You have probably heard the saying that you have to spend money to make money and this is never more apparent than in marketing and advertising. Although it’s probably unrealistic to expect to be able to promote and market your business without spending a single cent, effective marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, as long as you are prepared to do a bit of hard work.
Over the years I’ve tried a number of low cost alternatives to expensive marketing strategies and have seen some great results, and Next Marketing has been a finalist in the Marketing on a Shoestring Category in the Australian Marketing Awards for the last two years.
Here are some big budget marketing strategies, and some effective alternatives that I’ve discovered over years of getting results for clients with varied budgets.
Print and TV advertising
Traditional forms of advertising have been around for years and they can still be very effective, but they don’t come cheap. A 30 second spot on a prime TV network can set you back thousands of dollars, and that’s before you factor in production, scriptwriting and goodness knows what else.
As a cheaper alternative to traditional advertising, many businesses are turning to the internet and content marketing. Starting a blog costs nothing, and social media marketing lets you reach potentially thousands of people very quickly. You can produce your own videos and publish them on You Tube to be searched by millions of people who are looking for products and services that you provide.
Focus groups are a great form of market research, whether you’re just starting out and want to see if your idea is viable, or if you’ve been established for a while and want honest feedback. Focus groups can be expensive and difficult to organise so a good alternative is to figure out where your target customers spend their time and find a way to talk to them there.
Local markets can be a great source of feedback for product based businesses and networking events and expos are often a great place to meet shoppers and potential clients who are in the right frame of mind and happy to answer a few questions and share their thoughts about your ideas and any problems they have.
Hosting a major event
Hosting or sponsoring a big event is a great way to get attention and exposure for your brand and build relationships with your potential customers. Unfortunately hosting or sponsoring a big event can be costly not to mention time consuming.
If you’re looking for a way to connect with your potential customers and get your brand out there, why not consider starting a relevant Facebook group? Online networking can be highly beneficial, and you can make connections, build relationships and gain valuable exposure for a fraction of the cost of putting on an event.
Marketing doesn’t have to cost the earth. Whatever the size of your marketing budget, with a bit of creative thinking you can find a solution which will let you get results without breaking the bank.
About the Author:
Jo Macdermott is the Chief Marketing Consultant at Next Marketing in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Jo specialises in working with small and medium businesses. Follow her on Twitter here.