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How Can You Market Without A Budget?

Frequently I’m asked how a company can start a marketing campaign without a marketing budget. It’s not hard to understand that a marketing budget increases the potential potency of a campaign, allowing you to use media that aren’t otherwise accessible. A marketer can still get a message out without spending any dollars… but it’s a hell of a lot more difficult.

The internet makes it easier to market without a budget. Social media lets everyone disseminate their message, albeit on a micro scale. Social media sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram allow a marketer to spread messages and images, which can in return lead to sales and increased branding – the two goals of marketing.

The reality though is that these efforts take increased time and focus. So while you may not be spending literal dollars on your campaign, you will be spending increased time and effort.

Keep in mind that most companies, regardless of budget and other media they’re using in their marketing campaigns, also include a social/digital campaign in their overall marketing initiatives. So how can a marketer stand out in a crowded social environment? The answer is by using unique, high-quality content. Make your message stand out. Provide value to your potential customers. Be original and have a distinct voice.

Be engaging.

If your message seems a little weird, edgy or out there, then don’t change a thing (as long as it matches your corporate tone).

Don’t talk at your targeted audience, talk with them.

Make as many YouTube videos as possible, which highlight your competitive advantages. Get customers to film testimonials. Give incentives for them to promote your product/service virally. Video is an incredibly powerful tool and with YouTube you can get exposure in front of potential customers with minimal cost.

Contact every TV and radio station in your market and pitch your product/services to them as a potential story. Try to get as much media exposure as possible. Don’t waste your money on a PR firm– do it yourself. Be engaging and explain why the world needs to know about your product/services. A phone call and follow-up email (or 3) can’t hurt. And because of your YouTube videos, you have already filmed the pitch, making it easy for show producers to understand how your company’s story can translate to their program’s content.

Save your money as best as possible in other parts of your business. Cut operational “fat” whenever possible. Save up. Then once you have enough money, move it into a marketing budget.

So yes Virginia, you really can market without a budget. But as the Wu-Tang Clan once said “Cash rules everything around me” and with marketing you your message can get out more effectively if you have access to money.

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