Every business wants to have that next big ad, but at what cost? New York City creative is full of elaborate ideas and abstract thoughts, but take a look at your annual budget and then tell me you want to spend it all on that full page ad with the flashy tagline and zero accountability. Small businesses cannot afford to waste such a large percent of their integrated marketing budget on creative that, well let’s face it, won’t bring in the revenue. I’ve listed three tips that I have found successful in building creative brand awareness that won’t break the bank.
1. Connect with your customers on new levels.
Don’t advertise to your customers, get to know them instead. Social media is the latest, cheapest and most engaging form of creative. Instead of a fancy tag line saying “We are the best and this is why,” ask your customers what they think of you. Social media is absolutely free to use and easy to learn, all you need is fifteen minutes a day and a little creativity. Here are three tips for business starting out with social media who want to optimize their experience.
- Offer special promotions and contests for social media users and give back to the actual customers, not the people seeing your ad.
- Use multiple social media sites, link them together and expand your community. #AwesomeIdea!
- Ask for feedback and make your conversations as engaging as possible. Don’t say “We have a special on hardwood flood this month,” ask your Facebook friends and Twitter followers which they prefer better and why. Better yet, make a YouTube video on how easy it is to install hardwood flooring.
2. Give your email a makeover.
When we wake up in the morning, we put on a pot of coffee, let the dogs out and check our email. Ideally, this opportunity can only be derailed by the snooze button. Whether you email clients as a newsletter, with specials or simply a personal message from the CEO, you have the ability to be creative. Although Email may seem to be falling behind social media and mobile technology, it’s still one of the most effective ways to reach your customers directly. Unless you plan on going door to door or dropping thousands of dollars on a direct mail piece, Email is the way to go. Using websites like Constantcontact.com, your emails can be constructed efficiently and creatively. By linking your Emails to company pages, social media sites and blogs you are able to track customer navigation and show off your new Twitter account you are still trying to figure out. Other than a small monthly fee for lists and creation, Email is a low cost way to reach your customers all at once.
3. Share your company’s knowledge, passion and insight with your readers.
Blogger Erica Swallow of Southern Swallow Productions states “small businesses with corporate blogs receive 55 percent more traffic than small businesses that don’t blog.” Blogging is an exceptional way to cut your creative budget in half. Having a company blog is not necessary, although proven successful for small business by dramatically increasing placement on organic searches. These tips will get you on the right track:
- This is your chance to be creative, find a voice (theme) that relates to your business and won’t scare off your clients.
- Blogs are read by people who find your line of work interesting, so give them something interesting to read about.
- Linking to media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) and your company website is a great way to increase blog and website placement in local searches.
- Blog as a human, not a robot. The only thing creative about a robot is the idea of one.
Now that you’re ready to Socialize, Blog and Email, there are two main points I hope you take away from this. The first is that by intertwining all your online media, you save on your marketing budget and increase customers, viewers and followers, while still being as creative as you’d like to be. The second is that you don’t need to pay for expensive creative to be successful. Integrating simple online tools into your marketing campaign is more than enough for small and rising businesses to stay profitable.
If you have any questions or would like to read more on this or other related subjects, contact us. Remember, no budget is too small to let your customers know they are important to you.