Planning your ad budget is stressful. With your finite set of funds, how do you maximize exposure without breaking the bank? The solution might be more simple than you think, and one (or all) of these ideas might be just what you need to kick your campaign into high gear.
Believe in Great Content
You offer a great product or service. Why wouldn’t you create great content to promote it? “Content creation” sounds like another industry buzz word but the fact of the matter is that creating interesting, engaging content is a mainstay in influencing consumer behaviours. Traditional ads still have their place, but people hunt for information differently from the way they did ten years ago. Blogs, videos, and infographics are all interactive avenues that work towards building credibility with your consumers and offer a new way to engage with your brand. Once you’ve decided which social platform works best for your company, craft a winning content strategy (such as including blogs, videos, newsletters, press releases, guerrilla marketing tactics or social sharing), and make sure you invest in a great content creator – someone who can speak authoritatively on your business and products – or schedule time to create and publish posts yourself.
If you haven’t heard of native advertising, you should familiarize yourself with the term. Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed, think advertorials, and sponsored articles and videos. Creating and posting articles on content aggregator sites like Buzzfeed or the Huffington Post is a cost-effective solution for brands looking to share great content at a fraction of the cost.
Not every article, video or post you create is going to go viral, or get likes and shares on social media, but this isn’t a reason to be discouraged or discontinue your content creation strategy. While there is no formula for success (viral or otherwise), as long as you do your due diligence – creating content that is timely, informative, and interesting – you are investing in creating new avenues directly to your product or service.
Find Them On Facebook
If you haven’t set up a Facebook page for your business, what are you waiting for? This beast of a social network is invaluable as an advertising platform. Here you can create simple, highly targeted ads that show up right where you want them to, in the feeds and sidebars of the people who have already expressed interest in the topics and keywords associated with your brand. With the capability to set daily, weekly, monthly or lifetime ad spending, carry out A-B testing (sometimes called split testing, where you compare two versions of an ad to similar visitors at the same time to see which performs better), and the ability to easily change ads to reflect current promotions and specials, Facebook advertising is also extremely cost effective if used the right way.
Play Well with Others
Cross-promotion is an out-of-the-box method of reaching new consumers who might not have come across your ads or content otherwise. Great avenues for cross-promotion include (but aren’t limited to) direct mail fliers, coupons, reciprocal website links (“I’ll share yours if you share mine”), and social media mentions, along with offering product samples or business card kiosks in each other’s location.
Give Something Away
The economy may be fluctuating, but this is a perfect time to start developing loyalty among new and existing clients by offering coupons or free trials. Everyone loves to save a buck, and research shows that people will go out of their way to use a coupon. And don’t be afraid to offer something for free – people are more likely to commit to a purchase once they’ve had a chance to experience the product or service.
While cross-promotion and coupons are both great investments, producing collateral for a method of advertising that has not yet proven effective for your company might be costly.
Before embarking on any strategy, you need to be sure that it is not only a right fit for your company, product or service, but that you can also afford the time and financial obligation necessary. Ask yourself: has this worked in the past or is it currently working for your competitors? Can you afford to lose money on printed or created material that may not produce ROI? Can you yourself or a member of your team commit to investing the time it takes to make a social or content creation strategy successful?
Once you have your answers, you and your team will be able to confidently incorporate one or all of these ideas into your next advertising budget.