Cost-effective strategies for promoting your brand onlineBy Lawrence Dy
Consumers are spending more time online. Globally, average screen time clocks in at about 6:37 hours per day, with Americans spending closer to 7 hours in front of the screen daily (Comparitech). It’s no surprise that consumers’ buying decisions are being shaped by what they consume online. Take social media for example: 71 percent of users say that they’re more likely to purchase a product based on a social media recommendation (Search Engine Watch).
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Considering how much time buyers are spending online, it’s clear that all businesses today need to master online brand promotion. However, the prospect of online promotion can be intimidating, especially to smaller local businesses that haven’t dabbled much in digital marketing.
That’s why we’re covering cost-effective strategies that anyone can implement to promote their brand online.
Table of Contents
- Leverage paid advertising
- Utilize social media platforms
- Focus on quality content development
- Optimize website pages
- Connect with influencers and affiliates
- Experiment with location-based marketing
- Frequently asked questions
Leverage paid advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising includes online advertising on Facebook and Instagram, Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other social media channels.
Businesses can choose from several different forms of PPC advertising:
- Search advertising involves placing ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords or phrases.
- Display advertising refers to the placement of ads on websites or apps that are part of an ad network, like the ads you might see in the sidebar when reading a news article.
- Social media advertising is the placement of PPC ads on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, where users encounter them as they engage with the social media platform.
All of these different types of PPC advertising share the same principles: A budget is set at the beginning of an ad campaign, and users bid on certain keywords. For search ads, those keywords might be words that users search for, while for social media and display ads, they may be terms related to their interests.
When someone clicks on an ad, the advertiser gets charged an amount that depends on several variables, including the time of day and the popularity of the keywords being targeted. When users simply see an ad but don’t click on it, advertisers are not usually charged (except in some instances of display ads).
Search ads tend to be better for targeting prospects that are actively looking for a product or service, while social media ads can be more effective for reaching a wider audience, building brand awareness, and capturing impulse purchases. Regardless of the type of paid advertising being used, having a clear target audience in mind can make advertising efforts far more effective.
For example, consider a new coffee shop that has just opened up in town. They can run a low-budget awareness campaign on Facebook and Instagram to get local audiences familiar with their name and presence. Then, they can run a search campaign on Google so that when people search for coffee shops nearby, the new coffee shop will come up in search results.
Through the combination of these ad campaigns, the coffee shop can drive traffic through its doors quickly. This can then enable them to collect more positive reviews and build a positive reputation. In turn, this reputation will help them save on paid advertising through word-of-mouth advertising in the long term.
Another example might be an online-only clothing retailer. By conducting research and identifying the best keywords for their technical outerwear, they can focus on solely running PPC ads that convert to ROI. Then, they can re-invest some of their profits into social ad campaigns, allowing them to continually grow their presence by sustainably scaling their advertising budget as they grow.
Utilize social media platforms
Social media platforms are powerful—and affordable—tools for increasing brand awareness. While we mentioned the ability to use social media to run paid advertising campaigns, there are even lower-cost ways to drive awareness, engagement, and traffic through the strategic use of social media.
For example, running contests and giveaways only requires that businesses come up with a prize, which can be less costly than a PPC campaign. Then, by encouraging customers to follow the brand to enter the contest, they can get their brand in front of potentially thousands of new people without having to spend on ads.
One important caveat for making these lower-cost social media strategies effective is that businesses have to stay active on their profiles to maintain engagement and keep audiences interested. As any small or medium business (SMB) owner will tell you, this can be a full-time job on its own. That’s why enlisting the help of a reliable social media management service provider can make all the difference in helping businesses gain the benefits as consistent and effective social media efforts.
Focus on quality content development
Investing in content development can help improve search engine rankings by providing valuable, relevant, and high-quality content that attracts links and shares from other websites and social media platforms. Google’s algorithm may be somewhat opaque, but its ultimate aim is to provide the best possible results to users. By creating high-quality content, businesses can create value for audiences, which is ultimately what Google’s crawlers value as well.
Different AI tools have been in use for some time. However, new user-friendly AI solutions have recently burst onto the scene, transforming how industries approach their work—digital marketing included. By making it possible to create everything from educational articles to videos with a few well-crafted prompts, AI-generated content can be a cost-effective way to publish content. However, it’s essential to edit, refine, and humanize any AI-produced content to ensure that it doesn’t read as too robotic or run afoul of Google’s guidelines.
To get the most brand-boosting potential, any content posted for the purpose of increasing brand visibility should be keyword optimized. Using relevant SEO keywords throughout the copy, meta descriptions, alt text, and headings can improve your organic SEO. This, in turn, will help Google’s crawlers understand what a piece of content is about, making it more likely to appear in the relevant SERPs.
Optimize website pages
Website design is about so much more than just aesthetics. Since UX and page load speeds are Google search ranking factors, web design plays a critical role in increasing discoverability and making web pages more easily navigable for users.
A well-designed website can improve the user experience, reduce bounce rates, and drive more conversions. By optimizing web pages for search engines (SEO), businesses can further increase their chances of appearing in search engine results and generating more organic traffic.
To optimize web pages for SEO, businesses can use powerful and free tools such as Google Search Console and SEMrush to identify areas for improvement and track the performance of their web pages. These tools can be used to identify relevant keywords to target, analyze the effectiveness of a website’s existing structure and content, and monitor its performance on SERPs.
Connect with influencers and affiliates
When influencers and affiliates recommend products or services, their suggestions can feel more sincere and authentic than, say, an ad paid for by the brand. That’s why partnering with influencers and affiliates can help businesses generate more awareness and sales without constantly splurging on PPC campaigns.
For partnerships with influencers and affiliates to be effective, it’s important to have a method in place for tracking the efficacy of campaigns. One of the most common ways to measure success is by issuing a unique affiliate code that can be used to get a discount on a product or service. Every time the code is used, that sale can be attributed to the respective influencer it was assigned to.
When done correctly, influencer marketing can also help with online reputation management. Aligning with influencers who share similar values, for example, can strengthen the association of a brand with those values.
Experiment with location-based marketing
Location-based marketing can be used to target customers in specific geographic areas. Going back to our example of the coffee shop, it would make sense for such a local business to market very narrowly to people within a short distance of the shop.
Companies are already using AI to bolster their online marketing efforts. For example, some are using AI-powered audience segments to send more narrowly targeted and personalized emails. AI technology is also being used for the management of local listings, which is an important component of location-based marketing, enabling businesses to promote their products and services to customers in their area.
As much as AI is reducing repetitive marketing tasks, having an experienced digital marketing agency on the job can help businesses more effectively, quickly, and affordably scale, avoiding costly or misguided mistakes.
Frequently asked questions
How can marketing reduce costs?
Marketing can reduce costs by helping businesses make their brands more visible to the right people at the right time. It can also help businesses gather valuable insights that help them create better, more desirable products or services.
What is the most common cost-based marketing strategy?
The most common cost-based marketing strategy is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. This is a marketing strategy in which advertisers pay every time a user clicks on their ad, instead of every time the ad is displayed.