5 Affordable Outside-the-Box Marketing Strategies You Can Use
Small businesses are more reliant on marketing than ever before in history. Without marketing, they would have little means of setting themselves apart from competitors. Marketing is an endeavor that is largely driven by creativity – pouring more money into it is not guaranteed to bring better results. Even the most expensive marketing campaign can backfire, causing a negative return on investment. In fact, some of the biggest marketing campaigns of all time owe their success to the strength of the idea alone. And to prove our point, we present to you a list of creative marketing strategies you can use on a shoestring budget. Try them out, and help your business grow.
Educate and Entertain with Infographics
Marketing content comes in many forms, and one of the most effective ones is the infographic. Infographics are images used to present complex data in a digestible, easy-to-read format. They are a powerful means of informing consumers and clients about your company. Infographics have three main advantages as a marketing strategy. First, they are easy to make, thanks to the wide availability of free infographic tools. Second, they can be distributed through many channels, including digital ones such as email, social networks, or your website, and offline ones such as promotional fliers and posters. Finally, infographics share the benefits of both images and text, which means they're eye-catching and informative at the same time.
Create Engagement with Contests
The impulse to compete is built into our psychology, and clever marketers have discovered long ago that this tendency can be exploited for promotional purposes. The way to make contests and competitions work for your business is to use them to create engagement, as well as a content crowdsourcing tool. Simply come up with a challenge (for example, a photo contest), offer a prize (discount coupons, freebie items), and post it on social media (Instagram, Facebook). For a comparatively small investment, you will stand to gain substantial engagement as people try to outdo each other to win the prize. Their content submissions will come in handy as well.
Show Off at Industry Events
One of the most effective ways to market your business is talking about it in person. Nothing really matches the convincing power of a marketing pitch delivered by someone that believes in their company, and it is quite unfortunate that this type of promotional activity has fallen somewhat out of favor. There are of course reasons why this is the case – it is no longer practical to tour the country giving talks about your company’s products and services. However, it can still pay off really well to promote your brand at key industry events. Trade shows, fairs, and similar events present excellent opportunities to tell clients and consumers about your company. You can start with events in your local area, and once you get accustomed, you can move on to larger, nation-level gatherings.
Set Up Surprise Banners
As digital space becomes more and more crowded with each passing day, companies are increasingly turning to street-level marketing tactics in order to gain a competitive edge. As a result of this movement, advertising banners are making a comeback. However, simply putting down a banner and hoping for the best is not a particularly successful marketing strategy. What you have to do is make your banner stand out in some way. There are two ways you can go about this. One is to use a creative banner design. Odd shapes, bold color choices, and a clever message will go a long way toward making your banners more interesting to passers-by. The other approach would be to place your banners at interesting locations. Look for informal gathering places, such as smaller parks, downtown areas, abandoned factories, and the like – there is bound to be people around, with no marketing competition to speak of.
Market from Above with Drones
The power of marketing lies in part in its ability to utilize technological inventions for promotional purposes, and drones are one such invention. These small airborne vehicles were tailor-made for marketing tasks. They are relatively cheap to acquire, they have a substantial ‘wow’ factor thanks to their resemblance to sci-fi robots, and they can be used for a variety of marketing tactics. One of the simplest ways to use a drone for marketing is to attach an ad banner to it, and then have it fly over crowded places. You can use more complex strategies by equipping the drone with speakers, light panels and smoke dispensers, and by using multiple drones at once. Just be sure to understand all local laws pertaining to drone usage before you take flight.
As an activity that is meant to set your business apart from all others, marketing has always thrived on creativity. After all, it is difficult to catch people’s interest if you are doing the same thing as everyone else. For the same reason, the success of a marketing campaign is rarely dependent on money spent. You don’t need money to come up with good ideas, and having a limit on your budget can actually help you be more creative with the means at your disposal. So, start flexing those creative muscles, and begin developing a marketing strategy that will impress your audience and your competitors alike.
Author Bio: Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.