When it comes to marketing your business, it can feel like you’re a small fish swimming in a sea of giants. Everyone around you has an aggressive advertising strategy, and as a small a business, you don’t have the time or the marketing budget to keep up, especially with those spending big money on Google and Facebook ads.
Here’s something that will make you feel better. You don’t need to advertise on Google or Facebook to promote your products, and you can be successes with a very limited marketing budget. Smaller businesses actually have a huge advantage in digital marketing, it’s just a matter of knowing how to optimize each opportunity to build your brand.
So, what do you do when Facebook and Google ads aren’t an option?
Here are 5 ways of marketing your product without paying for ads on any platform.
If you’ve been struggling, trying to figure out how you’re going to market your product without the help of Facebook or Google, the good news is that you don’t have to. It’s entirely possible to leverage the presence you already have on these, and other, social networks to move your brand forward without investing in their ads.
It’s all about building up what you already have.
For example, most brands already have a Facebook profile. Even with recent changes in how Facebook prioritizes the content users see, it’s possible to market your product without ads. It all starts with building engagement.
Once you’ve built up traffic and engagement for your social media profiles, promoting your product is easy.
Start by creating content that generates real engagement with your target audience, and then create an incentive for users to share. For example, a fun contest or poll that features the chance to win a free or discounted product with each share.
You can also take advantage of certain features on Google to promote your brand. For example, every Google My Business listing offers the opportunity to share a post on the page. Take advantage of this by using that space to promote your product.
You can also optimize one of the main thing users love about Google, and that’s the reviews. Google allows you to subtly encourage users to leave a review, but you’re not going to get away with asking for reviews on a specific product.
There are workarounds to this. For example, with each purchase of your product, the confirmation email can include a discount incentive for leaving a review of their purchase. By targeting this to customers who make specific purchases, you steer the reviews in a direction that will help you promote specific products.
Contrary to what the current digital marketing climate would have you believe; social media and Google aren’t the only platforms that matter.
After all, what’s the point of all the money and other resources spent on paid ads? The goal is to build traffic to your site and generate high quality leads that convert.
Ads alone won’t get maximum results, and even brands who are blowing their marketing budgets on expensive ads need something else – SEO.
Paid ads are extremely targeted. This means that if you want the same types of results that paid ads bring, you need to get serious about how you’re handling SEO. Instead of just building brand awareness with SEO, you also want to build product awareness. This involves narrowing the focus of SEO elements like keywords and content to help attract an audience to your product.
Small businesses often underestimate the value of an influencer relationship.
Connecting with influencers is an incredibly effective way of building brand and product awareness. While shopping, 60% of customers have been influenced by a social media or blog post, but along with this, 30% are more likely to buy a product suggested by a non-celebrity blogger.
This is great news for small and medium-sized businesses because it tells us you don’t need to spend major dollars to get maximum value from an influencer relationship.
The secret here is to align your product with the right influencer. You’re not just looking for celebrity power here, what you want is a mixture of experience, authority, and respectability. By seeking out influencers that are aligned with your product and image, you’re helping to create a relationship that’s natural and doesn’t feel forced to the audience.
If you’re new to influencer marketing, start by looking for those with a well-recognized presence in your community, industry or niche. Remember, you don’t need someone with 1 million followers because that person isn’t going to generate high-quality leads. You want the person that’s already connected to an audience that’s the same or similar to yours.
It’s easier to connect with an influencer than most businesses realize. Start by following them on social media and engaging with their posts. Look for other ways to familiarize yourself with them or their brand by subscribing to their newsletter and digging through their blog.
Once you feel you’ve familiarized yourself, reach out by offering a free product for them to review or suggest a mutually beneficial relationship where you promote each other’s content and products.
Email offers a level of personalization that can’t be achieved through other forms of marketing. How important is this type of personalization to your customers? Important enough to generate $44 in return for every $1 spent.
Email is a great tool for promoting your product to an existing customer base and capturing new customer interest. With a targeted email strategy, you can send out newsletters that promote your product and highlight special offers or discount incentives to generate more product interest.
When optimizing email to market a product, it’s key to remain consistent and build on the customer journey leading to a purchase. This involves creating content that’s targeted to product promotion but also includes immediate value, such as a discount incentive or limited time offer. If you repeatedly send out emails that don’t contain real, tangible value targeted toward your product, they’ll eventually lose interest.
It’s your job to make sure the value is there when they’re ready to commit.
If you want to fully optimize content for product promotion, it’s time to get a little creative. Sure, blogs and emails still work, but customers today love engagement. They want to feel a connection to your product, and one of the best ways of accomplishing this is through audio and visual content, such as webinars and podcasts.
Webinars have a 66% effectiveness rating for building brand and product awareness, and this can be amplified by connecting with an influencer for a joint webinar. This type of strategy works especially well if the product you’re selling is a service. Video is another strong medium for informing customers about your product through demonstrations and Q&A content.
Now’s the time to start thinking outside the box with content creation and how the right type of content can market your product without a dime invested into Google or Facebook ads.
You have your reasons for not using Google or Facebook ads. Maybe it’s a strategy that doesn’t fit in the budget right now, or you’ve determined that you have a product that’s best promoted by targeting a local, smaller audience rather than the broad reach of a paid ad campaign. Whatever the reason, smart businesses are always looking at new ways of marketing and optimizing every opportunity.
These 5 strategies are just a starting point.
You don’t need Facebook or Google ads to be successful. In fact, with a great product and the skills to attract your market, you already have everything you need.
The only thing left to do is put it all into action.
Also published on Medium.