In 2021, one of the most common marketing trends is predicted to be humanising businesses and brands. Social media users have been calling for more people-first content and interaction with the companies they do business with. Of course, businesses are responding to this by becoming more interactive and replying more to comments and questions.
We can take some lessons from this into other areas of marketing, and apply them across all of our marketing strategies. We can also do this with very little budget, making it more cost-effective.
Here are a few of the most cost-effective marketing strategies that are relevant for small businesses in 2021.
Organic, interactive social media
Remember the huge trend for social media advertising? Consumer surveys show that people are becoming weary of being advertised to in this way. Many consumers also lose trust for companies who hijack their newsfeeds with ads.
What people want now is to be included in conversations with companies. They want to feel heard, and on social media this is powering the trend towards companies interacting in a more human way.
You can use this strategy yourself in your own business, to help grow trust and familiarity with your audience.
If you are wondering how to do this in a cost-effective way, then let’s look at it from the angle of replacing old, costly social media strategy with this approach for 2021.
As it might be time for many small businesses to cut back on their paid advertising, based on the research above, then that’s already some budget saved. While nobody is suggesting turning your ads off all together, you could look at your stats and turn off some lower-performing ones.
Now think about how much time you spend posting organic content that doesn’t bring you any return on investment. How often do you post and find no engagement, no clicks to your offer, and tumbleweeds instead of comments? You don’t need to add more organic social media posting to your schedule – just swap out the type of posts that don’t perform for you, with a people-focused approach instead.
How? Instead of just dropping links to your content or offers, ask your audience questions. Show interest in your followers, and ask them what they like about your business. Open the lines of communication, and respond to every reasonable comment (not the troll comments).
While you might not see an immediate increase in sales or bookings, remember that organic social, and content marketing in general, is a long game. Stick with it and you will start seeing a return on your investment.
Of course, don’t forget to make the most of branding everything you share on social media, to maximize your brand awareness. Add your logo to all your account profile pictures, and to any content that you share. If your logo needs freshening up, try Logo Creator.
Email still has the edge
It’s no secret that email marketing has been top of the ‘most cost-effective’ list for many years. Despite the passage of time, it is still going strong.
In order for you to make the best use of email marketing, you really need two key things in place. Firstly, you need a simple opt in set up to keep your email subscriber list growing. You always want to be adding more people to your email marketing list.
Using even something as simple as a free Mailchimp account, you can set up a basic opt in page, which sends an automatic email reply to people as they sign up. You can use this automatic email to send them a free gift, such as a PDF, ebook, MP3, or a discount voucher. Incentivising people to sign up in this way gets much greater results than simply asking them for their email address. Do make it worth their while to sign up.
Secondly, in order to truly make a cost-effective return on investment from your email marketing, you need to send out regular content marketing to your list. The best way to do this is usually by planning ahead with a simple content calendar.
Don’t forget the people-first approach, including content that will appeal to your audience and get them thinking. Don’t only send links to your products.
Content and inbound funnels
Finally, it is really worth thinking about the content you put out there, and how it funnels people back to your offers.
It’s true that content marketing is a really long game. We don’t gain new customers overnight. But what we do get is new people getting to know us. Over time, those new people develop trust in our brand, and then ultimately some of them buy from us.
While this is not a quick method like advertising is, this is a sustainable and cost-effective one. Try thinking of creating online content as being like planting seeds in a garden. Those seeds need time to take root. But if you are patient and consistent, in the long term that content can funnel many new customers to you.
It is important to make sure that all your content offers a route back to your business. For example, if you are posting blog content on your website, make sure that a link to your offers is visible somewhere on the page. If you are posting your content on other platforms, like LinkedIn Publishing or Medium, then do include a text link to your website at the end of your post. This way, people can find their way to you when they are ready to learn more about you.
The future of cost-effective marketing strategies looks set to move away from paid ads, and become more human again. Consumers are calling for interaction, and if you provide it, their trust in you can grow.
With trust comes loyalty, and that’s a wonderful thing to have for the long-term success of your small business. So don’t be afraid to invest a little time in talking to your followers online – you could be talking to your next customer.