your products that would benefit and appeal to the participants. Make sure you bring any promotional material you have like print outs, posters, and stickers. To continue customer engagement after the event, promote future freebies through social media mentions at the event. For example, if a customer Instagrammed a picture of your product and included your company’s account in their description, they would be entered into a competition to win a free box of your snacks. With each Instagram user averaging around 800 followers or more, every post gives your company instant exposure to a large number of people. The same goes for the other major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Today, marketing doesn’t have to be a costly thing for it to be successful. If your budget isn’t very flexible, don’t fret over it. It’s now easier than ever to expand your presence if you take the right steps and focus enough energy into it.