Trying to market your ecommerce site, but don’t have a lot of spare cash? No problem. Check out these five budget-friendly marketing ideas to spread the word and boost traffic.
Let’s face it, times are tough. Making any business investment is like pulling teeth, especially when it comes to marketing. The irony is that in a poor economic climate, we need an extra push to drive traffic and sales. But how do you balance a small budget with big marketing goals?
While budget-friendly marketing seems like an oxymoron, there are several options to market your online business without breaking the bank. In the spirit of thriftiness, check out these five tips.
Feel free to ask questions and add your own ideas by leaving a comment below!
Budget-Friendly Marketing Tip #1: Prioritize Your Marketing Initiatives
In a world of so many communications channels, it’s difficult to decide where to start. A haphazard approach to marketing is a drain on your budget. Thus, prioritize which initiatives you need to invest in and create a timeline. While you likely can’t push all the campaigns you’d like to, you can work toward your goal incrementally.
The first notch in your marketing belt should be quality site design. This is the most important investment you can make – why spend money bringing people to your site if they bounce because it’s ugly? Then, move into other initiatives like SEO and PPC while working with more affordable options in between.
Budget-Friendly Marketing Tip #2: Utilize Social Media
Everyone is talking about social media these days, and rightfully so. It’s a powerful medium that’s ideal for engaging customers and building relationships. Better yet, the only investment is your time. But just having a Facebook and Twitter page isn’t enough – you’ve got to build relationships with others in the social world.
Get started by doing a Twitter search that’s related to your field. Find people that are influencers in your industry and begin engaging with them by retweeting their content and sending tweets their way. It may take some time, but eventually they’ll catch on and return the favor, giving your online business exposure to customers in your target audience.
Also be sure to reach out to your fan base through social channels. Publicize your marketing promotions, company news and industry information to your community. Sharing information that others want to absorb will help spread the word without having to spend a dime.
To get started with your social media strategy, check out our free white paper, “Is Your Social Media Strategy Really a Strategy?”
Budget-Friendly Marketing Tip #3: Focus on Current Customers
While it’s tempting to focus your marketing energy on acquiring new customers, it’s much more budget-friendly and effective to target your current customer base. It’s almost three times more expensive to get a sale from a new customer than a returning one. Thus, step up your communications with current customers by enabling your loyalty program and sending email newsletters. Your current customer base is also an excellent hub to build your social following.
Another nice thing about working with current customers is that they’ll start talking about your business to friends and family. So give your base a reason to sing your praises by delivering exceptional customer service.
Budget-Friendly Marketing Tip #4: Study Your Analytics
In order to get the most bang for your buck, you need to concentrate your marketing efforts in the places that are most effective. Fortunately you can make data-driven decisions by running reports from your shopping cart software and using free analytics tools, like Google Analytics. For example, studying the keywords that drive the most traffic to your site will help determine the keywords to insert in your content and marketing communications. Analyzing which discounts were most popular will allow you to decide which promotions to axe and which to run again.
Budget-Friendly Marketing Tip #5: Churn Out Content, Build Links
Much like social media, content marketing only requires an investment of your time. To get started, research topics that are hot items within your industry and poll your customers to find out what they want to learn more about. Then, start performing research and create a well-written article that provides insight and advice, if appropriate. And within that content piece, include a link to your website.
Once the writing is done, promote the heck out of your shiny piece of content. Share it on social channels and ask influencers (the ones you built relationships with from Tip #2) to spread it on their social outlets. Go out into the blogosphere and leave related comments with links to your content piece. Engaging the online community will bring additional links to your website, which is SEO gold.
One final thought is to be patient and keep investing. For those that have large marketing budgets, it’s easy to make a big splash upfront. But for the rest of us, slow and steady wins the race. Whatever you do, never blame a small budget for a lack of marketing.
-Matt Winn, Online Communications Specialist, Volusion