Whether you’re a big business or a small startup, marketing costs are one area where every company tries to trim back. It used to be an expensive proposition to advertise, since it required newspaper ads or direct mail campaigns. Now, it’s relatively cheap to market, and some companies have gotten off the ground without spending a fortune on ads.
This doesn’t mean you can go places without spending a penny. Free marketing strategies tend to focus on social media marketing and making connections with customers. This is important, but it’s hard to measure ROI and the true effectiveness of these marketing strategies. Instead, here are some inexpensive marketing strategies you can try that make it easy to see what you’re doing right.
1. Pinterest Boards
This is a type of social media marketing, but it is much easier to measure the effectiveness of Pinterest. It’s a reputation-building method, as your boards will come to represent you and what you know. Ten million unique visitors browse Pinterest for interesting items to repin, the ultimate in sharing your content. Create content specifically for Pinterest with interesting, engaging images and link to relevant pages about your primary keywords. Before you know it, a targeted audience will be beating down your door for more content.
2. Run a Contest
Giveaways are becoming increasingly popular, as they allow people to get something for what feels like nothing – just promoting you a little. Lots of people are willing to make a tweet, Facebook page, or sign up their email address to a newsletter in exchange for an entry to a contest. Giveaways encourage people to share your content with their friends, and for the number of email subscriptions you could get out of the deal, there’s nothing better than paying for one free product.
3. Exchange Links
You don’t want to be caught buying links – that’s a shady method of SEO now – but exchanging links is perfectly fine. Backlinks are still important in ranking your site in Google, so make sure you’re exchanging links with the right sites. Network with other relevant companies or swap sponsored emails. You could create blogrolls or write promotional posts about each other’s blog or business.
4. Use Affiliates
Signing up for publisher networks like Shareasale will allow you to reach far more people than you could on your own. You provide them with feeds, banner ads, and so on, and they publish content that leads people to your site. You only pay them if they make a sale. The commissions are reasonable, considering the hands-off management of your affiliate campaign.
Offer your customers and readers a discount, gift card, or deal that they can pass along to friends and family. Reward both the referred individual and the referrer for best results. If you set up a simple program or Google document to allow people to refer friends and affiliates, you can find yourself with astounding traffic all of a sudden.
These are five marketing strategies that don’t require a large budget, and are all easily measurable. You don’t have to guess on your ROI with these methods in order to take advantage of them. They will not break your bank, but they will give you enough traffic to start growing your site or brand.