Inflation has made everything more expensive, including marketing. However, with the current high demand for products and services, businesses must be front and center to get their share of the action.
This article reveals marketing tactics every business should be doing now because they’re proven, relatively easy, and most are free or close to it. That makes them perfect for these unique economic times.
Leverage Earned Media to Benefit from Its Halo Effect
Why promote your own business when you can get someone to promote it for you?
Earned media is a tactic where businesses get influencers, bloggers, and other media outlets to report about them.
This is an excellent tactic for local businesses with a unique twist on what they do. All those bloggers and media outlets have to publish often and are constantly looking for fresh ideas.
Medical professionals could offer exercise, mental health, or dietary advice to build awareness of their practices to prospective patients in their area.
Chefs can share favorite recipes and serving tips to draw attention to their restaurants.
Contractors and construction businesses could share home improvement ideas that provide the most value when inflation is high.
Earned media is a win-win for both content outlets and business owners. Publishers get unique perspectives they can share with readers, viewers, and listeners. Businesses get exposure they don’t have to pay for from a third party, which, if handled properly, could seem like an endorsement.
Leverage Content Marketing to Seal the Deal
Developing content that provides information of value to people in your target audience can help you capture their interest, increase brand awareness, build trust, and demonstrate your expertise. It can also improve your close ratio and speed sales by answering customer questions, overcoming objections, and providing reasons why prospects should choose you.
Use articles, infographics, images, memes, charts, podcasts, and videos to showcase your expertise and explain what makes you different and better. Good content will get people checking out your business to take the next step and contact you or make a purchase. It will also help improve your search positioning on Google, especially if you’re a local business, and put a regional spin on your content.
If you’re not a solid writer or content creator, hire the work out. It could be the best investment you make in paid marketing.
Partner with Complementary Companies for Mutual Benefit
Partnering with another company or organization that has a similar target customer and offers products or services that complement yours can help you both increase your reach and marketing capabilities. Think gym and chiropractor, restaurant and bar, or contractor and decorator.
Develop paired offers, promote each other in emails, social media, and blogs, and plan joint events. In this case, one plus one will equal three or more.
Leverage Social Media to Build Business Credibility and Make More Sales
It’s incredible that even today, some businesses only pay lip service to social media.
Even with no or minimal spend, you can increase awareness of your business to those who are interested in what you sell by using smart hashtagging. You can also stay top-of-mind when it comes time for customers to buy from you again. It’s also a great way to demonstrate that yours is a reputable company. Non-existent or inactive social media channels could suggest to people that your business could be experiencing challenges.
In short, social media is a vital part of the shopping, buying, and repurchasing experience for most people.
Optimize Your Website for Search So More People Find You Online
Search engine marketing (SEM) for national and international businesses can be a challenging game to win. However, it’s typically easier for local companies. That makes an investment in a search engine optimization audit a smart one. It will come up with recommendations of things you can do to improve your website, so you’re more likely to show up in the top three in Google searches. Most of the recommendations will be relatively simple things you and your team members can do that will incrementally improve your search results over time.
Email Marketing is an Essentially Free Way to Stay Connected with Customers
You likely have email addresses for most of your customers and prospects who have provided their contact information. Why not share some of your content with them to stay in their consideration set?
Sending them a regular email newsletter with helpful information will ensure that you stay top of mind when it comes time for them to purchase the goods and services you offer. Consider adding special offers targeted to different types of customers. If you maintain your email records carefully, including information about the people on it, like the reason they contacted you and what they’ve purchased in the past, you can customize your content and offers, so people are more likely to engage and respond.
Get More Business from Your Best Customers
Do you have customers and clients who LOVE your business? They could be your best (and least expensive) source of new business. Ask them for ratings and reviews. When prospective customers see five-star ratings and glowing reviews online, they’ll be more willing to want to do business with you. Recommendations from similar types of people are one of the critical factors that drive sales decisions today.
As a next step, ask current customers for referrals. They likely know people similar to themselves who could be good prospective customers for the goods and services you offer.
It’s easy to forget to ask for ratings, reviews, and referrals. Implement procedures to request them after a positive customer interaction. Follow up with a reminder email with a link to your rating and review site and a form to submit referrals. Make it as easy as possible for customers to recommend you. People are busy, and you must eliminate any barriers to them helping you out.
Repeat Business: The Cheapest Way to Make a Sale
It’s cheaper to get repeat business from current customers than fishing for new ones. Always include campaigns that suggest additional products and services existing customers might be interested in in your marketing plans. This can simply and inexpensively be done through email and targeted social media. People who’ve done business with you before are likely to want to come back to buy more. It’s easier to stay in touch with them than bring in new customers.
Inflation is making many forms of advertising too expensive for some businesses. However, there are still many free and inexpensive options available that can keep you front and center with current and prospective customers.