When marketing on a shoestring budget, there is much less room for error, which means that your approach needs to be focused, organized, well executed, and methodical. No one has room for loose, haphazard marketing attempts in such a saturated and competitive market. Here are a few tips for effective and inexpensive marketing…
1. Determine Your Goal(s)
Before you go to market, knowing your marketing goals and how to measure them is extremely important and will allow you to focus your marketing efforts. If you’re unsure of what the ultimate measure of success will be, you’re bound to spend more money on marketing just for the sake of marketing.
2. Focus on One Channel
A low cost way of reaching your target audience is to put most or all of your marketing dollars into one channel to start. Then track the results and determine the effectiveness of this particular channel before deciding whether or not to invest additional marketing dollars or to try a different channel.
3. Maintain a Consistent Online Presence
Maintaining an online presence is something that any institution can do, but being consistent is another story. For example, if social media marketing is part of your strategic plan, make sure you post regularly, develop custom content, and cross post between your blog, social media channels, and your website. Doing so will not only build a positive and trusting reputation, but can also boost your search engine rankings. Consumers are observant. If they see that you’re not being consistent with your posting, your reputation will suffer.
4. Build a Referral Program
Word-of-mouth marketing can be your most powerful tool if you build the right program. Have you measured how many of your members are currently referring their friends and family without even being rewarded? Do you have a high NPS score? You might be surprised at how putting together a referral program can improve your member loyalty while also bringing in plenty of new business.
5. Leverage Community Relationships
Team up with other businesses in your community for a joint project, or joint marketing and business development efforts. You can host an event together, provide a community workshop, or even run a promotional giveaway contest. Some credit unions even feature a ‘business of the month’, which leverages your community relationships, positioning the credit union as an active community partner. Having a partner to split your marketing costs with is a great way to expand your brand awareness while keeping costs low.
6. Explore Guerrilla and Social Good Marketing
In this age of social media where every good deed (or bad deed) can be filmed and posted on social media sites, guerrilla marketing is more relevant than ever. Guerrilla and social good marketing are cost effective ways to stand out from the crowd. Some examples of guerilla marketing are pay it forward initiatives such as giving away free gas at the station, or paying for someone’s groceries unexpectedly. Of course there are even simpler examples like bumper stickers, sticky notes, window decals, or placing cards or stamped dollar bills in conspicuous places. Social good marketing tactics can provide positive PR, and are often very low cost. Charitable donations and volunteer work, blood drive, sponsoring the homeless, or recognizing local heroes are some great examples of social good marketing. Take a look at this list of 50 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics.
7. Feature Member Success Stories
You have free marketing at your fingertips. Every day you have members who tell you how happy they are with their experience at your organization. Why not capitalize on these moments and share the success stories? Hold a “Real Members, Real Stories” campaign, or simply ask members to submit their favorite story of how your company helped them, and then feature various stories on your website, helping build custom content while providing free or low-cost marketing. Not to mention the number of social media shares and views that your brand can receive when members share their stories.
8. Segment Your Email Marketing
Email marketing may seem like an obvious answer to low-cost marketing, however, there are some no-so-obvious ways to improve this form of marketing. If you’re not using email to push out custom content and capture leads, it may not be as effective as you think. Think about your personal email inbox. How many regular publications are delivered to your inbox that you actually look forward to reading, or make it a point to open when the email comes through? For most people, there are very few. Make your emails worth reading by providing content that intrigues and empowers your reader to take action. Having an email platform that integrates with your CRM or core provider is a fantastic way to send custom content to segmented groups of people, resulting in higher click through rates and engagement. The days of blanket email blasts are over. Customized content, segmented lists, and captured leads are your keys to success.
What inexpensive and effective marketing ideas have you implemented? Comment below and we will compile all tips and ideas into a downloadable PDF that you can share with your peers.