"Creativity is one of the last remaining legal ways of gaining an unfair advantage over the competition."
- Ed McCabe
Believe it or not, life and social media have one thing in common – change. However, unlike in life, changes on social media are predominantly artificial models designed to increase one's engagement and boost their earnings (hint: if you are in business, this is a piece of excellent news!).
And while those social media changes seem to morph from one idea to another before we even get a chance to nag about them, what never changes is their primary concept – visual content display as central brand representation and further label recognition.
Small Business Owners and Visual Marketing
With the AI getting more intelligent as we speak, social media platforms are finding ways to indulge humans by providing user-friendly spaces that are not only engaging for social content but very favourable for business, too.
These days, there are numerous ways to promote your business content, from paid ads to custom-designed Apps that agree with your network of choice. Even the infamous 140-character social network (yes, Twitter!) expanded both the number of characters per tweet and their header graphic to help advertisers get their message across. On that note, if you are a small business owner, dip your ink wherever you can aka take advantage of the changes that can bring you additional marketing space.
But, what's this doing to my budget?
If you've got a limited budget (like, let's be honest, most small businesses out there do), the smartest thing to do is have a gameplan (aka business strategy) you'll follow. That way, you won't get too enthusiastic about things you can't afford but rather keep yourself on track until you earn some extra $$$ you can manipulate for expansion.
If you are thinking that a tight budget will come with plenty of DIY moments, you are not wrong; but, it is for it is for now - to get things done, you'll have to sacrifice a bit.
Also, you will have to invest some money on ads, promotions, and things alike but not even as close as you would if you didn't do some of the work on your own.
Here are 7 creative marketing ideas you can use while on a small budget:
Great Content is Key
You don't have to be a digital marketing expert to know how important it is to publish kick-ass content. If you are at all talented, why not try to create it yourself? That way, you are not spending money on external help but still getting the content out there. Or, if you are not that talented at writing, see if there's a friend around who'd give you a discount on their content writing services, and start there. The best type of content to start with are industry-related blogs and social media posts, then personal tips and tricks for success, and so on.
Also, breathe new life into already-existing pieces of data on the web and make them your own. There are a ton of data studies out there relevant for your industry that you or the person helping you can re-write and polish, so it resonates with your audience. Add images, crank out some charts, highlight the essential parts of the study, add quotes, give your own comment, etc. There are plenty of things you can do.
Say It Through Video
These days, visual content is extremely valuable! Yes, producing a professional YouTube video costs big bucks, but you can also go with some more personal and "amateur" to save on your budget.
Amateur videos where you even address the fact you are not experienced in video making, but you are experienced in what you do could add a very cute flair to your online presentation. If you are camera shy, hiring a film student off Craigslistor, once again, trying to get a friend to help could work.
Enjoy Web STORYtelling
With the fast-paced world we live in, stories on Instagram, Messenger and web stories, in general, may be the fastest and most effective way to get your message across. Yes, they are short, but if you make them engaging and entertaining enough, they'll quickly turn into your favorite visual marketing tool.
Unlike Instagram and Messenger stories that disappear in 24 hours, web stories powered by storifyme are designed for the open web and are always visible, with no expiration date. They are also not tied to any social platform, so if you don't want to limit yourself to marketing on a single network, this may be the thing for you.
Get Ad Promo Credits
Since your budget is currently limited, thinking about massive ad campaigns is out of the question. However, coupons and discounts are floating around for paid Google ads or Facebook ads. What is more, as a part of their membership offerings, some web hosting services go as far as to offer advertising discount codes which can be a fantastic opportunity for you to advertise!
Network till You Drop
…well, not literally till you drop, but you know what we mean.
Having a presence on social media today is practically the most important thing you can do for your business. That is, ONE of the most important things.
Create business accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. If your business is image-oriented, add Instagram and Pinterest to that list. Make a posting plan and schedule to avoid falling out of your audience's site.
DIY Infographics Are the Thing
Infographics are a visual eye candy that makes for an insanely powerful marketing tool. They're easy to digest, emotionally pleasing, and people love to share them. Using infographics can be a fantastic way to drive up referral traffic and links.
At this stage of your business (you know, when the budget is tight), chances of hiring a designer can hit your wallet pretty hard; so, call in on all creative Gods to help you design something yourself. Actually, that shouldn't be that big of a problem with programs like Canva that give you plenty of free options.
Develop a Customer Referral Program
Free product is what everyone loves, so why not start there? Create a referral program for your existing customers and, as a reward, give them a free month of service, a free product, a discount on their favourite items, or some other type of reward. This way, you are not only encouraging your current customers to bring someone else in but also spread the word about your business. WOM is still the most powerful stuff there is in marketing.
Over to You
How do you resonate with the tips laid out above? Anything you feel you can use? Good! Let us know if these pieces of advice were helpful and if there's something else you feel could be added!