Cheap Ways to Engage Customers

If you’re running a small business, chances are you don’t exactly have the kind of cash to drop on marketing that the monster brands do. Or even if you do, you’re likely wise enough to realize it might not be the smartest decision to put all of your eggs in the brand basket. Instead, you’re looking for ways to influence, engage, and excite your customers that are budget friendly.

Fortunately, in this recent age of marketing and brand building – content is king. This means that online marketing is aimed at creating organic links through content that stands the test of time: quality images and unique articles. If you’re working with more monetary constraints, it’s important to recognize that maybe you don’t necessarily need to drop every dime into building loads of master content. But it also means that the world is truly your oyster here: You can create exceptional content on a small budget. We’re going to show you how.

But first, what is content? The immediate notion for most might include visions of a massive, interlaced, and dynamic website – crawling out with guest blogs and great comments, bleeding out superior graphics and updating with viral campaigns every two seconds. Well, yes. That’s heavenly. However, it’s not easy to generate this kind of content on a small budget. It takes a lot of whipsmart builders and plenty of time for things to unfold organically. It’s certainly something to aim for and start working towards, but content is much more than just a website: Content is generated within every single movement of your business, and everything that it touches.

Moz discussed this in a recent blog post. In the article, author Matthew Barby informs small businesses that content radiates past online marketing. It’s down to the clothes your staff wears (with Hooters as a prime example). Barby gives a great list of actionable ideas based on the premise that content building happens in everything a business does, and keeping a lively, creative, and distinguishable voice that is easy to share, link, and tweet is part of the magic.

How does a small business create lasting content on a thin wallet? Here are the top ways how.

Pick solid fine details

Everything, including packaging, office spaces, logos, staff, and products, is content. Don’t mail it in. Be selective, creative, and inventive with each of your choices. Find ways to leave customers pleasantly surprised with memorable, unique touches around the office, draped over the chairs of workers, and to be pulled off of free product samples or purchases.

Embed social media

Social media is the ultimate free-content generating machine. With that said, embed social media platforms into every nook and cranny of your company. Make t-shirts and signage that include QR codes and status updates. Provide links to social at every relevant opportunity, and launch smart campaigns through the platforms consistently.

Speak out often

Signing up to give talks to the community, network at events, and collaborate with other non-competing businesses is key to marketing on a small budget. Guest blogging also creates rich content still, and is another perfect way to get your brand out there. Check out services like HARO, which allow you to provide source material for reporters looking to close a good story.

Be generous

Drop out samples like bread crumbs, leaving an easy trail back to your brand. Provide free trials to spark customer interest. Believe in your brand and your product – find meaning behind what it is you do, and don’t seek out profit at every turn. See giving as an opportunity to enrich the community, and volunteer to sponsor events or provide merch for gift bags.

So fear not. Getting customers engaged without an excessive budget isn’t an impossibility – in fact, low-cost options might just drive your brand even further than you ever imagined.

Photo credit: Ken Teegardin

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