Cheap marketing ideas for a shoestring budget
Gregory Vlasveld-Lawler - Consultant, VMAGROUP
In a recent meeting with a smaller-sized asset management client, the conversation turned to how they could produce an effective, cheap marketing plan due to a small budget. As is the case with most businesses now, marketers at asset management firms are being expected to find more ways to attract new customers, retain existing ones and create brand awareness, all with limited resources.
Cheap marketing: cost-effective, not ineffective
Whilst we'd all love unlimited resources and the licence to implement big-budget marketing campaigns, the reality is that for most companies, this isn't the case. However, by persevering with simple but effective low-cost solutions, you can eventually see big improvements in your overall performance by making sure your engagement packs a punch. The changing digital landscape has opened a number of avenues that all marketers should take full advantage of; they have, to a certain extent, leveled the marketing playing field. Digital marketing takes many forms and can instantly boost your engagement for little or no money. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
Basically, what I am doing right here. Write about what you do, and how you do it. Tailor your tone and angle to your target audience. This will give your clients a window into your company, and you the chance to build their confidence in your sector knowledge and expertise. On top of this, blogging is a great way to enhance brand awareness.
Creating content on your existing company website is incredibly cost efficient, so ask employees from across the organisation to contribute an article once a month. This way, your followers will anticipate the regular updates and will lead to a building of loyalty and expectation from your target audience.
Creating original and topical content is an excellent start, but the key thing is making sure it gets in front of your target audience. Every time you create a piece, think of the wider campaign: make sure you share it socially, and engage with your teams by asking them to share it with their networks too. Could you include the link in a newsletter, be it yours or an industry body's? Take a fresh look at what you create and ask yourself how you can make sure it gets to your target audience.
Drop the text-heavy content in favour of images; engagement tends to be much higher on social media platforms when images are included. Research has shown that when people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of it. Share photos that your team has created, and create videos using your own smartphone technology. There are lots of design tools created for non-designers and these are budget friendly. However, they do have their limits and of course aren't as flexible as professional tools, so if your budget will allow, a good designer is still worth their weight in gold!
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) needs to be a hugely important component of your digital marketing strategy.
SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of your content in a search engine’s unpaid results, often referred to “natural” or “earned” results. There are several ways of doing this, like including a target keyword in the page title, URL and H1 and H2 headings. Furthermore, you can utilise social media sharing on your pages for links to your website, and insert target keywords in the body of your text. For example, my repetition of "cheap marketing" and "asset managers" in this blog will kick it up a few spots on Google’s search results when someone googles those words. Be careful with this though – over doing the keyword(s) in an article will suggest to Google that the content is spam, and you'll be penalised in their results instead.
Social media marketing
Social media is a huge opportunity for asset managers needing cheap marketing solutions; there are a great number of benefits for asset managers who decide to go social. An active presence on social media increases brand recognition by sharing relevant content, namely product information, market updates and thought leadership pieces. This will be visible to a huge number of prospective clients. In addition, having a relevant and active social media presence will increase brand loyalty.
Think about your target market: what platforms are they likely to use? Will they be on Tumblr or are they more likely LinkedIn users? Are they on Twitter or is Reddit a better fit? Here at VMAGROUP we mainly use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Social media needs time and dedication to have a real impact on engagement, but it is one of the cheapest and most effective tools open to marketers today when a brand really understands their audience.
Open source vs. proprietary CMS?
Choosing an open source content management system (CMS) to host your website will save you time as well as money, mainly due to the usability and scale of the technology. Quite simply, systems like WordPress, Joomia and Drupal grew in popularity thanks to their free, open-source code. Seeing as they are freely available, after minimal training around the system's language, you can work on your site like a pro. Simple content creation and management is possible through “drag and drop” features, which can be implemented by the marketing team.
Whilst they may seem simple and obvious, it's surprising the amount of marketing teams who don't always utilise the free tools and digital resources available to them. Regardless of your budget, getting the basics right is so important, so have a think about whether there could be any missed tricks in your strategy. Cheap marketing opportunities are readily available.
Written by Gregory Vlasveld-Lawler
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